Back in September, I started a new job as a service coordinator in a charity with a health/equality focus. It is much easier for me to manage my BPD in this job compared to my previous job as a primary school teacher.
There are a few reasons for this. First of all, in my new job the working hours are regular and shorter. I arrive at work at 9.30am, rather than 7.20am as I did when I was a teacher. Second of all, I now have a lunch break all to myself and I have moments where I can stand up, make a cup of tea and breathe. If you are a teacher, you will know the role's relentlessness and how you can barely draw breath for people to support and things to do.
In spite of my new job being better for my BPD, there are still some challenges for me. First of all, my internal critical voice continues to give me grief: 'why did you say that?', 'how embarrassing', 'why didn't you handle that better?'. It was worse in teaching though: 'why did you say that to the parent?', 'all the other teachers think you are incompetent', 'why can't you support that child better?'.
Taking feedback or constructive criticism can be very hard. Even when it is a small point such as 'perhaps next time you could try ______', I can jump to the conclusion that everyone in the office thinks I am rubbish at my job and they never should have hired me. If I am feeling emotionally vulnerable, then taking feedback is extra hard. There have been a couple of times when I have had to run to the toilets to cry.
Support from my manager
When I applied for this job, I put my mental health blogging work on my CV. Seeing as I got the job, I decided that it was probably safe to disclose my mental health condition to my manager.
As a result, I have been able to talk with her in my one to one meetings about my BPD and she has been able to offer support to me such as the option of taking annual leave at short notice, using headphones, taking a 15 minute break or juggling my schedule so as to fit in my therapy sessions. This is so helpful!
I am able to wear headphones in one ear whilst working. This gives me something to focus on other than my internal critical monologue and I find listening to something reassuring. I use the Calm app and this is good for calming me down at work if I am having an anxious day.
Not everyone with BPD can work, I just want to say that. There is too much shaming for people who can't work.
If you do have a job however, is there anything you find difficult? Is there anything that helps? I would love to hear from you!