My First Post-Illness Interview and Self-Stigma.

So, having been away from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks, I finally have something to report. Yes, after many years of not getting on in life, I actually managed to get an interview for a new voluntary job. The role involves working at a local school, helping some of the children with their reading skills. I think, and hope, that with the qualifications I have, I will be able to live up to the expectations and responsibilities that such a position carries. I know it's only a voluntary role, but all the same, if I am chosen to do it (which, by the way, is not yet certain) it can only help me in looking for other opportunities.
At the interview I was asked to disclose my diagnosis, which I, being the honest and upstanding person that I am, did. The news was taken by the interviewer, I thought, quite well, although he did remark that the illness I am diagnosed with remains "an emotive word". "Indeed", I thought, "and then some".
In fact, I don't know how I'd react if I knew that someone with a history of schizophrenic illness were teaching my children, if I had any, that is. I know that I am now well and pose no risk to anyone, but I also know that perceptions of my illness can range from the simply misconstrued to the downright hurtful, and I wouldn't want to put myself in a vulnerable position by laying myself open to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours. This is something, I think, I have to consider before taking on such a role, as it seems to me that people can often, and understandably so, be irrational when it comes to the safety of their children, and also, of course, when it comes to dealing with people with experience of mental ill health. So far I have largely been involved in areas to do with mental illness itself. Such an environment is comfortable and safe for me, but then again I do want to branch out into other areas.
It could be that these doubts and worries are all to do with self-stigma and the limitations people with experience of mental ill health impose on themselves because they think that stigma will affect them, rather than having concrete proof that such things will happen. I mean, look at me, I haven't even been offered the post yet, and already I'm thinking that there may be trouble ahead.
Anyway, I hope you'll wish me luck as I venture into the bear-pit which is, for want of a better phrase, "normal" life.  


dcrelief said…
Dear David,
You are interesting, spontaneous, fact and fun-filled, adventuresome, and would be greatly welcomed by the children. I imagine that you'd resemble a parent hen, hoovering over the chicks, eager to share your love of the written word. It opens doors to miles and miles of positive travel; insightful living.
Your self-discipline, language skills, humbleness, and inquisitive nature, make you perfect for the role of inspiring and encouraging young minds. The goal is to fulfill the children's needs.
The interview is a blessing as you come to realise, the things that you might do to sabotage your own success. Remain confident and bold in your resolve. The worse thing that could happen is a few children get to meet your brilliant mind, and they'll want you there forever. So if your future goal is being paid for services.... here's the question: as a volunteer, would you settle for the love they return? (All others pay cash)LOL.
Cheers David!
Lost in Space said…
I hope you get the position. It seems well suited to your talents. I hope that this opportunity is the start of moving forward in a positive direction after your illness.

I also hope that they see your talents over and above your illness, especially now that you are well. I hope you don't lose out by having disclosed, such is one of my biggest fears (if I must disclose I always say anxiety, even though I have been diagnosed with psychosis - but hey I blog under a pseudonym so most won't know who I really am).

Good luck.
klahanie said…
Dear David,
I was delighted and hopeful for you when you told me about that role at the local school via our phone conversation.
I'm cautiously optimistic that misconceptions will have no bearing in you hopefully obtaining that position.
You have much to offer and let's visualise this as a positive step forward in your ongoing recovery.
If all transpires as hoped, take it easy with the big words on those children.
In kindness, your buddy, Gary
bazza said…
David, you do yourself an injustice when you say 'only a voluntary role'. That role raises you above many who would be much more self-serving. Good luck; if they don't choose you they are making a mistake!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
David said…
Dear Dixie, Lost in Space, Gary and bazza,
I would usually reply to all of you individually, but as you all seem to be saying similar things, I shall reply to you all in one go.
Thank you so much for all the support, encouragement, and flattering remarks. I sincerely appreciate it. I'm hoping that I will get this new position, and am trying to put my (perhaps irrational) fears on hold. All your encouragement has made this easier, so thanks once again.
Very Best Wishes everyone,

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