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Gina P
Gina P, LCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 175
Experience:  MSW, LCSW, PIP
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How can a mentally ill woman with no recent job history get

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How can a mentally ill woman with no recent job history get a job? I'm 34 and have ADD and/or LD, OCD and/or OCPD, social/performance anxiety, and depression. I've had meds/counseling since age 18. Although I earned a BA and I'm a valued church member, none of my jobs or romantic relationships have lasted longer than a year, and I still live with my mom. I was fired from several jobs because I didn't learn/perform fast enough. I've been unemployed since 2002 because job descriptions sound intimidating to me - they all require "multitasking," while I'm a hyperfocuser - and I fear being fired. WA's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) tried to help me, but I couldn't bring myself to apply for jobs, so DVR closed my case. I applied for SSI, was denied, and didn't bother reapplying because my counselors said it would be hard to prove that I qualify. So I spend my time going from one diversion to the next & feeling stymied. How can I be decisive & productive? Thanks & Happy New Year!


I am so glad you are working to make your situation better! When you have the disorders you discussed, it is important to be diligent in your work environment. Many employers are obligated to provide "reasonable accomodations" for workers who have these types of diagnosis. You do not have to reveal these issues at interviews, but can speak with an EAP or counselor once hired, and with human resources who can provide you with the discrimination information regarding this.

I would suggest you continue your search for employment. As you have probably already discovered, working has many positive benefits in the social, emotional areas as well as financial. But after finding a job, talk to the people I have mentioned and let them know what accomodations you may need. Reputable employers really are interested in keeping their good employees happy.

Please don't let these diagnosis labels set you back, or hinder you from continuing to reach your goals.

Relationships are about the same. People who genuinely like you, or love you, also make reasonable accommodation. So please don't give up on this either.

Vocational Rehab, that you went to previously can assist you in finding employment and can also assist in identifying what employers are more empathetic to your needs.

Happy, I hope this helps. Gina

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the quick reply! Can you please suggest specific accommodations for my habits of being forgetful, getting distracted, getting too wrapped up in details (perfectionism), and being slow/unproductive? How many workplaces would grant me, say, a longer training period or more time to finish my work?

I wish "patience" were a concrete accommodation. ;-)


Resonable accomodations are usually determined by your needs as long as you can do your duties. That's a good reason to involve voc rehab to assist you and your employer in determining what your needs are. The employment laws usually obligate your employer to accomodate for those things you are asking.

Patience can be defined in specific behavioral terms if you have a liason with the vocational rehab to assist you. Wink

I wish you the best! Gina

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