People Reveal How Their Depression Has Ruined Their Careers

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Depression is a serious thing that takes hold of people and has the ability to destroy different aspects of their lives. Today, we’re bringing awareness to some of the struggles that people with depression and other mental illnesses face with these stories.

These brave men and women have shared their truths and left it out there for the world to see, learn from and find comfort in. And even though some of them lack hope, there is always hope, especially if we find help. If you’d like to read about some of the hardships that people have faced with depression and their jobs, keep scrolling.

*Please note that some of these stories contain sensitive information. If you’re easily triggered, please find another article of ours to enjoy* 

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40. It Tore His Family Apart

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I was working full time, supporting my family and paying all of my hills on time, but my depression was really bad. I would shake before going into work and called in sick until I almost got fired.

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I started to drink every night, then every day, then I started in the morning. I even drank at work, and then I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I walked out and quit with no plan, no savings, nothing. It tore my family apart.

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39. An Everyday Regret

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Depression, PTSD, anxiety/agoraphobia/my looks, destroyed my life in general. I dropped out of college after a bad experience and have been stuck in my room ever since. A year ago, I had a chance to get myself a part-time job that would have been a great improvement in my life, but I screwed it up by not showing up the next day because I got a panic attack. I tried to go back and explain myself and apologize, but I was never called back, understandably.

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I regret this every day since; I have gone to two other interviews and had no callbacks. The job I messed up, I barely had to do an interview. They were very nice people there too. I feel sick and horrible for what I did. Now, I have no desire or motivation to go back to school or get a job. I know sooner or later, my anxiety and insecurities are going to creep back on me and destroy everything. It doesn’t help that I don’t like people and they don’t like me; I have a hard time getting along with people and having them like me, especially because of how I look. I have no idea what I am going to do from this point. I need to get a job since my mom is going to retire soon.

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38. Debt Due to Depression

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It’s not exactly my career that got ruined, although that has definitely been affected. I messed up my university education twice as a result of depression. I got about eight months into a 3-year course and the depression hit, leading to me dropping out.

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I took a year to get my life together and try again; I thought I was ready, and when I went back to university, exactly the same problems happened again. Now, I’ve given up on getting a degree and am just drifting through life, unemployed, waiting for stuff to happen to me, while I avoid having to pay off the ~£27000 debt I built up while I was there.

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37. No Way Out

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I started working full time at a law firm while I studied part-time. Working in any sector makes me really nervous; I get this brain fog that descends and makes it impossible to perform properly. I’m 3/4 of the way through my studies. The area of law that I’m in isn’t really what I want to be doing and my initial boss was a nightmare. I’ve moved departments now, but I make stupid mistakes every day and I just don’t care about the consequences.

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The only way that I’ve ‘made a name’ for myself is by getting repeatedly drunk at work-social events and topped it all off with telling the most senior managers in the company that I hated the initial manager that I worked for and nearly crying in front of one of the other managers. I don’t even know what to do about it anymore. When I’m not at work, I feel anxious about going in. I’m still on probation with my job after six months, so I don’t think they will keep me on much longer. There are so many other things I could say about the work, but it consumes me too much as it is. And I don’t see a way out.

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36. You Can Still Recover

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I have a success story. I graduated with a biochemistry degree but couldn’t find the motivation to find a job. I literally did nothing for a year. I decided to go back to school for a post-bac program but dropped out due to anxiety. I got a second BS, which I paid for by working as a cashier for another year.

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I was worried about how to explain not doing anything for a year or working as a cashier for a year or dropping out of a graduate program, but nobody cared and now that I have my first job nobody should ask about any of it going forward. My point is, even if you massively mess things up, you can still recover!

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35. An Unfair Ending

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In my last job, I worked as a cashier and one time, a customer left her phone behind. I was horribly depressed that day, and in and out of the bathroom. I went to move the customer’s phone to the office and had a breakdown; I stopped at the bathroom on the way, for maybe five minutes, but I had the phone on me. I sat it on the sink while I broke down and it was a stupid mistake.

