I wanted to write about how I work full time with having my severe depression and anxiety.
I’ve often get asked this a lot, how do you work full time and manage with your symptoms??
Honestly, not gonna lie here, it’s really rough. 99% of the time, it’s rough.
I work with mental health and substance abuse. With my own mental health, it does sometimes take its toll. I mean don’t get me wrong, I like what I do (no I’m not a therapist/psychiatrist before anyone asks), I help people get linked with resources, the little that are over here in the USA.
I have really good days where I’m upbeat and push so hard to get things done and do well. Then, I have days where I literally will just sit and stare at my computer screen because I really can’t function.
It doesn’t make me lazy or unproductive, I just some days really can’t function.
Or my anxiety will take over and I’m having anxiety attack after anxiety attack and can’t relax.
I have to take it day by day.
However, I get up Monday-Friday each day and make myself go. I have to. I know I have to.
Here’s a few pointers that I have implemented and do help:
- Don’t hide symptoms from management: really, I know it sounds weird, and I did for a long time, until I started getting questions from my boss. She is now aware of my mental health and is really supportive actually. I can be honest and outright to her when I’m having a bad day, and it makes it easier. (Reminder: no employer can let you go for any mental health issues, it’s discrimination and you can take legal action)
- Take mini breaks throughout the day: taking small breaks throughout the day, even if it’s a couple minutes, can help keep you mentally in check. I’ll step outside and get some fresh air briefly or I’ll take a walk around my office.
- Don’t isolate: isolating from other coworkers is the worst thing you can do. It just consumes you in your own thoughts. Make sure you’re interacting. I really don’t know what I’d do without my coworkers.
- It’s okay to take a “mental health day”: honestly, some days you just wake up and really can’t function. Don’t be ashamed to have to call in sick. Your mental health is your priority. Can’t help others unless you help yourself first.
- If you get to work and are struggling, take a half day: I’ve done this already. Some days, it gets so hard. Talk to your supervisor about taking a half day if needed.
- Listen to music on downtime: now for me, I can play music on my computer all day. Music really does help relax you. If you can’t play it on your computer during work hours, pop in headphones on a break/lunch and listen then. You’ll notice a difference.
- Don’t try to do work if your symptoms get to be too much: Remember, your mental health is your priority. Sometimes trying to work while you’re having some symptoms makes it worse. I know if I try to work while I’m having severe anxiety, I mess up what I’m doing. Take the break.
- Utilize your supports throughout the day: talk to your supports when you can. It truly helps.
- Reminding myself that I’m strong and can do this: be kind to yourself. You’re doing a great job. You got this and go easy on yourself!
It’s absolutely not easy working a full time job while having a mental illness. Especially for those of you who work more than 40 hours a week.
It’s like you have to work to live comfortably basically and it stinks. But trying to make the best of it is what you can do.
This job I’m at now is my first full time job. I’ve been here for 2 1/2 years. My other ones were only part time because of school and I had a really hard time working before I was diagnosed with my mental illness and getting some treatment for it.
You know your limits and what you can and can’t handle. Don’t overdo it. Taking care of yourself is priority!
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