Employment is the Best Medicine
Give me a chance and see what I can do for you. A chance is all I want and what I strive for.
I was stuck in the doldrums for countless years, working on how to get out of my own head. I was stuck. My mind was scattered, unfocused, yet yearning for a more positive life. Deeply depressed, suicidal, delusional and conflicted, I told myself, “Have a positive mental attitude and anything is attainable.” I reinforced my daily life with this positive ideal, placing it on each of my emails.
I have been hospitalized over a dozen times. During my last stint, I met people from the Lighthouse Clubhouse, a vocational rehabilitation center for people diagnosed with mental illness, and they gave me a service called Peer Support in Aftercare. It was a free service that helped me transition back into society. I lived in fear for many years, isolating myself at home, consumed by my delusions. My prescription to wellness was a friendly face, a cup of coffee and conversation that began my path to wellness, putting my symptoms into remission. I’d be remiss not to mention the visiting nurses that came five days a week to keep me in check.
Distracted by the work of the clubhouse that needed to be done, I made it my mission to help those who helped me. I joined the Lighthouse. I went to the clubhouse as if it were my job to do so, the first one there and the last to leave. I worked in each unit, diligently trying to better both myself and the units. Job opportunities presented themselves, upon which I pounced like a tiger. Yet fate would have it that I didn’t meet certain criteria or realized the job wasn’t for me, post-panic attack.
One Friday, I attended the group meeting to close the week joining most of the staff. The program director of the Lighthouse announced that a local scanner job was opening, a mere 14-minute commute from my house, and asked if anyone was interested. I eagerly signed up, thinking, “Please give me a chance and see what I can do for you.”
One interview later I was hired. I was going to be the best scanner ever. I must have asked my coworker, mentor and friend Chuck a million questions back then (I still do). By the end of the day, we went from one shred bin to two. The job was short lived, a mere six months. It dawned on me that I really loved working, and that the backlog of scanning was coming to an end.
Unexpectedly, I was offered a full-time position as an administrative assistant in operations. I was ecstatic. It was a hefty job description, but I was up for the challenge. I thought, “Thank you for giving me a chance to see what I can do for you.” Now, my job title reads “Operations Coordinator.” The perks? The company started a free weight-loss program. Within 43 weeks, I lost 97 pounds.
I can’t thank my work-family enough for all the support they have given me. They are my compass, pointing me true north, challenging me mentally and physically. Thank you for believing in me, noticing my talents and exploiting them, teaching me the business, and letting me shine. Can you tell that I love my job? The very best part, my symptoms have been in remission the entire three years I’ve worked.
Working has been the best prescription for me. I’ve tried all sorts of anti-psychotics, yet none of them helped me nearly as much as being a productive integral member of society. In fact, the meds made me more delusional than before. With goals and people standing behind me, I have become very successful and an integral part of the business. If given the opportunity, please give someone else a chance. It could make a world of a difference.
Pullout: “Working has been the best prescription for me. I’ve tried all sorts of anti-psychotics, yet none of them helped me nearly as much as being a productive integral member of society.”