Bipolar and work

By nja1874 Latest Activity April 1, 2011 at 12:23 am Views 4,649 Replies 435 Likes 80

nja1874

Is it possible to be bipolar and work? I attend a bipolar group and everyone is either on disability or unemployed.
If you work, can you tell me some of the challenges?
I will be on meds soon and want to go back to work, but feel scared.
Any feedback will be appreciated.

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Replies (435 replies)

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  • closetauger
    closetauger 4:22 pm   

    It is definitely possible, although in my case I was working for 10 years before I was diagnosed. My bipolar has wired my brain in way that has helped me become a master in my profession.

  • Chris_baker
    Chris_baker 12:12 pm   

    Yes I work it does help keep my mind busy for sometime but I think the busy nature of my job does that I'm only doing part time now as I'm trying small steps as been off for two months . I don't believe ppl with bipolar need to claim disability and do what stay at home and go nuts no thanks yes its double as hard and u might wanna throw myself into the road on the way but the fact I don't must mean something we all get fed up if the fact life is like a battle with your mind but giving up won't help so let's fight on . I'll say one thing companies need to employ management that are prepared for all sorts of pplyou may think this all sounds far to positive I do for me believe me but it is taking very load music bluring in my ears on iPod to do it .

  • bronte43
    bronte43 December 7 at 12:36 pm   

    Working for me is good and I have good days & bad days !
    Work takes my mind off things and keeps me busy .

  • BP_OCD
    BP_OCD December 7 at 10:42 am   

    I don't think bipolar disorder should be an excuse not to work or try to work. I have my master's degree and work full time. I had to take a month off once to be in the hospital.

  • BP_OCD
    BP_OCD December 7 at 10:42 am   

    I don't think bipolar disorder should be an excuse not to work or try to work. I have my master's degree and work full time. I had to take a month off once to be in the hospital.

  • kattrails2004
    kattrails2004 December 7 at 10:31 am   

    This is old post…but…at jobs I've experienced a lot. Sexual verbal abuse at a factory job (first time talking about this…) Old school men and first women hired in w them…they hated me there but I was divorced at that time n the pay n insurance was good) it was a union job but those guys were freakin mentally hard on me) first year they were awful and would take my work and put it in the trash bin when I would come in. The more they did this (because I'm hyper the more harder I worked. I would run double just to show them i was strong. I wasn't going to quit. I took that crap for about two years. I finally earned their respect but I got tired of it and quit. A lot of other stuff too was going on in my personal life like crappy relationship. Well…I've never been fired from a job but I've quit a lot due to seeing bosses reaming and degrading others. I would speak up so many times. Or a coworker being talked to like inappropriate. I saw so much wrong in jobs. It would literally stress me out and I now know what anxiety is. Yeah, I had that too. Depression would follow along with every job I would work so hard and I'd burn myself and depression would kick my butt…Bosses would take advantage of me because when ur hyper you do more than a so called normal worker. I would then get frustrated and tell them I'm quitting. Theres so much more I can put on here like a lot…miscommunication cause when I used words and sentences toward someone they take what I say the wrong way n then omg. Theres a lot more. I just don't want to bring all the past on that stuff up again. People really in some jobs weren't nice or their job titles ballooned their brains and they treated their employees worse than dirt so I would chew them out or say this is not right. So its very very overwhelming and when u have that on top of trying to do your job and dealing with life to I couldn't take it. Anxiety depression stress mania kicked my @$$ excuse my French along with the that miscommunication. Mentally too much. My speech felt pressured n my thoughts felt like this too. I was really down at times weeks in bed back then n his that good. People r used to be always being hyper. Its a struggle dealing w it all. Its so hard to put it in words. I'm struggling bad. There's more but I don't know how to put it in words on here.

  • kattrails2004
    kattrails2004 December 7 at 10:38 am   

    I took off a lot too and used vacation days not for vacation but cause I was battling.

  • kattrails2004
    kattrails2004 December 7 at 10:38 am   

    I try to hide it.

