“My job is ok, it’s the people who aren’t”. After 5 years of working where I am, I can finally put into words how I feel. I don’t have the most exciting job – I’m a marketing girl in the fire industry. This marketing girl very quickly became a fire safety geek; probably to the extent that wherever I am, I’ll be checking the place has a clearly marked fire exit, and the exit signs comply to the standards…sorry, if you’ve experienced this.
This isn’t a blog post about how much I love/hate my job. It isn’t a blog post to bitch. It isn’t a blog post to prove fire safety is far more interesting than you realise (actually, it isn’t). This is a blog post to question why someone living with any sort of mental health issue, has to put up with the ignorance of those who have no idea what it’s like to have said mental health issues. I know, and I hope you know, that it’s not something we should have to put up with, ever. Sadly, I’m sure you know as well as I do, that there will always be one person who makes us want to frantically bang our head against the wall, until we knock the ignorant thoughts out of them.
“I have no patience for people with depression” That remark right there made my blood boil, today. I’ve lived with depression on and off for the past 7/8 years. I’ve managed to block out a lot of the hurtful comments, the ‘cheer up, it might never happen’, or the ‘people who have depression are just so miserable’. The majority of the time, these comments make me chuckle and feel pity for them – they obviously don’t understand what it’s like to live with depression/anxiety/OCD etc. They don’t understand what champions we are. They don’t know how difficult it is to keep up the mask of normality. They don’t understand that every day can be a struggle, just to get out of bed and go to work.
Of course, we can’t blame someone simply for not understanding a particular circumstance. Not at all. What I think is disgusting and unacceptable, is the assumptions they make, without the knowledge or experience. It’s not fair on those living with whatever.
Today though, that comment made me feel physically sick. Sick with anger. Sick with frustration. Sick with being stuck with this discrimination and stigma. I didn’t ask to have depression, and I doubt there was anything I could do to have prevented it. No one asks for depression/anxiety/OCD/whatever mental health issue you are affected by. Much like, no one asks for a physical health problem. Suffer with migraines? I bet you didn’t ask to have one. Suffer with stomach ulcers? I’m pretty sure you don’t like them!
The more time I spend writing this post, the more I want to stamp out the stigma and discrimination of mental health. No one should be made to feel inferior because they have depression. No one should be made to feel stupid, if they have anxiety or OCD. No one should feel like they have to hide their issues.
And yet, that’s what I’ve done for the past 5 years. No one at work has a clue that I have depression. To them, I’m just quiet and probably boring and miserable a lot. To me, every day is a challenge. If I start a conversation with someone at work, I will have been planning that conversation all day. I will have had butterflies in my stomach, in the build up to talking.
So why do it? Because depression is seen as a weakness. In my workplace, the only time mental health is discussed, is when someone is being mocked. Mocked for admitting they have a mental health issue. Mocked for ‘drawing attention’ to themselves. Little do they know that little Lou is sitting there mind her own business, wondering how she’s going to make it through the day without wanting to break down in tears, because of this horrible work environment.
If I were a different person, I would have throttled the person who said they have no time for people with depression. She may have no patience for people with depression, I have no time for ignorance and arrogance. How I wish I could have said this aloud. I guess though, this person must feel cheated that she’s had to talk to someone like me for 5 years. Do I care? of course not!