Mental Quirks

The Stigma of Anxiety and Depression

As you are probably now aware, if you’ve read my blog for a while, I have been quite open about the depression and anxiety I sometimes suffer with. I feel it’s important to break down the barriers to this debilitating condition, because that’s what it is, by talking more about it. There needs to be more written about an anxiety sufferers’ condition, by it being highlighted in the media etc.

It’s really difficult to explain to someone that has never experienced what it feels like to have depression if that person has never felt the effects of it. The symptoms can be numerous with constant tiredness, irritability and guilt, for feeling the way you do. I’m not keen on the Royal Family as an institution, but I do admire Prince Harry etc for their interest in making people more aware of mental illness and trying to take away the stigma of it.

Something happened to me the other day and I’m quite surprised it affected me in the way it did. I had to explain myself away at an interview for a job, and part of the process was mentioning a period of time that I wasn’t working and it had to be accounted for. This length of time that I was actually out of work was when I was suffering with a measure of grief over a personal issue and I took a few weeks off work to rest and recover as my anxiety and depression had become over-bearing. I took the necessary steps at the time to get my life and feelings back on track, but when I explained to the interviewer the reason for this break from work by just mentioning that I had some ‘Anxiety’, I felt embarrassed and guilty, and I honestly really don’t know why I felt this way.

I never thought I’d ever be embarrased about this condition because it’s quite a normal thing for people to have and I’m all for speaking up about it to family, friends and anyone else that needs to talk; or wants to know how I cope with it. Yet, for me to become a little tongue tied in an interview astounded me!!,  and afterwards I was quite angry with myself.

If I’d said “Oh yes I remember those 4 weeks, I’d broken my arm and that’s why I was unable to work”, I must admit, I’d have felt completely Ok with it, but because I used the ‘Anxiety‘ word, I felt timid and inadequate at that important hour of my life, an hour that mattered, an hour that mean’t NOT being considered for a job, and I hate myself for feeling that way. Yet it still goes to show that sometimes certain life experiences present themselves and can catch you off guard.

And after all of that. The worry, the guilt, the embarrasement,  the self-loathing and inadequacy, I recieved a phone call the following morning to say how positive the interview had been and that I’d been offered the job.

Ironically, I do feel that after saying all of this and hoping not to contradict myself, that I had a small amount of luck. I was lucky that the employer was aware of these issues and in this day and age so they should be, as it’s a matter of discrimination against a human being if they have the mindset of only employing people with perfect health. This is completely unrealistic because I don’t know anyone that’s got perfect health.  Nevertheless, it can still occur that some employers will not be so understanding with this issue, so this is why the ‘Stigma’ of Mental Health has to be eliminated.

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