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When the customer returned, I gave her the phone and she thanked me. Three days later, they fired me for theft. They said I took the phone into the bathroom in an attempt to steal it, despite me giving the phone to the customer as soon as she returned.

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34. Spilled the Beans Too Early

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I feel just awful. I started the job in November, after graduating from nursing school in May. I hated nursing school and I knew acute care, maybe even any direct patient care, wasn’t for me. So when I got offered this job that was more administrative but required a nursing degree, I thought it would be perfect. But I’ve messed things up irreparably there and won’t be there for much longer. I started out genuinely wanting to do my best, but I quickly learned that nursing is nursing no matter how far away you get from the bedside, so I was still miserable. I failed to make any connections with my co-workers because I can barely look people in the face anymore and I couldn’t seem to respond appropriately to joking or casual conversations.

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I called in sick before my probation was over. I cried at my desk and in the bathroom, all the time and I’m sure that it wasn’t as subtle as I’d hoped. I was basically the sad office ghoul, not a self-motivated team player. I wasn’t proactive in seeking out new learning opportunities and my performance was meh, too. Then I spilled the beans to my boss about my plans to pursue another career path, before I had laid any actual groundwork to do so. I put myself in a bad position by doing that, but he was so nice and concerned and I was so overwhelmed at that point. So now I don’t know when I will be replaced and while I’m in the process of obtaining an online certification for medical coding, I don’t have any actual job prospects. I feel guilty because I can’t be the person they thought they were hiring. And I’m so mad at myself because if I could have held it together better, I could be making this transition on my own terms. And in the meantime, I’m still going to this job and humiliating myself by crying every day.

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33. Feeling Useless

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I got fired just over a week ago. I don’t think it was all my depression, but I don’t think it helped. My boss had me in a meeting in December and said I hadn’t progressed as much as he wanted. He said I needed to stop asking questions and make more phone calls. I stopped asking questions and made more phone calls- so many phone calls that the suppliers complained and in my firing letter it said I didn’t ask questions.

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I also asked my manager two weeks before being fired if I had improved. He said yes. So I’m not sure what happened. I was off my antidepressants at the time, so maybe I wasn’t functioning. My antidepressants haven’t kicked in yet and my life is mostly wake up, apply for jobs, cry, watch Netflix, cry, go to bed. I feel useless.

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32. I Could Have Been A Star

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I could have been ‘YouTube Famous.’ I got into a new genre of content on YouTube at the time and was growing fast, but I got depressed around that time and my drive was driven low. I slowly made less content at such a pinnacle time where I could have grown to a huge size in a year or two. Some of my peers are in the millions of subscribers and making bank. I have no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t gotten depressed and worked my butt off then, then I would have a 6 figure subscriber count and be very well off, financially.

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And this would have been so perfect because this was all during my final year of high school; I had a long-distance relationship (traveling and money would not have been a problem), entertainment was my dream, and working on YouTube, you basically endless creative control over what you do, compared to other platforms in the industry. I hate myself for this. But I do want to get back into video-making and give it another shot. Even though I no longer have that strong advantage start anymore. If I could get back into it, but like I said, I am depressed and it challenges every aspect and moment of my life.

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31. Fragile At the Time

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Even part-time jobs can be really stressful. I literally walked out of a retail job four days into working there in the middle of my shift because I was having a complete breakdown.

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It’s not my proudest moment, but I was frankly VERY fragile at that time (just dropped out of college due to depression and failing grades). I probably should not have been there in the first place until I had time to get a little stronger.

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30. No Hope In Sight

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I’m on my fifth year of a three-year bachelor’s course. I haven’t done about 70% of the exams and haven’t even started studying for them. I just can’t do it. And my university doesn’t require attendance, so I haven’t attended classes for more than two years. None of my friends (I don’t talk to them anymore) and most of my family (who are very competitive and successful), have no idea that I am still at college; they think I have graduated. I’m lying to everyone and making my poor parents lie as well. They have spent so much money on me and I don’t know what to do.

