Reentering the Workforce After a Breakdown

Ashley Smith blogger extraordinaire is featured today as my Guest Blogger talking about:

Reentering the Workforce After a Breakdown.

In her own words she’ll talk about her experience plus give tactics that could help peers.

How to Reenter the Workforce After a Breakdown:

I worked many jobs prior to my first breakdown at age 20. I started working when I was 14 years old. I struggled to maintain jobs, but didn’t understand why. I didn’t know I had a diagnosis. My last breakdown occurred in 2018. There were a series of stressful events that led to my meltdown.

After the hospitalization I participated in weekly therapy sessions and developed an extensive health plan. I worked hard to build myself up to return to work. I carried out a range of steps to restore wellness. I managed a daily routine which consisted of walking around my neighborhood for 15 to 45 minutes, journaling, listening to entrepreneur empowerment talks on YouTube, and reciting affirmations along with my prayers. I kept all doctor and therapy appointments and continued to take my medication.

I developed a variety of projects such as my book, Coping Takes Work. I also took on small jobs as a freelance writer and blogger. When I built up my confidence I steadily applied for jobs. I utilized my network and let associates know that I was looking for work. A great resource that I utilized for my job search was reading Christina Bruni’s book, Working Assets. The book is filled with important tips and strategies on how to re-enter the workforce while living with a diagnosis.

It took several months to get back into the workforce due to my health concerns, COVID-19, and job availability. I didn’t take the first job that was offered to me, because I weighed my pros and cons. I was mindful of my family needs and the demands of the position. When I accepted my job I made a commitment to focus on stress management techniques to maintain wellness in order to work.

Yet, keeping a daily self-care ritual is challenging. However, I learned to recognize when it’s time to change my routine. Currently, I manage my health by practicing stress management skills. My stress management plan consists of self-reflection time, confidence-building activities, and participating in therapy.

Finally, as I reflect on my experience I urge peers to create an individualized plan of action to maintain their wellness and jobs. I support alternative healthy coping skills that help people. Lastly, I define recovery as staying in your good place, therefore, create that good place by managing your stress and taking control of recovery and life as best you can.

–Ashley Smith

Read her blog at Overcoming Schizophrenia here.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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