How do you deal when everyone discovers your Mental Illness at work?

By some miracle I did not get fired yesterday. My employer and management found in a big way I have been doing a horrible job at one important aspect of my job. Embarrassingly horrible. But they want me to stay and do lighter duties and said they would give me time off if I need it. So that is very amazing.

How does everyone else feel when they are outed to having a poor performance and mental illness? I feel there will be a lot of tongues wagging this week when other people are doing my regular tasks while I am there doing super light duties.

I am seeing my doctor this week as soon as possible. In all the kindness everyone has shown me- the sad part is that I am quite ill. Reminds me of when families who are close gather around for the passing of a relative. Everyone is chatting away and reuniting after not seen each other in a long time. But then you realize it took a sad thing to show everyone's compassion for each other.

Please let me know how you deal with being embarrassed if people discovered your mental illness on their own? I feel very poorly and disappointed in myself.

24 Replies

  • Please don't feel like that Aspen. It's not your fault. Your employers shouldn't tell other employees about your health issues so I would have a chat with them and see how the land lies. As for your assistant if anyone asks you why just say that your workload has increased temporarily so s/he is helping you out. Or just laugh it off and say they are being nosy.

    It is none of their business anyway is it? You haven't got to tell anyone anything you don't want to. Your employer sounds amazing. Let us know how it all works out. Your health is your main consideration so you need to concentrate on feeling better and not worrying about anyone else.

    Lots of hugs Bev xx

  • Thank-you.❤️ Even yesterday I did have an air of expectance thinking i was being lead to the chopping block. I will get a better feel for things in a few days of how it is going to be. Thank-you for your kind words.

  • Hello Aspen

    May I suggest that you sit in a corner with a bib on and dribble. LOL.

    Also I find that if you wash your bib every night they will think you look much better.

    There is very little I can suggest, just be yourself anyone who makes a problem of it, it is their problem not yours just do your job and that is the only way.

    Sometimes when men suffer they walk around with their fly down and shirt slightly open. Sometimes we may go for that bib as well LOL


  • If someone expects less of me it could work in my favour.😋 I know these people have been pretty mean in the past. But if i get the same pay for sitting in the corner with my bib then count me in!😋

  • Well first off, it's not your fault, no body asks or wishes to feel this way, secondly your management has realised that you are an important member of the team and has put you on lighter duties for the time's the old 'there but for the grace of God' = this could happen to anyone.. your secret is out now and staff will (hopefully) treat you with kindness and kid gloves... RESULT!!!

  • Thank-you avawilliams- in a weird way I do feel a bit relieved they know. But I am ashamed of my poor work It was discovered I was doing. I have a speciality I am trained in that saved me plus like they mentioned I used to be their star employee. I will tell you what I did that is so awful. I was given a barn to keep clean and told the animal living in there was going to be rehomed any day now. So I always figured I would do my major cleaning when the critter left. Well time passed by and the animal was not rehomed. My boyfriend even offered to transport the 6 pound animal to his new home. But still it never happened. I got sloppier and sloppier with my chores. I basically did a solid tidy up everyday but not a proper in the corners clean that really should be done four or five times a week. So when they went in to do some repairs on the barn and moved a tarp on the floor- they saw a build up of poop and grime. I never meant for this to happen. But everyday I would complain to my boyfriend how I had to clean 45 minutes to an hour every morning in that barn for a 6 pound animal that was going to be rehomed. So it felt like wasted time. Plus people teased me about smelling like I worked in the barn. I was and am so depressed it felt like a task of Hercules . Plus another huge complaint I had was because I am barely 90 pounds it was very hardwork for me- but the guy before me who did it and was still there is a huge strong man that took fifteen minutes to do a stellar job. It was definitely my depression and not laziness. In my own home I am having the same problems looking after my home and even brushing my teeth seems like a huge project for me to do. I shamefully even used a bedpan twice this month because I didn't have the energy or desire to go a few steps down the hall to pee. Even i know that is not normal. Just to feel so empty, worthless and lonely all the time is draining. My employer must see I have some worth to keep me on. But how embarassing it is to have everyone know I left that barn in such a horrible state. I am sorry and to be honest i know I can't do that part of the job anymore.

    My partner talks to me on the phone a lot but there has been times it had been over a week since he visited my home. I would keep things tidy but always do a major clean up before he came over. And in the last two weeks I had let my home go down hill too. I spent about 6 hours cleaning my home today and maybe by tomorrow I will catch up.

    There is a whole lot of combined things that built up to this major depressive episode. One is the doors in my flat are all damaged and it was my pet that chewed their edges to splinters. They are cheap hollow doors. I have the money to replace them but my boyfriend wants me to use his friend as the handyman to install the doors- plus my boyfriend said he would cover the labour charges of his friend to install the four doors. But it has been over a year now and still this project is not done. Seeing those ratty chewed up doors makes me feel very depressed. I already live in a poor neighbourhood and even when my flat is smiling clean it still has a slumy feel to it because of the damaged doors. What hurts even more is that my partner knows how bad this makes me feel and he still has not got it done. So I found my own handyman and told my boyfriend I will take care of everything myself. And he is like- no-no- my mate was just asking the other day when he could do it. It is my boyfriend that is the one who is procrastinateing - not his handyman. This may sound like a stupid story but to me seeing those damaged doors is a big deal and I want to have them repaired and willing and able to pay for it.

