I, for one, am terrified of working again, since at my last full-time job was when I struggled so much with the noises and anxiety that I thought customers were out to kill me. I tried a part-time job where I only worked 8 hours per week at most. I made it four months before I broke and had panic attacks almost every day I had to go in.
Those are my thoughts, though, not everyone else’s. But the common things such as knowing you aren’t working at your best, or you feel trapped, or you sit there every day and try to calm your anxiety, which leads us back to knowing you aren’t working at your best.
With severe mental illness, like Bipolar I, there’s much more than that, and you sometimes get lost in your own head…. and one day you can be a productive employee, staying late, coming in early to make sure you get all your work done (and your manager praises you). Then, you can fly off the handle or you can crash down into the pit. It’s dangerous, and that same manager who was praising you before has to sit you down and talk to you about your work performance.
In thought disorders, like Schizophrenia, there are intrusive thoughts, having hallucinations, getting depressed, not understanding what’s going on sometimes, and sometimes you think you’ve gotten your opinion out there, when no one understood a word. And, in some cases, extreme paranoia. There are people who, once medicated, can live a normal life and do the same things that someone without a thought disorder can do.
Which leads me to the subject of medication. I have Schizoaffective Disorder, bipolar type. I take 6 different medications that help a lot for me to stay in reality. Without those meds, I can’t form complete sentences. And then, if properly medicated, a person can live a completely normal life. I mean, I might be able to, but it would have to be in a position where I didn’t see or help people. And I have extremely bad concentration as well. So, I’m all pro-medication.
Some people, if they read this and know me personally, would say I am completely normal. Only one person has ever witnessed the symptoms and helped me stop what I was doing and very calmly told me it will pass and then start talking about random subjects that keep my mind from wondering again.
So, extreme kudos to the mentally ill out there leading productive lives and are on the right medication. You’re an inspiration.
To all of those naysayers out there who think I’m lazy or don’t really have a mental illness…. come sit in my head for awhile.