  • lapotente
    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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  • lapotente
    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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    lapotente December 7 at 10:29 am   

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  • beardedguy
    beardedguy December 6 at 10:24 pm   

    So I work and have bipolar I.. It's not easy and you need a job that knows you are gonna miss time but when your okay you are there 110%..im lucky I have a job that when I have an episode and call on I get the time off no problem.. But almost everyone I know is on disability and even my Dr said I should look into it as my work does suffer greatly.. Like I said lucky I in the job I found.. But I really think it's hard and unless you are upfront and honest I think you will just get replace from one job to the next for being a difficult employee to work around.. My two cents

  • msblack81
    msblack81 December 6 at 7:02 pm   

    I thought before that this would be possible especially when my bosses told me I wasn't alone and that I was loved and they would stand behind me.I don't know what to believe anymore . I was fired from my job because of my health issues this past Thursday.I would like to think that there are jobs out there that someone like me with bipolar disorder can do but it's hard to see that right now

  • b0bbybr00ks
    b0bbybr00ks November 24 at 9:53 pm   

    It's hard for me to hold down a job for very long cuz I get burnt out so easily and quickly. I was homeless for the last 5 years but been housed up since last fall and then landed probably one of the best jobs I've ever had in December. So I've almost been there a year so I'm doing good considering the fact that I'm already burnt out, and can't stand being there anymore and being there just depresses me and makes me suicidal. But it's a good job and I work with and for some really good people. They are very laid back and work with me on my appointments. I'm very grateful but at the same time, I've had enough and am ready for a change but I would be dumb to just up and quit this job cuz it's prolly the best job I'm going to find in this area and it suits my disposition well most of the time. There are days when I just want to call in though for various reasons. I have burned a lot of bridges in the past with jobs so I'm really trying to hang in there this time around. It can be done but it ain't easy. I have already tried to get on disability before but it's just too much of a headache. I would rather work. Well sort of lol. If I wasn't medicated I wouldn't be able to hold down a job at all. I once made myself a promise to not apply for jobs I know I really won't like and would only serve as triggers for me. But no matter which job I get or have had, something always seems to go wrong, but this job is different. I can actually handle the stresses of this job for the most part but I do have my days. You just have to find something that you're good at and something that will suit your disposition and needs. Best of luck to ya!

  • johngjg
    johngjg November 25 at 5:07 am   

    Stay strong mate!
    Why are u starting to find it harder to manage with this job? Have you taken breaks?
    It is pretty hard to find something you are truly interested in, better to look at your current job, find aspects of it you COULD be interested in and learn more about them.
    Change feels important, but I always find that I typically don't appreciate things until I lose them.

  • newbeginningsnow
    newbeginningsnow November 24 at 8:05 pm   

    It's hard because I get irritated a lot by my coworkers. Sometimes it's the simply things. I go through mood swings I'm constantly paranoid. I stay to myself a lot .

  • kattrails2004
    kattrails2004 December 7 at 10:36 am   

    Typos oops me is one…

  • msblack81
    msblack81 November 24 at 12:07 pm   

    I was diagnosed about 2 months ago myself.i have always felt how I currently feel though and working for me has been tough at times. Right now being at work is the last place I want to be.im bouncing between the need to cry my eyes out or lash out in anger. I do have good days though and so on those I feel that working is doable.Today I don't feel that way,I would rather be home holed up in my bedroom with a blanket and a teddy bear.I don't know if this helps you or not but I hope that it does .

  • Robert111
    Robert111 November 24 at 9:07 am   

    I'm self employed residential carpenter and can't stand working for someone and be stuck in the same position for long. I'm a go getter most of the time. I can tailor my schedule around doctor visits and mood swings. If it weren't for this, I don't know what I would do.

  • bronte43
    bronte43 September 17 at 12:59 am   

    I work 4 days a week I find this helps

  • suzie500
    suzie500 September 16 at 10:26 pm   

    Work is exhausting for me this year. After 19 years in education , this will be my last. I don't have the energy to go on. My moods fluctuate too much.

