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Reaching out to all the lovely people here to see if anyone else has felt this way.

I'm struggling right now with employment and my anxiety/panic triggers. I've just finished 12 months employment (my first employment since 2008) in a bookstore. I loved it, it was quiet, easy, part time, stress free work -especially once I got used to my daily tasks and used to the software-.

Sadly, the store closed down and now I'm back on the job hunt and back at Centerlink (Australian Welfare).

Now that I am back looking for work, I have been offered some work at a local fast food place.

(Years ago, worked at another of the fast food places in town and I found it to be a very triggering environment. I was unable to cope with the fast pace, the staff who expected you to know everything straight away, and the managers that would full on yell at you if you didn't work quickly enough.)

I know that there's a chance that this place wouldn't be like that, but I find even the thought of working there sends me into panic mode :( even during the interview, I could feel a panic attack trying to get a foothold to start.

I don't cope well with fast paced environments where you've got to learn and retain a lot of information right from the get go. I don't cope well with being 'flooded' with customers and having to process them on my own. I don't cope with having to deal with brusque staff and blunt managers.

So in short, working at a fast food place is a really really bad idea for me. Yet I feel partially forced to accept the work; a) because I do want/need to get more work, b) because to keep my welfare payments, I'm required to 'accept any reasonable' work that comes my way and c) to help contribute financially to our family.

It's gotten to the point that I am thinking of lying to my hubby and family and saying they've already got someone working there and don't need me.

--I haven't felt able to express how I feel to my husband yet. He's so supportive and understanding, and doesn't judge me, but I feel like such a fool, and he's given up so much and works so hard in a job he hates to support me and our son, that right now, I feel unable to broach just how horrible (& mentally unwell) the idea of working there makes me feel.--

I don't have a PDoc atm -haven't in a while cause I can't afford one-, but I am thinking of seeing a decent psychologist to see if they can help me handle this sort of thing better than I am alone. 

I'm sorry for the novel!

I just wish I didn't feel like such a failure

Chiaroscuro

 

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You are not a failure!  You just held down a job for a year!  That is progress!

Working in a fast food environment I can completely see how the fast pace would be triggering, adding stress, anxiety, panic, (etc).  I totally understand that.  I wouldn't do well if fast-paced to do anything (job) either.  I wouldn't make it. 

Could you tell the person telling you about prospective jobs how you are triggered by things like fast-paced things, and you are afraid of relapsing?  I looked at your signature, and you wrote a lot about food issues.  That would really suck if you got worse.  So working in a fast food restaurant IMO isn't the most helpful idea.  But that is my opinion. 

I mean a job is a job, but not really if on day one you get the anxiety, stress, panic, etc back again, and end up having to stop working.  Then it is back to square one. And then you might need a little while to get back on track as to how you were before when you worked at the book store, which might take more time.  What do they accept as "reasonable work?"

I would not lie to your husband.  Lies can come around and bite you in the ass.  I would tell the truth.  It might be hard in the beginning to tell people how you are really doing, but if you keep people in the loop of it all, in the end I think things will be better that way (IMO).  Saying that from personal experience.  Sometimes if you don't tell people stuff, and then they find out the truth, they might be more pissed that you lied to them, rather than telling them in the first place.

Finding a tdoc would be a great idea, to help you work through these issues.  I'm glad you are thinking about finding one.

Is there a library around that you could look into working at?

Edited by melissaw72
pushed "post" before I was done.
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Thanks Melissaw72,

I am definitely going to go into Centerlink (welfare) and arrange to have a Job Capacity Assessment interview with them so that they are reminded (once again!) of my MI issues and that their current records reflect my issues around work and where would be suitable/reasonable for me to obtain work etc. I'll also link that in with my Employment Provider company Sureway (their systems are linked with Centerlink) so that they too know what's going on, as they're new and I haven't been with them very long at all and they don't know about my MI as I haven't had a chance to tell them yet.

I also think it will be a good idea for me to get a GP referral to a psychologist as they too will be able to help me think better and give me better coping strategies etc, and also help me with any paperwork from the welfare system too.

