By Chrystopher Anglin
Part I of Chrystopher's Journey
When one considers getting back to work after a bout with illness, it can be stressful because the reality for you is changing once more. Throughout this blog, I will try to be of assistance to each individual on their personal journey while detailing my story. What worked for me might work for you. Whether we choose to admit or not, a physical disability and the manifestation of it in one’s life can often be attributed to a mental component. By that I mean, how we deal with physical limitations in our lives starts with an attitude. For me, I did not feel capable. All I wanted to do was watch soap operas and MSNBC. My attitude and outlook in my life had evolved over the years from a ‘couch potato’ to what I now consider to be a contributing member of society. But it took me nearly a decade to ‘rejoin’ life. After I was informed of my illness, I shut down from friends and family. I hid from life because I was faced with new challenges that i had to acclimate. The world looked different, felt different and I had to adjust or get left behind. Whether it was depression or self pity, for a long while I got left behind. Walking was a chore. Taking a daily regimen of pills was a part of my daily life. The new normal. All of these seemingly innocuous things were a part of my daily fabric. It factored into my decision into going back to work.. I had to take my medication and it sometimes affected my mood or energy. For some folks, I know there’s no choice involved. They live alone or with someone and income is a necessity to maintain a household. Fortunately for me, I live with family so rent and food is not a factor.
I came to a point when I realized life was not over, I knew it had to do with one particular joyful and dark factor. I was given six months by my doctor, now it was open ended. My life expectancy was once again uncertain. I asked her after things slowly began to turn around “when was I going to die?” She didn’t know. My future was open again. Gosh, now what? Work? School? It was all new for me. All the things I wanted to accomplish, I had a second chance to achieve. To get right. So the first step: ATTITUDE. Check. I got into the mindset that I could do all the things I wanted like getting a job or finishing school. At first, I thought I could accomplish both, get my college degree and get a job. But one thing I realized very quickly is the person you were before your accident or disability is not the same person that is capable of doing both. Finally, I chose getting a job first with an ultimate goal of obtaining my degree.
There is no shame in asking for help. Talking to someone is not shameful or something to shy away from. There seems to be this stigma regarding any issue regarding your mental health. Being here at MHASF, I have quickly seen the benefits of being in an environment where your mental health is a priority. I wish I had been aware of this resource when I started my own journey. The people at MHASF are caring and knowledgeable. Here’s the contact information: