borderline personality disorder · bpd · Mental health culture

Opposites & Cracking the work dilemma.

I have news! That is so bizarre in contrast that I feel weird and very much like I would soon end up with alternating ‘modes’ if I’m not careful. I don’t want to end up as ‘me the patient/service user’ and ‘me the mental health professional’ because that’s kind of what was happening today. I don’t have a problem with either, but in therapy I’m learning to be flexible and integrate a little more, not split up further.

A dream opportunity came up today at work. I’ve been offered to go for a job supporting Psychologists where I’m working, with a payrise. I will still have to go through an interview by the sounds of it but not as formal as what they would normally be, I believe. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but at the same time I really hope I get it! It would just tie in so neatly with everything I’ve been doing and everything I’ve discovered about myself at work.

A while back I posted about how I was stuck in my working life, doing things I don’t enjoy and not knowing what it is that I do enjoy BUT I found a little insight at my session yesterday which has been super helpful. So while I don’t really need to vent about this, I want to share it incase it helps someone else who might be wondering about their worklife too. At first, I was always trying to pinpoint what I would like to do by sector – design, media, teaching etc. but while I’m still not quite there with that one, I have found out more about myself and my work preference in my current job. Which is kind of neat, because it means anyone could use their current job to kind of pinpoint things aswell.

Well, for starters –  I was working in a department where I would be doing the same thing all day, zoned out, even though I had enough work for the day – it  would leave me bored, struggling to concentrate and if my moods were fluctuating – I would find it even more difficult to settle as I was understimulated. My psychologist congratulated me (yay!) for having made a proactive decision in my life by leaving the place. I am happy that I did that and was able to make a healthy decision for myself. I now have been able to leave that post as I really want to make myself happier and stop working for the sake of working – I’ve been doing that for too long.

So my Psychologist pointed out something that I was missing – I don’t like routine things that are repetitive and I like working on ‘new’ things where I have to take time to learn about what it is I’m doing (I see it as building my skill-set but most likely the learning aspect too as I’ve always been quite academic and enjoy studying in general) I have taken on a lot more responsibility which I think I need no matter how my mental health is – as during the time of my divorce I had a management position and no matter how crazy my personal life was I still enjoyed that and was able to continue in that position right until my move back home.

I’m responsible for my own schedule which is turning out to be almost a must for me as it allows me to take care of myself mentally. I’m working on longer term projects which suits me really well as it adds to the novelty of what I’m doing and mixes my days up. I also enjoy meeting and talking to different people, scheduling appointments to sit with them and attending meetings so there’s that aspect of not working alongside someone all day but still working with others at some point during the day. I kind of knew that from my research as when I searched through jobs I found most of the jobs I was interested in involved this element of ‘alone at desk time’ and ‘person focused’ time. So this ties in neatly.

I feel happier about discovering aspects of work that I enjoy as opposed to a whole sector, as I could use this understanding across all of them. After all, two jobs in one field can be so different so I could be in the right ‘area’ and still hate what I’m doing if my daily tasks don’t match up to this.

I came across some more inspiring stories in my online googling, and a lot of people are doing really well – having gone through or still maintaining a treatment program and with support they are in jobs they enjoy and work well for them with their diagnosis.                                                                                                                                               It seems to be a balance of outside support – whether that’s therapy, medication, supportive people in your life, self-care and self-awareness, finding the right work environment that fits your personality and/or how your diagnosis manifests itself. Someone who works as a director mentioned that he might work from home on days that he finds himself struggling with BPD and doesn’t want it to manifest at work so that’s a possibility too (man, I would love work from home days…ah the dream).

It also seems to be the case that ‘low-stress’ jobs do not always work for everyone as some people need structure, others need flexibility and some people thrive in high stress, busy environments while others found it stressed them out even more. My point being, I personally had this idea that the simpler, slower-paced, the work the better it would be for me in recovery and I find for people with mental health diagnoses that’s usually what is ‘touted’ as ‘what’s best’ well, it obviously isn’t always the case from actual experiences. It’s an individual thing and we will have to discover what we like ourselves.  It might even change over time, I know it has for me.

I just wanted to share someone’s account that inspired me (among many, I love reading these) it helps me realise that the work will pay-off and has paid off for so many people. It’s only a matter of persistence and time.

”[–]BPwhowantstheD 4 points

I am by most professional measures what most people would consider a “success.” Most of my career is IT based (with occasional sojourns into other fields), and I’m currently moving into more managerial roles.

My BPD these days doesn’t really impact me professionally, but it’s taken a lot of work on my end to get to that point.

The way I’d put it is that BPD creates some hurdles. If you learn to clear the hurdles, you’re in better shape than someone who never had to put in the work. The hurdles never really go away, but you learn to jump them without thinking, so they no longer slow you down.”

 

On top of this insight, I’m learning to trust my gut. The ‘healthy mind’ and ‘destructive mind’ analogy still really helps me. If I’m getting bored and frustrated, it means the work isn’t enough for me and shouldn’t be something I seek to do long-term. If I’m able to focus, feeling productive and rewarded it means I’m enjoying it and I should be seeking out more of the same. I’m definetly going to try keep rolling with this for now and see where it takes me.

The psych / nurse who did my assessment rang me and told me I may be able to start DBT as soon as a months’ time! Which would be even better as I want to take on more in my life, the added support makes me feel like I have back-up and I can keep learning about DBT skills to apply. On top of that, I’ll be having individual therapy and be signed up to group therapy where I thought I would only be getting one or the other, so I’m so grateful for that. If I do end up in group sooner rather than later (she said there’s a longer wait), I might start a whole little section for that on the site, if I can help others with it, I will! This was the part where I felt strange, on one hand I could be working in the mental health field and on another day I’ll be a patient coming to them. It’s a weird feeling trying to reconcile the two but I don’t mind at the moment, I would be grateful with both.

I hope this helped in some way, I know it organises my thoughts but I really wanted to share what I learnt.

Goodnight x x

 

 

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