Work is Good for You
- 9 Feb 08, 9:54 PM
In my current job, I work 3 days a week. There are various historical reasons for this. A manic episode in the dim and distant past features somewhere. Such an experience kind of put me off from putting myself at any risk ever again. Using twisted logic, I reckoned that by working 3 days a week, I would allow myself time to recover from the workplace on my days off and therefore reduce the risk of any reoccurrence to a minimum.
However, as I am discovering, this can prove to be counter-intuitive. After all, it is a proven fact that work is therapeutic for people with a mental health condition. So I find myself writing articles for the BBC and my own website on my days off to try and fill in the time productively, and stop myself from feeling depressed.
The catch 22 is this. All work can be stressful to a certain degree, otherwise it wouldn’t be work. Starting a new job can be extremely stressful, so how does a person with a mental health condition get over the first 3 – 6 months of a job, where not only do you have to cope with learning new tasks but also have to work out the organisational and office politics and how your new colleagues tick?
Do you apply for part-time work, and then get stuck in a rut doing too few hours in a low grade job? Or do you go in for the all or nothing approach and launch yourself into full-time work?
A possible solution would be to declare yourself as having a “medical condition covered by the Disability Discrimination Act” and ask for the following reasonable adjustments.
• A graduated introduction to work where the hours are gradually increased to full-time work over a number of weeks.
• A graduated introduction to the tasks so that you are not overwhelmed from the beginning. This should happen anyway in theory, but (as we all know) often doesn’t in practice.
And remember, your medical condition is confidential. So don’t let any interviewer brow beat you into telling them as they are not medically qualified. All you need to say is that you are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act and would be happy to discuss it with a medical professional and let them know what adjustments you require.
What do you think? Have you every tried this approach with an employer? Do you think it would work?
• Visit Bipolar Works