Working After A Mental Health Breakdown

My mental health issues have impacted many things in my life. One being my ability to successfully hold down a job.

My first experience started at age 16. I went to a private boarding school and to help pay for tuition I started working at a nearby frozen dough factory. That first summer I worked 8 hour shifts and when the school year started it was reduced to 4 hour shifts.

The next summer (summer before my junior year) I worked as a grounds person at my school. . One of my jobs was to till the ground and plant flowers. Later I learned from my boss/teacher that he purposely had me do that job. He saw how depressed and insecure I seemed and he saw an opportunity to help me. It must have worked too because I took such pride in the work I did. I remember saying “look what I did!”

I spent the rest of my time at the school either working the factory, grounds or in the school library. Eventually my mental health got so bad that I chose to leave the school and go home to focus on getting help…

My mental health got so bad that I spent the next couple years in and out of psychiatric hospitals for suicide attempts or ideation. I had tried to work a couple jobs (one in the kitchen of a nursing home and one answering phones for a gift factory) but my anxiety and depression was so bad that they never lasted.

Towards the end of that period I was connected with ODC and given a chance to try some job trials.

Eventually I got the chance to try out working at our public library and it eventually led to a part time job.

I started out working 6 hour weeks as a library page. I did all the re-shelving of the items… and eventually was promoted to working the front desk and checking materials back in. I work about 12-20 hours a week.

Saturday was my 9 year anniversary of successfully holding down a job.

I don’t always love it. In fact you’ll hear me saying that “on the days I don’t want to quit I love it”

ODC helped get me the job and I did the rest.

Working with mental health issues can be hard but I’ve proved that I can still be a success. This is my success story!


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