I worked for my company for six years, then left unexpectedly due to “can’t take it this job any longer” depression, then resulting in long-term disability three years ago. I never disclosed to anyone the struggle with my mental illness the entire time I was employed, largely due to trust issues and stigma. The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips, so actually no one knew why I quickly departed.
During this time away from my job, I’ve only run into about five people, but then I don’t venture out much, and fortunately a quick ‘hello’, ‘good-bye’ ensued. However, yesterday I was out for groceries, passed my former manager in one of the aisles, and was uncertain if she spotted me or merely strolled on by. I wasn’t especially fond of her, wasn’t one to whom I could disclose my personal life, nor was I fascinated about hers, but my chief concern and huge relief was that she didn’t stop so we’d have a phoney ‘chat’. A true awkward moment for me.
Imagine that, I was practically in a panic. What would I say? Years ago I never found myself in this dilemma, then again I was social and not isolated as I am today. Depression robs you of your self-esteem, self-confidence and you.