I walked beside the manager as he took me from one display to the next in each section of the store. Explaining what was on them and why they were important. I tried to hold on to the information but after more than a few seconds a fog passed over me, clouding the part of my brain that helps me remember things. Why didn’t I take that little notebook with me? It was right there in my purse but I left it the locker.
Now it was too late. He was looking at me, waiting for me to tell him the name of the display he was pointing at. I looked back and forward between him and it. My mind drawing a blank. I felt absolutely foolish standing there and the only thing I could say was “ummmm.”
My behavior probably read as absent minded, aloof. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting this job was very important to me. It had been my first one in months and some part of me felt as if this would be my last chance before I would finally give up.
He told me the name of the display and I breathed a sigh of relief. He then took me to another display, pointed at it, and asked what it was. Yet again, I just stared, my mind blank and my mouth agape. When I felt like too long a time had passed I finally told him that I didn’t know. The expression on his face seemed to be a mixture of annoyance and impatience. It shouldn’t have been this hard for a grown woman to remember the names of a few displays.
I wanted to tell him why I couldn’t remember, maybe he would offer me some sympathy and we would go over the displays again. Perhaps he would let me go back and get my notebook. Then I remembered the application, and how quickly I checked the box saying that I didn’t have a disability. Telling him that I had hid the truth, that I actually was disabled, would only get me fired.
I remember the first time I told an employer that I have clinical depression. He responded by telling me about a guy who he used to work with who killed himself. Immediately thereafter, he threatened to fire me. For some reason I didn’t learn my lesson after this so, each time I filled out an application, I would check the box, “Disabled.” and wonder why I didn’t get callbacks from jobs I was qualified for. Most bosses don’t want to accommodate workers because that would mean they make less money.
Having an invisible disability gives me a little more privilege than people who are physically disabled For instance, no one asks me if I can have sex, no one approaches me in the checkout line to say they pity me for being alive, and most importantly I’ve learned not to disclose that I have depression and BPD, because then no one will tell me that God has made me sad as a punishment for sin.
Yet, we share and suffer similar consequences. I am unable to find steady employment and therefore unable to support myself. My quality of life is tied to a society that refuses to accommodate people like me.
A year from now, I probably won’t have this job and if by some miracle I do I will probably be debating whether or not I should leave it. Convincing myself that a new environment will help. That won’t be true, because from what I can tell, that’s never been true. I’ll just continue going from job to job. Holding on to the last bits of sanity I have left. Hoping that things will get better but I know they won’t.
I am currently in the process of publishing my first book detailing my life with chronic depression and BPD. Please be sure to follow me on twitter under the @lifelessspace to stay updated on my blog and book release. If you liked this post please consider donating to my paypal: https://www.paypal.me/aafira