As those of you who have read my Facebook note ‘Working with my mental health issues, not against them’ (https://www.facebook.com/notes/join-the-circle/working-with-my-mental-health-isssues-not-against-them/892870870873971/) will know, I’m open about my own struggles with maintaining my mental health. It doesn’t define me, but it’s fair to say it’s had a massive impact on my life.
I’ve had Depression for as far back as I can remember and have had numerous periods of my life where things became very dark and dank. I still have issues, and regularly find myself unable to do much beyond taking care of my very basic physical needs. When that swathe of emotion hits it’s crippling and I whole heartedly sympathise with anyone going through it.
When I was diagnosed with ‘Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder’ I did a lot of reading up on what the hell it actually was and tried to find out how it affected other people. I was trying to feel less isolated with it. Trying to reassure myself that the side effects from the drugs I’d been prescribed (being SO damn tired ALL the time and SO hungry it felt all consuming) were normal and that I wasn’t being weak or failing in any way. I ended up going down the rabbit hole a bit but the thing that struck me most was finding that tons of people had issues surrounding their work life.
I was really lucky. I was in a job where I was not only self-employed so I could take time as and when I needed it, but also in the care sector – where people care! The people whose stories I was reading though, were not so lucky. Many felt unable to discuss their mental health problems at work, and taking sick leave to deal with these problems was unthinkable. I also discovered that many people felt unable to even apply for jobs if they were unemployed, because they felt they would have to disclose their mental health problems and that these would stand against them.
I was already thinking about training up more people to become Join The Circle Co-ordinators. I started thinking about how I could make the work more accessible for those with mental health problems. So if that’s you, and worrying about your mental health is what is holding you back from doing Co-ordinator Training. Let me put your mind at ease.
Working In Care
Care is a supportive environment where staff are very used to working with people who suffer with various mental and physical health problems. People who work in care have a greater understanding of mental health issues and are therefore more likely to be sympathetic if you have to take time off.
Although there are obvious downsides like lack of sick pay, there are very definite upsides. Being self-employed means that you can cal in sick without fear of getting an earful meaning that you can take time to focus on what is important – taking care of yourself.
I run sessions part time, at times of the week that suit me. It means I can make time for my regular therapy appointments and make sure I have days off; both of which are really important for maintaining my mental health.
Sessions Are Therapeutic
Amongst all my talk about being able to take time off as and when you need it, it’s essential that I also stress that Join The Circle Sessions themselves are very therapeutic! The link between exercise and good mental health is well documented, but being part of something that is bringing joy to so many people can’t help but lift you up too.
To sum up! You don’t have to miss out on this amazing opportunity just because your brain doesn’t work the same way as everyone else’s. With Join The Circle, you can take control of your life and be a part of positive change in your community without having to make sacrifices affecting your mental health. I want you to see that you don’t need to be anything other than yourself to make a success of your business and as the old cliché goes – of I can do it, so can you.