I am writing today’s post from the mindyourmind.ca office, my old workplace. I’m back as a volunteer for a few hours a week because I love the staff here and the work that mindyourmind does. We joke that mindyourmind is like the mob – once you’re in you can’t leave!
It was an extremely hard decision for me to leave mindyourmind as an employee because I truly loved my job. I left for a few reasons, one being that both living with a mental illness and working in a place that deals with mental illness was too much. Sometimes what we’d talk about at work would really trigger me but for the sake of my job I felt like I had to pretend I was fine. I know that my coworkers would truly would have understood me being triggered, but I didn’t want to be this flake at work, always having my emotions get in the way of doing my job. I’m such a perfectionist and I didn’t want to be seen as unprofessional. Plus, I had therapy appointments two (sometimes three) days a week and therapy is HARD WORK. I felt like I had two jobs I was constantly juggling, both having to do with mental health.
Another reason I left is that I felt myself becoming too automatic. Eventually the people I spoke to at schools and conferences all started blending together and I would repeat the same information about mindyourmind over and over. I felt like I’d lost my voice and that I couldn’t remember each person I’d helped. At mindyourmind my public speaking abilities lead to me being in charge of speaking at conferences and similar places where only professionals were around, not always the mentally ill. I hated feeling like I was climbing the social ladder, rubbing elbows with doctors when I didn’t even go to post-secondary school. I want to help those who are struggling, not the struggling mental health system.
As my job at mindyourmind progressed, I started to think a lot about what I’d needed as a teenager, since mindyourmind is about helping youth specifically. I realized that when I was a teen, I did not trust mental health organizations or the people who worked for them. My depression isolated me to the point of not believing anyone in the mental health field could understand my pain. The only thing I trusted was the written word that I discovered on my own. Yes, books. I found the answers to everything I needed in the library, or on individual blogs that I stumbled across online. I had a need to discover my kind of well-being, my own reasons to live, or at least learn about others’ on my own terms.
Now that I feel stronger than I did when I was younger, I want to focus on using my writing to help others. That’s the biggest thing I got out of working for mindyourmind: a renewal of my passion for writing. Blog posts were my most favourite thing to work on in the office and soon that’s all I wanted to do. Unfortunately my job started to go in directions away from writing so after much debating, I finally left. But like I said, I always want to stay in contact with everyone there because mindyourmind is truly a great site that I love and respect. I plan on continuing to write for them periodically in addition to maintaining this blog.
Now I don’t have a “real” job and it’s kind of making me panic. I know in my heart that what I want to do the very most is write but it’s such an isolating practice. Plus, society tells us that unless we are making money we aren’t worth anything, which is totally ridiculous. This blog isn’t making me money but it is my job as of now. I believe that if I put my heart into something, it would eventually pay off, both literally and figuratively.
I hope this blog reaches you. If not, what would? Maybe mindyourmind.ca will speak to you. Whatever speaks to you will help you. Keep trying new things and remember that recovery isn’t always a straight path. You might feel like you’re at a dead end but really you’re just turning a corner, about to stumble upon something that will really help you on your journey.