Using An EAP – Employee Assistance Program

A lot of readers might not know that when you work at a job you might have support options in place within the company you work for.

This is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that some businesses offer. There is no cost to talk to an EAP counselor.

For any kind of stress at work or home that is impacting your success on the job the EAP counselor can help you with resources at your disposal.

In 1991 at my first job I talked to an EAP counselor for one session or possibly it was for two sessions.

The point is that challenges on the job can be managed better with the available EAP support you might have.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about different kinds of jobs.

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Getting and Accepting Support

My goal is to share the insight I’ve gained with blog readers and followers.

What’s true: success often hinges on collaboration and cooperation.

Before you can be successful at a job or any other endeavor it pays to have a support network in place.

In society for everyone regardless of our challenge type getting support isn’t easy.

For a lot of us accepting support turns out to be hard.

My thinking might be off base. Yet I think too many people are so wrapped up in living for their self-gain that they don’t care about taking time out to help others who could use a hand.

The myth of the rugged individual has persisted in America for too long.

You’re told your weak if you don’t buck up and handle your business on your own.

Only when you could use an assist hardly anyone is willing to come forth to aid you.

This dynamic is a far worse condition than any type of stigma in countering a person’s success in recovery.

My stance is this: I’ve been here on this Earth over 50 years so far.

My first corporate office job career was an attempt to make the big bucks.

After I crashed and burned working at these jobs that were an ill-fit, I went back to school to have the right-fit career.

What I’ve learned in my over 25 years of employment I gladly share.

The things I know to be true—like the fact that recovery is possible for a significant number of people—I’m willing to share in the blog too.

It’s a myth that “the vast majority” of people can’t recover.

Having support, utilizing self-care, working at some kind of job (even if it’s a dedicated hobby or volunteer work), and doing what you love are tools in the tool kit to use to have a successful recovery.

Recovery starts with getting and accepting support.

It’s time to give the hateful outdated rhetoric the boot.

For too long opposing sides have said and done things to inflame each other.

I’ll end here with this: recovery is easier to achieve with support from others like family, your treatment providers, friends, and lovers.

Having a job you love is easier to obtain using the support and resources that are available.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about support that exists for employees at a company.

Showing Up As Yourself

In my life when I let the illness define me I thought that doing what “normal” people do would be the cure.

The world tells you what’s acceptable. You think you’re supposed to do these things.

Only you cannot repress your soul and expect to be well. Ill health is the result of being cut off from your true self.

The ultimate goal as I see it in recovery is to become who you are.

Show up as this person wherever you go.

Self-doubt and confidence go hand-in-hand. As I wrote in You Are Not Your Diagnosis:

My employment history shows that one of three things is possible:

  • You’re just starting out and haven’t yet figured out the ideal workplace.
  • You loved your job or career when you started it and today it no longer thrills you.
  • You thought that this particular job or career was the one you wanted. It doesn’t work out and you’re forced to change.

Knowing yourself and what you are suited to do and not do is the key to success.

If you have to act false to yourself on a job you’re rolling a wheel up a hill over and over like Sisyphus in the Greek myth.

I say: get a second job to supplant your primary income rather than continuing to show up as an imposter to a job you’re not happy doing.

If you’re not happy doing your job you won’t be motivated to excel so how can you be effective at it?

This is the definition of “spinning your wheels.”

In a coming blog entry I offer a remedy for dissatisfaction.

Rebelling the Role of “Mental Patient”

It can seem like there’s a glass wall separating people with mental health conditions from others.

It’s like you can see what’s on the other side–“success” “a good life” “a career” “a home”–and the wall stands between you and getting these things.

What is this invisible barrier? Internalized self-stigma brought on by harboring outdated false beliefs about what a person’s life is destined to become after a psychiatric emergency.

Getting to this side involves breaking free of the shackles of guilt and shame.

