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18 ‘Red Flags’ Your Job Is Hurting Your Mental Health

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At first, you may have dismissed any negative thoughts you had about your job. After all, it’s called “work” for a reason. Nobody loves their job 100% of the time, right?

But as the months (or years) went on, you might have noticed yourself start changing. Maybe you found yourself sadly crawling into bed on Sunday nights feeling depressed about the week to come. Maybe you noticed the second you walked into work you were instantly gripped by anxiety that never seemed to fade. Or maybe you found yourself escaping to the bathroom to cry in private because you felt so overwhelmed.

We wanted to know what “red flags” let members of our community know their jobs were hurting their mental health, so we asked them to share their experiences. You can read what they had to say below.

If your job is hurting your mental health, you’re not alone. To connect with other people who really “get it,” we encourage you to post a Thought or Question on The Mighty with the hashtag #CheckInWithMe. Whatever you’re facing today, you don’t have to face it alone.

Here are some “red flags” your job is hurting your mental health:

1. You Feel Really Low on Sunday Nights Before the Work Week Starts

“My husband told me my mood changed significantly on a Sunday… and at the end of school holidays (worked in a preschool)…” — Rebecca L.

“Sunday night worrying — crying, anxiety/panic attacks. Not knowing what situations are going to happen during the week. Never feeling supported.” — Stephanie B.

2. You’re Feeling More Anxiety Than Ever

I started getting major anxiety and my dream job that I absolutely loved quickly became a battlefield. I had to put up my walls and felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells.” — Alana C.

I’d have meltdowns after work almost daily toward the end. I would bottle all the stress, then come home and yell and swear and punch my own legs. After a couple of weeks, it got even worse and I had full panic attacks thinking about going in. That was the last straw. I saw the doctor, got a note and left. In the month since I’ve been doing much better emotionally.” — Jace P.

3. You Feel Angry All the Time

“I was angry all the time. I would come home and just be in a complete state of anxiety and anger. I couldn’t function. The drama at work was more than my mental health could handle. And when I was always the one getting talked to for issues that were not my fault (negativity in the office), I started to lose it. Finally switched to a different office and have started to realize just how toxic my last job was. I knew it was in the back of my mind, but it took leaving to see just how bad it was.” — Tahany E.

“Staying awake all night antsy, losing hair in huge clumps, being physically in pain all the time, crying a lot and being irritated by everything.” — Megan H.

4. You Cry at Work (Usually in the Bathroom)

“As a prior receptionist, I noticed the red flag of me needing to step away from my desk more and more, just to cry, and get back to work. Even more so, when I went home to cry and forcing myself to go in, when I’d rather stay home.” — Tatauq M.

“I was having to constantly go hide in the bathroom to get away or cry and dreaded going to work every day. I would want to cry while getting ready for work because I already knew I was going to be miserable.” — Natalie V.

“When I started to cry at work over everything. That job took such a toll on me I was starting to get some terrible thoughts. So I found a different job and quit.” — Vanessa S.

5. Your Physical Health Is Declining

“Had a heart attack at work. Pretty much says it all.” — Rox P.

“Woke up every morning with pain in my abdomen. Stress was causing stomach ulcers.” — Dayhlaina L.

6. You No Longer Feel Safe at Work

“I worked in a call center and we got a terroristic threat call to one of our seminars. The company did nothing but brush it under the rug for the employees involved even after the police were called to the caller’s home. We still had to deal with him and help him and I was the one assigned to do it because of my high level of customer service experience. I refused. After that day I had panic attacks every morning on my way to work and then again when I got there. Ultimately it made me leave and I still get flashbacks and panic attacks when a phone rings.” — Katelyn B.

“I worked in a library and the people there were kind, but I had a lot of physical safety concerns and one time I was even harassed by a patron and I reported it and it was dismissed. I talked to my supervisor a couple times about my concerns but they were, once again, dismissed, and I stopped feeling safe. After a while, I got used to it, but I realized I deserved to feel safe. It was hurting my mental health to be in that sort of environment, so I left.” — Remy L.

7. You Turn to Alcohol

“My first job was working on a magazine for an editor who was not only demanding, but also irrational and bullying. It was when I found myself coming home and drinking alcohol every night to blot out the stress that I realized I needed to resign.” — Lucy D.

8. Your Boss Is a Bully

I had begun working there loving my job and loving what I did. I excelled at my job but there were changes in management that ended up being terrible and they were almost corrupt. They bullied the employees they didn’t like and I was one of them. I’m a very no-nonsense type of person, so I hid it very well but it definitely took a toll on me. I couldn’t understand why they hated me so much especially considering how well I did my job.” — Tina S.

9. You Have Bad Dreams About Work Regularly

“Having bad dreams related to work frequently.” — Jessica C.

10. You Dissociate at Work

“I dissociated during every shift I worked, without the usage of any mind-altering substances. I felt like I was dreaming at work, the stress and everything wasn’t even real anymore.” — Katelyn E.

“No boundaries. People would routinely take my stuff, stand way too close, talk over me, not listen to me. The lack of respect made me not even care and I dissociated every time I walked through the door.” — Rachel L.

11. Your Boss Doesn’t Acknowledge (or Takes Credit for) Your Accomplishments

“When I was working 100 hours or more a week. My boss would not acknowledge me or my accomplishments, instead, he would blame me for everything that was wrong when I cared more than my boss.” — Tess S.

12. You Feel Paranoid About Your Coworkers

“When it permeated in my mind all of my coworkers were conspiring against me.” — Erica F.

13. You’re Struggling to Keep Up With Chores at Home

“As a cleaner, I have had some customers who have such a high expectation I go home and don’t clean my own home, which makes me feel depressed, which just snowballs when I have work the next day again.” — Shan B.

14. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

“I couldn’t sleep the night before going into work.” — Esther S.

15. You Vomit at Just the Thought of Going to Work

“I started waking up and getting sick, literally throwing up, every single morning. Which would be followed by a headache and severe shakes, diarrhea and a whole bunch of other horrible feelings.” — Carolyn L.

16. You Don’t Have Time for Your Hobbies

“When I gave up all my hobbies, even eating or watching TV. I took that job because it was consistently 9 to 5, but the rest of the time, I was having panic attacks.” — Andrew P.

17. You Feel Lonely at Work

“Feeling very lonely even when hundreds of your colleagues are working side by side on the same floor.” — Mohit

18. You Hate the Job You Once Loved

“I didn’t care about it anymore. I used to love it. It was fun for me and I would bounce around at work like I didn’t have a care in the world. It was where I could go to get away from my racing thoughts and already existing trauma. Then by the time I realized it was toxic for me, I didn’t even feel like I was good at it. Or anything. I worked so much that I only had time for sleep in between shifts. I didn’t have a good thing to say about it and I couldn’t really come up with any good reason to stay. I was actually at work when I decided to hospitalize myself early this year.” — Liz S.

If you’re struggling with your mental health because of your job, you’re not alone. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed from time to time in your job, but if you live with chronic stress, it’s worth considering your options. It might be time to consider changing departments, talking to HR or possibly even leaving your job. You deserve to feel seen and supported in your career.

For more on jobs and health, check out the following stories from our Mighty community:

Originally published: November 19, 2019
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