Is it ever acceptable to use the ‘C’ or ‘D’ card?

To get whoever is reading this up to speed when I say the ‘C’ card I mean cancer, and by ‘D’ card I mean depression. My background info is that my mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was 10 and passed away when I was 13. Then at the age of 20 I was diagnosed with depression.

My reason for posing this question is because I am always reluctant to view these two situations as relevant to my story. I almost feel anger towards the fact that they are a part of it. However, today I experienced my first real job interview and it’s safe to say I was unprepared and ripped to shreds. Anyway, I got asked what my parents do and I explained about my Dad, then when prompted about my mum I replied with ‘she doesn’t work’. An obvious (at least in my eyes) white lie which then my anxious brain spent awkwardly analysing instead of focussing on the questions ahead of me.

Some further background context is that at university I didn’t get involved in extra curricular activities for one reason or another. No societies, volunteering, part time work during term time, nothing. I know it’s bad… When questioned with what did you do instead I’m not sure why I responded ‘… Umm dunno… I went out’. Surely it would have made sense to discuss how I actually spent time focussing on myself by going to the gym, attending mindfullness classes and therapy groups?… and a side dish of going out? I’m not one of these people that can cope with doing a million and one things all at the same time and majorly succeeding. This is where my title question comes into play because could I have used the ‘d’ card at this point and say I invested in my personal wellbeing instead of broader group activities? Mental health is an extremely precious thing that I think was important for me to nourish it at the time instead of taking part in random societies?

My next question is in regards to the ‘c’ card. The interviewer mentioned a previous candidate who did loads of amazing things all while his Dad had cancer. When he mentioned cancer he sort of whispered it as if I knew who that candidate was, and had never experienced someone having cancer. So after the interview I sort of thought am I allowed to use the ‘c’ card? After all, it does impact your life in a weird way. I also got to thinking that people who have parents that have been affected by cancer often get lumped into : ‘their parent had it and they still achieved amazing things’ or it’s almost like they didn’t do enough and so it becomes an excuse. I fall into the latter, but then I’ m thinking can I talk about my ‘c’ and ‘d’ cards  in interviews instead of seeing them as a weakness? Or will it literally be my way of excusing myself from supposed lazy behaviour…. Is it possible for me to talk about what I perceive as pulling out the sad violin songs in a positive way? Or do I continue to leave them out?

Any useful tips and advice are more than welcome and much appreciated!



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