Working and mental illness
I would like this post to be a bit of a discussion as I need some advice people!
Now that I’m back home I’m starting to look for a job and what better way to get the ball rolling than by writing up a CV? Of course I’ve mentioned my travels because I haven’t been sat on my arse for the last few months, and I’ve put blog writing down as an interest of mine.
But how far should I go? Do I mention that my blog is to spread mental health awareness and that it helped me to achieve a dream of mine?
It’s a tough call.
Let’s face it, many potential employers will be put off if they see that a candidate has a history of mental illness despite the fact that I am an excellent worker. I’ve never let my illness get in the way of my work or education yet the negative stigma against mental health says otherwise.
At my last job I worked in a demanding sales environment which I enjoyed, but I didn’t initially tell my employer that I had any of my own issues because I didn’t want the judgement. I hate to say it but I worked in a male dominated office and I would have felt humiliated and even worse, ashamed, if any of my colleagues had found out. I just felt like they wouldn’t understand or take it seriously.
In my second year of working there I needed to get some more therapy (nothing to do with my job, I just had a lot of derealisation). The problem was my therapist finished work at 5pm so I would need to be with her at 4pm midweek for 6 weeks. So I had to grow some serious balls, sit down with my boss and explain why I would need to leave early once a week for the next month and a half.
I was very nervous before that conversation but in the end it was a breeze because he was so understanding and actually it really created a friendship between my boss and I, so I was more open with what I was going through in future. He would always check in on me in our weekly 1-2-1s asking, “So how are you?”
I actually remember one time he said, “Of all the people who come crying to me at work, I always expect it to be you. But it never is.” That’s saying something and it really meant a lot to me.
Maybe I’ve just been lucky, I can’t expect everyone to be so understanding. But I do believe that my mental health should never prevent me from getting a job that I would excel in. So why should I hide it? Even the point of this blog was to do my part against the negative stigma and spread awareness so I should be setting an example, there is no need to be ashamed. And if it does put a potential employer off would I really want to work with them in the first place?
So guys what should I do?
A – shall I not mention the blog at all?
B – shall I mention just that I blog? But then how do I handle further questions down the line?
C – shall I mention the blog is about creating mental health awareness in my CV?
I would really like to hear back from you, especially if you have a strong opinion on this subject so let me know what you think by commenting on the blog or messaging me.