We all know that it is better to be an active member of society, to be a part of as much as we can, make friends, and live a full life. This makes us stand most able to be happy. But, there are a few issues around what we can expect, what is appropriate, and what is actually harmful to an individual.
There is a lot of call for those of us with mental health problems to “stop being so wet and get a job”. I can appreciate this from the other side, after-all, not many people want to be tied to their work in a routine, deal with bosses, colleagues, employees, and customers. It's not easy, and work loads can be intense. It can look like this person has simply decided that they don't want to do it any more, for the same reason you wish you could stop doing it.
This is perhaps why the benefit payment for someone who is on the sick but for mental health alone has been a similar amount to unemployment benefit, with top ups depending on timescale, and severity. Giving the extra benefits for further disability means that we can be more generous if the situation is arguably more severe than a typical mental health complaint. Some of us have extremely difficult mental lives, due to all kinds of input received while growing up, experiences as an adult, and of course the occasional medical unbalance for any number of reasons. These things don't show up until the person begins to interact with others.
This is where it becomes difficult, when a person is mentally ill, they will not interact in the same way as a mentally healthy person. Their behaviour will be different. Hardly ever harmful, but perhaps a lot less predictable and more emotionally volatile, or reclusive, a mentally ill person will struggle to maintain professional relationships at all times. This is why it is important we recognise their need to be protected from work environments.
It is no shame to be mentally unwell, and it is not a problem for us as long as we make efforts to get better when possible, however we must accept that because of our unbalanced or unstable condition, our social interaction at all levels will be affected. This makes life harder for all, when expected to perform at a similar pace to a mentally well person. In order to keep things going at a decent pace for all involved, respect for the situation needs to be applied, and an allowance given for the unwell or struggling person to gracefully decline due to their reasons, and be granted their right to live a decent life, at least secure from the threat of loss of home, hunger, or inability to pay bills.
Many people know they'd be no good in a high paced work environment, they understand that their mental health will not allow them to cope, and they are very afraid of being forced into anything like that because of how it will affect them, and ultimately how they will end up letting people down. If a person is not able, forcing them is only harming all. If a person is able but doesn't want to, then still, truly how much help can they be? Is it worth the time, money, and effort in forcing them if they're going to fight each minute? That is a sign of mental stress as well, as this situation is caused by an overloading of personal tension, making anything else seem impossible.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a basis for self improvement, while we work through our goals, we look at the thinking patterns and habits that cause us to feel certain ways. We first accept that thing will happen to cause us to behave in unbalanced ways, and then we look to see how we can avoid it next time by addressing the thought path that led us to the action. Perhaps we had a panic attack, or we got angry at ourselves for something, we can learn how to choose different thoughts next time. In a social and casual environment, this is okay, as we are not expected to be anything but ourselves, but in a work situation, it can become very difficult for everyone. We're not being paid to conduct therapy on ourselves.
If only more of us could recognise the truth behind why people feel the way they do, why people choose to escape from life, and why they feel completely unable to carry out work. Knowing of fears, anxieties, and feelings of low self worth, I am sure we could be a lot kinder with the system, in giving human beings their rightful allowances to feel unwell, even if they are physically fine.