I missed out on doing a Liptember update last week because I was just too exhausted. I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about how having a mental illness affects my ability to work.
For a long time I was only able to work part-time jobs. A couple of hours at work with a constant stream of customers was enough to leave me drained and exhausted. By the end of my shift I would be too anxious to talk to anybody. I’d be watching the seconds tick down until I could finish up and go home. As I left the store, I would screw my headphones tightly into my ears so that I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I felt horrible for being anti social, but the truth is that interacting with people puts a huge strain on me. I’m extremely sensitive to noise and conflict. If I had a shift where a customer got angry or frustrated, I would feel agitated for ages afterwards.
This year I took on my first full-time job. I’ve always felt extremely nervous about working full time because I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to handle it. I was worried about getting tired and run-down, as my depression gets worse when I am burnt out. I was also very concerned about the limits on my time, because I do a lot of self-care activities to help keep my mental health on an even keel. I knew that with less time to spare, I wouldn’t be able to do those things that allow me to function on a day-to-day basis.
More than anything, I was concerned about whether I would actually be able to do my job well. I’m a clever, well-organized person and I am a very hard worker. But when I’m depressed, I find it hard to concentrate. My memory suffers and I can get quite snappish with people. I become very tired and jittery. I find it difficult to cope when new tasks are thrown at me while I’m still working on old ones. I don’t work well under time pressure. I was concerned that my depression would mean that I wouldn’t be able to do my job well and that I’d be fired.
I do struggle working full time with my depression. Lately I’ve slipped backwards because the demands at work have been high and it’s been eating into my spare time. I had a melt-down at work a few months in when my boss kept piling more tasks into my inbox. I feel frustrated with myself. I worry that people think I’m lazy. I can’t stress enough that depression has nothing to do with laziness. I like working! I’m a very hard-working person. It’s just that I get too tired and brain-fogged to do a lot of the work that I have to do. It’s maddening.
But I plod on. I feel proud of the work I’m doing and the way that I’m performing at work. I try my best to make time for those things that keep me going, like my family and friends, my yoga practice, my blogging and crafting. It’s hard, but I feel proud of myself for achieving what I have so far.
And so with that in mind, here are my liptember selfies for this week.
On Friday I wore pretty florals and Avon’s “Kiss of Pink” lipstick.
On Saturday I tried out Revlon’s “Ravish Me Red”. It’s a lot more orange than the reds I usually go for, and I’m still not convinced that I like it.
On Sunday I didn’t take a selfie, because I spent the morning in bed and the afternoon bombed out on the couch watching The Walking Dead. I was just too exhausted to do anything else.
On Monday I went for hot pink and my PacMan earrings to cheer me up. It wasn’t entirely successful though. After spending the day fielding work calls, I had a meltdown at my parents house and spent the evening in bed, crying with frustration.
I struggled to get dressed on Tuesday morning for work. I ended up wearing a much more casual outfit than usual and a slick of Rimmel’s Hot Fudge lipstick.
By Wednesday I was feeling a lot better. I’m wearing another Rimmel lipstick. This one is Bright Spark.
Thursday was snakeprint and Chinatown Chase from Lipstick Queen.
On Friday I wore fire engine red and my Nana’s black pearls.
I celebrated my last work day of the week with pretty florals and Choccie lipstick from Rimmel.
On Sunday I wore no makeup, but I did manage a swipe of nude lippie. This one is Glinda from Urban Decay.
And by Monday I felt recharged and refreshed and ready for a swipe of Liptember Red.
If you would like to donate to Liptember to help raise money for women’s mental health research, please visit my fundraising page. All donations are greatly appreciated. You could also buy something from my Etsy store, as 10% from each sale will be dontated to Liptember.
Do you have a mental illness? How has it affected your ability to work?