I recently realised something. They looked at my resume, decided I was a suitable candidate and called me down. They liked my experience and education. However, the moment they realised I had a mental illness, my qualifications meant nothing. I became a walking mental illness.
I once got called back for an interview after I had submitted an application form whereby I declared mental illness. When I got there, they handed me the same application form to fill in and told me to wait in a room. It was my first interview for a job related to the mental health sector and I was absolutely thrilled. A few minutes later, a lady walks in with my application in hand and tells me that I am unsuitable for the job because of my history with mental illness. The most frustrating part was that they had called me down so they could reject me (and I am still bitter about it).
Moving on, I recently realised something. They looked at my resume, decided I was a suitable candidate and called me down. They liked my experience and education. However, the moment they realised I had a mental illness, my qualifications meant nothing. I became a walking mental illness.
Everyone has to work for their qualifications, one way or another, and so did I- I dragged myself to school every day, risking humiliation a la panic attacks; I had to go to the hospital every day after school for two months (a huge thank you to the boyfriend for sending me there and back). My parents spent a lot of money so that I could get a good education. Yet, the money, effort, and time put into my education is easily voided due to illness. The same money, effort, and time most people put into their education amount to something- a valid and recognised education.
Nonetheless, I am working hard on my Masters. I will not let illness hold me back from achieving my life goals and I will not let myself be a victim. I will be a contributing member of society. The point of this post is not to vent my frustration (I do concede that I ended up ranting a little) but to raise awareness about this issue that is not faced by people with mental illness alone, but anyone with a “black mark” on their application form (e.g. reformed criminals).
I urge individuals who have similar experiences to share their story.