Living With Anxiety & Why I Can’t Just “Suck it Up”

Recently at work, I overheard some coworkers talking. Now, I don’t know the full context of this conversation, but what one of them said something that really bothered me. “Everyone has stressors and anxiety, but we all have responsibilities, so you just have to suck it up when you’re feeling that way. Anxiety isn’t a reason to stay home all day and not work.”

Okay okay, hold up now.

Yes, we all have stressors and anxiety. That’s true, and to some extent, I do agree that when you’re just having a bad day you shouldn’t sit at home and do nothing.

But, anxiety is the real deal.

At least for me, it is. I don’t stay home when I’m stressed about moving or school or work or the million other things that could stress me out. But saying “anxiety isn’t a reason for someone to stay home” is wrong.

Nearly every morning I wake up and I wonder what the day will hold. Some days I start fighting my inner demons before the alarm clock even goes off, and some days the fight doesn’t begin until later. But I’m always on guard. I have my walls up and my coping skills ready, just in case.

With last week being mental health awareness week I wanted to write this post (even though I’m a week late.) PTSD and anxiety are a real part of my life. Which means that going to work EVERY DAY sometimes isn’t an option, even though I’d like it to be.

I want to suck it up.

I recently wrote a post about how hard self-care is for me. Taking time for myself has always been something that I struggle with. I am all about squaring your shoulders and working hard, but I am learning that I also need to take care of my mental state, and that means self-care, resting, and sometimes staying home.

I know that in the workplace mental health is a tricky subject. I am grateful for my employer who is understanding and willing to work with me since I work hard and do my job well. But I realized that even though some are understanding not all get it. And I guess that’s part of why I wanted to write this post. I want people to understand. I want to come to work and not stay at home. Sitting at home all day isn’t as fun as one might think. It’s not like I just want a day off every week or so, I hate missing work. But sometimes going into the office just isn’t possible. And that’s just my reality.

My anxiety keeps me home.

I don’t want to stay home, but sometimes that’s the only option. And to that coworker, I have to say that anxiety is one damn good reason to stay home. Otherwise, I’d be completely useless at work the rest of the time. But ya know, if you don’t get it, that’s okay. You do you and I’ll keep doing me.

Mental illness isn’t something that I understood until it impacted me on a very real and personal level.

Mental illness isn’t something that we should ignore. We need to talk about it. After this past week, I’ve realized more of the direction that I want to take this blog. There will be more posts about Mental Health in the future, and I cannot wait to share them with you. Also, I changed my major (again) back to Psychology, but more on that another day.

How does your mental health impact you in the workplace? I’m always interested in hearing your experiences, let me know in the comments!

I know that I’m not the only one who has a mental illness and works full time. These are some other stories that have stuck with me (from The Mighty):

What It’s Like Working with Anxiety and Paranoia
7 Things I wish I could tell my Customers and Co-workers About my Anxiety
The (Not-So) Silent Workplace Battle With Anxiety

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