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To My Colleagues Who Help Me Manage My Anxiety at Work

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Thank you to the colleague who, instead of reprimanding me, showed me utter compassion. Words fail me at how much of a superhuman you are in my eyes to crawl on the floor in the bathroom with me for as long as need be, but most importantly, talk to me not as a fragile cookie, but as a human. The toilets smell, the floor is dirty and there you are, on your hands and knees, putting a smile on my face — even if it did take a while.

Thank you to the colleague who hugged me tight in the office and wiped away my tears. I appreciate that the floor isn’t the most comfortable of places, but I absolutely appreciated how kind you were in that moment, and your generosity I hold in my heart. The words, “I care about you, we care about you and we are not going to give up on you,” still feel unbelievable, but I certainly treasure them.

Thank you to my colleague who, when I sat in a corner shaking, simply held my hand. I know it can feel uncomfortable when someone is struggling and you don’t know how to help, but I assure you that in that moment, your kindness helped me.

Thank you to the colleague who bought me toys to help manage my conditions like anxiety. I was intending to buy them with my next pay check, however you went out of your way to ensure I could better manage at work on the job. I internally battled with feeling undeserving of this, so thank you for believing I was worthy of feeling more comfortable at work, even if it was a simplistic tangle toy.

Thank you to the colleague who left work early to drive me home, making sure I arrived safely. That’s not how I intended to interrupt your working schedule, but I sure have an awful lot of gratitude for you doing so.

Thank you to the colleague who came into work, even when you weren’t working. Working, eventually on my part, wasn’t sensible, but neither was returning home, so thank you for your company. Curling my hair in the office is something I certainly will not forget.

Thank you to the colleague who turned down the loud music on request without question. Sometimes I can be attentive to sounds that become overwhelming, but your understanding made my job all the more manageable.

The most humbling thing of all is this is just the bare minimum of what my colleagues have supported me through. My managers have seen me bawl my eyes out on the floor, yet equally have seen me flourish on the job, so determined to offer a helping hand. There are times I could do a better job if I wasn’t trapped inside an invisible cage only I can see, and for that, I’m sorry.

So many people aren’t as lucky as I am to have such supportive colleagues at work. I personally know family members who have their management pushing them to leave their jobs because of circumstances outside their control. This is why I believe the thank you is all the more necessary. Thank you for your support, even in the times you don’t understand, because sometimes all I need is a hug.

I understand I’m there to work, I do. But even when there are times when things have been tough outside of my working hours. Thank you for allowing me to come in to see familiar and friendly faces. Thank you for the ice cream, the invites out to dinner, the laughter or the two-hour phone calls when needed.

Until you are faced with the ignorance of people who want no association with you, simply because of mental health problems — which at times can make me appear a bit flimsy, ditzy, teary, spaced out or “unpleasant to be around” — then you can never even possibly understand how wonderful, understanding and kind you all are. This thank you, is for you.

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Thinkstock photo via monkeybusinessimages.

Originally published: June 8, 2017
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