Living with mental illness is a challenge on its own that only those who live it and their family members can truly understand its ups and downs. Although most of us can live normally with mental illness and function in society, there are times when we become so overwhelmed and stuck because the path to healing is oftentimes not linear. For some people, it takes years to find the right medication or treatment to manage their symptoms, and others might get lucky and find what works for them in a month. Nevertheless, mental illness ranges from depression to schizophrenia and they all can be debilitating and life threatening at times.
I was one of them and ended up having to leave my job following the hospitalization due to psychosis. I decided to write an article to share some helpful resources and job options for those of you who might be either going through what I had to go through or simply having a hard time finding/keeping a job due to your mental illness. Unfortunately, I didn’t have these resources at the time and I was jobless for months, which left me to struggle financially later on. I hope this article helps even just one person find something that can generate income while battling mental illness.
File for Disability Benefit
This should be the first thing to look into if you are currently disabled due to your mental illness. The filing process takes some time and to be determined disabled is not a guaranteed thing. So please be patient with the process. Your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the benefit and you can do so by visiting your state’s website. For example, California residents can visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/Disability_Insurance.htm for more information. Next step should be to find a licensed psychiatrist who does disability. Some psychiatrists do not do disability so it is wise to make a phone call first to see if they do before making an appointment. Once acquainted with the right psychiatrist, then you can be evaluated for your symptoms and its severity and finally get started to file for your disability.
What if I didn’t qualify for disability?
Some people do not get qualified for disability and that can potentially mean going into deeper debt. Most jobs out there require working closely with co-workers and customers and this can be very hard and impossible for those with severe mental illness. But what if there is a job where you get to work for yourself and there was minimal contact with people?
After I got discharged from a mental hospital, I lost my job and I could not find any jobs that I could do as I was still having some severe symptoms. I stayed jobless for months until I got better with the treatment and therapy. Now that my head was more clear and feeling more stable, I was on the search for jobs that were the least stressful and manageable. That is when I found these jobs as a food delivery driver.
With Doordash, you set your own schedule and work whenever you want to. Flexibility with time and schedule was huge for somebody like myself who was still getting better and recovering from psychosis. I had days when I just could not work but I was able to simply unassign myself from the scheduled slot and take the day off without having to worry about losing the job. Another thing I absolutely love about this job is the fact that I spend most of my time driving and not having to report to my boss or dealing with co-workers. As an additional bonus, I can even listen to meditation music most of the time while driving! These are all luxuries that I didn’t have when I worked a regular 9-5 job.
Lastly, I would also like to introduce Lyft. Lyft is more for people who don’t mind interacting with people and love driving to any places. Because you often don’t know where your destination is, this might not be a choice for those who struggle with severe anxiety or other mental illness where interaction with others is a challenge. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue working for Lyft but I wanted to share it with you to at least provide you with one more job option.
What if I can’t drive?
Some people are unable to drive either due to their anxiety or their financial situations. If you are completely stuck at home, these are some things you should consider. Although these options don’t generate as much income as Doordash and Lyft, they are still legitimate ways to put some money in your wallet.
Swagbucks – Swagbucks is a platform where you can earn points by simply watching a short video, taking a survey, and even playing a game. You can then redeem those points into PayPal credits or Visa gift cards. One thing I do want to remind you is that it can take some time and efforts to earn points so this will not be for someone who needs to come up with quick cash.
Inbox dollars – Inbox dollars is a very similar platform as Swagbucks where you can earn money by watching videos and completing surveys. The only difference is that they offer you an option to read emails to earn money as well.
More options to consider
There are some apps on Android/iPhone that let you earn rewards by simply uploading grocery receipts. Here, I would like to share a couple of my favorites.
Ibotta – With Ibotta, all you have to do is install the app on your phone and select offers to upload the receipt. They cover most major grocery stores and list variety of offers to give us cash back, which are very helpful. Because of its ease of use, this is my favorite one and I’ve been using this app for a few years now.
Receipt Hog – Receipt Hog is even simpler than Ibotta. There is no selecting of offers and you simply upload receipts to receive coins. Then, you can redeem those coins for PayPal credits, Amazon and Visa gift cards.
There are many ways we can earn money. We don’t always have to work regular 9-5 jobs if we don’t want to. Although some of the options I shared in this article do not generate massive income, they are all helpful resources when it comes to being disabled or stuck. I would like to encourage you to be creative if none of the options in this article does not work for you and your situation. There are more things you can look into such as donating blood/plasma for money, selling your own arts on Etsy, and doing random gigs on Craigslist, etc…
I hope this article gave you enough options to get you through the toughest time and if you happen to know other awesome ways, please share them in the comment section below 🙂