What I’ve learned I’ll gladly share here. I want to quote from the Introduction to my career handbook so that you might be convinced of the truth: You Are Not Your Diagnosis:

As a young person, I was happy even though my life was less than ideal. Yes—I chose to be happy even when the circumstances of my life were dismal. You can like I did rebel the role of “mental patient.” You are not your diagnosis. You’re a human being with wants, needs, desires, goals, and dreams just like everyone living on earth. It’s a mistake to think your diagnosis limits you forever in what you can do.

Having a diagnosis is often part of the package you present to others yet it isn’t your identity. Defining yourself by your symptoms locks you into a no-win mental straitjacket. Your diagnosis is not a dead end and it doesn’t define you.

A women’s organization I’m a member of used to ask its members: Who are you?

I say: you have the right to choose your identity.

In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about this in more detail.

 

Recovery and Work

The real deal is that I had to fight for my right to have what other people took for granted: a full-time job and a home of my own.

Here’s what I can tell you when you face resistance to your employment goals or any other goals:

It doesn’t matter what other people think.

If I didn’t set the bar higher for myself early on no one else would’ve set a bar at all for me to reach.

That’s why I say: decide for yourself what to think about your prospects.

Seek to live up to your own expectations no one else’s.

America is a society where people are conditioned to compete against each other.

Thus you can see that not a lot of people are going to have a vested interest in seeing you get the same things that they want.

Remember my review in here of the book Dark Horse:

Success will come via fulfillment not the other way around.

I think it’s time in this blog to talk about money options when it comes to choosing a job you’d like to work at.  More on this in the future.

To give you hope I will relay here what my literary agent wrote in a book proposal:

“The vast majority of people with a mental health issue can work at a job.”

No kidding. I didn’t write that. An outsider did. Yet it’s true.

6,666 Page Views – Merci

The devil’s in the details as the expression goes:

Today I see I have reached 6,666 page views for the Flourish blog.

Thanks a million to everyone who stops by to read what I have to write.

In an era when the New York Times and other traditional news outlets and media fail to give innovative journalists a platform:

It’s great to see that in the blog world every one of us has the chance to make a difference.

The blogs and books are my platform for advancing my vision.

What is that vision you might ask?

The right to have a full and robust life living in recovery from whatever it is you’re in recovery from.

I’m not spooked that 6,666 has shown up as the number of page views.

It convinces me that there’s a market for my mission of spreading hope and healing in the world.

In a society where there’s a lot that’s not right:

It’s up to us bloggers to be part of the solution.

Having 5 Commitments

Easily over five years ago I read a Leo Babauta book where he told readers to list their 5 Commitments in life.

This approach made great sense to me. In the spirit of talking about recovery I want to riff on choosing and committing to 5 areas.

Do this for the sake of your mental health and physical well-being first of all.

As I head into my fifties and go through changes at mid-life the benefit of having 5 Commitments resonates with me more than ever.

It’s called a routine: adopting healthy habits that you engage in every day or every week.

This isn’t to say that the focus of your life won’t ever change. As you get older, you’ll need to improvise as you go along.

I find myself at 53 engaging in a form of woodshedding, which I talked about in one of the first blog entries in this Flourish blog.

While isolating inside because you’re afraid to go out your front door isn’t healthy I say:

Enjoying your own company when you’re alone in your apartment or house is imperative.

As I’ve started journeying through mid-life I can vouch for the positive health benefit of needing more time for yourself to rest and engage in recreation.

You need to rest after going out socially or having a long, hard day at your job.

The key to maximum productivity in your personal life lies in the beauty of honoring your 5 Commitments.

My 5 Commitments are art, music, fashion, books and writing, and exercise.

Making time each week to do something involving these 5 things I love has been the way to feel healthy and be happy at mid-life.

What are your 5 Commitments?

In coming blog entries I will continue with the focus on careers.

Yet I will apply this wisdom to everyday life.

Living in recovery doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if you’re in pain that’s when doing the things you love can help you feel better.

That’s it exactly: focusing on the 5 Commitments that bring you joy.