Thursday, 3 May 2012


So life has been getting better and better, I think the may have hit the nail on the head with this medication. Anyway, with my new lease of life, I decided right there and then, spur of the moment to go and apply for a job.
Now I had seen this job advertised in the local paper and it would be right up my alley- it was in a hotel.
I decided to get out my sunday best and make my way down, cv in hand and approach the mananger.

So here I am in the lobby, looking like a lighthouse on overdrive, trying to see if I could place him. After a while I decided to go in and ask the barman for a cup of coffee and a read of the morning newspaper. I get my coffee and newspaper and sit down and stay on look out again.

I see the manager and he calls me over for a chat. We run through the usual formalities. We come to the 'Why the gap in your cv?' question. 'What have you been doing recently? ' Even though I was expecting the question, panic set in. I wanted to explain my situation, that I had recently been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was getting a handle on it, medication wise, but instead, for some crazy reason, I blurted out 'I had a heart problem, at 29 years of age!' I walked out of there, shaking my head in bewilderment!

Looking back at this, I realise that I was afraid I was going to be judged unfairly because of my true medical condition. I wonder to myself, should I have been completely honest? or would honesty completely ruin my chances of getting the job? I am sure there are so many other people out there like me trying to cross this hurdle. Will the stigma of mental health issues ever be broken?


  1. Take heart, be brave one more time. Ring and ask for an appointment. Meet him. Tell him the truth. You may find that your fears are unfounded. You may find that they are. You may or may not get the job. But you will have taken the important step and the next one will be easier.

    Good luck with it!

  2. AnonymousMay 03, 2012

    Don't be hard on yourself, Ciaran. These things are never easy to just open up to, especially to a stranger. But I think, Ms F is right. Give it one more go and, if you can, explain the situation to him. I reckon you'll feel all the better whether or not you get the job.

    Best of luck, mate.

  3. Thanks guys and I agree with you two 100% and I might just do that. I would like to think that this stigma can be broke and I am helping to do that, so people dont feel embarrassed and have the voice to speak up. Thanks so much for your kind advice

  4. Hi there, I had a friend who went for a job interview for teaching. He was in AA and had never told anyone bout his past. but at this particular interview he decided that he would tell the interviewer that he in fact had changed his life and had been on an AA program for three years......he got the turns out that the interviewer's brother was also in AA and he totally understood what courage it took to tell the truth!! Hope this helps xx

  5. AnonymousMay 03, 2012

    Hey Mr. B. Don't beat yourself up.
    The world can be a very cruel place and there is still a very negative attitude out there towards mental illhealth. I suffer from and am being sucessfully treated for depression, so I am aware. But it is getting better now that people are better informed.
    In reality,regardless of whether you suffer from mental of physical illhealth, it is of no relevance to an employer unless it effects your ability to carry out your duties.
    What is relevant is how you feel about the experience.
    My advice for what it's worth...let it go, chalk it up to experience, and be prepared the next time.
    Don't sweat the small stuff (we all tell fibs at interview!!)and focus on the good and important. Medication is working, you're feeling better, and always remember: if it's for you it won't pass you.

  6. Thanks for being so honest. My first reaction was to say... Tell him nothing, it's your business. But reading the comments above by Derek & Sam, I realised, the stigma will continue if we are afraid to speak up about it. Totally understand why you did what you did, having done similar myself.
    Food for thought.... And that's what great blogging is about. Take care. Carol

  7. It's always going to be the same with some employers, Ciaran. No matter what your circumstances, you will be judged. I applied for a job which was perfect for me, but found out afterwards that the interviewer would not consider me, as our daughter was 6 at the time, and if I had 1 child, I was bound to have another. There will always be judgement, and don't let it ever stop you. I know it's not the same as the challenges you face, but you will get where you want to go.

  8. You did what most of us would do in that situation.I always find it helps to have an idea what to say.Simple & to the point is best.You had this happen,you got help,your life is wonderful now.It shows massive strength of character to an employer.We all have our "gaps".For what's its worth.I would hire you :-)

  9. AnonymousMay 04, 2012


    Thanks for sharing

  10. Ciaran, so delighted things are changing for you, you deserve it so much!!

    Don't beat yourself up - it's hard to say but do go back and see him.

    Take a look at the business section of our website,
    read the information there - it will give you confidence and maybe you'll decide to refer him too for education.

    Download the helpful hints and carry card

    Only by everyone understanding depression will attitude/stigma change.

    Best of luck x

  11. Gaps suck. I have a 9 year gap to explain. Not everyone is going to understand the decisions I have made, or the mental illness we are both dealing with. But, with each others help, we will plow through this too:)

  12. Hi Ciaran

    I just found your blog via the article. I was very impressed with your openness and clarity.

    Unfortunately you have good reason to be nervous. The dreadful events surrounding the Kate Fitzgerald case prove that much. I know two admirable men, one a doctor, one a lawyer. They both say the same thing about mental health: on the form, say absolutely nothing.

    People might say you are doing the right thing in breaking the stigma, but you are the one with most to lose. If you smash the stigma and those people retain it, you are the one who (unfairly) suffers. That said, Samantha is also right: there are many out there who only care if you are the right person for the job and are not hung up about such things. And I know people who have had episodes of mental illness who have now returned successfully to the workplace and prospered there.

    I can't give a definitive answer but unfortunately, with those stigmatising mental illness in recent dreadful events still flaunting themselves around the place unpunished, I would probably plump towards saying less rather than more. But you have to follow your heart and if your heart says "tell the truth", then do just that :)

    All the best to you Ciaran and I hope you soon secure the work you need.

  13. Hi Ciaran, I think I have to agree with the last poster. I think if you do your job well and you are the man for the job, its nobodies business. I think you are very brave and if you feel you need to disclose personal information about your illness then that is entirely up to you. I totally understand that you want to smash the stigma associated with mental illness but I would not like to think that you will have to suffer the consequences. There are still a large number of people out there who would discriminate against you because of your illness.

    In any event, the decision is yours and I wish you every success in your future whichever way you go :) x

  14. Hi Ciaran, I am sorry you are going through this. It's not fair.

    If I was the employer at the first interview, your mental health history wouldn't bother me. But that said, I think if I was the employer if you rang me back for a second interview, while I'd understand why you weren't upfront, I'd have reservations - if you'd avoided telling me anything, I wouldn't have an issue and would understand - but you told an untruth - and that would bother me as an employer.

    What if I took you on on the basis of the untruth and found out later?

    My suggestion is to ring him and explain and offer an apology, but perhaps suggest that because of the untruth, you won't look for the job.

    This might be worth doing if you are looking for a job in the same town but are upfront at an interview elsewhere - if he finds out you were hired elsewhere and then gets to hear that you had a mental health history, he could possibly say that you told him a fib.

    It's not a situation I envy and I wish you all the best in your job hunt. Just tell the truth - and if you get burned because of it, well, what does that say about the employer? To me, it says they're an arsehole and not worth the trouble.

    I hope that is of some help and I also hope it does not offend - I am not trying to be, I'm just trying to put myself in the employers position.

  15. Tricky one. If you weren't asked to provide a CV, maybe you'd have some chance of getting through some of the application process before health screening becomes an issue? As has been said above, honesty is only option. Some employers will show a supportive attitude. Those that don't? Probably best you find out before taking the job...