Louis has fibromyalgia, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. His is a variable condition – some days are worse than others - that can result in extreme fatigue, muscle spasms, and difficulties with his memory and processing.
“I know I look young (ish!), fit and healthy,” says Louis, “and in the past that has been a real problem. People might have thought I was a skiver, a bit of a dosser. And worrying about that caused me some anxiety.
“But 3 years ago, I decided I couldn’t just work any old job and I did not want to sit at home, the idea of drawing disability benefits was something I wanted to avoid. I wanted to be a good role model to my son, I wanted to feel valued and I wanted to make a difference. Support work – helping somebody else have good days and live an ordinary life – appealed straight away and it soon became a rewarding career.
“Dimensions seemed like a good organisation. They’ve got quite a few accreditations – they’re a Disability Confident Leader and a Mindful Employer – and in the interview, my eventual manager was very positive about the adjustments that could be made.
“I progressed quickly from support worker to lead support worker (including a Level 2 Distinction!) but sadly, in the background, my condition was – still is - getting worse. Support work has actually been helpful, as with fibromyalgia it is important to keep active, but there were some physical aspects that were getting too much for me. That’s when I decided to apply for a totally different role.
“Today, I’m a Dimensions resourcing assistant. Anyone reading this will know how important it is to recruit good people into care and support roles so I know I’m still a vital cog in the wheel.
"The organisation has been great – I have an ergonomic chair and a few other bits and pieces to help with my condition. Most importantly, the understanding and acceptance is there. I haven’t ever tried to hide my condition, Dimensions has done everything possible to support me at work and my colleagues understand that reasonable adjustments are not preferential treatment. ”
“What would I say to other people in my position? Don’t be that person who wastes their days away. Give support work a go, be open and upfront, and expect the same in return.”
You can find out more about how Dimensions looks after our colleagues here: https://www.dimensionscareers.co.uk/looking-after-our-colleagues