A 2-Minute Story About Connections Halifax

"They have a reason to get up and to not want to lose time."
Gail Kelly at connections knows that work - an essential component of identity - is a critical component of recovery.

Watch the video.

Robert has a background in sales and currently works part-time as a mortgage broker with a firm that also leases office, kitchen and heavy equipment. Returning to the workforce was, he says, “a huge, huge step”. He made the decision in to take a job at the company where his friend worked with the blessing of his therapist.

"She set some ground rules,” says Robert. “I had to be very mindful of the stress.”
Luckily, the company Robert joined does not require him to meet quotas and is flexible about the hours he works. Recently, however, Robert’s company has become part of another franchise which is more aggressive when it comes to sales, and this concerns him a little. “I have the tendency to become a real worrier,” he says.

“I have the tendency to become a real worrier."

Robert has the support of his wife who -next to his therapist - has been his biggest lifeline. “I don’t think anyone believes in me more than she does,” says Robert. She was apprehensive about his going back to work, but it has been a very gradual process, says Robert. Now, his wife cheers him on to do a job he loves. 

“It restores my self confidence. It gives me a sense of worth, of contributing. It keeps me healthy. It allows me to start growing again.”

Robert still struggles some days. “You get rejection in this kind of work,” he says. “Good salesmen never take it personally, but that’s hard to do.” He also dreams of making it as a public speaker and working in the field of mental health. To this end he became a member of the Healthy Minds Cooperative’s Speakers Bureau and is currently involved with Stand Up for Mental Health, a course which teaches people living with mental illness how to write and perform comedy.

Robert knows the untapped potential of people living with mental illness, and urges employers to “be flexible, be compassionate” and to see the value in what people like him have to offer, not just their limitations. To people living with mental illness, he says the most important thing you can do is “to avoid as much negativity in your life as possible.

“It restores my self confidence."

“ We really need to do things for our own souls,” says Robert. ‘What keeps me healthy is the positive feedback I get from people.”  And on the job, he says the acceptance of the business community keeps him going.

“I’m feeling better, not 100%. I don’t know if I ever will be,” he says “But every day that I’m moving forward is a good day.”

About Anna Quon
Anna is an accomplished freelance/creative writer and writing workshop facilitator. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  She is passionate about many things, especially writing. It is through her writing, and her volunteer work with community organizations, that Anna honours the lives of people who, like her, are living with mental illness. In 2008, Anna received the Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. In 2009, Anna published her first novel titled Migration Songs which was shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award.

Visit Anna's website.