• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

return to work &/or study

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kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
I recently applied for a disability support pension for my schizophrenia and other various mental health issues. Although I was not eligible for a pension, I was referred to a service called Open Employment by Newtrain. I was then obligated to attend appointments with an employment mentor on a fortnightly basis. Her job is to help where possible to find me a job and support me in doing so. She helped me type up an impressive resume, which is still evolving. Since attending these appointments with my employment mentor I have attended a few one and two day courses to assist in my journey to get back into the workforce. It has made me realise that I am well enough to undertake paid work and/or study and has really motivated me to do so. I have now started part time work as a cleaner which has really helped financially and boosted my self esteem. I have also enroled to do Certificate IV in mental health work through OTEN Tafe. After my life experience with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, hospitalisation and various medications and their side effects which i have experienced I think I will do well in this area. As part of the course I have to do a certain number of hours of work placement in the mental health sector. I am currently trying to organise this with a local organisation. So with paid work as a cleaner, work placement in mental health, full time study and raising my three year old daughter I'm going to be very busy. But the more i do the less chance i have of sitting around feeling sorry for myself like i have in the past. I just hope it doesn't come crashing down around me. So thats where I'm at. If you have a story like this hopefully with a happy ending I would love to hear it.
 
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Michael

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Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,364
Location
East Lancs
You will find on the forum some that work and some that can't, it seems to me that we are treated the same. I work and find that it does bring it own set of problems with it, some I manage, some well lets say I have got through, mainly through some of the people here on this site.

If it is advice youre looking for the only thing that keeps coming back to me is to keep acknowledging to myself that I have a problem, realise that it is not an excuse, and be open about it. Work colleagues, you will find out the ones who can help and those who can't.
If you do fall back treat it as a small setback - nothing else - just a small setback, and then move forward. I have found by doing this my recovery periods are shorter, and interestingly that the periods are also shorter as I seem to recognise them sooner.

Anyway keep posting, hope you find this site as useful as I do!

Michael
 
K

kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
i had a challenging day today at work and i handled it alot better than i would have in the past. was a bit anxious at times but kept my cool. Big confidence boost knowing i handled it ok. I have been a new person since starting on a new anti depressant that also helps with my anxiety and it really shows when at work or in a stressful situation.
 
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Michael

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Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,364
Location
East Lancs
Well done K, it is a good feeling when things go well or you have been able to manage a somewhat stressful situation. Try and burn that memory into your head maybe it will help if things don't go as gppd and you take it personally (which you should never do)
I continually have a mixed bag of emotions during my working day, writing seems to help me acknowledge them and be able to start to move on again. For me as I am a total wimp at being able to talk face to face about how I am this works, maybe it could be another tool in your bag?

Best Wishes
Good Luck

Michael
 
K

kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
I have learnt over the years that telling people around me how I'm feeling at the time helps me get through things, but try to do so without sounding weak or like a whinger. i realised that expressing my emotions and dealing with them instead of bottling them up doesnt mean that I'm weak and I've also learnt that i have to take the good with the bad and not to take things to heart too much. by using these coping strategies it helps me through the challenging situations.
 
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elocinanna

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
6
I haven't been able to go into work for the last two weeks and I'm really scared I'll lose my job but I don't want to use my illness as an excuse. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should do if they ask me why I didn't come in?
 
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elocinanna

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
6
But who wants somebody ill to work for them? Especially such a stigmatised illness. Won't they just find an excuse to sack me?
 
K

kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
I'm really lucky at the moment because I'm only working part time. And I'm working for my mother in-law who has her own cleaning business and she is aware off my illness and is very understanding off it all. But, a few years ago I was working full time and things were not so easy. My boss and work mates didnt know I was ill and i really didn't want them to know because they wouldn't have understood and I didnt want special treatment. If i did have to have a day off because of my illness i would just call in sick and say it was a cold or flu. I felt guilty for lying about it but there is no way my boss would have understood that i have schizophrenia and depression. To this day I'm really careful who I do or don't tell about it. These days I'm alot more stable due to medication and lifestyle but i still have bad days now and then. Like I said I'm only working part time for now and I am really worried about being able to work full time in the future. Firstly I have trouble getting up and functioning in the morning due to the sedative effect of my medication. I also have mood swings and highs and lows during the day and sometimes i feel like I'm going to lose it. I also dont know whether Ill be able to do a full days work without getting too tired to perform well enough too keep a job. So I really don't know how I will go in the future. So I guess it just depends on whether you think your boss will understand your illness and whether or not it directly affects your ability to do your job. I have even heard of government schemes where they assess your and rate your performance and the government pays the employer a per centage of your wage depending on your impairment. All the best and hope you work out whats best for you.
 
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ramboghettouk

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Jan 7, 2008
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16,639
Location
london
When New Labour started it's new deal employment i remember reading in some mag about "What will happen to those people if there's a recession or a change of goverment" well theres now a recession and a chance of a goverment change.

Having tryed to work in the past, i am totally convinced that if you try to work and then are put back on benefits, the benefit system will persecute you, you have to now prove sickness which can be hard if you by some miracle have managed to show a certain fitness, also i'm wondering will any people forced onto the sick face the rigorious new rules, it's particularly minorities that lose jobs first
 
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ellion

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Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
2
hi kano,
I have a similar story and yes it does have a happy ending.

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia back in 1998. For a couple of years i struggled with different meds but nothing helped me. When i was told that i should consider trying a new drug called clozaril But i would have to have bloods taken because of the risks involved, i lost hope in getting better. I refused the clozaril and stayed on quetiapine. this was around 2001 and began to look for my solutions to my illness trying to understand for myself while living in a world of paranoia, fear and confusion.

I went to college, i spent lots of time in the library and on the internet. I became interested in the metaphysical, spirituality and psychology.

First i studied english and then counselling. I took part time work and i volunteered with some charity organisations. In 2007 i graduated with a counselling diploma and i began working with the community mental health team. Since them i have registered as a nurse assistant and have been working in psychiatric units.

My symptoms have not stopped completely even now. But i have good insight into my own mind so much that i have not had to take medication for a few years now.

So keep going with your plans, you can do a lot if you set your mind to it. Focus your energy on positive things.


You can move mountains if you believe you can.
 
K

kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
I'm still trying to find someone to be my workplace supervisor so that I can start my course. I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2001 and was prescribed seroquel. When this wasn't helping much I was then prescribed a drug called Solian. This worked well enough for a while. But then in December 2004 i had a breakdown and was hospitalised for about two weeks. I was then put on a drug called Clozaril. Although it has a few bad side effects it has been a real life saver, I have to have monthly blood tests to keep an eye on things as the medication can cause a leaukemia type condition. It also has a sedative effect so I'm a bit slow and cloudy in the morning although its not near as bad as it used to be. I'm also on a medication called Solian which is an anti psychotic. I attempted to stop taking this drug recently. After a few days I started getting symptoms so I then started taking it again. This made me realise that I probably will have to take medication for the rest of my life but I don't mind. Im also taking two anti depressants and they are working really well and I don't think i would be game to stop taking them in the future in case I relapse into depression.
 
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ramboghettouk

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Jan 7, 2008
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london
Clozaril with it's blood tests, they have to see you regularly for the blood tests, it's different from my bedsit and repeat prescription approach

I suspect the follow ups are more a reason for it's success than the drug itself
 
Bluemoon

Bluemoon

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Dec 18, 2007
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494
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UK
I was on Clozaril for 2 years from 2000 - 2002, in 2001 I tried full-time paid temp work but I only lasted two weeks because I was practically falling asleep at the keyboard. It was only data entry, and it was with the NHS but after 2 those two weeks I just had to give up. It was my fault really since my doc told me to do voluntary then paid therapeutic part-time first - my Dad was pressuring me saying that I'd end up on the scrap heap if I didn't get back in to work ASAP so I felt it was full-time or nothing. Anyway, one can only learn from such mistakes ( I'm sounding like Andrew from Bicentennial man :LOL: ) and this time I'm doing it the doc's way. As I've mentioned in other topics, I've been a volunteer since 2005 with charities doing IT related work. I'm just applying for my next job and it's all going well. I do hope to do part-time therapeutic paid work later on in the year and I'm considering part-time/evening classes at college. Maybe I'll do some courses for fun but I'd like to do something in mental health as I've been advised that it could be a good area of work for me if my IT related work doesn't work out.

As for Seroquel, I've been on that mostly since 2002 - but because I'm still hearing voices and having a bad time sleeping they are thinking of trying me on Respiradol.

I'm also due to see a healer, who does her work voluntary, which my doctor agreed to speak with. I have a great doctor :). I do believe that alternative therapies will help as I've read a number of success stories about it working for others - especially resulting in medication reduction.

Returning to work is a unique journey for all of us who are trying it - I'm sure we may have some similar experiences but it's good to know that you are not alone in what your are doing - :grouphug:
 
K

kano1544

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
20
Location
Evans Head
I'm still trying to organise work placement for my course. I had an interview yesterday at the local neighbourhood centre. They are looking for volunteers for a child mentoring service. The program is set up to help children who have parents with mental health issues. Its to support kids aged from 0 to 18 yrs old who may need help in understanding mental illness and medication, school and homework, friends and relationships, drugs and alcohol and many other issues. I'm really hoping that I can do this volunteer work as part of my course as I have a three year old daughter and would love working with children. And I think I would be good at it as i was a child of a parent with mental health problems as my father is schizophrenic. Should find out in the next few days whether or not I will get the job and whats involved. Very excited at the prospect of being a child mentor(y)
 
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