I get to be listened to when I say that I have all these skills to support kids with Autism but my mental illness gets in the way and I would really like help to get back on track and into a job where I can use my skills but not stress the fuck out.
I think I’m gonna get there
but I’m gonna have to allow myself to take steps.
Like volunteer work at a school, +/- ASD kids
Working my way up.
Because, as my employment consultant says, I’m “A very nervous girl”.
The appointment this morning was stressful, but because of the whole having to meet a new person and trying to understand what was going to happen next.
I’m with a Disability Employment Services provider which means they can help me in more tangible ways than the regular Job Services Australia people could – especially since I was a “level 1” who was supposedly quite capable of doing it all myself.
So, I have a new contact there, we spent an hour going through my history and what made me flake out at my old jobs, and thinking about what sort of work I want to get into, both short term (this year) and longer term. I have to mull over whether SP is what I want to get back into or not, and related fields that might suit me better now and in the future. I totally know that I still want to work in some sort of disability related field, but what and with who is not certain. I said flat out no to hospitality, though :p If i was stress, I wanna get paid well for it!!
I no longer have to make 10 contacts a fortnight about potential jobs, nor do I have to take that list into Centrelink at their whim. I still have to go to Centrelink now and then to prove that I’m alive or something, and tick the boxes online. They put me as capable of 15 hours work a week for now.
Oh and I also get pharmaceutical allowance and a pension card with my Newstart. Rich, baby!
No front desk just a video phone to call them to let them know your here. There were three seats, so it is also the waiting room area…
Yeah, the entrance to the office was weird, impersonal, and totally crap for people with phone phobias! Fortunately that wasn’t me, but it did add to my already heightened level of anxiety and confusion when I wasn’t able to immediately be reassured that I was in the right place at the right time and I wasn’t just imagining things.
So, I think I’ve FINALLY calmed down from it, let’s see how this all goes – I go back on the 30th.
Tense therapy session on Wednesday because we ended up writing the letter for my “job Capacity Assessment” with Centrelink that I had yesterday. Yes, the assessment went well, reaffirmed my love of Occupational Therapists. and I’m going to be going to a new Job network/ Disability provider next week…. One that is all into aka specialises in people with mental health issues. I also got a rating of being capable of
only” 8-14 hours of work a week. Given I’ve not worked full-time in over three years, this is a relief to have on my record. A relief to be honest and say that I really wanna be a a speech pathologist again, but my mental health issues are holding me back.
Oh we got the coolest coffee cups from Playing the Goat across the road from Centrelink. Tawny frogmouth!!!
So, when I got home from that, I went for my first cup of tea for the year. Dilmah.
Mulling over a few things today, prompted a little by the welfare reform report and various opinion and news pieces generated by it, along with discussion by friends about the good and the bad of the proposals and their potential to help and hinder those needing support.
I also, just now, realised that it’s been over 3 years now since I’ve had full time work. On the back of huge issues from anxiety (and a not yet diagnosed personality disorder) I resigned from my last full time work – a twelve month contract – in February 2012.
I spent six months kinda looking for work, not sure if I was ready, and then picked up two part time gigs – a 17 hour a week contract and some casual private practice work – around September.
I juggled these, having my first hospital stays, for 12 and 18 months respectively, resigning from one due to my crazy levels of stress around it all, and then was “let go” at the end of 2013 from the other, due to erratic performance, all strongly influenced by my difficulties managing my anxiety and stress and general erratic behaviour.
I’ve been lucky enough that my ex insisted on my saving money, and having that to fall back on the first gap period, and also receiving or separation settlement at the start of my current blank period. Which also aligned with my sister’s suicide attempt, so I had bigger issues to focus on rather than my own for the start of 2014. Helping her and her kids stay healthy took to fore, and I could justify my blase attitude to reentering the workforce. It was “ok” because I was helping someone else and not just myself.
I started looking at work again mid year. Applied for some things, confident that I could talk my way into them, like I had in the last positions…. but my past failures were starting to weigh me down. Initially, it was always framed as them having someone else, who had more experience, or lived in the area already, and that was okay.
Then I started to see jobs I applied for being re-advertised, and being told that I’m just not operating at a senior enough level for their position. When they re-advertise by don’t call or email you first? That’s the worst.
So, I got on “the dole” in July. Meeting my requirements, applying for any speech or related job I could find, local or not.
Then bringing it back, realising that I probably SHOULDN’T move away from Newcastle anyway, or at least not too far. This is my home. My safe home base.
So I broadened what I was looking for, but haven’t got a foot in. I get the occasional speechie interview still, on the back of my apparent experience and well written applications. But that’s as far as it goes.
I’m still seeing a psychologist weekly, though that will end soon. I have a need to help family and others – I can’t help myself. And I doubt that I’m anywhere near capable of working full time even if I do get a gig doing something mind-numbing let alone something with responsibility like speech or as a carer. So I always wonder on why, if all I’m gonna get to is part time work, then why are my requirements for Centrelink all assuming that I’m able to job search or complete tasks and courses full time?
I’m told I will be reviewed and possibly offered more support along these lines, like access to courses for free or something. But the poor girl who has my case is stressed and overworked herself (and shares my diagnosis!) and there is so much just ticking off done. I don’t get any money in for the company being university educated I should be able to fend for myself. It’ll happen, but I’m just happy to get out of there rather than have to dredge up crappy things when I’m in a good space in order to beg for more help.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. I just wanted to ramble and say that it’s hard. Yes, people tell me to get a retail or hospitality job to fill in time, but they’re just as hard to break into as any industry, and I always get the thanks but no thanks, along with the assumption I’m gonna pick up and leave on them.
Oh, and I tried to get a role volunteering with at risk kids, but one of their eligibility requirements was not having been hospitalised for a mental illness in the last 3 years. They said I could get a clearance letter from a psychiatrist, but that’s all too hard right now.
here’s my cool possums. They are awesome. The live up in my roof and we give them apples each night. If we forget, they rattle the gate for attention.
Following a sucky Centrelink apt (yeah yeah, I’ll apply for things other than speech jobs, but if there are speech jobs there, I’ll still be applying for them as first call) I got some retail therapy in – Target, Big W, Best & Less, and Lifeline – to get a few more summer things….
HUGE fan of Target’s ballet flats – I’ve worn through a lot of cheap, colourful shoes from this range over the last few years (this is a good thing)! Today I got the beige ones for $15, and the red and orange ones for $7 a pair!
A couple of cute Avella floral dresses – knee length and sleeveless ready for summer – from Big W for $25 each. I wanted to buy another one – a long atrappy maxi dress in blue – but someone had ripped a few seams presumably while trying it on, and there was only one in that size :(
Another couple of spaghetti strap summer “Hi-Lo” dresses from Best & Less – I do like how the women’s range goes through from size 8 to something in the 20s while still having cute designs and the same prices – $20 in this case!!! (and are comfy!)
Then $4 well spent on a pair of shoes that was originally $130 according to its inside sticker!
And I FINALLY got me some sickly GRAPE Hello Kitty Body Spray ($3 this week instead of $5 at Chemist Warehouse!)