Yeah I don't think me working around unhealthy food all day is a good idea either! -even taking everything else out of the equation!- 

And I definitely don't want to work in an environment that sends me back to square one (or even close to it!), and thinking on it, don't see the point in accepting work that I know will 'push me over the edge' mentally, even if I haven't had the 'guts' to tell hubby that yet (I know he'll understand...it's just difficult for me to tell him, especially as he HATES his job and yet he has stuck at it for 5 years!). ..

.....The rest of my family (mostly my mother) won't understand why I don't take the work that's being offered to me, but they will just have to suck it up, I don't have to justify myself to them, especially when it's about me keeping mentally well........Chances are the rest of my family will see it as a case of me being 'soft' or 'too sensitive' or 'needing to be pushed outside of my comfort zones', but I know from experience that it's more complex and far more serious than that.

There is a library that sometime has causal-on-call positions, I'm going to keep an eye out for that and have also applied for a job working part-time/casual at a plant nursery/gift shop which would be a nice relaxing place to work.

Even just thinking about working at the fast food place makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, and yet, when I think about my work at the bookstore I feel so much happier, and if I happen to get the work at the nursery/gift shop, I already feel confident that I could do the work and would enjoy it.

All of which is a clear sign (to me) that I shouldn't work at the fast food place.

 

 

 

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For ADD reasons I actually like the fast pace of food service work, but your assessment of the industry is pretty accurate.  You might be OK as a dishwasher at a sit-down restaurant.  

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thanks Velvet Elvis :)

Being a dishwasher at a sit-down type of restaurant would be an alright job :) 

 

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2 hours ago, Chiaroscuro said:

Thanks Melissaw72,

I am definitely going to go into Centerlink (welfare) and arrange to have a Job Capacity Assessment interview with them so that they are reminded (once again!) of my MI issues and that their current records reflect my issues around work and where would be suitable/reasonable for me to obtain work etc. I'll also link that in with my Employment Provider company Sureway (their systems are linked with Centerlink) so that they too know what's going on, as they're new and I haven't been with them very long at all and they don't know about my MI as I haven't had a chance to tell them yet.

I also think it will be a good idea for me to get a GP referral to a psychologist as they too will be able to help me think better and give me better coping strategies etc, and also help me with any paperwork from the welfare system too.

Yeah I don't think me working around unhealthy food all day is a good idea either! -even taking everything else out of the equation!- 

And I definitely don't want to work in an environment that sends me back to square one (or even close to it!), and thinking on it, don't see the point in accepting work that I know will 'push me over the edge' mentally, even if I haven't had the 'guts' to tell hubby that yet (I know he'll understand...it's just difficult for me to tell him, especially as he HATES his job and yet he has stuck at it for 5 years!). ..

.....The rest of my family (mostly my mother) won't understand why I don't take the work that's being offered to me, but they will just have to suck it up, I don't have to justify myself to them, especially when it's about me keeping mentally well........Chances are the rest of my family will see it as a case of me being 'soft' or 'too sensitive' or 'needing to be pushed outside of my comfort zones', but I know from experience that it's more complex and far more serious than that.

There is a library that sometime has causal-on-call positions, I'm going to keep an eye out for that and have also applied for a job working part-time/casual at a plant nursery/gift shop which would be a nice relaxing place to work.

Even just thinking about working at the fast food place makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, and yet, when I think about my work at the bookstore I feel so much happier, and if I happen to get the work at the nursery/gift shop, I already feel confident that I could do the work and would enjoy it.

All of which is a clear sign (to me) that I shouldn't work at the fast food place.

I'm glad you know where you stand on what you can handle and what you can't.  A lot of people (in general life) don't don't have that insight.  I think it is a great idea to remind Centerlink and tell Sureway about your MI and what you can do, so they can accommodate you in helping to find a job.

