I haven’t worked since January. I haven’t been well. And I realised that as the depression I’d had since my teens was getting worse, I simply couldn’t ride that roller coaster of office culture anymore.
Recently I have become more aware of the finer points of my condition. Someone described depression as being in a waking coma, and that’s absolutely spot on. I sadly didn’t realise this while working; and have left jobs sometimes voluntarily, sometimes after being asked to, because of this fog that would descend on me and completely wreck any concentration or energy I had. A job had to be crazy busy for me not to be affected this way, and being an office worker for most of my ‘career’, that level of busy very rarely happened.
Then there’s the people. I don’t know what gets into some folks when they find themselves behind a desk; but I’ve seen decent, kind-hearted humans turn into absolute terrors once they’d clocked in. Especially in public sector jobs under threat of restructuring. There was often a primal, ‘everyone out for themselves’ culture and nobody could be trusted. Office politics are nasty and often dangerous, especially when people are looking to gain points. Not the ideal environment for a depressive.
So I’ve had to admit defeat and leave that world behind. Recovery couldn’t happen in a work environment. I have had to take time out to look after myself and in doing that, and thanks to the support of an excellent mental health team, I have reached a greater understanding about what happens with me when that murk descends and I lose my focus.
For now, while I continue to recover slowly, I am writing, making art and housekeeping. I’m no literary genius or domestic goddess, but I do what I can when I can. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to venture into the working world again, but for now I’m taking it one day at a time and treating myself with kindness when things get foggy.