  • Chickenkicker
    Chickenkicker September 3 at 2:13 pm   

    I put together a 40+ year career as a certified crane operator…but it was by the skin of my teeth. I white knuckled it through the years hanging on for dear life, especially when I was younger. I would blow up and walk off jobs…dozens of them, literally. One time I chased a Superintendent around his desk trying to get my hands on him. I'd get drunk and not show up until they ran my ass off so many times I can't recall the number.

    Seemed like I finally settled down in my 40's and had a good run of good jobs working 2450hrs per year until I lost the best job of my life by coming in drug hot on a random urinalysis in 2004…I was 51 years old. I had a pretty good job after that until 2008 when I retired the millisecond I was eligible @55.

    I found out working swing or graveyard shifts helped me immensely. That seemed to jive with my circadian rhythm and made staying employed SO much easier. I'm VERY grateful that I worked Union so that I had a retirement when I needed it and fantastic benefits still…otherwise by this time in life I could very well be pushing a cart downtown.

  • mhurcielago21057
    mhurcielago21057 September 3 at 12:01 pm   

    I've worked for 6 years. It has been difficult but you impossible. I work but I don't work at my 100%, because I have to attend my medical appointments 2 days a week during work time; and 1 medical appointment I have it as soon as my work time finishes, so I can stay more time at work if it is required.

  • mhurcielago21057
    mhurcielago21057 September 3 at 12:02 pm   

    *but NOT impossible…

  • joemczoe
    joemczoe August 18 at 2:48 am   

    I work, I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 a few months ago, I work in a laboratory as a quality control Analyst, I have held this position , with difficulty for 7 years, I recently adjusted my shift to normal day shift pattern and I have found that I am stable now, the shift work was actually triggering my episodes, I hopefully should be okay now

  • blu2434
    blu2434 July 28 at 12:29 am   

    Man this post helps a lot. I've been in a serious slump over this subject. I've been working 2 jobs for years to keep busy and help with my bad spending habits. I'm exhausted because I want to go back to school but I get the worst anxiety when I'm in school and it causes me to spiral. Sad part is I do well in school. The more I research bipolar disorder ..the more I get depressed knowing it's life long and I can't do anything about it. Not to mention how it affects my relationships. Not in the greatest place I see as I read this over.

  • UrbanRose
    UrbanRose April 17 at 5:26 pm   

    I work, have always worked since my parents allowed me too, after 18, but it does have it's tough times. Not so much as being bipolar, but because of the trauma I've been through. But I think it's different for everyone. My mom had to stop working, but it wasn't for bipolar reasons either. My entire family is bipolar and the struggles of a job is not the disorder, but the dumb people. At least on the case for my immediate family.

  • kc283
    kc283 April 17 at 6:47 am   

    I work and always have but sometimes you will need a flexible schedule do to sleep issues. Recently I had a setback due to overwhelming stress and had to adjust my meds so that I could be productive and feel well without being easily agitated. it helps to keep regular therapy appointments and track of sleep and moods so that you can avoid collapsing. I can't say I always did or do because I am famously known for battling work life balance. I work too much and rest too little so the Drs I see are useful because they tell me when its too much and I need to pull back.

  • chaser74
    chaser74 April 16 at 10:44 pm   

    I worked for 22 years with it but due to my bipolar I feed of the the rush my body was not able to keep going at the pace I was on with 3-4 hours of sleep every night so I add to stop in March and my husband said that he can tell a big diffence in me but I will still have days I'm sad for no reason but I just have to keep moving .

  • hellocheeky88
    hellocheeky88 April 16 at 6:22 pm   

    At work I have no support and I have to make other people's days fun and worthwhile when sometimes I wanna hide away and not speak to anyone but I have to because I'm so afraid of loosing my job as its the only thing I feel I have control over but as in the last couple of months I've got worse and trialling lots of new meds with horrendous side affect for me personally ive had no time off because those people need me to help them, I've had no support I feel worthless to them and there is no recognition for the effort and struggle it is to put on a facade everyday in work hours the I get home and want to scream and cry I don't but the frustration of not being appreciated or the effort I have to use just to get out of bed is a huge trigger for negativity and low self esteem a little well done or thanks for today you done well would do me the world of good but never

  • Christina1992
    Christina1992 March 14 at 9:39 am   

    It's very possible. I'm a waitress at a wedding venue and love the hype and fast paced aspect of the job. Although when it's wedding season I don't get much sleep, as I'm quite hypomanic around this time. What I find trouble with is my education - sitting down to study and concentrate when you are manic or depressed is near impossible. My advice to you would be to get a job that doesn't require you to sit down at a desk all day.

