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Ok, so I'm getting along pretty well with my MI recovery. I've been stable for a year and a half. I go to day treatment 3 days per week. I never miss a med dose. My ultimate goal is to be able to hold down a job. Even if it's just part-time. It's been about 7 years since I've had a payroll job. Mostly I've been getting by with odd, under the table jobs. Oh, and student loans. I've always fallen back on college when I've been too pussy to try working.

Now, I've got this supported employment thing lined up and it's making me nervous. I can't pinpoint where exactly my fear is coming from. I think it's mostly because it's been so long since I've worked and I don't want to get sucked in to any bullshit job. Volunteering might be the way to go instead of starting out with working right away. I'm also trying to get my student loans discharged and don't want to fuck that up by trying to work (especially if I can't handle it).

So, I'm wondering how many of you guys have jobs or volunteer. Do you enjoy working? Does it suck? What kind of work do you do? Did you go the supported employment route? Are you able to function effectively? Does working impact your MI? Etc...

Any experience you can share would be much appreciated!

Matt

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Hey there,

I am not quite sure if you mean the schizoid personality disorder or schizophrenia/psychosis/ etc but I figured since I have psychosis I would throw in my two cents. I hope thats okay!

I worked when I first starting hearing voices/having paranoia/ etc and it was terrible. I could not hold down the job and had to quit and go into the hospital. I tried again to hold a job after I got out of the hospital and had the same problem. The problem was, I hadn't stabilized in order to return to work and had very little support system, etc.

I believe volunteer work is a great way to get back into the working world. I tried volunteering not too long ago but because of my "illness" was unable to really continue. I could not keep a schedule and was just generally not motivated to go. However, I do "volunteer" in a sense because I foster animals from the local animal shelter. I am doing pretty well with that and despite the occasional set back am progressing well.

To answer your questions...

Do you enjoy working?

With my work as a foster parent from the animal shelter I enjoy it immensely and continue to enjoy it despite my symptoms.

Does it suck?

Working sucked when I was experiencing symptoms. Volunteering as a foster parent, though hard at times, does not suck.

What kind of work do you do?

I worked as a Case Manager and volunteered as a fire fighter and now volunteer as a foster parent for the animal shelter.

Did you go the supported employment route?

No.

Are you able to function effectively?

As a foster parent for the animal shelter I am able to function effectively. When I worked as a Case Manager and volunteered it was a lot harder to function because they were very challenging jobs.

Does working impact your MI?

I believe it can. However, when I worked I did not have the support I needed for my MI. I did not have much treatment lined up and with a proper support system I feel that people with MI can flourish in work/volunteer work.

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I'll answer like the person above me so I make sure I don't forget anything.

Do you enjoy working?

Yes and no. I like having things to do and I like making money. I'm a math tutor so there are good and bad days (bad when I can't get through to people or when they just aren't trying).

Does it suck?

No, definitely not. As long as I don't have to work a lot at once. My brain starts to hurt for awhile. When I'm having a really paranoid day it sucks though cause I refuse to drink water so no one touches it or puts anything in it, I get scared someone will steal my stuff, I worry about the germs on the table, I imagine a man will come in with a gun, etc. That sucks. But work itself does not suck. In fact, it gives my life meaning and makes me feel like less of a bum.

What kind of work do you do?

I tutor people in math.

Did you go the supported employment route?

No.

Are you able to function effectively?

Yes. In fact, being at work helps me when I'm feeling depressed because I'm around people. I haven't been unable to work yet.

Does working impact your MI?

It can stress me out and depress me, and I can get paranoid and worried and anxious, so yes, it does. But not enough to quit.

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Thanks for the replies, guys!

Liam - I should have wrote psychosis instead of schizoid...still getting my DSM terminology down. That's awesome that you foster animals! That's definitely something to feel good about. I called my local humane society today to see about volunteering. I hope they call me back soon. I think volunteering would be a good start for me since I have so many reservations about working.

Koali - it's great that you feel like your life has meaning. That's exactly what I'm missing the most right now. I hope I get there whether it's through working or volunteering. I would love to feel like less of a bum.

Matt

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Yeah, volunteering is the only way to go for me right now too. I'm going to look into volunteering at my local hospital. It will be rewarding plus it's right up the street. Volunteering can also lead to jobs eventually. It's definitely better than sleeping all day. I'm also trying to get my student loans discharged so working would just fuck that up.

Good luck at NAMI! Keep us posted.

Matt

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I'm telling you, this forum found me for a reason. It's amazing how some threads are spot on in regards to what's going on in my life right now...

I haven't really worked since 2004. I say 'really' because between 2004 and now, I've been fired from every single job I've worked. In total, that's 6 employers who have canned me. Some with reasons - some without, as the state of GA doesn't require employers to have a reason at all. Truth? It's my illness.

Best job I've had in my life was from 2002-2004. On my final day (which I didn't know was going to be my final day,) I was having a rough patch. My supervisor told me to do what she asked or pack my things and go home. So I packed my things and went home, losing my job for good. Since then, it's been a mess. Someone with a cold can call in sick but when I'm having a bad day, I can't call in bipolar. See, the employers don't know I'm "ill" and I'm not about to share it with them. There's the question of Disability. I finally applied last month. As far as how I've made it by financially all this time without holding down a job, sorry but Imma keep that private at least for the time being until I feel a bit more comfortable.

So. I'm checking out volunteering. I found 4 places online which involve work that I'd love to do for life! And that's working with Hospice. I'm extremely excited about this but I need to put in a little more effort into finding out more info.

Ok so I can't hold down a job atm. But volunteering is something I'm checking into.

Contributing to thread - done. lol

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I work as a part-time filer in my university's Registrar Office. While I don't like the job itself, I do like the people I work with. I do notice that when I'm not doing well, I have trouble paying attention. Besides that, I don't have any other issues.

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I've held down a full-time job with a charity for 18 months now while generally bipolar. I used to call in sick or with a migraine when I couldn't face it. I also care for my grandfather, which I've used as an excuse too - the *shame*. I focus all my hypomania into working, which is great, but starkly contrasted productivity levels have been noted when I'm low.

Over the last 3 months I've been ramping up to psychosis and I had quite a bit of time off at the peak, but I managed to continue going in for a long time. I had an office to myself and could sit and try and focus with my ipod on, or just get away with staring out the window and acting weird - or so I thought. I'm through the other side now and have just got pulled up on it all and had to admit I was struggling, mentally. Now they want to send me to their doctor to get assessed and to draw up a management plan, which I guess is better than being fired, but I feel a bit like 'the special one' and that my cover has been well and truly blown.

The way my MI impacts on my work is mainly through needing time off regularly, the contrast in feeling fully capable and productive one week and so terribly fragile and unfocused the next. Vice versa, apart from generally not liking being constantly in the company of strangers and always feeling slightly paranoid and anxious, the work only really impacts on my MI if I've got a big deal deadline or public speaking to do. I'm in a junior position, so I don't really have to take on anything like this on.

I find work gives me such great motivation, as it is for a charity. I want to get out of bed, I want to try and focus and be around normal people. I couldn't imagine being at home all day - I no longer have a strong enough mind to be alone for any length of time.

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