Six years ago I moved in with my Grandfather having been evicted from a council flat due to rent arrears it felt like I would never leave the place I found myself in and I’m not referring to my Grandfather's house, rather the black hole of despair and hopelessness where death looked like it would be the best answer to the question 'how is it ever getting better?'
12th November 2012 I finally began full time employment thus completing the 3rd goal of my ongoing recovery the previous two being gaining independent living and getting back into further education. Now in addition to ensuring I keep on progressing for my philosophy and psychological studies degree with the Open University I need to get my head down and do a good job during my time with this new employer for the few months I have a contract with them, there may or may not be a chance of securing a new contract but even if I don't I can at least get a good reference out of it.
So far it has been good for the most part however there is one big concern I have about the fish philosophy adopted by this employer especially this bit:
Choose Your Attitude- The philosophy says that you choose your attitude when you wake up in the morning, whether to be nice and friendly for the rest of the day, or to be mean and surly for the rest of the day. The philosophy advises to 'choose' to be nice and friendly every day, and that good feeling will spread to others.
Popular psychology springs to mind about this fish philosophy and that statement in particular I find offensive, personally I mock and scorn it, its utterly ridiculous, completely dismissive of a individual's circumstances and unbelievably judgemental. Hearing this from the senior manager who enthusiastically talked about this crap gave me a sinking feeling as after all I suffer from a mental health condition, depression, which will at times (especially during a episode) take all my energy, strength and resolve to get up, get into work and do my job...so you know when you really feel like shit or worse you're actually struggling to get through the day its very difficult to be nice and friendly every day as this “philosophy” advises.
Not fucking likely.
I have struggled for a long time and no way am I going to trivialise this by pretending to be all nice and friendly when I feel depressed and reinforcing other people's ignorance of the issue. To be fair the training group I am in have been supportive of my revelation of my condition and my stance against the fish philosophy. Hell even one of the training officers ended up agreeing with me after a few minutes of lively debate about the merit of the statement above, interestingly they claimed they also suffer from depression and they went with the statement as it works for them, fair enough I said to them but what works for you does not mean it works for another, well I think it means you should try making the best of it was the next comment.
So I say well then surely saying 'try to make the best of it' is better then 'you choose your attitude'? They agreed and furthermore agreed to pass it onto the senior manager. Its been over a week since that discussion and whether they have actually done as I asked I will follow up the upcoming Monday by seeking out the senior manager myself despite being told by someone else that this is a fight I can't possibly win, well I have to try at least otherwise it would be hypocritical of me to criticise anybody about their attitude to others with mental health conditions if I meekly sit back and don't challenge this fish philosophy rubbish.
It does feel good though to be back in full time employment, after all I have waited a long time for this to happen and I’m now here, time to make the most of it and ensure all those years of uncertainty, struggle and survival were not in vain, not to mention i owe a big debt to the friend who helped get me this job in the first place and those friends who supported, encouraged and forgave me during it all, i owe them to make this work.
23rd November 2012 the journey continues.