  • wattsjd
    wattsjd March 14 at 9:31 am   

    Yes it is possible, very possible I've been working before all this relationship stuff very consistently. Just know that you should ease yourself in and don't put so many demands on yourself you can't really do.

  • ftwrth4618
    ftwrth4618 March 12 at 3:50 pm   

    I have been out of work for a month and just recently have gone back which was nerve racking to me. I found that once I got back that I was welcomed but I still feel a bit strange and feel like being somewhere else. I hope that I eventually get back to feeling useful and wanting to be there

  • souljaboy77
    souljaboy77 February 1 at 8:28 pm   

    I was just diagnosed last year October (bipolar 2 but apparently I also cycle too fast to fit all the definitions, sometimes I can have 2 or 3 major swings a day) but I am an actively serving Army Officer. It is possible, but you need your outlets. When I'm on I'm on and it's great, I feel like a super soldier. When I'm down I fall back on my training and soldier on. The great thing about being in the Army is that I have a whole bunch of brothers who aren't afraid to be brutally honest and helpful all at the same time. I realize not every job that kind of social cohesion but it has been and continues to be the biggest part of my work success so far. Now that I'm on quetiapine I have to manage the drowsiness in the mornings (with coffee usually but not too much!!!). I'm sleeping better than I ever did so physically I'm getting a lot stronger and I am getting in even better shape with a strong appetite that comes I think from the qeutiapine. I'm trying to turn everything to my advantage in that regard…but hey some days at work are tough no question. Try being tired, wet, cold, and depressed…it gets challenging.

  • Tricky Times
    Tricky Times January 9 at 7:55 pm   

    I was diagnosed with BP in my late 40's, up until then I did not realise my career had the Bipolar advantage - innovative, big picture thinking, creative. I have had very senior academic roles, business development and management. Down sides involved relationships with colleagues and my BP egocentrism and impulsiveness. Younger folk need to learn the onset of moods and what not to do when in a mood.

  • HoneyBeeMcGhee
    HoneyBeeMcGhee January 9 at 8:06 pm   

    sound advice

  • lapotente
    lapotente December 7 at 10:28 am   

    N

  • HoneyBeeMcGhee
    HoneyBeeMcGhee January 9 at 6:28 pm   

    Absolutely! Had successful career for years, I have had the opportunity to retire young, but to be honest, I almost feel I need to go back to work (retired last February) seriously, i am beginning to think that it's harder to be at home all the time. I have hobbies, but at 45i think I still have more to offer the world.

  • StayingStrong26
    StayingStrong26 January 9 at 6:18 pm   

    I have been diagnosed bipolar for 6 years now and the first 3-4 I was completely unable to stay focused at work. It wasn't until 2012 that I had to really analyze what I wanted and who I wanted to portray myself to be. I go to work and yes, I have a lot of pain attack and am prescribed 6 different medications, but I have to work. I have to eat. I have to wear clothes. I figured out how to balance my work life. Finally. Now, 6 years later, I am trying to balance my personal life. It's hard, not easy at all. But, I strongly believe deep down inside that I have control and I do. I am working a 40 hour job in the compliance department and I haven't missed a day for a year now. You can do this. It's going to be okay.

  • nja1874
    nja1874 January 18 at 6:12 pm   

    Thanks for your encouragement. I means a lot to me.

  • jpratter
    jpratter November 26, 2013 at 11:18 pm   

    I have a job where I don't work with people a lot. I work at a doggie daycare, and I have for the past 6 years. So that can be nice, but on the flip side My anger and aggitation is really not a good combo. I know a lot of you are probably thinking What the hell Jenn, they are animals. You have it good.. And I do. But the barking of 40 dogs in your ear can wear you down mentally. I think that helps not working with people a lot but seasonally I work as a fragrance model (selling perfume) and it KILLS ME. It's so hard to have to fake it. On my super manic days I will sell so much and then sometimes when I feel like poop I can't sell anything. But the hard part for me is seeing all the other girls be functional and happy. Being fake is exhausting.

