Mark Chamberlain, 50, from Arbroath is bipolar and was made redundant from his job as a research scientist back in 2017. Since then, he struggled with his self-esteem and self-confidence. After getting help from Remploy, he secured his “dream job” as a Penumbra Peer Practitioner.
I lost my job back in 2017 through redundancy and because of my mental health issues I struggled from that point. My self-confidence and self-esteem were knocked and I was not prepared for that.
I was finding my own feet, looking for work and claiming jobseekers’ allowance and I was struggling. Bipolar is an awful illness. My mind can be quite flat and it does dip into depression.
I have hyper manic phases where my mood goes through the roof and I can be a bit too free with spending cash. You don’t see the things you are saying and doing are wrong. You then have happy euphoric sense where I speak in a total garble, I get distracted and I can’t concentrate on things. I get adventurous at times to the point of putting myself at risk. But with medication, not drinking and not putting myself in situations where I will be stimulated, these things are prevented.
It is not an easy illness to control but having something to focus on is vital – that is why being out of work for three years was a struggle.
Back in the day I trained to be a doctor and I wanted to work in the care profession. But having had a diagnosis of bipolar my medical career was cut short – back in the 90s it was frowned upon to have anything like that in the profession so I was kicked out.
After nine months of unsuccessfully searching for a job, I was referred onto Remploy by the jobcentre to give me some extra support. This was the point when everything turned around for me. Remploy came on board and helped to rebuild my self-confidence. They got me back on my feet after feeling quite negative about the whole job seeking experience. My self-confidence and self-esteem went through the floor, it was very, very difficult. But Remploy was able to help me with my anxieties and mild depression. Fast forward two years and I finally got myself a job doing exactly what I wanted, which is working with people. To get a job with Penumbra is poacher turned gamekeeper because I am working with people who have the same issues I had.
I am able to help people with that shared experience of going through it myself. It didn’t happen quickly, but every cloud has a silver lining. I found the job but I was only able to go for it because of the confidence Remploy had given me. During this pandemic, It’s important people do not lose hope. Don’t lose sight of hope and optimism. Don’t rule out anything you might be capable of doing.
There are so many things people do day to day that is transferable. Just know everyone is an extremely capable and talented person, so never lose hope. There is something out there for each and every one of us.
Thank you for sharing your story, Mark.
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