When my doctor signed me off for two weeks with depression, his words of advice were:
“People suffer differently. Some will feel better after a couple of weeks or months and for some it could take years or never”.
I remember thinking ‘it’s not going to take that long for me to get over this, I had things to do, I had to work! How little I knew then. And here I am 9 years later, still very much depressed, still on pills, but somehow life is better.
Within the second week, I experienced another panic attack, though not as bad as the first, it was enough to frighten me. Things that I would have been willing to do before, now scared me, and over the years I experienced many more attacks.
Over the next few months, I took a long hard look at myself, and my life to date. During my silent years, I began the healing process. I was still very angry, very anxious and very fragile. It also helped me to understand that I wasn’t depressed from the date of diagnosis, but instead had been depressed for most of my life.
This was a real revelation, as it was from growing up, during my adolescence, and into my adult life, up to now. And I was reminded of all the things that had been said, done or happened to me.
My little demons, that I had hugged so closely, and carried around for so long, had one by one re-presented themselves to me, to face, to overcome or to deal with. It took me a while to understand what I had to do, but then I realised that unless I addressed each and every one of them, they would never go away.
I had been so angry with my ex employers for the way they treated me, in spite of my real tears, and cries for help they overloaded me, and just expected me to cope. They had continually allowed me to work under extreme pressure, still meeting my deadlines, still producing the goods for them and being the honest spokesperson.
But what they had not expected was that I would fight back.
The lies they told, and the ignorance they hid behind to protect themselves, astounded me. Each time they called me in for a “back to work” chat, was an opportunity for them to try and knock me back or have another go. And though I felt physically weakened, my resolve grew stronger, I was not about to let them off the hook that easily. So eventually, after 12 months, I had my last meeting and walked away feeling a minor triumph.
That was the last straw that broke my back. But in all fairness, I now know that all my previous employers were equally guilty. As all of them had in one way or another, exploited my skills and hardworking attitude, and abused my good nature. The trouble was, I always gave 110%, and they fed me with empty promises – that I kept on eating.
Of course, I have my regrets now for being such a conscientious employee, because I am still paying the price for my commitment to them. But, in truth I can’t change my attitude towards how I approach doing anything, I will naturally give everything my best shot and more, whether the situation demands it or not. But I do wonder sometimes wonder how different things might have been for me, if my employers had really used my full potential rather than abusing it…
Updated: Tues 13thNovember 2018