Tag Archives: disability

Finding a Job While Living with a Mental Health Condition

Finding a job can be overwhelming, especially when you are living with a mental health condition. Often, people with mental health conditions who are searching for a job worry about disclosing their condition during the hiring process, or requesting accommodations, or dealing with the emotional repercussions of not receiving a job offer. For some people, symptoms of mental health conditions may even worsen during a difficult job searching process. But don’t give up! There are many strategies you can utilize during the hiring process to alleviate stress and protect your mental health.

There are three main things to keep in mind while looking for a job while living with a mental health condition. Read to discover these things below.

Search For a Job You Enjoy

A key step in starting the job search process is understanding the benefits of finding the right job. Finding a job you enjoy can have positive effects on your mental health, as you will have the opportunity to use your skills, gain financial independence, and boost your confidence. The right job can also give you a sense of fulfillment and an environment to have meaningful interactions with others. Overall, employment can play a key role in recovery while living with a mental health condition.

Now that you know the benefits of finding the right job, you can start searching for a job you enjoy. While applying to jobs, try to find positions that play to your strengths and skills. Using your talents while working can bring you a sense of satisfaction. Keep in mind your ideal work environment. Do you prefer to work in teams, or independently? Apply for positions that have the type of work environment you are looking for.

Disclose Only When You’re Comfortable Doing So

Disclosing a mental health condition on a job application or during an interview is voluntary. If you feel uncomfortable telling an employer about your condition, you do not have to. Do not feel guilty for not disclosing your condition, because under the law, you are not obliged to do so. Many people with mental health conditions have jobs where their employers do not know about their condition.

If you feel that disclosing your mental health condition during the hiring process is necessary, you can absolutely do so. When disclosing a mental health condition to an employer, remember to be honest, direct, and only share relevant information that pertains to the job you hold and how your condition may affect your work. 

Don’t Give Up

Searching for a job is often stressful. The waiting period can be overwhelming, applications may seem daunting, and not receiving a job offer can be emotionally draining. Don’t give up! Take one step at a time, and remember that finding the right job can take longer than expected. Do not be afraid to take a break from the process. If you feel emotionally drained or overwhelmed at any time, take a day to practice self-care or seek support from others. Lastly, keep in mind that receiving a rejection is not the end of the world. There are plenty of jobs out there that would be a great fit for you. If you do not receive a job offer, identify what you liked about that position and apply to more jobs with similar traits. 

By searching for a job you enjoy, disclosing your condition only when you are comfortable doing so, and not giving up, you can protect your mental health during your job search. If you have questions or need assistance during the process of finding a job while living with a mental health condition, contact us today.

Guest Post: Parenting with a Disability

This guest post on Parenting with a Disability comes from Alicia Reagan!

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As a little girl, I had so many baby dolls! I named them, changed them into their jammies at night, and played with them as much as I could. I couldn’t wait to grow up and have a bunch of real babies. This was an actual talking point with my husband before we married. I wanted to make sure that he loved the idea of a large family as much as I did. He did.

In March of 2009, I was 5 months pregnant with my 6th baby. I got very sick and was in a tremendous amount of pain. I lay down to take a nap and when I woke up, I was completely paralyzed. After much time and testing, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Transverse Myelitis. Paralysis, and a life raising all of my children from a wheelchair, was NOT in my game plan.

After almost 5 years in my chair, and having a houseful of kids that range from toddler to teen, I have a few things I would like to say about parenting. There is much written about parenting a special needs child, but little written about being the parent with the special need. Here are some things that I have learned.

1.We are capable of being great parents!
I cannot tell you the times that people will be shocked to learn that as a paralyzed woman, I am capable of having children. Women in chairs can conceive and carry a baby like other women. Modern medicine can help couples where the man is disabled. Depending on your disability, you will definitely have to plan around your disability and your specific needs. Our disability is a factor in having children, but it is certainly not the deciding factor. If you want a family, go for it!

2. My children are not my aides.
I think this is important to remember. I see people look at my children with such pity at times and it really makes me want to scream! They are my kids. They do not suffer. They do not take care of me. We are a big ship to run….even before I became paralyzed! My children do their share of chores. I want them to know how to make their beds, clean their room, do laundry, cook, and take care of the yard. They did these things before my chair and they still do them. I love how my children love me and desire to help me out, but my children do not take care of me.

3. We can give kids what they need.
Typical parenting has many physical stereotypes. Commercials are full of dads throwing footballs, moms running the soccer car pool, hiking with your family….are you feeling all of the physical activity?I think one of the reasons that disabled parenting gets such a negative response is because we don’t necessarily fit the typical active parenting mold. I don’t think we have to be all that to give our children what they need.

I think that the most important thing that you can give children is not activity. It is love, attention, quality time, and focusing on their precious hearts. My kids love activity, and I get in on as much of it as I can, but realistically I cannot do what I used to do with them. Do you know what I have noticed though? I have a lot more time to just sit and listen to them. I have a lap that is always available for my little ones to climb up on. There is more time to watch cartoons with them on days I don’t feel as well. I have had more one on one time with my kids since I became paralyzed than I did before. Our relationship has become much better…not worse. Even with a teenager!

4. We will improve society.
As parents with disabilities, we are raising kids who will enter society with a heart for the disabled. What a gift that we wish many more had! My kids already find the special need kids to be a friend too, and my older ones have already told me that they would have no issue at all with marrying someone with a disability. I love that!

5. Being a mom, helps me deal with my disability.
My kids are one of my greatest reasons to deal with the frustrations that can come with being paralyzed. They are watching me. They are learning, by my example, how to handle hardships in life. They are learning about attitude, confidence, acceptance, resolve, determination and happiness. Knowing they are watching me handle this disabled life makes me humbled to show them the right way. It is a wonderful reason to get up and get going in the morning.

Being a mom is a precious gift. I did not choose to become paralyzed, but if it had to happen, I sure am thankful that I am surrounded by my children. Life is beautiful…especially when you are a parent!

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