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Dear Loved Ones, This Is Why Mental Illness Made Me Resign From My Job

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To my dearest loved ones,

I decided to resign from my job because my anxiety and depression have reached a breaking point. I can’t function to my maximum ability at work or even at home.

You ask and tell me:

“What are you depressed about?”

“What do you have to be so depressed about?”

“You should not let stress get to you. Everyone gets stressed — I do.”

“If it’s the workload, then find another job while you are still working.”

“Why take those medications? You will get nothing out of it but horrible side effects!”

“There are so many people that have it worse than you.”

And you keep asking me:

“What is it you are thinking of? What are you worried about?”

To which I answer, “I don’t know,” over and over again.

I really wish I could tell you what is going on in my head, but I can’t because even I don’t know.

All I can tell you is that I have a giant stone that is stuck in my chest everyday. I cry before going to sleep — in the morning and randomly throughout the days. My mind is running through a million things at once and I feel like it could explode at any point. I tell myself every single time I am at my lowest of the lowest that I am “going insane.” My whole body is so tense that I can’t relax even when I try to. I can hear my heart beating so fast and I am hyperventilating. I pace up and down around the room doing high jumps and the next minute I kneel on the floor, wailing and can hardly breathe.

I can never get a good nights sleep — I wake up feeling tired. I wake up in the morning and have a conversation to myself in my head, telling myself over and over again, “I am going to be OK today. Everything is going to be OK.”

And moments after that, my mind will tell myself that “I am not good enough. I am going to screw something up somehow. I am not beautiful. I look like crap. I am another disappointment to everyone. My colleagues hate me. My colleagues don’t really want me in the office. My friends don’t remember me. Nobody cares about me. Maybe if I don’t exist in this world, everything else will be alright.” And those words keep popping up here and there throughout the days on top of the other million things that have already manifested in my mind.

I took time off work to get better and you know what I tell myself every day: “You are a disappointment to your boss. Your colleagues think you are a liar. I need to finish all my work. I need to just pretend I am mentally fine and just act calm. I’ll have to go back to work. I need to be the perfect person. I need to tick all those boxes.” And the list goes on. I didn’t get any better, but it made me worse — I was stuck in a vicious cycle that see no end.

To which I find myself on the edge of that cliff thinking, “If I leave my job, who is going to help my mum and dad pay for their day to day expenses? Who will pay for my brother’s expenses? Who will help my husband pay the bills? Who is going to pay the bank that university loan?” I thought maybe if I left this world, everything would be OK — no one would blame me for putting my professional career on hold, no one would point their fingers at me ever again.

I couldn’t be on my own because at any point I could have jumped off that cliff and left the world behind, and the only thing stopping me at that point was my other half running after me, holding on to me and telling me these words of comfort: “You are loved and you don’t have to be perfect at everything — you just have to be you and take care of you.”

I had to make the most difficult decision of my life — leaving a good paying job with a supportive boss that had so many possibilities of progression in my professional scientific career. But I had to because I was not going to get any better.

The hardest part of it all is at times, I still question whether I have made the right decision to leave, but I know I have to take care of my mental health. I need to get better mentally.

So here I am, writing you this letter because a lot of the times, I shut myself down and ignore all your messages and calls. I appear calm when I am around you and pretend I am OK, talking about what I will do in a month or two months time; but honestly, I have no clue because I am still fighting an endless battle in my head.

I hope one day you will understand why I choose to leave my job and take some time to recover from my anxiety and depression. All I want you to know is that all I need from you is support, you really don’t have to fix me.

With so much love,

Your wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law and friend

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Getty image via tempatra

Originally published: December 13, 2017
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