2016-03-23 - 10:41 p.m.
I wrote this in response to an article written by a mother about her son's worry he would never get hired because he has bipolar disorder and ADHD and is soon to graduate, but currently lives in a residential supportive rehabilitative group home environment:
It is a hard truth that there ARE some employers who will choose to not hire someone due to a diagnosis of mental illness, and true some will be quick to find a way to get rid of a good employee once such diagnosis is revealed, but is is also very true NO ONE SHOULD CHOOSE TO EVER WORK FOR SUCH A PERSON! Honest discussion of who you are is one of the best ways to weed out potential employers and hold out until you find the RIGHT place for yourself to work where you will be accepted and THRIVE. There ARE good bosses/employers/companies out there who value people and their gifts regardless of challenges and some who in fact will be impressed as they have understanding of the strength of character and hard work that Cody has done and will continue to do such that he is a valuable employee. There are unfortunately so many people that fear the unknown and just have no understanding of just how common mental illness is at all. Fear often informs poor choices, so Cody needs to know it is not personal when others are just unaware of bipolar and/or ADHD and not willing to be open to learning and stepping out of their comfort zone. He however is offering an opportunity for any potential employer to truly learn and grow if this is something they don't know about! In particular, he offers a chance for greater understanding as well as empathy and gives anyone he interviews that chance for them to learn something new. Our limitations may in fact be gifts to others at times. It is understandable to at first not only resist a mental illness disagnosis, but then to fear it after the acknowledgement is made, and I think akin to the stages of grief many go through those emotional phases in learning to accept their OWN illnessess. Considering we ourselves go through such , how can we judge an employer so harshly whose initial reaction is not unlike our very own?
OH YEAH, why can we judge such an employer?
Its called the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act is 26 years old. It precludes discrimination based upon disability, which includes mental disability.
In reality it is not that simple as many just blatantly do not follow the law.
Things like "termination" when there is really no lack of actual good work performance. (Trust me, a manic or hypomanic employee WILL AT TIMES BE ANY EMPLOYERS MOST PRODUCTIVE , PROLIFIC AND HARD WORKING EMPLOYEE)
It just SCARES many to be around that kind of energy.
I understand that, so I try to be conscious of that and tone it down. I temper myself, have self control and if needed won't even talk all damn day at work to ANYONE if that is what is required. (Hell I did that for about two years) But the thing is IT IS SO FREEING TO BE IN A JOB WHERE I CAN BE MYSELF , where I don't HAVE to censor my natural inclinations ALL THE TIME, where I can make the occasional joke and even if it is goofy, off beat or just not that funny, in my mind I can ENJOY my work and AMUSE myself and be really happy and productive as MY BOSS AND TEAMMATES REALLY VALUE ME DESPITE MY QUIRKINESS.
I know I have some quirks with are annoying. Like I am ridiculous about time management! I mean I get 1/2 hr for lunch and if I go beyond that 30 min I feel guilty So I DON't as a rule... but it is socially awkward to go out to LUNCH with coworkers and hop up at the 30 min mark and leave them there... which I admit I didn't do today...
NO, I HELD OFF and at the 45 min mark I got up and said "Take your time, I am going upstairs now " and kinda socially abandoned my peers who were watching the clock and taking a whole HOUR for lunch , ensuring they were back in time for a 1pm meeting. I was watching the clock as of the half hour lunch was up and after 15 min that was my limit of tolerance and being patient.
YES THAT IS STUPID AND OBESSIVE to worry about billing to such a precision... but hell I am a CONTRACT MANAGER and to me it is just CHEATING if you take a 45 min lunch and bill for a 30 min one.
That kind of precision is really not socially NORMAL.
I swear I am the only employee who REALLY WORKS an actual 8 hours a day precisely!
So today I just HAD to stay that extra 15 min....
that is until I got tired. I was spent and the other quirky thing I do is that if too tired to work I don't fake it, I just GO HOME. Seriously... I have a boss who is OK with that! She is ok with me working a 6 hr day one day and a 9 hour day the next two if I have energy. She is OK if I come up a bit shy of 40 hours in this contract work. She is OK if I come in later as have a family obligation. She is OK if I come in extra early to make up hours. SHE IS FLEXIBLE. If I were exhausted and driving and need a narcoleptic nap I CAN PULL OVER. If I am at my desk and DOZE for a moment or two, SHE DOESN'T CARE as I do my work well and consistently in a timely fashion.
I then figured out my EXACT time, including deducting the actual 45 min time for lunch and billed for what worked.
6.5 hours in today
CE la vie...
It went well and we are going back tomorrow.
Gee, we must still be so abnormal as a family that the therapist was like... "I have a cancellation, can you come back tomorrow?"
The good news is that I convinced the therapist an hour with me to give background would not be as helpful as meeting the kid and letting her answer her background questions. She is a bright kid, not in denial about reality so wont be sugarcoating harsh truths and will likely talk about actual issues in her life...
so while I get the whole psycho social background stuff
100 SANE people without any so called issues can look at one thing and see it 100 different ways so frankly, I don't really want to give her MY take on my kids life and perceptions and then have the therapist paint a picture from MY PERSPCTIVE (or kid's Dad's) I think that really is not important.
My reticence is definitely a result of the experience of going into an office to me a Psychiatrist caring for my girls who their Dad brought them to and having him say the craziest thing to me at first meeting which ruined his credibility with the kids in one moment! (To the girls Dad'd credit he did bring them to a Dr. for help! After he finally recognized the kids were no just wild WITH ME ONLY and it wasn't MY POOR PARENTING but that there were some issues that needed addressing other than attacking my parenting! After his denial and pretending they were angels when with him he finally thought it a good idea to seek help for the kids.) Problem was, at first instance of meeting this Dr. he gets introduced to me and immediately starts to discuss how if I learn to control my anger my relationship with one of the girls would improve!! IT was just astounding! A bit of projection of one's own issues apparently had been done by the girls' Dad, and in that first unprofessional moment that Dr. RUINED any possibility of that office ever being a SAFE PLACE where my girls would actually open up with honesty.
Ce la vie...
so I didn't want that process to be repeated. I figured best to let the kid tell HER STORY and get HER OWN HELP in a SAFE PLACE WHERE SHE CAN SPEAK OF HER LIFE WITHOUT CENSORSHIP and WITHOUT ANYONE TRYING TO PAINT A PICTURE OF HER LIFE other than HER.
That is so important to me after having my view and the view of the girls so disregarded for so long.
So I think the session was Ok, as after just a few minutes the therapist agreed to see my kid.
That was in part that I didn't know the answer to most of the questions which were ABOUT THE KID.
When did the panic attacks start??
I don't know
How old is she ?
hmmm... let me think... OK just joking as I was prepared for that one. I thought about that consciously as I was getting dressed as I KNEW that one was coming. I do FORGET.... Truth be told. But I recalled and figured out which age this kid is.
So it went well so far. Kid goes back tomorrow.
I had to apologize to her.
I mean, when she goes back to school and people ask
"THERAPY" is not an answer I would have ever hoped my kid would give.
* I haven't been job hunting either, but still thought I should wait before planning time off!
Now I know I owe the kids a decent vacation this summer!!!