The Dopamine Flux

Living A Full Life With Mental Health Issues

The short answer is: Yes

The longer answer is: It depends, because for some it may not be possible.

I was very ill for the good first five years of my twenties. I was put on many medications, including injectables. Which the injectables helped short-term, but beyond that, they were a bit of a catch-22 for me. I slept extremely long hours, for days. I was hungry all the time, but since I slept so much, it was defeating for me in every sense.

The real break in my personal life, which I was able to actually start doing something, and by something I mean anything, was 6 years after. So, I was 26 years old by then. (*And remember, for the first 4 years I didn’t take medication. I was very ill because of it. That was my experience*).

I had started back going to college online, as I wasn’t fully ready to be in in-person lectures. I probably cleared out 30 something credits within those next two years. It was hard. Like, it was really, really hard, and it wasn’t because it was college. My mental health made me want to give up many, many days. Some days I did. One semester I only took one class. Many days I just didn’t do work until there was a deadline for it to be turned in. My Dad would get on me about it. He would ask me everyday how school was going. I would lie most days, saying I did it, but I really didn’t. The medication largely made me very lethargic. I had been off injections for a couple of years, but the oral medication was still very much like a tranquilizer at its high doses.

I stopped attending college for awhile. In 2018, I moved on my own with my then boyfriend to another city. I searched for jobs for a year, until I was able to secure one.

Luckily, my job was both flexible, and understanding of my mental health diagnosis. I started working part time, and still had enough days off that I could use to recoup my energy, and mental health. I had worked with a program to get me a job, initially. Although, the choosing of the job was my choice. They were there if I happened to need anything regarding working, like supports of any kind.

I work, and I also have my days off. There seems to be a good balance in my life. The ability to sustain this job took a lot out of me initially, but it took putting in more time for self-care on those days off. On my days off I try to leave work at work, and have my home time for my personal, or side hobbies, exclusively. I manage this balance quite well.

I have set a schedule of some sorts for everyday. I make sure I eat at certain times (so I dont become fatigued or cranky), only have so much coffee per day (because of anxiety issues), make sure I take breaks during work (which my job is flexible on), and other things, such as maintaining my personal boundaries at work.

So much more can be said, and this article could be much longer, but I wanted to give you guys an idea that it is possible to work. I need medication, personally. Not everyone will need that, and that’s ok, too. I make sure I have a really good support system behind me, too, which is probably the most important of all!

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