I guess I’ve been neglecting the blog a little lately; with the ongoing job hunt I’m struggling to find the inspiration to post (although there’s a handful of drafts on my desktop from the last month!). Today I’m thinking a lot about the stigma associated with mental illness – I’m headed to another job interview at midday and after so many rejections for reasons incomprehensible to me I have finally conceded to take the link to this site from my LinkedIn profile, just in case it is affecting the job hunt. The reasons I’m hearing all feel like cop-outs; “We liked you but we’re going with someone local/someone else fits better into the team/you have too much experience.” As much as I hate to say it, maybe the stigma I started this blog to fight is beating me.
Of course, it’s totally illegal for any recruiter to judge my ability based on my disability. I’m not 100% sure that’s even what’s been happening, but there’s that sliver of a chance that the turn-downs are rooted in a fear of my ‘crazy’; as much as I talk openly here in the hopes of showing the general populace that mental illness doesn’t mean a person can’t function perfectly well out in the world, I can’t help but wonder if that message isn’t making it past the taboo of having a mental health condition. I truly believe that I shouldn’t have to hide my diagnoses, in the same way that someone with a physical illness wouldn’t have to. If nothing else, I need to be honest with potential employers because there’s a need for me to attend appointments occasionally and I’ll always need some level of flexibility for that. But lets say I had a chronic pain condition, and I was having to attend a pain clinic or physiotherapy; would there be the same issues for needing flexibility for those kind of appointments?
I’m not retiring the blog any time soon; I remain committed to being open and honest about the things that challenge me, and hopefully along the way I can prove to people that I am just as capable of overcoming them as anyone else in this world. I’m simply wondering how much of an impact my honesty was having behind-the-scenes, and hoping that the next interview sees through the taboo of mental illness and realises that I’m more than capable of working a regular job, just like I have for the past 10 years.