As those of you who read my blogs regularly know I have worked while suffering with my mental health problems and left my most recent job due to these problems. I have also been looking for a new job and I have considered starting a business as an alternative to taking on another job with an employer.
I am however concerned; concerned about the impact my mental health problems will have on my opportunities to gain work or business…You see as we all know there is still so much taboo surrounding mental health, and added to my concerns with that there is the fair concern for employers about my ability to maintain my role with them should they employ me. Then of course setting up my business brings other concerns, about people ‘not’ wanting to do business with the ‘crazy’ lady.
We all know that often work, jobs, and careers can play a huge role in contributing to mental health issues.
But we cannot and should not use that as an excuse to not work if we feel capable of working.
It has been suggested to me that should I set up my business I should keep it entirely detached from this blog, for example, as potential clients reading about my mental health may be put off working with me.
To be honest, this implication upsets and annoys me – but I also know that the people saying this are right…
Heck, it’s not like we go to job interview and tell them we have BPD is it…? - oh, wrong actually I DO! Yes, I declare my mental health issues in interviews if it is relevant to do so, and then use my mental health issues to demonstrate strengths and abilities that people without my experiences will be lacking.
Has my openness and forthrightness about my mental health cost me being offered jobs? I wouldn’t know, it’s not exactly like they are going to tell me if they don’t employ me because of that is it now!? If they did, it would be a clear case of discrimination for which they could get in a lot of trouble.
But, it’s not like I can exactly hide it. Sure I could ‘not’ declare it at that early stage, but if I want an employer to be able to support me and possibly make reasonable adjustments to working conditions to meet my needs (as prescribed by the Disability Discrimination Act) they need to know at some point…
So, how should that differ in setting up my own business, if clients want examples of my work, what am I to show them if I cannot show them some of the work used here? Sure, eventually I would have testimonials and client sites to use as examples, but to get those first clients on board they need a demonstration of the kinds of successes I would be ‘promising’ to achieve for them!
So, what do I do from here? I’m not going to stop writing about my BPD, and I’m not going to keep it a secret.
Should I at least not ‘connect’ this blog to my proposed business plans?
But, this blog is a huge success, a demonstration of my skills that will be an integral part of the business I am looking at developing.
And as I have never been anonymous in my writing anyone who cares to could quickly and easily ‘find’ this blog if they wanted to, then what? they withdraw their business from me because they no longer think me capable after reading my blog!?
I’m sorry, but I am VERY capable, I would not take on this activity if I couldn’t do it! So why should my mental health have ANYTHING to do with it?
It’s not right, it’s not fair and it is damn well discriminatory to suggest that I should ‘hide’ my condition in the interests of others being unable to handle the truth!
Yet still, despite how strongly I belive all that I have just said I am extremely disheartened to think that I have no choice but to do just that.
As if I don’t spend enough time wearing a ‘mask’ already…
What would you do?
- Counselling Directory Wants to Get People Talking About Mental Health (prweb.com)
- Poor mental health harming productivity in the workplace (cherished79.wordpress.com)
- Mental Health Awareness (everydayhealth.com)
- Half of mentally ill live in poverty (independent.co.uk)