When I started suffering from anxiety three years ago, I knew that getting a job would be one of the hardest things I had to do.
All my friends who suffered from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or panic attacks had said to me that they found work hard, especially on bad days. After that conversation, I swore that I wouldn’t get a job until I knew that I had my mental health under control.
Three years later and I now have a job! I’m waitressing part time. To me, this is such a huge achievement and signals the start of my next battle: Maintaining my mental health whilst working!
My anxiety manifests in not wanting to interact with other people, not sleeping, the occasional anxiety attacks and my heart rate increasing.
As you could most probably guess, that isn’t conducive to a workplace. It gets worse when I’m tired and have worked late shifts back to back for a few days. I make errors when my anxiety is bad and spend most of my shift apologizing to guests for mistakes that I make.
To anyone who is working and suffering from a mental health issue, just be patient with yourself. You will have good shifts and bad shifts. I personally haven’t told my employer about my anxiety as it hasn’t seriously affected me at work yet and I don’t want it to hold me back. If you are open with your employer about your mental health then I admire you for your bravery.
Opening up the conversation is the way forward to creating understanding and breaking down stigma.
Just make sure that you look after yourself when you are working.
Here are five things that I enjoy doing as self-care:
– Running (or going for a walk depending on my energy levels)
– Painting my nails
– Taking a shower
What would be on your self-care list?
Do something every day that recharges you and makes you feel like you again. Don’t let yourself burn out and risk your mental health; if you need to call in and take a day off do it! Don’t be ashamed to admit that you need a little time as burnout and bad mental health days do happen.
If you ever want an ear just reach out to me!