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#21 How to understand how someone with a Mental illness feels going to work

I believe most people don’t like going to work…getting up early when its cold outside? No thanks! But, for those with mental illnesses, it can be torture and takes all their strength and energy to get out of bed. A typical day for me in the past in a retail pharmacy job would be something like this…before I decided to finally get help…

The thought of making small talk with people you might not really like or know is tortuous. Thinking of who will be in the lunchroom with you during lunch time is daunting too. What if your boss asks to speak to you?

adult beautiful bed bedroom
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The struggle to leave the bed

Maybe you should just stay home today?? But, we can’t do that! That means explaining to your boss that you don’t feel week and that’s lying and what if they fire you? You can’t tell them you have a mental illness, they won’t care, they won’t understand, they will judge you and label you as crazy, they will think you are faking a sickie. No one is going to hire you. You worked so hard to find this job. You thought that you could join a place that is ‘against discrimination’, but we all know that the stigma still exists. It is safer to be quiet, to be silent and to fight the battle alone …for as long as you can.

accuracy alarm clock analogue business
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You count the seconds that you can get home

But today, it’s different, the depression comes back…it’s always been there…but you have been fighting it. You are barely able to muster enough strength to go to work. You’ve done it before, you can do it again. Counting down the hours, minutes and seconds till you are back in the comfort of your bed. Where you are safe, where no one can harm you, bully you and make you feel like you are nothing. You don’t know if you are overreacting or if it’s the depression.

adult art conceptual dark
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Lying that you are Fine

On the off chance, someone might ask you how you are. “I am fine thanks. Just tired” That’s the best you can come with. If they ask “Why are you tired?” …”Oh, couldn’t sleep”…Due to my racing thoughts of suicide and anxiety. But you can’t say that, can you? They are being ‘nice’, but hey I am not going to unload to some stranger…Work really isn’t the place for that. I think. Please don’t look at me. I don’t want people to notice my sadness. I don’t want to be noticed, I just want to pretend everything is okay. I don’t think you really care.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
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You are not productive at work

You are surprised you haven’t broken down on the floor crying. You hold back the tears. You feel guilty…There are sicker people who come to get medicine for all sorts of terrible diseases, yet they are still smiling. Yet you, faking that smile, feel like you are dying inside. So many people are on anti-depressants, but I don’t want to get help…what is work finds out? I work full-time…there’s no time to go see a doctor or a psychologist. These things are bloody expensive as well! No one can help me. It’s just a phase…I will get better on my own. I can’t wait for the weekend so I can sleep through it.

adult alone anxious black and white
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I can’t deal with small issues

When something small doesn’t go to plan, I just can’t problem solve anymore. I feel like there’s no alternative, there is no way. I am going to get fired for not being able to solve this. I am afraid to ask someone for help, they are going to judge me and look at me like I am stupid. It’s all my fault…I don’t know how to fix this! Why am I so useless and dumb?

man s face greyscale picture
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My memory becomes like mush

My brain is constantly fighting with itself, flight or fight. My heart is racing and I am sweating. So nervous… I forget things easily, wait how many boxes of Sertraline do I need to order again? Was it 2 or 4? What was the password again? Oh, I left my keys in the car again. Oh, I also left my phone at home…Why I am so forgetful? Why am I stupid…repeat above. Why do I feel like I am going to cry over this small thing?

woman in black shirt facing mirror
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I feel ugly and I hate my reflection

I can barely wake up in time to get to work, let alone care about how shi* I look. My hair is a mess, it’s too long, but I can’t bring myself to get a haircut. It’s too much effort. Who cares anyway? The makeup doesn’t even hide the eye bags due to the constant lack of sleep. I feel like I’ve grown older. I stare at the mirror… Who is that soulless person that stares back at me? I don’t even know her? Why does she look so sad? Why is she so ugly?

No one is going to like her.


I feel apathetic

The normal me, before I became severely depressed, was happy, outgoing and chatty. But when I started at this toxic workplace, I lost it all. I became someone who I didn’t know. I didn’t care about the patients that walked through the door, I couldn’t handle the rudeness with a smile anymore. I just froze and fought back tears. My resilience was gone. The terror of the increasing number of mistakes made the anxiety worse. It made me even slower and made people doubt my abilities even more. I get taunted by the bully, “You are too slow! Why are you so useless?” You don’t need to tell me, I already know.

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The depression makes you stay where you are because it feels even scarier to change

Familiar is not always good. When you stay in a toxic situation, it’s like being in a room full of Carbon Monoxide, it will slowly kill you. The depression lies to you, the bullies lie to you, you can move. You are more than their taunts, you are more than what you think you are. But you don’t know this. You only find out when you leave the toxic place and realise, that a good workplace might exist.

woman dark eye spooky
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Well, that’s all the blabber from me today.

I am sure there are benefits from working, income, kill time, learn things and make friends…That can be another post.

Sorry for the emo post! Sorry not sorry.

Joy to the World

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