Working Part-Time and Anxiety: Do You Just Go Shopping on Your Day Off?

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I work part-time and I have gotten many questions and comments about it.

Are you going to go full-time soon?

So you like working part-time?

I wish I would could work part-time!

Why do I choose to work part-time?  There is no denying it.  A major reason is my anxiety.  You don’t know what an amazing difference that one day off is for me.  I work in an environment where I am constantly interacting with people.  I love it and it actually is a huge distraction when it comes to my anxiety.  However, it is also very hard to keep up that facade all the time.  I am not always cheerful and social at work, but I can’t be silent and reclusive either.  That one day alone is my day of self-care.  It allows to me to silence the constant “noise” and just kind of regroup.

Would I work part-time if I didn’t have an anxiety?  I don’t know.  I do sometimes think that North Americans work too much and I don’t think working full-time for a purely monetary reason is my goal in life.  For sure, I understand it is a necessity and not a choice for some people.  I do enjoy working part-time, am fine with spending less, and having my sanity.  I know that for sure.

I often get questioned about why I work part-time.  Like, what do I do on my day off?  Do I just go shopping?  I mean, sometimes, I do, but I used to find it really annoying when people would ask me why I worked part-time.  Mostly, because I didn’t want to explain that I had anxiety. Plus, sometimes I felt guilty and kind of lazy to say that I was taking time to take care of myself.

As time as gone by, I get that when someone does something out of the norm, it will be questioned.  It seems like all around me, people strive to work full-time.  It is sign of accomplishment.  As I have spoken more about anxiety, it has become an easier question to answer.  However, sometimes, I wonder, I like working part-time, do I really have to justify that?  Yet, as I am re-reading this, I do question, do I sound kind of “braggy” saying that I can choose to work part-time?  What do you think?

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Thanks For Being my Mom

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Today is Mother’s Day and it has made me reflect a lot about the mental health journey I have been through with my mom.  Often, I find that I tend to focus too much on how to deal with my mental illness around friends and coworkers.  However, my family is probably the group of people who have to deal with it most on a day-to-day basis.  I find that I take for granted that they will automatically accept and deal with my illness no matter what.  Yet, it is perhaps these relationships that need to be nurtured more readily.

Since it is Mother’s Day, I just wanted to talk about how my mom and I have dealt with my mental illness.  There definitely wasn’t a period where I knew I had it and then I had to face the issue of having to come out to my mom.  When I found out I had anxiety and depression, we were already in the midst of it.  It was more like the deep end really.  Neither I, nor my mom, really knew much about mental illness.  When I was first told from a doctor, I had no idea that this type of illness even existed.  I mean, I knew what being a little anxious meant, but I didn’t know how bad it could get.

I think my mom’s reaction was just to attack it head-on and help me from which ever angle she could.  She yelled at me and spoiled me, hoping that something would break me out of it.  Even though to her, it seemed like nothing worked because I stopped talking for a longtime.  Her presence, support, and love was what kept me holding on.  She drove me to every doctor appointment even though she disliked hospitals and made sure I took my medication.  I can’t imagine what she had to bear to see her own daughter so ill.  I could never imagine.

Thanks for being my mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Did You Just Sleep For a Year Then?

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“Did you just sleep for a year then?”

That was the comment I got when I told someone that I had depression.

“Ah no,” I said.

My initial reaction to this comment was shock.  Then, I felt a bit defensive.  How ignorant was this person to think that all depression manifested in that way.  Not everyone who has depression shows the same symptoms in length or complexity.  If you were to go through the symptoms checklist on any medical website, I doubt everyone will be able to check off all the boxes.  I certainly didn’t and I definitely don’t think you have to.

However, after reflecting about it for a few days and talking about it to my family, I realized that if you choose to talk about your depression, you have to expect different responses.  You cannot assume that everyone is sympathetic and understanding.  I mean, they are not trained mental health professionals.  Each “coming out,” if you call it that, is an experience and a chance for growth.

I am not upset anymore because I realized that maybe it was just that person’s general understanding of depression.  Maybe he didn’t have many previous references and experiences with mental illness.  You can’t assume everyone is well-versed in this area.  I mean, there is still the stigma.  Plus, I didn’t think he really meant to be hurtful in any way.

So what I did I do?  I didn’t get mad.  I just calmly explained my mental illness to him and how it looked for me.  Knowledge is power.  Often, that is all that is needed to change a person’s response to something.  Plus, not everyone is going to be sympathetic and give you a hug (plus, I don’t really hugs from strangers).  That is ok.  I realized I am here to empower people to understand depression, and not to look for sympathy and a “poor you” response.  Anyway, it was an experience.  I figure you can only grow from experiences, whether they seemed good or bad initially.

What have your experiences been with telling others about your mental illness?