I understand about it being hard to telling parents about MI stuff ... hey I just thought of something ... this is where a psychologist can come in to play also ... s/he can be a third party in terms of telling (parents, husband, etc) in a way that everyone would understand, so going to therapy might also be helpful with telling your parents and husband.  Does that make sense?  Or if not go with someone, tdoc might have different ideas of what to tell your parents and husband, to kind of "break the ice."

I think you are spot on to not work at a fast food place.  I hope no one will force it on you.

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I think that it's quite awesome that you got a full year in at the bookstore. I also think that it's quite sucky that they had to close. Poor bookstore and poor you. Was it an independent smaller seller? Those seem to be going under more frequently these days because of things like amazon, though I don't know if that's the case in your country as well.

I know that one of the things that the poster above me mentioned was lower stress retail. That may be something to toss around a little bit if you're finding yourself stuck and without options. As an example, I worked in an ice cream parlor a while ago, and it was pretty close to the fast food environment you described, other than the fact that the people were nice--it was still the really fast paced, everything had to be perfect, etc. However, a bit later, I worked in a department store in a particular clothing section and it was much more restricted. It was a bit easier to handle because the tasks were much more limited and definited--running the cash register to ring up clients, straightening up the racks and displays so that they're neatly organized, putting stuff away that got left in the changing rooms, and cleaning up the changing room areas. All in all, it was much lower stress. Now, I don't know if that still sounds like too much stress--and I would completely understand if it did--but I just wanted to throw it out there as an option. As a quick cautionary note, I wouldn't describe all department store positions as being like that, such as the shoes area where part of your salary was based on commission (how many shoes you sold). Ick.

Regardless, I give you a ton of credit for recognizing that the fast food place is not for you. I think it would be really detrimental to accept it solely for the sake of having something and then find out that it didn't work for all the reasons that you knew in advance that it was likely not to work. Of course there's always the possibility you could surprise yourself--but it seems like you're someone who knows yourself quite well, making a random surprise less likely. From my perspective, getting the successful year at the bookstore under your belt is making one big step in the direction of being able to move forward with things--and I just feel like dumping yourself into something awful risks destroying that progress.

Hopefully making the employment people understand your strengths and limitations will lead to them providing better matches for you.

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thanks melissaw72, sbdivemaster and dancesintherain

melisaw72: 

Thanks, over the years I've figured out that despite falling on the pessimistic side of the fence (lol), I'm usually right about what I can and can't do. And reminding the 'system' of my health issues will certainly help.

that's a great idea re Tdoc! thanks! Having someone else word it, -or work with me to word it to my family etc- will be very useful!

Last night I decided to not let anyone force it on me, it mightn't be easy to deal with the people who 'don't understand' but noone else knows me as well as I do, and I know my limits, this is one of them. 

sbdivermaster:

Thanks for the tip about seeking out the people in charge and going to talk with them to see what they can do! I hadn't thought of going about it that way :)

dancesintherain:

thanks! it was a great 12 months and a perfect job for getting back into the workforce :)
Yep, it was an independent small seller (who also didn't quite do enough study of the local area).

I really like the idea of the lower stress retail as I know that a) I like it, and b) it helps me and my mental health rather than damage it.

Commission jobs are definitely not for me! I admire anyone who does them though!

I totally agree that it would be very detrimental for me to take the job at the fast food place simply because it's a job, and I really don't want to destroy all the progress I've made over the past 12 months. 

And I think saying it as strengths and limitations is a great way to put it!

______________________________________________________________________________________

As you all know, I definitely do want to work, it just needs to be in an environment that isn't going to cause more harm than good!!! :) 

Thanks for all of your replies :D 

Love and Light

Chiaroscuro




 

 

 

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I just have a couple of comments. First, knowing what I know about fast food work, I don't blame you at all for not wanting to work in such an environment. It is very demanding and the pay doesn't reflect how demanding it is. Second, I think you should keep your husband in the loop. I'm sure he'd want to be there to support you and help you navigate your way through this.

I'm sorry you don't have a pdoc. I really encourage you to find one as soon as it becomes financially possible. A pdoc could write a letter stating that fast food work is not reasonable work for someone with your mental health conditions. Just a thought.

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