Reginald* came to LifeWorks NW after experiencing a manic episode. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he suffered from paranoia, depression, and racing thoughts to such a degree that he had been hospitalized and had to quit his job. Vacillating between wanting help and being ashamed of needing it, he started in the Supported Employment program, but was hesitant to commit to the process. He knew he needed a change, but didn’t know what to do. Wanting to work, he found that when he tried on his own, a job only seemed to add stress to his life and soon found he had to make the choice between quitting the job or going back to the hospital. He recalls “there came a point where I realized there was no future in what I was doing. I didn’t want to be a kid anymore. I wanted to start making a life for myself.” Once he realized this, Reginald began to fully engage in the program and worked to find a job that would allow him to be himself while having fun.
After getting to know Reginald, his Supported Employment Specialist learned that he was passionate about basketball, and they began to look for opportunities at local gyms. A manager from a local YMCA met with Reginald to interview him for a part-time front desk position, and there was an instant connection. He was hired and started working, three days per week. Reginald threw himself into the job and took pride in his work. He studied the history of the YMCA and worked hard to represent their principles. He became the “go-to guy” for anyone who needed a shift covered, and soon established himself as a dependable co-worker and employee. Shortly after he began his job, Reginald was given the keys to the building and entrusted with more responsibilities and more shifts.
Reginald has been highly successful on the job, having received both a promotion and a raise. He is proud of his job and has a positive outlook about his future.
*not his real name