  • nja1874
    nja1874 December 4, 2013 at 1:49 am   

    I feel for you. Most people are fake and they show that they are happy when they really are not. I would use your coping skills and remember that everyone has its good and bad days. Hope you are feeling well this christmas because you could sell lots of perfume. Good luck.

  • iQuill
    iQuill November 23, 2013 at 3:23 am   

    I've held full time jobs. Focus and motivation were my major issues. I've had more difficulty with my education than anything. Been out of high school since '96 and STILL trying to get my associate's degree. My wife recently finished school so she works now and I'm back in school again. After this semester I'll only have five more classes if I can keep it together. Really struggling right now, though. We had to move for my wife's job and I'm not adjusting well to all the changes which is making school extra challenging. Anyway, I try to be as productive as I'm able. It helps fight the symptoms when you feel like you've accomplished something.

  • nja1874
    nja1874 November 23, 2013 at 3:49 am   

    Good for you for being in school. Hang in there and take it one day at a time.. Good luck.

  • iQuill
    iQuill November 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm   

    For sure! Thank you! :)

  • THEcyrus
    THEcyrus September 30, 2013 at 8:21 am   

    Me I can work. I work a full time job and write. When I'm in that routine I find it helps especially when manic. I can have low patience and next to no attention at times but I'm usually ok. Tomorrow I go back after 6 weeks off between jobs and I'm working on meds for the first time. Wish me luck.

  • nja1874
    nja1874 September 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm   

    Good luck.. Stay focus and take your meds.

  • dveedwards
    dveedwards September 29, 2013 at 8:28 am   

    My doctor limits me to working 40 hours per week. This has made a big difference In managing my illness. Working in excess of 40 hours makes managing your symptoms more difficult.

  • jellamichelle
    jellamichelle September 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm   

    I was able to get disability for being bipolar. I was denied 3 times and had to go see a judge. They had a doc on speaker phone with my medical records and he took one look at them and said that there was no question in his mind that I qualified for disability. But I've been hospitalized multiple times and every job I've had for around a year I ended up on temporary disability at least once. My case is pretty severe. My mom is my rep-payee so she controls my disability check. But I take care of my dad who is a disabled vet 3 days a week and get paid by the va. The judge said that asking as I made under a certain amount that it would not be a prob with me getting my benefits and I made less than what the max income was so I'm still able to do a little bit of work. I doubt I'll ever be able to hold a regular job again unless they come up with a cure or much better meds for it. But that doesn't mean that's the case for everyone.

  • mariannclark
    mariannclark September 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm   

    I have no choice but to work. I must keep it together.

  • Pink75
    Pink75 January 9 at 7:19 pm   

    J

  • bpjosh
    bpjosh September 28, 2013 at 7:57 am   

    I'm a firefighter/paramedic. My insomnia am short fuse are tough to deal with and I've almost lost the job a couple times due to both. My captains and chiefs seem to be very understanding about my bipolar. It is still hard but makes it easier with bosses that support you.

  • bib777
    bib777 September 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm   

    I am a facial plastic surgeon with bipolar disorder and im really a very succesful person, my pacients really like my job, o think if you have an adecuate treatment you can do whatever you want…

  • Robert111
    Robert111 September 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm   

    Yes you can be bipolar and work.

    For others that can't, they can't.

    But it is possible, even if you got to fire everyone else and work for yourself like I did/do. If I could, I'd fire myself cause I make a crappy employee.

