Today has been 12 years since I walked into the office of my employer. All I knew at that time is that I had a job and who my direct supervisor was. I had no idea what the job exactly involved or what I was exactly doing. What I did know was that it was an opportunity that has evolved into being more educated about mental health and advocacy. It is a job that even to this day I still love .
However, in those initial years, my anxiety would override the ability to work less, My work many times involved asking people out in the open to complete a survey with me out in the open and while slowly accommodations have been made to accommodate my needs, the way I used to do my job has been changed first due to technology and then because of COVID. I also began to learn how to be a good advocate for individuals I was surveying by learning their needs and working towards getting what they needed as well.
While many aspects of my work have remained the same in the years I have been employed, there have also been many changes in the way we have done things. Through two office moves, changes in equipment, technology and methods of doing work have happened. I have also seen many of my fellow team members leave from a very large team of six at its peak to now just three including my supervisor and another team member. It has gone to show that the ways we have done work has since evolved and I have been more able to adapt to things.
I have also been presented with more opportunities since my initial job opportunities since I started working. I also chair the advocacy network governance committee that is housed in our agency, which resulted in me being a facilitator of a county committee that garners feedback from stakeholders in the mental health realm. I get to aid in facilitating what is put in plans to bring services that are needed in my county and also have the opportunity to learn at state level about initiatives to bring that work here.
Where there are many good that happened, there were also many learning experiences that made me realize that I needed to change things for the better where being employed for an agency that focuses on mental health recovery that I was not at my optimum point for being well and they initiated the conversation with my providers to start to turn my life around.
Over the years, I have said to those close to me that I would drop everything and leave my job. When in my right mind, that is completely untrue and unfathomable. While I know I need to grow and become more independent so I do not have to rely on others for a way to get there, I know eventually I will get to that point. I know with the world the way it is right now, the dynamic that supports the way I work is needed until times evolve and I can move on.
Now we are here on the 12th anniversary that I entered the door of my employer. I don’t know what the future holds for me, hopefully many more years at my employer where I can continue to flourish and be an even better employee. It is never about the money, but it does help me be independent. It is about being a productive member of society in the best way that I can.