I'm back! I promise!
Considering I’ve been obsessing over financials and I’ve had to prioritize all my waking hours to accomplish the amount of work I have to do for the past week or so I thought it was fitting that today I talk about one of life’s inevitable challenges we with Borderline Personality face.
Getting and keeping a job.
It’s easier, er, less difficult, for some of us to get and maintain a job. For others it’s very difficult. It really depends on the severity of our mental health issues and whether we’re actively working on our mental health.
Having BPD does not necessarily limit your job choices, but it can create quite a lot of challenges. Like anyone, BPD or not, choosing a career and figuring out what you want to do with your life is going to depend on your particular skill set and what interests you. It’s important to remember that our mental health diagnosis doesn’t change the fact that we’re also just people and face the same challenges that many non-Borderline people face when choosing a career. Figuring out a career choice may be easy for some of us, while for others they might vacillate between majors or goals for years, changing throughout their lifetime. Even if we can find a good match career-wise that doesn’t make it “easy”. Despite my BPD I’d still be considered high-functioning intellectually. Outside of my work environment I don’t know anyone that is capable of doing the kind of work I am doing. I have multiple engineering degrees and am working on one of the most advanced engineering projects in the world. I recognize I’m often the exception and not necessarily the rule. That doesn’t mean I always have an easy time of it either. Exactly the opposite actually.
BPD can present a lot of unique challenges in the work place. For instance; identity issues, feelings of rejection, paranoia, self-esteem problems, and the additional stress that comes from a job often result in making it difficult to find a solid sense of purpose or direction in the work place. This all contributes to why it can be difficult to find and keep a job with BPD. Considering how ambivalent we can be, how indecisive, even identifying life and career goals can be difficult.
Originally I was going to go to culinary school. I love to cook and bake and wanted to be a professional chef. I was signed up, accepted, and had my move in date. About 2 months beforehand I had a major anxiety attack and couldn’t deal with the idea of going to culinary school. I couldn’t deal with the thought of being judged on something I loved so much. I was afraid it would destroy my love for something I valued. I panicked. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life once I decided not to go to culinary school. To help me onto the path I’m on now I took my own anti-ambivalence advice. I had all of the options, so I just picked one to start with. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at that point so I just started taking classes. I knew I was good at math and science, I like to work with my hands and create things ( not just theorize) so I almost generically chose engineering. I wasn’t sure if it would be something I’d love, but I knew it would provide me the ability to take care of myself. I picked a field and ran with it. I did change engineering majors to the one I eventually earned my Bachelors and Masters in but instead of dwelling on the limitless possibilities, instead of miring myself in my ambivalence, I just picked something I was good at and figured if I found out along the way I wanted to do something different I could change. But in the mean time I’d have a path to pursue that would allow me to function in the world.
My compulsive nature and my anxiety actually helped me excel in my studies because I was so afraid of failure. I was the kind of student that read whole text books before the course even started. I was constantly plagued with anxiety. I had zero social life. I was a recluse locked in my own academic prison. But I was an intelligent recluse. And it worked. I have an amazing grasp of the skills I need. Granted my ability to function around people took a pretty big blow, which is why this is a disorder and not just normal.
All those things that we deal with normally that make Borderline a personality disorder can affect us on the job. The big ones I deal with are:
Others that are common for people to deal with are Splitting, the inability to separate work from personal life, impulsive behavior contributing to absenteeism, hell other co-morbid disorders like severe depression that make it difficult to even get out of bed sometimes. Oh, there’s more. These can all contribute to difficulty in interpersonal relationships within a structured working environment. That doesn’t mean we can’t maneuver it but it does mean it can be much more difficult at times.
Tomorrow I’ll probably post some Lucid Analysis (yay therapy!) but then I’ll pick right back up on this subject of things that contribute to the difficulties for us in the work place and how we can help ourselves…..
By the way, I’m feeling very guilty for having to take so much time away from blogging. This is the longest period of time I’ve taken without consistent blogging. I just haven’t had the time to write my articles with all the vacation stress, then immediately getting hit with having to move, finding a place, getting packed, getting caught up with all the work I’m now behind on because I took a vacation, and then of all things; jury duty. It’s just been one thing after another. I’ve had to prioritize in favor of my work, even though I’d much rather be doing this. Healthy choices though, right? That’s the goal. As you can imagine I’m a big bundle of stress right now. I’m trying very hard to remember my healthy coping techniques, fighting off panic attacks, and get back on track though. I love writing this blog and I dearly want to get back to my daily schedule.