“Do you take the Red or the Blue pill, Neo?” You cannot always choose which way your life goes, but sometimes you can choose the general direction. The Matrix trilogy is a great representation of how life feels with mental health problems. Neo constantly feels like the world he lives in is wrong, not real, grey and dark.
Someone comes into his life who gives him a way out, which sometimes to someone struggling would be just what they need. Maybe it’s a friend or work colleague. They may ask a simple question like, “how are you?”. But in the Matrix it’s even better. It’s a way out of this false world into a better place you always knew existed. And even better, someone will hold your hand to get there.
The only choice Neo needed to make was either to stay with his current life, the safety net, the boredom, the feeling of being outside. Or taking a leap into the unknown. No dipping your toe in the water, no safety net.
This choice is presented to people everyday and most choose to stick with what they know which is a fantastic survival strategy that has served humans for thousands of years. But with modern life, doing what you have always done can be extremely detrimental to your health.
For me, I like control and things I can predict. I like to know the answers and be a force for knowledge. This means I have always been very good at any job I put my mind to. This in recent years has back fired on me due to an employer who takes advantage of staff.
I have worked in healthcare for over 16 years. The UK government has been systematically abusing the good will of public sector workers which has led to my current position of Rock and a Hard Place. The Rock being a private company I work for who couldn’t manage an orgy at a pimps party. Leading to a deficit problem and insane change in structure. The Hard Place being the job market for someone suffering from mental health problems. To add to the Hard Place, my role is quite specialist focussing on Information, compliance and technology. Simply put, Data Protection and anything involving changing the way an organisation works.
I know what you are thinking, “they are skills that lots of people would want”. Yes very true, but add that I changed my working week to four days and my work is flexible, finding that job is a little allusive. I am also in the wage bracket that reduces the amount of jobs available in my area.
While to some this may not seem the biggest deal in the world, suffering from a mental health disorder that affects your mood means you could be on top of the world feeling confident one day and down on yourself another. Furthermore, stability helps manage my disorder, looking and applying for jobs and leaving a job you know very well removes the stability and increases the mood swings, anxiety and general management of day to day.
A choice involving your future is always a big one and I will not pretend to have the answer to how to cope in this situation. But I continue to hope that Trinity will appear at my door with a white rabbit tattoo and ask me to follow to a better job with an understanding employer.
So in conclusion, to stay with an employer that takes you for granted, doesn’t pay well and has unrealistic expectations is not healthy for your already wrecked brain. So to find a new employer that needs my talents it is, that will be flexible with me and in return I can be dedicated, loyal and knowledgeable.
I can’t imagine that my dream job of being shown processes or a warehouse in complete disarray and being told to sort it, exists. Time to saddle the horse, prepare the bow and get ready to hunt down a job.
Good luck to anyone in the same position and remember to try and keep your mental health at the front of your choices. Alternatively learn code and write your own Matrix world to live in.