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If you had asked me a month ago about working with mental health illnesses, I would have told you a different story. I have always managed to work through my condition of anxiety and depression with occasional absent time from work. As we move towards World Mental Health Day on 10 October, celebrated and supported by Prince William, its important to realise that conditions vary and therefore so does the support and ability of those to work.
Having worked since I was 15, working my way through school and college as a waitress in restaurants and pubs and then moving into administration roles, I have never not worked. I worked throughout the pregnancies of both my children, and went back to work full-time after one and part-time after the second. I love working, because I love learning. Having never really been aware of why I changed jobs and departments so frequently, usually for a promotion or pay rise, I just thought that was how everyone was, always after the next project. My enthusiasm only lasted so long before winding down and fearing that those I worked with disliked me, and often felt everyone wanted me to leave.
In January this year I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder), which, amongst many other symptoms, includes mood swings, fear of dislike and abandonment and changing jobs and relationships frequently. With the diagnosis under my belt, I thought I would fit into work with no problems now, but the same events followed and it wasn’t until I met with my psychiatrist, that he explained until I was given help with tools to use, I would struggle to change my behaviours and patterns of thinking. I would have several good days, and then for no reason, doubts would creep in and my anxiety would wreck havoc with my inner thoughts, leaving my unable to leave the house.
Last week I decided that for me personally, I wouldn’t be able to work a ‘normal’ job…