I had to fill in a health declaration for St John last night. This scares me so much. St John is my escape, it makes me feel better, I genuinely enjoy the looking after people. Without the politics it would be my perfect pasttime. It’s what started me down the long road to nursing in the first place, it’s my passion. So anyway, I have a place to do PTA (patient transport attendant), the lower level of ambulance crew course within St John. I really want to do this, it will give me a few extra skills, and allow me to use some of the ones I already have without getting frowned at for acting above my station. I hoped I’d get away with never doing another health dec for them so they couldn’t see how much my mentl health has deteriorated since I joined, and have no reason to rescind my membership but no such luck.

I have a feeling this is not going to end well. I’ve been completely honest. Why yes, I have been turned down from a job becasue of a medical condition. Yes, I do have a mental problem. I can’t see them liking this, and I don’t think it would help if I told them not to worry because the psych said I’m only a danger to myself not to others. I gues there are two points this leads to. The first is the way the form was worded really angered me. One of the questions was

“do you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, mental conditions?”

It’s that last phrase I have a problem with. I have a mental health condition, not a mental condition. I think it’s the negative connotations of the word mental on its own, without the fluffier health tacked on after it. Now I don’t know if this is just me being over sensitive?

Another question reads

“Do you have any mental and / or physical problems at the present time?”

As Nick pointed out I’ve no problem with them using physical without health after it, but then and again that doesn’t have the negative asssociations of mental. Any views? This is a standard SJA form and I don’t like it but I don’t want to just be horribly misinterpreting as per usual.

The second thing this raised is my complete black and white thinking. In this case, my desire to be honest on the form nearly made it read even worse than it already does. I wanted to be so honest. I felt I needed to tell them I’d been hospitalised following a suicide attempt in the last month, that I didn’t want to live anymore, that I’m crazy, that the job I’d been turned down for was directly relevant to St John. This information wasn’t asked for per se, but missing it out felt like lying, manipulating the truth for my own ends.

Anyway, it’s in the post now so just have to wait. I’ve said they can phone me if they need further details but giving my habit of babbling incoherently on the phone, it probably won’t help my case. To be fair, St John is full of the mad, the broken and the generally disturbed, in some cases it seems to be a condition of membership. I don’t feel my health stops me carrying out the role but NHS occy health felt I couldn’t work in a hospital, so why are SJA going to let me lose on the public in an even less protected setting?


2 Responses to Honesty

  1. aims says:

    Your comments made me think of another blogger I know who has this posted on her sidebar – ~We need to stop saying crazy like it’s a bad thing.~

    How true is that?!

    For people who have never gone through this – they would have flown through that application without a second thought. For us tho – we look at each word and swirl it around and around and try to figure out how to answer. We have to actually figure it out. Each word seems like a finger pointed in our direction.

    I believe in honesty. That way you don’t get caught lying and you don’t have to remember what you’ve made up.

    Sometimes tho – omitting isn’t such a bad thing.

    Got my fingers crossed for you. Too many refusals only make things worse.

  2. Good luck. I hope it all works out well. Maybe St John’s occy health will be more reasonable than the twonks in the NHS occy health department – after all I’ve not heard of public panics a la Beverley Allitt etc from St John, which is why I think the NHS have a tendency to over-react.

    Take care,

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