Monday, July 2, 2012

If you have schizophrenia the world is a cruel place

My daughter, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia  in 2002, has lead a reasonably productive life since she was saved from the brink by an exceptionally talented psychiatrist called, Dr. Eugene Ahlers (who I think is now a Prof and who I will always regard as being on the same level as God, or any other Supreme Being). 

My daughter worked for our family business for several years and generally coped well under stress, although we did notice in the last 2 or 3 years that her concentration levels had started to deteriorate and she appeared to have some trouble recollecting information about facets of her job that were common-place and that she had previously done by rote.   She still got the work done.

When our company started to experience severe financial constraints earlier on this year, we took the decision as a family that she should look at trying to find herself another career, so that she would at least be guaranteed an income, if our business failed (which was a very real possibility in Feb/March this year).   She managed to find a job and has been on probation for the past three months – her probation finishes at the end of July this year.     The week before last, she had an anxiety attack – brought on by stress after she discovered that the person who is training her would be going on long vacation and leaving my daughter to  ‘hold the fort’.  My daughter did not feel sufficiently trained to cope on her own, hence the anxiety attack.   She went to the doctor and was prescribed medication to help her cope, this has worked and she returned to work after only 1 ½ days off.  

She was brought into a meeting today and told that they were not happy with her performance and that they would not be keeping her on a permanent basis but on temporary staff.  This is the first time that they have made any reference to her performance – all other feedback she has received from the women training her has been favourable.  She has made one or two small mistakes in the 2 months that she has been on probation, which have been corrected by her instantly.  A person is expected to make mistakes whilst they are learning a new job! 

I feel that my daughter is being treated very unfairly by these employers and that they are now victimising her because they are aware that she has schizophrenia – they didn’t ask at the interview whether my daughter had any mental or health issues and she did not volunteer this information.  The employer was unaware of my daughter’s mental history until her anxiety attack two weeks ago and this only resulted in a minimum amount of downtime on her part, less than if she had contracted the ‘flu. 

The options appear to be to stand and fight, take the employer to the cleaners and teach them a lesson;  or to look for alternative employment for my daughter in a less stressful environment.  

What would you do? 
Any advice welcome on this topic, believe me, I need it. 

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