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I try so hard, really, so hard. But I can’t get past reading one paragraph or a few slides. I feel like the inside of me has shut down completely. Even when reading novels, the news, watching movies, I can’t concentrate on anything. And I don’t know how to help myself. I feel like such a failure, constantly. I feel like I can’t breathe. I have no friends, no part-time job, nothing. I’m expected to study every day and not go out or waste time on anything else. And I feel so claustrophobic. I can’t live like this. I have no job prospects and nothing to look forward to, no dreams, no ambitions, no motivation.

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29. Crippling My Competence

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I feel like if it weren’t for my depression, I’d be in a much better place financially. I am confident in my abilities, I’m talented, smart, etc. but my mental issues have crippled my competence and therefore, its effects have unfortunately lingered into my working life.

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It sucks and I wish it wasn’t like this, but it’s out of my control. I always envy my friends who have jobs, money and nice things. But for some reason, the universe doesn’t want me to have those things. It sucks I hate it and it just makes me want to end this misery badly.

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28. I Want to Do It Right This Time

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I have ruined my career. It doesn’t help that I graduated in 2008, the worst possible time to graduate college. I was randomly laid off from my first job out of college (40 other people were too), had a recent freelance job “eliminated,” and someone told me I had job elimination because I wasn’t that valuable or doing a great job.

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I have been at a call center for a year and five months, and my attitude towards work at times has landed me in my boss’s office to talk. I’m trying really hard to be more positive in the office and hang on to this job, but sometimes I come in feeling horribly depressed before our phone lines even open. My boss is concerned about this, but I can’t leave the job or I will basically be declaring bankruptcy and ruining my life even more. I envy my coworkers in other positions because they essentially love their jobs and never want to leave. If I go to school again, I want to do it right and get a marketable skill rather than “follow my passion” and be in this mess all over again.

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27. Barely Going to Class

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I’ve never had a real career because I’m still in college (undergrad). I did absolutely atrocious last semester, though. My depression and anxiety were so bad that I could barely go to class, and I also couldn’t study for many of my exams or complete my work in a timely manner.

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I would have continuous panic attack after panic attack or have such debilitating sadness that I could do nothing but stay in bed and sob all day. It was horrible. I don’t even want to think of the grades I got for my courses…

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26. Able To Turn It Around

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During my first attempt at college right out of high school, I dropped out after two quarters, because I barely attended class, didn’t take any finals and was going to get kicked out for academic failure anyway.

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Ultimately, I was able to turn it around and get a degree, although I was delayed by two years. So it’s not hopeless. Hang in there!

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25. Waiting For Me To Stumble

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I wasn’t fired, but recently I had a very bad day at work and messed up some of the backroom catalogs (I work in retail). I was just told today by my boss (who’s very kind but wasn’t around when I messed up) that I’m on my final warning. He said he can see that something is wrong and he’s very sorry, but that I have to be careful now because all the higher-ups are watching me, waiting for me to stumble.

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I had already told my former boss in another department why I have such bad days and that I sometimes can’t function properly. I told my boss to go talk to her because she knows why. I understand why they’re looking at me so closely. I did mess up pretty big. I was trained incorrectly, but my depression made me lose concentration that day and it made it worse. I feel horrible.

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24. I Only Got One Year

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My political career was ruined by depression. I was a professional political campaigner in the UK, responsible for trying to lobby MPs and Peers in Parliament, as well as the press, on a variety of policy issues. I’d written a book on politics and had once been featured as a commentator on a political news program. Nothing major, but I felt like I was just getting started.

