I desperately want to be able to work, but I can’t. Here’s why:
1. My illness is unpredictable.
Some days, I can function reasonably well. Other days, not so much and some days, not at all.
2. I am unable to maintain stability for long enough to work.
I have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.
3. Stress and tiredness make my illness worse. I might be able to work two or three shifts. However, this would impact my health and I would spend days or even weeks recovering.
4. I am unreliable due to my illness.
I cannot maintain consistency as my moods fluctuate so much.
5. I have anxiety and panic attacks.
Some days, I can’t even leave my house because of this. I’m worse in public, especially if I don’t have someone with me.
6. I often need to be somewhere familiar and with someone I trust.
I need this to manage my anxiety and to help keep myself safe.
7. I have problems eating.
If I’m not at home to eat, I need to be with someone who I trust. Otherwise, I panic and am often unable to eat at all.
8. My medication has bad side effects, including a tremor and extreme tiredness.
I have to sleep a lot more than normal, including during the day to function. My medication and my illness often prevent me from driving too, which is very restrictive.
9. I must keep regular appointments with my mental health professionals.
This helps to help to maintain my mental health and/or to prevent further deterioration if I am unwell. This is vital. A missed appointment can at worst lead to a hospital admission.
Which brings me on to one of the main reasons I can’t hold a job down:
10. I have to sometimes be admitted to hospital and crisis units.
These inpatient admissions have been and are sometimes necessary when I become unwell either with mania, depression, or eating issues (whether I like it or not and sometimes whether I cooperate or not.)
So despite very much wanting to work, I hope I have been able to explain some of the reasons why I can’t. Oh and before anyone judges me for not trying, can I just mention I have tried being in employment many, many times. I have worked on and off since the age of 16 in various jobs.
I also managed to do half of my psychology degree before having to drop out due to my illness. Clearly, I’m not totally unqualified and obviously, I’m always trying. I do what I can when I can.
So next time please, don’t be so quick to judge someone who isn’t working. There may be many good reasons. It certainly doesn’t mean they don’t want to.