What If You Can’t Work Due To Mental Illness?

Poor mental health can stop you from working, so what do you do if you can’t work due to mental illness? The stress of not being able to work can add to an already fraught mind. However, there are options if you cannot work because you are poorly.

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Some people try and struggle through their job and put on a fake persona to try and get through; however, this only masks the illness it does not cure it. It can make it worse, especially if you are not seeking treatment for your condition.

Because of my poor mental illness, I have to have a flexible way of working, and that is writing. As I cannot work for an employer, when I feel well, then I write for a living as a freelance writer. However, most of the time, I need help financially from benefits. I will guide you through some options and touch upon working for yourself as I do when I am well.

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I want to point out it is illegal for your boss to fire you if you have a mental illness, they can’t do this, not in the UK anyway, and I’m sure it is that way in quite a few other countries. If you have anxiety, depression, bipolar or schizophrenia, then your boss must take the appropriate action to ensure your job is secure for when you return to work. In fact, any form of mental illness adjustments must be made by the employer.

Can’t Work Due to Mental Illness, What To Do

can't work due to mental illness

The first thing is to speak to your doctor and then to your employer. Your doctor will help you control your condition; this is the first step of getting you back to wellness. But you also need to speak to your employer and let them know what is going on. Taking one week off from work is not going to cure depression; it can take many months, and if you keep your employer in the loop, they can make adjustments for you at work, should you decide or be able to carry on working through your illness.

However, I want to talk about what to do if you can no longer work for an employer as this is where I have experience and knowledge. Most of what I will write about is available globally thanks to the internet, but benefits and such will be dependent on your country and how they deal with mental health and government benefits. Apply for benefits as soon as you are no longer able to work, the amount of benefit you get might be less if your savings are over a certain amount, but I advise applying anyway; the quicker you do this, the less worry there will be.

If you have substantial savings, you may have to live off these for a while before you can get help with benefits. If you are struggling to cope with the concept of money in your difficult time, then you will need to find a trusted family member or friend to manage your finances for you. I have to do the latter on occasions when I am really unwell.

If you can’t work because of mental illness, you need to take the strain off yourself, so you need a support network. Hopefully, this will be your family or some close friends. They might not understand at first, so patience is key if you are unwell, but they will learn what needs to be done, and then you can concentrate on getting better. If you do not have anyone as your support, then speak to your medical practitioner, and they may be able to offer social support through their channels.

Getting Back on Track

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If your illness is not a chronic condition, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, then medication and therapy should see you back on track with your life within six months, going by my experience. However, if you are newly diagnosed with a chronic mental disability, you will need new ways of working.

I have written articles on working for yourself, and you can read my articles in the side hustle section of the website, as these cover working for yourself in the least stressful jobs going.

The thing to remember is you are of value, regardless of your condition. For the past five years, I have been poorly to some extent or another with my mental health, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing to my writing strength. I am a prolific writer, hence the reason behind this blog, as I had so much to say about my experiences, and then someone suggested it may help others, and so here it is.

You may be green-fingered, and you might be best changing your career from a stressful one to one where you can pick and choose your hours to suit you. You might excel in crafts so that you could sell them for profit. You can do plenty in your well time, and as someone who knows how difficult it is to hold down a 9 – 5, there are options.

Also, never be ashamed if you cannot hold down your previous job, these things happen, you are not alone in this, others have experienced this before you and gone onto new things which suit them better, this can be you too.

[AF] If you need someone to talk to, I recommend Calmerry, they are counsellors who work online and you can have counselling sessions with them from the comfort of your own home.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Peace & Blessings

Lou x

Lou Farrell

Welcome to the mental health blog of Lou Farrell. I am a writer and copywriter who pens all manner of articles relating to mental wellness and mental illness. I write about my own experiences and the knowledge I have gained over the years as someone who has bipolar disorder. I hope you enjoy the website :-)

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1 Response

  1. This is such a great thing to talk about as some people may not even know it’s an option to stop working for due to their mental health. It’s so good to know there are options out there.

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