Mental Illness Stigma

Okay, so I’m getting sick and tired of hearing the same old thing about depression.

In my last job, I had to inform my manager about my medication, as it made me incredibly drowsy and because of it, I wouldn’t be able to do the morning shift (I had to be in by half five and knew I wouldn’t be up in time even if I took the tablets earlier – they acted as a sleeping pill as well as an antidepressant). I asked that I be moved to the afternoon shifts until I got used to my tablets, which my doctor told me would be about 4-6 weeks.

What did I get in return?

“What do you have to be depressed about?”

Like, I get it. If our roles were reversed, I would have probably asked the same thing. The job was great pay, I was in university, I had a boyfriend and a caring family. To anyone who didn’t actually know me, it probably seemed like I had a really good life. However, the job stressed me out and I was constantly being threatened by customers I had to I.D (a guy twice my size once threatened to “punch the fuck” out of me), I felt like I was drowning in work at university and couldn’t keep up with anyone, my boyfriend posted ads on Craigslist and cheated on me with both women and men, and my family didn’t even know how badly I was struggling.

My manager wasn’t to know any of that, but it still bothered me. Just because everything seems fine on the outside, it doesn’t mean I’m happy. Just because I’m smiling it doesn’t mean I feel like smiling, I just do it to stop others from worrying so much.

To make matters worse: I was kept on the morning shifts. Another guy at work was having problems with his health, but because his was a physical illness and he could prove it, they gave him the afternoon shifts. It got to a point where I was too scared to take my medication, just in case I didn’t get up in the morning and they couldn’t open the shop (they can’t open with only one person – I had to pull an eighteen hour shift once because of somebody calling in sick, on top of working eight and a half hours the next day and nine hours the day after).

Not taking my medication was a huge mistake and in the end, it all became too much for me.

I think if they were more supportive, it could have turned out differently and perhaps I wouldn’t have felt like I needed to quit my job. But I don’t think I want to work for someone who’s like that. At my new job, my manager was more than understanding about my depression, having suffered with it herself.

Am I the only one who thinks it’s wrong that only those who suffer with it, are supportive towards others with depression? I’m not exaggerating when I say it truly does destroy you. I used to be so outgoing and bubbly, but now I rarely go out because I just don’t have the energy. I’ve lost all my friends because of my depression, because they didn’t understand why I act the way I do, telling me to just cheer up already.

If I could cheer up, I would.

I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone.

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