At 27 years old, I can honestly say that there are some things I am not too proud of. Though it is a given that nobody or nothing is perfect, I still wonder and believe that if I had only made better decisions in my past, would I be further along in life than I am right now?
The answer to that question is something I have been running from.
Well, here is my truth: my name is Ranequa, I suffer from mental illness, and I have not been able to keep a job in my entire career. I’ve been fired more times than I can count.
On one end, I try to laugh about it to keep from crying, but I know that this is no laughing matter. It’s something that really bothers me and affects my livelihood. It has caused me to lose many things throughout life, because I could not maintain employment and financial stability. I can laugh all I want, but deep down, this is a pain that I desperately want to be resolved so that I can finally breathe with a peace of mind.
Am I alone? Can you relate?
Since I graduated from college in 2015, my mental health has taken a toll for the worst. It has been a challenging experience for the past five years. Through it all, I have survived – but it’s been one rough road. Trying to gain my independence at 24, I moved into my own apartment for three years, and struggled with job after job the entire time. Some nights, I didn’t have food. Some nights, I definitely did try to kill myself. Other nights, I would just scream and throw shit in fits – trying to release the frustration and stress that was growing inside of me. I knew I was the problem, but it wasn’t all my fault. I had an illness that was becoming harder and harder to control. All I could think was, “How do I stop this madness before it stops me?”
There were times when I couldn’t even focus at work. My mind would race, battling ten thoughts at a time. Though I was trying to give it my best, my best was never enough. I would quickly go from corporate America, back into the unemployment line, back into working, and back into the line again.
The bipolar, depression and anxiety had become a deadly cocktail that was eating me alive. Mentally, I had already checked out. I had begun to self-sabotage.
It hurts to admit your failures, because they force you to look at yourself and see yourself for who you really are. Mentally ill, somewhat lazy because I’m always so worried and tired, and self-sabotaging every opportunity that came my way – I had no choice but to look in the mirror.
Mental illness is hard. Overcoming laziness is hard for me. I don’t mean to be lazy, careless, unreliable and all the other things that make for a bad employee. However, I admit that I am.
For the very first time, I admit these flaws to be true.
The next question is – what, now, do I do?
The first step is accountability, but now – I must find the solution to my problem with properly managing my mental health so that I CAN live a stable and financially fit life. I currently have been job searching and have some job offers on the table. All I want is a peace of mind. All I want is to be as set as possible in my career. Within, I know that I have what it takes to become the professional that is successful in my endeavors.
Additionally, my one big wish is for employers to begin offering more support to employees battling against mental health issues, so that productivity is not lost, and that people like me get to keep their jobs too. That’s a perfect world, but I believe this can and should happen. There are so many of us that struggle professionally, and a lot it is due to our own mental health. We are still worth something. We still have a whole lot to offer this world.
Sometimes, though, I just wonder.
Can I make it?
I guess we will just have to see.