I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now. It was something I thought about even before I handed my notice in, but the words have just failed me.
As I explained in one of my latest posts (read here) I recently quit my part – time, customer service job due to mental health issues. This has been the first time in my whole twenty-two years of life where my mental health has effected me so much.
I mentioned in that post that I have never previous struggled with mental health – which of course was a lie. Everyone deals with their mental health constantly, but I had never really paid major attention to it. I was trying to deal with some issues like stress and nerves while at university, but – in the same manner as I’d dealt with everything else for as long as I can remember – I managed to just push it all aside to focus on what I needed to get through at the time.
This was probably the worst thing I could have done to myself.
When I finally left university I found myself feeling very underwhelmed with what my life became. I talked about it a little on this blog (here) and with my family occasionally but, once again, didn’t really think what was happening in my brain was anything I should worry about too much.
I thought it was just a form of relief; issues like stress, crying for no reason and being irritable were just the by-products of getting through my degree, and now I could finally relax they were coming out.
“Pushing it all aside … was probably the worst thing I could have done”
Two months after my graduation I finally got to leave the fast-food job I’d held throughout my A-Levels and degree. And although I wasn’t leaving to start a new career or move up in any kind of way, I felt like this was a small step towards progress.
Things started well. This new role offered me enough time to work on my personal writing and projects, as well as allowing me to earn more money than I had before.
But then as time progressed, so did the issues within my mental health. I found myself being low all of the time and unable to enjoy things the way I used to. As you may know, I’ve always been a massive reader but I couldn’t get lost in stories the way I used to anymore. I was far to preoccupied with feeling low, unsettled and anxious.
I’ve also talked about being an introvert on this blog, so it goes without saying that I haven’t always been a social person. But then, for standards that were low even for me, I found myself avoiding talking to or seeing friends; feeling scared whenever the option to go out came up. I just wanted to be left alone more than ever and to be totally honest with you, it was scary.
I just want to take a moment now to say that I am so unbelievably lucky to have such a wonderful groups of friends and family. Even, in the end, the majority of my work colleagues were super supportive too. Mental health issues like low mood, depression and anxiety can make you feel so alone. It makes you believe that no one cares about you, but let me tell you know that it is so wrong. And I’m a little bit embarrassed that it’s took something so low to happen for me to realise how lucky I am to have such amazing, kind and supportive people around me but I guess that’s how it works.
Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. I was spiralling into what my doctor now describes as a “really bad case of low mood/depression” and I just couldn’t see a way out. My family, who are literally the most supportive people ever, were becoming increasingly worried about me and urged me to see a doctor.
“I was spiralling”
For some reason, I felt ashamed going to see my GP. I didn’t want to have to seek help from anyone – I thought I could do it all on my own. Now I see how ridiculous this mentality was and, if I’d gotten help sooner I might now have been as low as I was. I definitely want to write more about shame and mental health, but for now just let me assure you that you have nothing to be ashamed about and please get the help you need.
It was a long journey, to be totally honest and there were times where I thought it was all pointless. But my family kept persisting and eventually I went on the sick and then made the decision to leave my job.
I just knew I wouldn’t get any better there.
Once again, I want to make a little disclaimer that I know I am so privileged and lucky to be able to walk away from a job that was my only source of income for a while. Like I said I have a very supportive family and I am so grateful for this time to be able to heal.
This post is turning out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to turn it into a series. Please come back next Monday at 4pm to see what actually happened when I left my job and how I’m taking care of myself now.
If you are struggling with your mental health right now, let me tell you that you are not alone and there are so many people who want to help. If you want to chat to me feel free to drop me a message, tweet me or dm me on Instagram.
For professional help:
116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)
Best wishes. Stay kind.