Friday, October 1, 2021

Working with Mental Illness


Working with a mental illness is hard. Holding down a full time job is already tough, but add in a mental illness, and you are in for a wild ride. For me it is a daily struggle. Having hid my mental illness from my coworkers for so long because I was ashamed, feared their reactions. I realized that I was just adding to the stigma.

Working with mental illness means we are working twice as hard. For me I am constantly pushing myself, trying to prove that I am just like everyone else. That I can do what everyone else can do. But the thing is, I’m not like everyone else. I have to make sure I take my medicine, keep a routine. And I still have bad days.

On good days I can wake up, go to work, do my job, engage with my coworkers. But on bad days, I have to drag myself out of bed, I turn on autopilot, I don’t talk to anyone. And on manic days, I never went to sleep, I talk too much, I’m fidgety. 

My coworkers knew deep down all along. And me being more open with them, talking with them, sharing my experiences with them, has opened their eyes to understanding more. Being sympathetic, becoming closer friends. 

I keep my routine, because routines for me help me stay on track. I wake up at the same time, keep the same morning routine, and leave for work at the same time. Even at work, I keep a routine. I try to keep the same schedule for my tasks. If I become overwhelmed, I take a step back and practice my deep breathing or ask for help. I have to work twice as hard because of what I battle in my head. That does not mean I can’t do my job. And the same goes for anyone battling mental illness.

Pretending to be ok and drowning in your work will only make things worse. Asking for help does not mean you are a failure, just means you need a little help. Drowning in your work will only make you feel worse. Your job wants you to succeed, because when you succeed they succeed.  

If all you take away from this is one thing then let it be this. It’s ok to ask for help. Either at work or home. Do not be ashamed to admit it, do not let the fear of judgement stop you.

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