Now there’s a turn of events I didn’t expect!
Just before I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I was sure I would never be able to work again in proper employment. I’d been working on and off in retail since I was 18, while I was in university and once I’d left too. I worked before my breakdown in 2012 and returned four months later, even going back to work a day after attempting suicide (yay for BPD and extreme mood shifts…) and worked through two administration periods. My last job lasted for a month after the sociopath manager sexually harassed me and turned it round on me – he went pretty far to get rid of me when I turned him down and some of my crazy started to show.
That last experience scarred me on an epic PTSD scale. The mere thought of going back to work reduced me to a shaking, sobbing wreck. Along with the trials I faced at my previous job at Blockbuster, the horrible experience with that awful man had just broken me. So when I was diagnosed with BPD, that was the final nail in the employment coffin for me. I read countless horror stories of folks with BPD not being able to hold jobs down, being bullied at work because of their condition, all sorts of things. I gave up. And it caused a lot of friction between Husband and I, given how he was going to work every morning and coming home with things to tell me – while all I could tell him was what I’d had for breakfast and how long I’d spent awake. I’d cry about not having any purpose in life, going from being a carer for my mom and working in a shop, to having nothing at all.
It was when I started volunteering at the beginning of 2015 when my confidence started getting a boost. I went from being at home every day to actually going out and meeting people, learning new things and making a difference when I went out the door. I felt good. I felt positive. The panic attacks spurred on by the thought of going back to work started easing, to the point where I actually went for a JOB INTERVIEW. It was a receptionist job in a tattoo shop and I completely fluffed the whole thing, but I walked through the door and did the whole thing. That alone was a big step for me.
Husband insisted I didn’t have to work. He could support us both, along with my piddly benefits we could get by. But money has always been a little bit tight, which was normal for me but I knew something had to change. We want to be able to be reasonably debt-free, at some point able to get a mortgage and give our future kids a few holidays and some awesome Christmases. I started writing again, and I gave myself the chance to look for a future career, and eventually began to take up roles where I would occasionally get paid, but as soon as the money came in, it went again.
Then, the opportunity to work came up again in the job I’m in now. At first I turned the job down despite a successful interview, due to trying really hard to maintain the freelance lifestyle. But I realised that I’d possibly missed out on a paid job that wouldn’t actually stop me from writing and doing other things – along with working with people that knew about my mental health and were totally fine with it. So for the past few months I’ve been working there unofficially and learning the ropes and enjoying the feeling of working again. Last week I was offered the job officially, and I said yes.
My name is Claire, I have borderline personality disorder, and I have a job.
And having a job means that life is going to be easier in the long-run, and gives me more time to focus on what I want to do in the future. I told my nan and she was really proud, and Husband told Mum-in-Law, she made a very loud squee noise over the phone.
For the first time in a very long time, I feel like I’m getting back to normal – even though my normal is different to the usual normal, and that’s okay.