After years of depression and hospitalizations, I finally returned to the working world.
I worked for my company for six years, left unexpectedly due to “can’t function at this job any longer” depression, resulting in long-term disability over four years ago.
During those years of employment, it was never disclosed to anyone (including supervisors or managers) that I was struggling with a mental illness, namely depression. My reasons were largely due to trust issues and stigma. The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips who thrived on spreading news, so I imagined my secret escaping could impact a job loss in the future. Therefore, on my final working day, people questioned why.
Away from this company for those years, I’ve only run into about five colleagues, but then I’m somewhat of a recluse and luckily a quick ‘hello’, or ‘good-bye’ ensued. However, yesterday I was shopping for groceries, passed by my former manager in one of the aisles, but was uncertain if she spotted me or merely strolled by.
I wasn’t particularly fond of working with her, wasn’t one to whom I would ever feel comfortable disclosing my personal life, nor would I be captivated by hers, but my chief concern and a huge relief were that she didn’t stop to have a phony ‘chat’. A true awkward moment for me.
Imagine that, I was practically in a panic, felt nauseous, started to sweat, and began to choose the words I would say if we conversed. What would I say I’m doing now, do I fib, do I question what she is doing, how do I get out of this mess?
Years ago I seldom found myself in this dilemma, then again I was social, employed and not isolated as I am today. Depression robs you of your self-esteem, self-confidence and essentially yourself.
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017