  • daizyduke07
    daizyduke07 September 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm   

    Its easier to find a part time simple job than it is to get on disabikity

  • Robert111
    Robert111 September 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm   

    "Disabikity" kewl. I like that :)

  • daizyduke07
    daizyduke07 September 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm   

    How the hell do you get disability while bipolar that's literally impossible you must be in a group with ppl with more than just bipolar goin on there cuz in my state they don't give disability to bipolars

  • Momma2all
    Momma2all September 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm   

    Disability is not governed by the state, it's a national thing governed by the federal government. And yes, bipolar is a valid reason to receive disability benefits. Some people have a worse degree of the illness than others, making it impossible for them to work. There are varying degrees of bipolar. You may be able to work with yours, but there are many that are debilitated with it and cannot hold down a job.

  • heyjms
    heyjms September 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm   

    I tend to spiral down quicklt if I'm not challenged or working a boring job sitting at a cubicle. I've learned a few lessons on being in the wrong job. Last year I started a business, same industry I had been working in for years, just on my own now. The work is challenging and keeps me going, but now I am not answering to anyone. Its nice and seems to suit me. There are times its really a challenge to do basic functions. I started this business just as I was being diagnosed so I'm still learning, it is still new to me.

    I agree about the peer lead groups like on meetup. Most of them are on government assistance, currently being alcoholics using drugs. None of them talk about how they will over come their challenges or try…well try to do anything beyond their situation. I understand its tough, but for me I can't be around that, it really bothers me and triggers this internal rage when I hear someone b—ch and complain and have 100 excuses not to change or get help.

    Having a constant demand to stay focused seems to help. But the work I do is probably the wrong line of work for a bipolar, I can see that knowing what I know now. The other hand I am the one my family depends on, my wife stays home with our little ones. I feel the pressure and it isn't always the bebest for me, but it is what it is. I know my wife doesn't understand what it does to me sometimes.

  • danielle1989
    danielle1989 September 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm   

    Hiii :) I had 8 months off work due to a major relapse in my bipolar my moods were all over the place. But 2 months ago I started back at work as a nurse working between 40-50 hours a week ( im not manic atm but working so much is normal for me) anyway I feel so much better working it gives me something to concentrate on. Im currently on 200mg quitieapine each day and seem to manage fine…my advice would be to start off working part time and if you can discuss your medical diagnosis with your manager would be good as they can keep an eye on you incase of any future relapses xxxx

  • nja1874
    nja1874 September 30, 2013 at 2:36 am   

    Thanks for the wonderful advise. I have started working again. I told my boss about it because they do background checks and I had to explain my run ins with the law. He is very understanding and my meds have also being great. Good luck in all that you do.

  • jeyk
    jeyk August 31, 2013 at 1:19 am   

    I'm starting to wonder if I ever will work again. Seems like I have a hex on me keeping me from getting a job.

  • nja1874
    nja1874 September 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm   

    Try to find a job that you enjoy. I would start as a volunteer and work my way up to part-time. Good luck.

  • Pink75
    Pink75 August 31, 2013 at 12:55 am   

    I haven't been able to successfully keep work. I have a tendency of leaving in a screaming rage over the tiniest things… once it was over an employer not painting a concrete floor. I was a veterinarian and its stressful and manic and long hours so I left it. I'm now restudying as an acupuncturist as it's calmer and I can hopefully do it in either state.

  • Briden
    Briden August 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm   

    The thing I find most difficult bout being BP and my career is I tend to approach each new job or opportunity with extreme intensity…I over achieve…become the golden boy! However, I can't keep the intensity for an extended period of time so I grow tired of the job…company…or I begin to sabotage the job creating reasons why I need to move on. I have voluntarily left amazing opportunities and companies do to not being able to stay put and enjoy the marathon not the sprint.

  • dawnhmazz
    dawnhmazz September 2 at 9:59 pm   

    Ugh sounds just like wat I do…
    This is so hard…
    :(

  • eclark220
    eclark220 July 27 at 7:23 pm   

    Glad I'm not alone. I was driving a dump truck for an asphalt company and decided to quit because of the hours (with all fairness they controlled my life. I get in when they tell me and go home when they tell me and go back in when they told me) but lookin back I kinda miss it. Definitely miss the pay $14.50 an hour now I unemployed.

  • Xtina73
    Xtina73 March 14 at 8:14 pm   

    I do the exact same thing. When we are on we are amazing and then we are off and want to move on.

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