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After a year, I’d been struggling with depression from being gay/unrequited love for my straight best friend and it all caught up with me. I told my boss and she was very understanding at first, but I started calling in sick, unable to leave my bedroom. After a month or two of that, I felt so guilty that I quit my job so my company could hire someone who was capable of giving it their all. That was two years ago now. Since then, I’ve moved home and live, unemployed, with my mom and dad. I still follow all the news and wish I was still a tiny part of it, but I know I still can’t hold down a job. The worst thing is I thought when I moved to London to work in politics, a fresh-faced 22-year-old, that my life was just beginning. I had no idea I would only get one year.

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23. Money Is Running Out

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I dropped out of college, but after two years of retail, I managed to get a low paying office job. I made it six months before I was hiding in my car or the bathroom crying at every chance.

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Without a degree or proper experience, I can’t get any jobs that I think I’ll like. To be honest, I think I would enjoy being a bartender, but every bar in town wants someone with three or more years of experience. I’m on month three of unemployment and the money is running out; I’m scared.

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22. Regular Panic Attacks

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I recently got fired from a very nice job with benefits because I was so anxious from my living situation that I started having panic attacks.

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Instead of telling them what was going on like a normal person, I just started skipping days of work and at one point, I just left the office for about 2 hours. I was fired about a week after that.

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21. The Job Fueled My Depression

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I used to think my depression cost me my job. Now, I understand that my old job was feeding my depression. Not only has changing careers from an office to a more blue-collar job made my depression easier to fight, but my asthma has also disappeared too. Several friends have told me how much better I am now; one said it was like a great burden was pulled off me.

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Maybe you’ll get fired. Maybe you won’t. But it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes life gives you the kick in the butt that you need to go for something different.

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20. Not the Right Environment

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Our company had a layoff and I made no connections with my co-workers. Maybe one, but I’m worried they’ll rat me out and throw me under the bus to their boss because I said my job was stressful and affecting my personal life and I never liked it. Soon, word will get out that I’m a lazy basket case that I ‘can’t handle pressure,’ even if the pressure isn’t from customers or work performance. It’s just abusive coworkers in a hostile work environment trying to cut me down and pretend they’re better than me.

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I won’t do worse. I held down a job for a year somehow. For me, that felt like centuries of struggling because people only want what they can get from you. That is how people WORK -for their needs. I know I will tell whoever asks me, anything they want to hear, but in the end, I’m getting the H E L L out of that environment because I don’t feel safe there. The organization is run by a religious cult- just the perfect environment for an atheist with depression. I made some huge, huge mistakes and have a lot of extremely painful deprogramming to look forward to. I’m also scared when this whole thing blows over, I may hurt myself. So, I’m making doctor appointments ASAP.

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19. A Relationship Led to A Breakdown

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My girlfriend leaving me led to a breakdown; I messed up my course, so now I’m unemployed, I have a big gap in my CV and I’m all alone.

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I hit the gym in an effort to get out there, but it’s not really helping. I’m not sure what to do at this point, especially when it’s so hard to hope for the best. 

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18. Ruined Two Part-Time Jobs

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Every shift I’ve ever had has given me the most intense and inescapable anxiety I’ve ever experienced. It’s crazy to describe feeling so low almost all the time.

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I’m only 18, so I don’t really have a career to ruin yet, but it’s ruined all two of my part-time jobs (the previous one lasted a month) and now, I’m just trying to avoid it all.

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17. Wishing Things Were Different

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I currently have a practicum, which is sort of like an internship at a preschool (I am studying early childhood education). I work with 2 and 3-year-olds, and I love them, but more recently I find myself getting so frustrated that I worry I’m going to lose it. I have a history of mental health issues; school is quite difficult for me and mostly, I get overwhelmed, doubting whether I can do it.

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The other day I was at my practicum and having an awful day; I was just in a really bad mood and feeling like snapping. I told my headteacher the truth and left early and abruptly. I just was so done, so frustrated and angry. I felt bad once I got home and texted her an apology, trying to explain myself. She never answered. I’m worried I’m going to be in trouble when I come in again, and I have to work an extra hour next shift. I don’t know if I can do it. Sometimes I wish I was smarter and more interested in different majors. I just wish things were different, I guess.

