Mental Health/Wellbeing

Attending Work/School With Mental Illness Can Be Less Daunting

In today’s world, money is the main motivator for the majority (whether they like to admit it or not). This has increased competition and thus pressure on all, but especially, younger generations to get their futures planned out if they simply want to survive. This may come easy to some people who find themselves as good, responsible communicators, but what about those who struggle with this aspect of life?

Having had both anxiety and depression throughout most of my life, I can tell you that some parts of socialization do get easier with practice and experience, but that doesn’t mean the struggle just disappears.

For me, going to school everyday has always been a challenge. What if I get called on? What if someone makes fun of me but I’m too scared to defend myself? What if no one talks to me? These ‘what if’ questions may seem trivial and almost humorous to some, but they’re the stressful reality for others.

Anxiety creates a feeling of impending doom and usually tries to distract the brain from any logical solutions to the current worry. This makes it extremely difficult, maybe even impossible, to function in a setting that is typically seen as normal. Pair this with depression, and the symptoms worsen. Now, you’re not only overwhelmed by this feeling that something (unknown) bad is going to inevitably happen, but there’s also a sense of not wanting to do or being capable of doing anything about it. Your shakiness increases, while you also can feel yourself becoming numb. How are people who face these battles daily expected to function in a ‘normal’ way? They shouldn’t be.

No matter if you share your experiences with mental illness with those around you or not, there’s always opportunity to find some relief from them in order to lead your ideal life.

One of the best things I discovered for myself was that at my University, there’s a program in place specifically to help those with disabilities that impede on their learning. Anyone with any physical, mental, or cognitive disability can be put on record with this program and from there, they help to devise a plan that’s unique to you and your needs in order to succeed at the school. Here, you get to also communicate with teachers, telling them as much or as little about your working with the program and the accommodations you’ll be needing. I find this program very helpful and wish it would’ve been available in my earlier years of schooling.

Another key point I would like to bring up is the fact that you should always maintain contact with your managers/supervisors/professors/etc. when your mental illness could possibly conflict with their expectations of you. I know this can be scary as it took me quite a long time before I finally talked with my managers, but the results can be so rewarding. Anyone who is in a position of authority in the workforce has to have some kind of empathy and understanding when it comes to their employees. You may find that your supervisor also deals with mental battles or knows someone who does and will thus be more than happy to work with you through your hardships. However, it is possible they have little understanding in this area and may need you to further explain and possibly show proof of your struggle and need for accommodations. Either way, this is a very possible step for anyone who finds their mental gets a little to overpowering when mixed with their physical.

To put it succinctly, yes, holding a steady job or education path can be difficult for someone who lives with things such as anxiety disorders, depression, or any other type of mental illness. This does NOT  make it impossible. Here, communication is key. It’s very hard to talk down on or disregard someone when they lay out their struggles in front of you. If you are struggling day-to-day to get out of bed and go to your classes or your shift at work, consider talking with your higher-ups about things that would make it easier on the both of you.

P.S. If your school/job is worsening your mental health or stalling your progression in terms of bettering yourself, there’s no shame in changing it up. I get this may be hard as the workforce and school force are extremely competitive, but if you’re not the best you that you can be mentally, you will see the same reflect in your physical life. Mental health is one of the most important things that you can somewhat control and also affects almost all other aspects of life, so every step to improve here should be taken. blog 44

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