Before you commence reading this blog; I would like to acknowledge that I am not the author of this post; but a young man has written this for me. I knew I wanted to start talking about this subject; but I was also very aware that there is no one better to talk about this issue than the young people who live through their own journey. He asked me what to write about and I simply told him to tell the truth. Here is what he wrote.
Youth, Depression and The Workplace
Depression affects many different people in many different ways each and every day. People from all walks of life deal with this somewhat “invisible” illness for their entire lives and for some, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no silver lining, no way out.
One of the things I think is most overlooked in regards to this topic is how people cope with it in the workplace. When someone who is suffering is not at work, they may have their coping mechanisms to rely on (i.e. social time with friends, a local sporting commitment, etc. Something to bring them into a better mindset for even just a short amount of time)
Everyone we see during our day-to-day life is fighting their own battles in some way. Believe it or not, there are young people out there right now working hard to try and find some sort of normality in their lives, something to show them that life is worth living and that there’s more to this crazy world than just what we see in front of us every day.
Working, at times, can be strenuous on the mind and body and I think it’s important for us to recognise exactly what these young men and women are dealing with each and every day such as lethargy, paranoia/fear, self-loathing and anxiety or racing thoughts. All these factors come together like a twisted cocktail of emotions when someone who’s suffering has a “bad day”.
A lot of people will probably say to themselves, or even publicly “This is what’s wrong with this generation, they’re complainers, they feel like the world owes them something”.
Well, no. This is the furthest thing from a generational issue. This has more to do with today’s society than which era produced the most mentally and physically strong workforce.
Now let me put you into their shoes for a moment..
It’s Monday morning and today you’re back at work. You’ve had your alarm set for 6:30, but that doesn’t matter, you’ve been up since 3 anyway. Unable to sleep, unable to have any calm, rational or positive thoughts. The thought occurs to you “Is this it? Is this what I’m destined to do for the rest of my life?” After an hour of bringing up your boss’s phone number on your screen to either; call in sick or inform them you can’t handle the position’s requirements and dedication, you muster up the strength to get out of bed in the hope a warm shower and some breakfast will give you the energy to press on and try look at things through “rose-coloured glasses”.
You did it! You’ve made it to work with food in your stomach (despite your lack of appetite) and a smile on your face. Now it’s time to converse with both colleagues and/or customers. 9am-12pm is fantastic; you’ve done everything required of you and with gusto. Everything has gone smoothly (aside from that one rude/impolite/arrogant coworker or customer) and now it’s time to have your break.
Whilst you’re enjoying your small amount of time to yourself, you begin rehashing the impolite encounter you had earlier, you replay the conversation in your head over and over, thinking of something you should’ve said or something you should’ve done. That thought doesn’t leave your mind now; from that moment on, whenever you face conflict, that issue and all other past issues come flooding back turning you into an overwhelmed mess. Your heart is racing, you’re not sure why but your throat feels tighter and more dry than usual (water doesn’t fix that, that’s pure stress and repression of your feelings about a certain situation).
The overflowing glass of emotional instability is in full effect.
That’s what depression feels like. Your internal “glass” is always full the top therefore only taking one small incident to happen, one miniscule thing to be out of line and you’re sent into a spiral for weeks on end because of the sheer embarrassment you feel from being effected by such small things on such a regular basis. It makes you feel weak, it makes you feel dependent on others and most of all, it makes you feel insignificant.
Millions of people deal with this every day and majority of them never find their inner peace. It’s something you wouldn’t know unless they informed you. So please, next time someone looks like they’re not having a great day, a simple “Are you okay?” can go a long way. Be kind to one another. If we all did that, the world would be a much nicer place to live, work and love.