Working is a source of satisfaction for many people. For me, it provides a self-esteem boosting sense of accomplishment and it structures my day to keep me from sleeping and obsessing too much. The social interaction and the paycheck are nice, too.

But when you have a mental illness, work can be difficult. Nursing is stressful for me, and I usually come home exhausted. For some people, it can be hard to focus at work or they may become so overwhelmed that they have panic attacks or cry. Of course, some work places are toxic emotionally or physically and are difficult to deal with whether you have a mental health issue or not.

So, work (and everything else) is harder with a mental illness. No surprise there. But can mental illness actually help us in our jobs? I know that my depression has made me more empathetic and compassionate, which are real assets as a nurse and in my former work as an adult education instructor. Some people with autism excel at pattern recognition, making them good at jobs such as clinical laboratory technician. People with bipolar disorder sometimes can get a lot of work done during a manic episode if they don’t get too manic.

How does being mentally ill affect your life at work? What are the challenges? Are there any benefits? The BBC did a good article about business owners with mental illnesses. Follow this link to learn more.


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