Let the conversation begin.
Challenges Those with Bipolar Diagnosis Confront in Workplace: Don't Let Anyone Tell You This Isn't the Right Job for You
Hope Xchange Nonprofit is delighted to welcome back guest post writer Raine Vollor, a former participant in our Hope for Bipolars mentoring program and now a friend of our CEO and Founder, Kerry Martin, Raine's former mentor.
I have been told that, “perhaps this isn't the right job for you.” Don't let anyone tell you that. And if they do, do not believe them.
I have panic attacks but that does not mean that I cannot work. I want to work. Best case scenario, of course, is that I was independently wealthy, but that is not the case, therefore I want to work. And I work well.
I am a good employee.
Let me give you a small list of jobs that I have done that I have had panic attacks during: waitress, delivery driver, warehouse, janitor, social worker, zookeeper, ride operator, cleaner, canvassing, lab tech, cafeteria worker, retail, student, and mother.
That is a wide variety of jobs. If I believed that I could not work somewhere because I was going to have a panic attack, then I would not be working. I work anyway.
Just Because My Panic Attacks May Make Some Uncomfortable Is No Reason for Me To Hide In My House & Not Work
I have bipolar disorder and it affects all parts of my life. That is something that I am constantly trying to manage. Just because that may make someone else uncomfortable, it is not a reason for me to hide in my house all the time.
Some people cannot work and there is no shame in that. I cannot go to any other grocery store than my one grocery store. There is no shame in that. We all have our difficulties and if yours is that you cannot work, I respect that.
But, perhaps, maybe you can go food shopping, but you occasionally have a hard time. Should you have to order your food and have it delivered? Of course not.
If I Had a Visible Illness Would You Tell Me Not to Work? Of Course Not.
If I was blind would you tell me I cannot work? Of course not.
Why is it okay to tell someone with a mental illness that they cannot do something?
I have difficulties, it is true, and sometimes I need a little help. I am not asking for special treatment. I am simply asking to play on the same level field.
Note From Our Founder On Her Experience Working As Someone with Bipolar Disorder & Facts on Disability
"I have tremendous respect for Raine's bravery working despite panic attacks stemming from her bipolar disorder. But, like Raine, I also totally understand, that going to work and also school particularly during manic or depressive episodes is problematic and challenging. During my 20s and 30s, I was misdiagnosed as depressed and prescribed the wrong medication. I was fired from a job during what was, in retrospect, a manic episode. I also quit a job during a prolonged depression during which it took every last drop of energy I had just to get out of bed. Once I got to work, I simply could not focus no matter how hard I tired.
Editor's Note: This is the second time Raine has posted on our site. In her first post, she tagged up with Kerry in a post where they both shared their perspective on our Hope for Bipolars mentoring program: Bipolar Mentoring Works - Both Perspectives of Mentoring Relationship Shine Light On How Simply Caring Is Key.