Photo by Michelle Fleur
When I was younger I used to think I was on the right path before my first diagnosis of Depression. I have always been quite a positive person - so I've been told. I'm fierce and active in resolving and finding solutions for my problems, I am enthusiastic in my struggle and recovery with mental illnesses. I wasn't much of a complainer. I didn't show my personality much when I was younger, I was shy. But I was attracted to the idea of wanting to change - being always mindful and self-aware and overall interested in personal development. Which I am.
One of my first jobs was working at a fish and chips store run by a small family. I was taken advantage of and paid as little as $2 an hour. $20 for 10 hours work. It was downright illegal, I quit after a few days after when I couldn't negotiate with them - my naiveness overcame me and I could 1) Let it sabotage me and never work again or, 2) Be positive and believe not all jobs are the same. But seriously, that job did
scaredme afterwards for a good few months and I was unemployed.
Then I went on working with a high fashion retailer, the largest in Australia. I absolutely loved every moment of it. It was probably one of the first jobs I didn't cry in. I had to move on cause retail doesn't suit all my personalities. I struggled with maintaining my employment because of my illness. It affects me in every way. I may seem fine and highly functional for a few months, but I'm bound and have a very high rate of having a manic-depressive episode (I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I) after some time.
So the next employer who employs me, I will be straight up and honest with them about my invisible disability, and I even had job interviews where I openly and vulnerably told of my Bipolar to the managers for these companies. I think the response was good. They appreciated my honesty and openness.
I have yet to be employed. It's not about choosing any job and settling into it. There's a lot to think about, and how honest I can be especially with the employer in regards to my illness and what support is available and making it work for both sides. Because the last time thing I want is having a panic attack at work, or something worse.
Mental Health Resources
1800 737 732 24/7 National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence & Counselling Service. I have called this service several times for the rape trauma I faced in the past. This is a very wonderful service, and although I have only used the telephone counselling service several times, the qualified professionals were always very compassionate and helpful. It helps to have a pen and notebook ready before calling, as they tend to give good, practical tips on how to manage the problem you're having at the time. Highly recommend this service.
13 11 14 Lifeline - Available 24/7. I noticed the times I was in distress and called, the calls were confined to a maximum of half an hour or so. It's good to know someone who can listen. This is a free dial
Acute Care Team (24hr QLD Mental Health Support)
1300 642 255 (also known as 1300 MH CALL) - I use this service as an existing patient with the PAH Mental Health teams as I was an in-patient at the hospital. You have the option to speak with a Mental Health Clinician. I found the clinicians generally helpful. I have a long history with the hospital, and they can easily bring up my file - as long as I say who I am. Sometimes I use this line to check on my future appointments with the team.
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