on mental illnesses on the workplace
i have so many undiagnosed mental illnesses i don't even know if i'm telling you all of them. depression is the biggest one, anxiety has been kicking in for about 3 years already, social anxiety is the real one at university… and i'm sure there's many more i still don't know the names to.
and they're undiagnosed because i don't have the money to pay for a consistent therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist. or even the money to pay for the medicine i know i'll have to take.
for me to have money to continue to pay for my education and maybe spend on a therapist, i need a job. and that's where the fun stuff happen.
in job interviews, they want people who are charismatic, who are communicative, who puts tons of efforts into what they're doing, who are loud and active and who want things. and i'm not one of those people. i freeze when i talk, i don't like to be around other people, i'm too introverted for my own sake, i work hard but sometimes that's not enough.
and i'm so tired of trying so hard to put on this persona every time i step into an interview room, put this mask on that i'm very good at everything including being a normal human being, but it always comes down once i have to introduce myself.
today, for the first time in my 2 year job seeking journey, i talked about my anxiety in an interview. the question was: "talk about a situation where you had to overcome yourself to help someone else." and i talked about that single episode in my second semester of university.
during theology class on the vision of the 3 main monotheist religions on suicide, euthanasia and hunger strikes, my teacher played a video. of people committing suicide. i didn't watch it but i had to comfort so many of my friends who were absolutely devastated after it.
i still have that image stuck into my brain of my friend on the floor weeping into a psychologist's lap. it's strongly stuck to my memory because that's when i realized we're more similar than we know.
and i talked about that moment, when i had to suck it up, to dry my own tears, to push to the back of my mind the several — and i mean Several — times i tried to kill myself, because there were others in conditions worse than mine.
and it was the last question of the interview. and after that she said: "we're done. you went really well." and gave a tiny laugh.
as i answered the question, i didn't think talking about my anxiety and my depression would have an effect on this interview. i was too focused on reliving that horrible moment in my brain. so when i stopped talking, it came to me in a huge wave that "shit, they don't like depressed people in the workplace."
and once she said i went really well, despite having just said about my mental illnesses, i got a boost of self confidence i've been lacking in the past 2 years. maybe my anxiety and depression won't always get the best of me. they're part of me and maybe some employees aren't in the 19th century and they can understand that it's a part of me just like my organization, my creativity, my effort and my will. some employees understand that having mental illnesses is a part of human nature and it may affect my job, but so it does with everyone.
it's just a maybe. i might get rejected after this interview and i might lose my spot to a white 25 year old guy who studied engineering — like i always do. but at least i know that it makes no sense in hiding out these crucial aspects of myself in job interviews to play the part.
i'm ill. and that's a part of me.