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16. Working Is Hard

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I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for years. I was fine at first, but having to survive three harassing managers in a row just exacerbated my anxiety, which worsened my depression. I became paranoid around co-workers and supervisors. Because California is an “at-will” state, I had two options: put up with the harassment or find another job, which in my opinion, is not right. No one should be left with only those options. It has made every job there after a horrible experience. I’m on medication for both depression and anxiety, but it just doesn’t help when I am at work. My doctor put me on an emergency medical leave from my last job, which also didn’t help at all.

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Days before a workday, I would get chills, aches, anxiety, nausea, and severe depression. On the day I actually worked, I literally laid in bed and waited for the inevitable. It was awful. I tried so hard to push past it, but it was like an invisible shroud holding me down. I eventually just quit my job outright and have been unemployed since September 2016. It has been a huge financial struggle for our family. Luckily, my husband is VERY supportive. But I do feel tremendous guilt as I have held a job since I was 17 and have always been responsible and independent. I’m hoping to file for disability, temporarily, at least until I can get things under control (hopefully).

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15. Leaving One Way or the Other

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I’m not sure if it was from depression directly, as I think stress and anxiety had more play in it, but I worked in retail for over five years, where my life wasn’t really going anywhere. I tried to be a good worker, and I was, but there was a point in life where I was just too overwhelmed with reality.

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An easy workday was dreadful, and I just couldn’t care to be me. Little things could break me and set me into panic or anger, which never looked good for customer service. I knew I had to leave, and management thought the same would be better for me. Even though it was a mutual decision, it was only inevitable that I would end up leaving one way or another.

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14. No Support

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It’s a long story, but basically, I am working so many more hours than I thought I would and ended up as a full time working mom (I have three kids), instead of having more flexibility like I thought I would. I have lost a lot of hair, gained about 10 pounds in less than four months, and am generally miserable. How do I know the difference between my job making me miserable (every job has pros and cons), and my meds making me miserable, and my depression taking another turn for the worse?

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I am having so many bad thoughts lately. It’s hard for me to stop crying whenever I’m alone; I feel like I want to give up. I have been fighting this for so long. I thought I could be stronger than this. Should I try to exit the partnership? Should I keep trying to tough it out? How can I ever tell what is causing anything I feel? I hate not being able to trust my own feelings. My partners don’t know about mental health issues and don’t seem sympathetic. My husband always reminds me that, “It’s not like you were happy before,” which is true. And I feel even worse.

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13. Playing Through the Game Called Life

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I have depression as well as social anxiety and ADD-SCT, and I’ve always had to self-medicate like hell to hold down jobs. I’m on a ton of different medications that work together to keep me calm. Surprisingly, busy retail jobs were ok because I was always moving and distracted from my negative thought storms, though I’d often be fighting off panic attacks. Office jobs required a little more distraction, so I constantly listened to music or podcasts while I worked.

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It’s hard, but knowing that I’m finally financially stable is a great feeling. I also think about my plans to invest in early semi-retirement often and that goal keeps my morale up. Also, I’ve started to think of my life as a videogame; a rogue-like MMORPG, and that this is just one playthrough, and that level of cognitive dissociation helps me choose to do what I know I will wish I had done in the future, not just what I feel like doing in the moment. You can do it. Pick up the controller and play like you mean it!

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12. Was Nursing the Right Choice?

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I’m a (relatively) new nurse struggling with depression too. I had to leave the ICU after a year, because one night at work, I had a severe panic attack and had to go to the Emergency Department; I felt like it would be unsafe for my patients to continue working in the state I was in.

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So now, I have an office nursing job working for an orthopedic clinic, and it’s still hard for me to get through the day. I’m wondering if nursing was the wrong choice.

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11. A Pause on Life

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My depression/anxiety has stopped me from looking for work in what I went to college for. Apparently, I can pay bills by working at a pizza store.

