The Role Of Mental Illness In The Workplace

July 26, 2012 Alistair McHarg

Like it or not, mentally ill people need to find employment just like everyone else. This leaves many of us wondering – precisely where might a mentally ill person slip into the workplace undetected? Indeed, what kind of jobs are mentally ill people even capable of performing? Well, the answer might surprise you!

Obviously, even the most seriously impaired in our midst are qualified for positions in The State Department, House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Sub-Committee For Overseeing The Oversights Of The House Oversight Committee, and Halliburton.

But, beyond the rarefied world of insider politics - where nothing consequential occurs and receiving money simply for demonstrating the ability to appear busy while basking in incompetence and indolence - is a world of real labor, populated by skilled professionals accomplishing meaningful tasks. It’s true!

For example, did you know that many mentally ill people have found successful careers as cab drivers, carnival barkers, and shoe salesmen? Would it surprise you to learn that many of our most beloved artists are two or three tacos short of a combo platter?

I know what you’re thinking. Even a raving lunatic can hammer together a living selling aluminum siding or peddling ill-gotten insider stock tips after hours, assuming a sufficient level of greed and lack of ethics. But creating art is another matter altogether.

Sifting through banal rubble in order to fashion that which is both new and transcendent requires one to be at the absolute height of one’s powers, body-mind-spirit seamlessly integrated in much the way an Olympic athlete fuses physical prowess with an ability to shamelessly plug shabby products thrust upon an unsuspecting public.

Artists, we imagine, dazzle us with inspired insight precisely because they have achieved an elevated level of mental health. Not so fast, Sparky. In fact, many of our most popular performers suffer crippling forms of mental illness and manage to flourish anyway, even going so far as to incorporate their psychological challenges directly into their art and performances. For example:

Lady Gaga has a pathological fear of being eaten by a bear (arktophobia). Psychologists are evenly split regarding the significance of her now iconic “meat dress”. Some maintain that it was a way for her to bravely confront her fear, while others believe it was so reckless as to border on sheer self-destruction.

Adam Sandler has crippling self-esteem issues; ridicule reduces him to tears. This is why, despite the odds against it, he managed to produce many movies without ever making a funny one – that is how intensely he dreads the idea of being laughed at.

Sacha Baron Cohen, who suffers from malignant narcissism and profound self-loathing, insists on making films so insulting to audiences that contempt and revulsion seem to rise from them like steam, eventually finding their way back to him, thereby solidifying the illnesses.

The list goes on and on. So remember, if you’re feeling unqualified for gainful employment, remember this – if these horribly handicapped people can make it, then you certainly can.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2012, July 26). The Role Of Mental Illness In The Workplace, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

July, 27 2012 at 1:29 pm

Call me void of humor but I found this offensive.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 27 2012 at 3:50 pm

I am so sorry you didn't enjoy it. As they say, "Dying is easy, comedy is hard". Ultimately humor is subjective.

July, 26 2012 at 7:18 am

I believe that Lady Gaga also wore the meat dress because she is also pathologically fearful of vampires and werewolves(twilightphobia)many of whom were sitting in the audience just waiting for her to let her guard down.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 26 2012 at 7:21 am

You are right about that audience! Leeches, barracuda, piranha, sharks, and accountants.

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