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The Question I Dread Hearing at Work Monday Morning as Someone With Anxiety

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“How was your weekend?” is the question many of us face walking into work on a Monday.

Do I dare answer with the truth?

Oh, well, I’m switching medications for my mental illness, which has increased my paranoia and anxiety, causing me to think everyone hates me, and I’m about to get fired. On top of the fact I can’t concentrate enough to handle the 15 new emails and customer issues waiting in my inbox. I could cry at any moment…

Or do I put on the mask of a “normal” person?

Great weekend, great weather — just a fantastic weekend! How was yours? And try to fake it enough so it seems you are being genuine, while the voice inside me screams, “You’re not good enough, you are fake!” Louder and louder until I can get to the restroom, lock myself into the only safe spot and cry as quietly as possible.

Mondays are hard for many of us. Add in a mental illness that screams internally of all your short comings, all your flaws and all your fears, and you end up with a brain that just can’t. Can’t work. Can’t focus. Can’t stop the internal criticisms. Just. Can’t. Function.

I can’t say, “I’m having a really bad day, and I really shouldn’t be here because of my illness.” The stigma is real and I don’t want to risk being seen as weak, unreliable or a failure to my boss, my co-workers and my employees.

So I put on my work mask, and “man up” to do whatever is necessary, just so I can go home to my bed, and forget the world. Until tomorrow.

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Thinkstock photo via daizuoxin.

Originally published: August 1, 2017
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