Return to work
Posted by
26th Oct 2015

I've been mulling this over for weeks.
My daughter, being autistic, likes to know what's going to happen and when. So, not being a fortune-teller, I've learned to anticipate what MIGHT happen and work out likely outcomes. Every possible scenario, if you like.
So, to begin with I've looked at why I failed last time. ABC (antecedents, behaviour, consequence - events before, what I did, what happened). Basically, loads of problems largely beyond my control caused stress and insomnia and then relapse, I ended up sectioned, I resigned my 3 cleaning jobs due to exhaustion.
The main problems were having to wait a month for wages, coming off meds because of side-effects (over a year, but I didn't realise withdrawal can last a lot longer, a cancer scare and insomnia). So, I've addressed all that and if it ever happens again I'm prepared. Sorted.
My illness is a big problem. Employers don't understand, most times. So, because I dispute the labels I prefer to view it as a cluster of symptoms which could be almost any disorder. The meds would likely be the same, so it's pretty irrelevant what they're called, to me, anyway. I'm dealing with the symptoms - social phobia (CBT), insomnia (good sleep regime/sleeping tablets if required), fear of authority figures (CBT), money (budgeting skills), stress management (a course in how to manage).
Worst case scenario is being on JSA and having to support the two of us on that alone. Impossible.
Will ATOS deem me fit for work with support? Foregone conclusion.
So, I'm faced with a mountain I need to make into a molehill. (Trying not to think its a mountain of manure, not succeeding...) If you can't beat the system, work with it.
I need to turn my disability into an advantage - and know my limitations. It has given me skills I can use in the workplace. I need to look for mental health savvy employers, and a job which I can have a reasonable chance of keeping given my skills, experience and capabilities. An internet search for 'jobs for loners' yields some interesting possibilities. I'm intending to be open and honest about my disability, I hate being secretive and feeling like it's a handicap. It's part of me and affects how I am as a person. Besides, it raises awareness and helps others looking for work.
I also need the support of my CPN as she's the first point of contact for ATOS and future employers. Will she be supportive? An unknown quantity. I think my psychiatrist will be positive, so will work with them together.
So, using a system called KISS (keep it simple, stupid...though I prefer 'keep it simple and silly', the acronym is a bit unfortunate...)
Ingredients required...pigheadedness, determination, support, a striking CV, and a recovery/maintainance plan.
Method...take control and persevere.
As part of my caring role I can include my daughter in so much as I can talk with her and teach her the skills
to manage and cope when it's her turn to face the ATOS foothills.
Lots of happy, smiley faces all around. (I have a dream...)
I heard this in a Radio 4 play last night, "I'd rather be a flawed diamond than a perfect pebble."
Amen to that.

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