Returning to work with Anxiety/Depression , Can it be done?

You’re probably wondering why the title says ‘can it be done?’, Even if you’re not it’s relevant. I have recently taken the massive step of going back into employment. I was terrified. All that went through my mind was, ‘how long is this going to last?’ ‘Am I going to be able to keep this job?’ ‘Can I really do this?’ I was thinking this literally 10 minutes after getting my job back. I was lucky as it was a job I had before, however I lost it due to being sick during the probation period. I was over the moon yet anxious. It is completely normal to have mixed feelings about returning to work, especially if you have been out of employment for 6 months or longer. I was out of employment for a lot longer than 6 months, I had become accustomed to a certain routine. A routine that was not healthy.

It is a well known fact that being out of employment for months or years, you do become comfortable. Often it is forgotten by many that they had end goals, they were not meant to be out of employment for years of their lives. Years have passed and they still haven’t returned to work. That’s okay! There is so much pressure nowadays for people with anxiety, depression, bipolar or any mental illness to be in the work place. It’s just not always possible, we have our days sometimes our weeks or months. We do not process things the same way as others who do not know what it’s like. Do not beat yourself up about it, it’s okay! Everyone has a unique quality that they could contribute to a certain job or career, if you’re not ready? You’re not ready.

I tried to force myself back into employment many times because of money, it was always coming down to money. The thought of being on benefits was horrific for me, I had nothing against anyone who had to live on them! I just never thought I would have to. That’s just it, I had no choice. I had to live and pay my bills just like everyone else. The many failed attempts of going back into jobs, never ended well. I wasn’t ready, my mind wasn’t ready and my body wasn’t ready. You cannot force something into action, it has to happen when it’s time. I have a few pointers which I’m about to list down below, I promise you guys if you do these things on the list? You will start to notice a difference!

1. Stop the pity party! We all do it, I know. You have nothing to be ashamed of because you’re out of work due to mental illness. Your friend is out of work because they broke their ankle, are you going to beat them up about it? No. Don’t do it to yourself. You fight a battle in your mind every damn day, you’re allowed to be exhausted!
2. Don’t go straight into full time employment. This is the number 1 mistake many people make! Do not go straight into full time employment, the hours will drain you and the work load will bury you. Let yourself adjust.
3. Get a weekend job or part time. Ease your way back into employment, get yourself a weekend job for the Saturday and Sunday and use the week for self care/studying. Part time, is what I do. I work a few hours a night and that gives me the day to prep for the rest of the week and smash my goals! It also gives me the extra money.
4. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing around, you need plenty of time to get dressed, eat and calm your mind before your shift! you never want to arrive at work flustered and not ready to do the job.
5. Stay hydrated, stay away from fizzy drinks. Fizzy drinks are good and all but they will make you even more dehydrated! If you have ever suffered from a surprise panic/anxiety attack you will know your mouth goes mega dry. It feels like a desert island in your mouth, keep water on hand to stay hydrated!
6. Believe in yourself. If you manage to land a job, believe in yourself. It’s not easy but you have been given the chance to show what you’re made of! You aced the interview, you can ace the job! Before you know it, it will become second nature.
7. Arrive early. I’m early for work every day, some days I’m half an hour early just so I can stand outside and breathe. Arriving early gives you time before your shift to go to the bathroom or fix your hair or just to breathe. Arriving late or just before you start will cause unnecessary stress. Trust me.
8. Allow yourself to learn. A lot changes in the work place every day. Even if it is just minor changes, they are still changes. Not all of us can cope with changes, I know at times I can’t because I get confused and it ruins my routine. I have to stand back and look at how these changes bring a positive change, allow myself to learn. A lot has changed in the work place since my days of picking berries in a field!
9. Think of yourself as a super hero. It sounds cheesy but trust me, whenever I feel anxious in my job I think of myself as a super hero. I’m making the environment clean and safe for others to work in. I’m doing a good thing and I’m being paid for it.
10. Start small, work your way up. I will never understand why people throw themselves in the deep end on purpose. If I have a choice my ass is going to the shallow end! Take on a job where you don’t have to deal with people. I work in a team of 3 which includes me. We don’t always see each other because we are off doing our own thing, getting the job done. We are all working towards something bigger. In the mean time this is the job we are doing to keep our minds busy and again, it pays extra money.

A lot of people are in certain jobs purely because they need the money! Me? Yeah I needed the money but I also needed the stability and the confidence. I needed a reason to get out of bed and to do something with my day/night. I needed my mind to be preoccupied so I didn’t think on how sick I felt, how much I was sweating or how much I wanted to sit on my ass and not move. Returning to work seems easy for some but others like me, hell it was one of the most difficult decisions ever. Putting ourselves out there, using what energy we do have to perform the job and make sure it’s done correctly. This is why you need to be so sure you’re ready to return to work. Your recovery is more important but being back in employment will play a massive part. It’s all about being prepared.

Are you ready for the questions? Are you ready to work for a few hours? Are you ready to move forward or are you happy being where you are? Are you ready for the commitment? It’s a lot more complicated than just going back into employment. We need to be able to sustain it which is why I follow those pointers every day. They are a little goofy but then again, so am I! There is a lot more but this blog is already long.. oooops.

Returning to work with anxiety/depression, Can it be done? YES!!

It’s all down to you as a person and your strength. Believe in yourself and allow yourself to grow. It’s scary but it’s worth it. ❤️

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