I told my manager in my job that I was experiencing depression and that I was on medication which would affect my ability to do my job. He said he did not believe that my medication was effecting my performance, and that I was just not up to doing my job and I would be dismissed in three months time unless I improve. I really didn't know what to do or who to talk to as I have a lot of financial commitments. I had to take time off work as I couldn't face going back there following this.
I feel as if I have let myself down and my family in that I am not man enough to support them. It was really stressful over over the few weeks before, trying to decide to tell my manager what I was going through and now I wish I had not.
There are times when you feel helpless against the tide. I am lucky in that my wife is extremely supportive and very, very kind. It’s just a shame that depression cannot be seen in the same light as other illnesses. It is just as debilitating as having a broken bone only in this instance you have a broken spirit, an internal wound that will not heal and you have to go to extreme lengths to cover up and disguise...having to constantly have your guard up and having to constantly to put on a show of cheerfulness. If you let mask slip for a second you feel that it will fly away from your grasp and your will never be able to retrieve it again.
The physical effects of mental illness are punishing. The fatigue: if you sleep for ten hours you are still just as exhausted, you can’t concentrate and you are forgetful. It comes across as laziness and not caring at times but it is not. The medication causes massive weight gain and also plays havoc with your teeth. I grind my teeth at night as a result of anxiety and they are beginning to break now – I swallow small chips every day and try to ignore it, and try to ignore the blood that comes when I brush my teeth. The doctor I see is wonderful but he is so overworked and there is so much pressure on him to care for so many people.
There is a lot in my job about mental health awareness but when it comes down to it there is nothing there really. I don't want to be treated any differently to my colleagues and I feel as if I do my work to a high degree. I just asked for him to be mindful for a while until I feel better. I have been advised to talk to people when you are feeling down, to tell your managers how you are feeling, but now I wish I never had. Things need to change.