Mental health: it’s just as important to maintain as our physical health. So why is it that we’re still terrified to tick the ‘disability’ box on a job application?
Would you tell your soon-to-be employer that you suffer from a mental illness that may affect your work? Or would you just hide? Hide behind that mask you’ve been wearing for so many years.
Yes, to be or not to be? That is, indeed, the question.
I recently told my new employer that I would be absent one day this month to partake in medical research. A research intended for past sufferers of depression. That’s right, I’ve donated myself to science. I’ve become an official human guinea pig. And what for? To pay rent, obviously
Anyway, long story short; I didn’t think about the stigma, I just spat the words out as if we were talking about how my weekend was. Then there was a spark of tension, as if to say, “oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear that you… Er.. You?”. But to be honest, it felt liberating to say that I had suffered. And I now have a summer job- result!
So why is mental health discriminated in the work place so much?
I can only think of a few reasons why. The first being, ’cause I’m mental’.
As soon as you mention the D word, I’m avoided like a homeless person begging for sympathy. And that’s exactly it, I don’t want sympathy. I want compassion. I want people to understand it’s nothing out of the ordinary. We’re not psychopaths plotting to fly a plane into the Bermuda Triangle, we’re normal people who have much a right to work as everyone else.
People think that having a mental health condition affects your ability to work. Obviously this is true to a certain degree, but what affects us the most is being discriminated against.
What is the cure for aiding this god-ridden taboo of a subject? Personally, I believe telling people in a way they can understand. Throw in a joke (just so they think we are ‘normal’) and smile like you mean it. Amen.