Anxiety and depression is a debilitating illness. It alters they way you think and feel. You lose all hope sometimes and anxiety just makes it even worse.
My struggle began at 24 years old. I had completed my bachelors degree and I received the best news of my life, or so I thought. Getting that call after two interviews and being told sorry we went with someone else twice, I was finally getting my dream job. I was going to be a Crime Scene Investigator.
This job made my future so much brighter and made all my financial goals possible. It took three months to get through background and hiring but I made it. I was overjoyed and so hopeful, I was also so naive.
I’m not sure what it was about me but I could tell my co workers didn’t really care to get to know me. They were much older, one was six years older and one was 14. One had only been there 5 months and the other 14 years. I tried so hard to get them to like me ( mistake #1). From the beginning, I had a feeling it would be hard to become even work friends. They seemed closed off and not fond of the idea that I was so young and had zero experience.
I wanted to help whenever I could, do as much as possible so I could learn. The first two months were so exciting and I was learning so much. I loved every minute of it and I didn’t even feeling like I was working.
The start of my depression
The next three months were not so good. I made a good amount of mistakes, I owned up to them and tried to fix them. However, it didn’t matter to my co workers and my supervisor. My supervisor told me three times, I wouldn’t have hired you. For someone who is a perfectionist like me, that was devastating. I mean I have never been a person to mess up or fail. I have always exceeded at everything I’ve done. I’m a super personable person and for some reason this job/environment broke me.
I was already beating myself up for the mistakes but the beating got worse as my supervisor said those things, my co workers left me out of things I should learn, and one co worker never liked me from the beginning. She did the most damage on my mental state. Ignoring my existence, not even a hello or good morning unless someone else was in the room. She berated me in person when I messed up, but also through email. I let her destroy me without sticking up for myself (mistake #2).
No matter how hard I tried, I was a failure in her eyes.
The side effects
I had so many checklists on my computer and in my pocket. After writing a report, I’d read it 5-6 times, submit it, read it 5 more times, then stress about it some more all night long. I wasn’t sleeping, eating, and I was so nervous going into work that my stomach hurt. I hated going into work if I saw their cars their because I never knew how they would treat me.
My home life was rough because of it. I was checked out and trying to distract myself from my debilitating thoughts. My daughter started struggling with milestones and started acting out. It only made what I was feeling worse because now I was failing as a mother. I felt disconnected from life.
My realization that I needed help
It was finally my first autopsy by myself and I had an OCD amount of notes to make sure I did everything right. Everything went perfectly, that is until I got back to the office. I started my reports and things of that nature. Caught up in the success, I made a mistake that could not be fixed.
I completely lost it. I knew I’d be fired, I tried so hard not to cry and I freaked out. Even with help, the mistake was not fixable. The only way to fix it, was to redo the entire autopsy..
I told my Lt. and I knew what was to come, I cried until we talked. By some grace of god, I wasn’t being fired. However, I knew my thoughts and the way I reacted was not normal. I had been having thoughts of “maybe I shouldn’t be here”, “I’m causing so much trouble”, “I’m a failure”, and “it would be so convenient if I just got in a car accident”. So I scheduled a doctors appointment.
I asked for a half day off after I went back and re did the autopsy to make up for my mistake. I made the mistake of telling my Lt what I was thinking. This would be the most humiliating day of my life.
My rock bottom
Due to me telling him, he pulled me from working before I could fix my mistake. He stripped me of my shirt,phone,ID, and keys. I was told me I was going to the doctor, little did I know it wouldn’t be that simple. He and my supervisor escorted me to the ER where I was put on a medical hold. Embarrassed and defeated do not begin to cover my feelings. I was going to get help on my own but it didn’t matter. My bag was searched and someone posted outside my door for 8 hours. Only to be released after just talking to a social worker. 8 useless hours of no help or medication to get me through.
That was my rock bottom. I spent a whole month on disability trying to pull my mental state back together. I took the medication they gave me and went to a therapist. It helped so much, the only problem was I didn’t know if I was still employed. This is because the day that I went to the ER the co worker who had always been the meanest, texted me. She basically pretended to care how I was doing and then said “sorry this didn’t work out, there are other opportunities”. That was a text I could not stop thinking about. My Lt. legally couldn’t tell me if I had a job or not since I was on disability. So my mind was stuck on it.
First day back
My first day back I had a feeling I was getting fired. I say this because I was meeting with the captain first and that’s never good. I put my work clothes on and tried to remain optimistic. Once I sat down in his office, I knew I was fired. They knew I was fired from the day I left. Everyone did, but me. Out of anger and disappointment, I cried of course and tried to explain why this happened. It didn’t matter, no matter what I said, I knew it was going in one ear and out the other. When I left the office I lost it. Hyperventilating and feeling like the biggest failure and waste of time in the entire world.
I continued to beat myself up, I wasn’t sleeping and I was having night terrors. I saw flashes of their faces everyday and would run into detectives. Being ashamed that I was back at Starbucks, I hid from them. I was so worried what they would think because I was back working at Starbucks just like before.
My turn around
It took three months August 9th- November 2nd to fully recover. The brain is a funny thing and there is no set recovery time frame. I was on medication and I still go to therapy every week. Using an anxiety coach, therapy, medication, and oils I was able to change my thoughts. I cared too much about what others thought, I worked myself to the bone, and I tried to make everyone’s life easier (mistakes 3-5). This was all killing me and with the failure at that job, there was no way I’d make it. Through therapy I have stopped all those behaviors. I am practicing self care and I am glad I went through that experience. I have gone back to my oils and wear them and use them daily. They calmed my nerves and gave me the extra boost I so desperately needed. My favorite blend for anxiety is hope and stress away. It smells like a perfume and helps calm my crazy thoughts in conjunction with techniques I’ve learned in therapy. I can actually joke about it now, how crazy is that?
My home life is amazing now and my daughter is thriving. This was time off I needed. I needed to be more present with my daughter and my husband. I was able to recover enough in the month enough that I could get my old job back. Going back was hard but I knew I’d have support and love.
Does it still hurt sometimes? Sure! However, I am stronger now because of it. I am more confident in myself and I have found a new lease on life.
Life has cycles of happiness, peace, and chaos. My time of chaos was a huge learning lesson. I hid this from everyone except my husband and I wish I hadn’t. I was so worried about everyone being disappointed that I held it in. Talking about it is so hard, but it helps. You will see there are people who support you and love you. No one deserves to go through what I did. No deserves to deal with that alone.
Would I do things differently? Of course! Do I think that would change the overall outcome? Absolutely not. That environment was bound to break me. I’m glad it was sooner rather than later.
Get help, talk to someone, reach out, do not go through this alone.