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Also, paying $450 a month to my parents for rent is something I can handle, but not much else. Plus, no one wants to pay audio engineers…

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10. On the Verge of Messing It Up

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I’m on the verge of messing things up. I’m a fresh IT graduate and got my first job at a service desk. Two weeks in, I find it hard to fit in at the office. All the people are sociable and this is me being extremely introverted. I can’t think on the spot about what I should say, so I feel isolated and depressed.

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Then they have this exam you have to pass that will require you to use an application that’s needed for the job. But I failed it. There is this part of me that blames the training because I think it wasn’t enough to grasp all that information. But there’s also a part of me that says I wasn’t good enough. I will be retaking the exam this coming Wednesday; I hope I pass.

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9. Trying to Find Happiness Again

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I was working at my job for a few years, but everything fell apart and I couldn’t be normal when working. I was always depressed and upset, so I was quiet even though I knew my coworkers relied on me.

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My heart was not in it, so I left hoping to find a better way forward. But I’m still stuck at my mom’s house trying my best to find happiness again.

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8. Gotta Keep Fighting

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I think looking from the outside, I’ve achieved things at an average rate as other people have. But to me, knowing my potential and abilities, depression has messed me up academically and professionally.

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It’s sometimes hard to fight because it seems like you’re doomed to fail, but you always gotta keep fighting. I wish everyone with depression the best of luck.

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7. Invested Too Much

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I should have realized much earlier that nursing wasn’t for me and changed tracks, but I always felt like I had too much invested already and proceeded to invest more and more until I had a degree I didn’t really want to use.

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It’s been really hard to let go of the idea of nursing because it’s the only solid goal I’ve had for years. I’m ready to let it go now, but I’ve gone about it all wrong and now I’m facing being unemployed.

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6. A Caring Boss Changes Everything

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I should’ve been fired for the number of times I was late and how late I was. I guess I got lucky that my boss was horrible, and he managed two sites, so he never found out. I was in a really bad space then, too. I guess part of my depression was also the reason I got away with it.

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My boss was crap and I had no direction, nor did I care about the job. At least now, my boss cares and I can go into work knowing what I’m going to be doing.

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5. Haven’t Summoned the Desire

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I left my last job working in corporate America, after working there for two years and right now I am in hiatus since 2017.

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It’s been two years and I haven’t summoned up the energy, confidence, or desire to go out looking for a job. I hate it.

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4. My Job Caused Depression

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I had a good-paying position six years ago. Management sucked, but they left me alone most of the day. Actually, I would bug THEM for more work. The last year I was there, I decided I needed to move on – I was searching and applying to positions, trying to get out, with no success.

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Then I took a week’s vacation when summer came up. I was fired the week I got back; I wasn’t working on any projects and they fired me because I wasn’t working on anything – well, DUH!!! It was a relief to be out of that toxic environment, but sadly, I’ve never been able to find good work again in six years. I’ve gone broke and defaulted on loans, which led me straight into depression.

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3. Extra Pressure

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It’s really difficult; I feel so unliked now, and I’m never included in things at work. It’s not like I was before, but it’s worse now.

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The work environment puts extra pressure on forming relationships, at least for me, because people like you based on your personality and your work performance both.

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2. Give Yourself A Break

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Getting to work right away didn’t quite work out for me because I never gave myself any time to heal or learn the coping tools I never gained in high school (which is what screwed me in college).

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If it’s at all possible, I learned that it’s very important to maybe give yourself a break. Those mechanisms could actually change the course of one’s life.

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1. Time and Money Wasted

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I got into the automotive field and ended up hating what I was doing too. I tried to take the advice of doing something you love for a living and “never feeling like a job,” instead it just ruined one of my hobbies for me.

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I never even figured out what else to do because I was so ashamed of the time and money wasted to get educated in that field.

Hassan Washington

Hassan Washington