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Joining the 'Mainstream'

I'm 26 and have never really had a proper job. In my early 20's I suffered from severe mental illness that meant I couldn't work (or maybe that's just what I tell myself). I recovered to the point where I could go to university, and now I'm about a month away from graduation. I still suffer from irrational fear and panic attacks, but I wouldn't say I'm incapable of working. I want to work and make something of myself, but the more I look at how society 'works' and the lives my friends are living, the more I realise how much I don't want to be a part of it (specifically the 9-5 grind, marriage, kids, big house type thing). I can't relate to a lot of people and sometimes I feel like a freak for not 'fitting in' but then I feel like 'fitting in' is a load of bollocks. I'm quite proud of the fact that I'm not 'normal', but at the same time I know that I need to atleast pretend to be normal in order to earn money and function in society. 

I'm currently looking for work and I'm not afraid of mentioning my prior mental health issues or telling the truth. My thinking is, if I tell an employer about my mental health issues and they don't hire me, it's not a loss for me, but rather for them. I've been told to lie on resumes and in interviews, but it seems silly to lie. I want my employer to be aware of who I am BEFORE they hire me, because I am an honest and good person. But I know that saying the truth about my mental health and my opinions will likely push employers away.

Surely I'm not the only person who feels like this?
Any advice out the for jobseekers who don't want the job?
Also, does anyone live on a commune? or like a hidden mountain society? That'd be nice

Re: Joining the 'Mainstream'

Hi @GraceInSpace93,

That sounds like a tough situation to be in. Job seeking when you have mental health issues can be challenging at times. A lot of people toss up the decision of telling their employer about their struggles or keeping it to themselves. It really depends on their individual and their situation. As you mention, it can feel like lying but then there is also the fear of not being hired, if you are upfront about it. It is such a difficult place to be in and I know you are not alone with these feelings and thoughts.

Keep an eye on your email, I will be sending you one Smiley Happy

Re: Joining the 'Mainstream'

Hi @GraceInSpace93! Well done for recovering from your mental health issues and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

Regarding fitting into society, I feel like it's important to just be yourself. I think people care less about what we do with our lives and whether we fit in than we think they do. Sometimes we can be our own worst critic. I know a lot of people who don't have 9-5 jobs, are unmarried or don't have kids and they are perfectly happy.

I think some employers can be really supportive of mental health issues. As far as I understand, they are not allowed to discriminate against employees with mental health issues unless they affect the job that they are doing. It really depends on the type of job and the employer though. I have had to deal with some employers who were not at all supportive of me in general. But at the same time, it felt like a huge weight off my shoulders to not have to deal with them any longer. In my experience, it often isn't worth it to stay for a long time in a job or internship where the people are not supportive of you. I have also heard of a lot of successful people who are open about their mental health issues and aside from their roles, they also act as lived experience advocates.

I haven't lived on a commune or in a hidden mountain society but I know someone who lived in a commune many years ago. Smiley Happy