    Plus my boyfriend treated me mean making fun on me- and repeated back my own words in a whiny pathetic voice when I reminded him I have no friends in this town but him. And he said back to me 'I have no friends' mimicking and mocking me. Plus him and his mother,we're having a huge fight and the biggest insult he could muster up was his mother should see a mental health physician because she was crazy. I can't spell phy-ki-a-trist!

    And it really hurt me that he would use that as an insult towards anyone. Because he knows I am in care - so if he says that about his mother- what does he really think about me that I actually need mental health professionals!

    Another major thing is knowing my boyfriend is selling his parents current home because of debt and already has made plans to buy a new house with his mother and cat his dad just passed away in March and my 47 year old partner always lived at home. I only see him once or twice a week for 3 years. And it seems strange to be so lonely all the time when I have a partner who says he loves me all the time. Plus he just got over cancer and still is battling some illness the doctors can define yet. He takes overwhelming vomiting attacks randomly. They think he might need another operation to fix a valve in his stomach. And just the other day he told me he didn't keep anything from me so he wanted to let me know some bad news his friend just called up to say. His exgirlfriend's daughter just got arrested for assault. I paused and then asked what does that have to do with him. He said 'nothing'. We have been a couple for three years and he said he was not in contact with his exgirlfriend. And he did mention when we first started dating how his former girlfriend's kids were always getting in trouble at parties and under age drinking and drugs- and he showed no fondness of those teenagers- in fact he complained about them. And now it is bad news he got down the grapevine three years later one got arrested for assault? It just depresses me and I feel a bit stupid and numb.

  • Hi Aspen this man is not your partner, he is barely even a bf. Much more like a friend with benefits. But to whose benefit? Yours? Or his? You don't sound like you are getting much out of it. Surely there are other men out there who are more suitable for you and are not mummy's boys? Find yourself a real man and not a little boy. This is my advice anyway! Bev xx

  • Thank-you Bev. Part of it is that he is really tied in close to his mother with their finances. They built a house worth more than 1.5 million USD dollars on a property already owned by the family. My boyfriend invested nine years of money and labour in this house. His mom is a top selling real state agent and felt she knew what to do to make this house into something they could flip and make even more money. But the father was just passed away in March had huge outstanding debts and told his wife that he filed their income tax- and once he died they found out for years his father did not pay their taxes all. And now the government is looking to collect that tax money- which they don't have. They already had huge debts of their own before the property tax bill surprise. A huge property like theirs has a very high one. So because my boyfriend is tangled up in that mess I let my needs slide a lot. My huge embarassment at work was my own fault but I told him everyday how I was failing and he never noticed when I finally crashed. I even told him i had a meeting Saturday night about me getting fired and he forgot. He was waiting for me at my flat and then finally went to work and asked why I was still there so late. But the good news is at least I got to see him. I know I need more attention and when he started saying less supportive things to me my health started to slip fast.

    I was and am so embarrassed that everyone at work knows I am mentally ill and unstable and that I did a beyond horrible work performance cleaning that barn. I have to face everyone tonight and already saw some of them this morning. A worker I rarely tAlked to before made a point of saying hello to me- which is a kind gesture but embarassing because they know I am sick. I feel like I am in a bright spot light with a flashing neon sign saying- mentally ill.

    I am literally off to my doctor right now to see what he says about everything that happened at work. My boyfriend is going to drive me there which is nice because it would take me 45 minutes one way on the bus just to get there. I can't believe have numb and detached I am right now. It is either that our sickened with embarassment. I feel the same level of shame as if someone walked in on me using the washroom or shower - except instead it is the staff at work knowing I did such a poor performance and it being revealed that I am mentally ill.

  • Aspen you have depression. It is very common as around 1 in 5 people get it. You are not a loser or incapable, you just have some mental issues at the moment. You are not a poor thing to be pitied you know - you just have some temporary problems like so many others do.

    Nor are you helpless in any way, shape or form. You are strong and capable enough to take charge of your own life and be self determining. Work towards this and see yourself how strong you really are. Stuff what others think of you, remember the saying 'Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words can never hurt me'. That is so true so head up and carry on. Hugs

    Bev xx

    Ps I don't think not thoroughly cleaning the barn is a horrible thing to do. It was wrong when you knew you should but what's horrible about it? I don't get that!

  • There was a tarp I had not moved in a while and when they did it was very dirty. I know people at work will consider that like how I obviously did not care about the 6 pound animal living in there. But he had clean bedding everyday and food and water. On the surface it looked clean. So they were very shocked and upset what they found under the tarp. I even knew in advance they were going to be working in there and it never crossed my mind. I have been just so down I never even thought to do a proper proper job before they went in there. That shows I definitely not thinking clear. Thank-you for your kind words. This board has really made a difference to me. I literally have no one to talk to. And now there is kind people such as yourself that I look forward to hearing from.

  • Well the animal was never going to go under the tarp was it? So as far as I can see it didn't suffer at all. You are more worried about not thinking about it aren't you?

    There are lots of things everyone does wrong and many of us don't think do we? There is not a one of us who is perfect here and never makes mistakes. As long as you learn from it, that is the main thing.

    Like I said Aspen try and be less hard on yourelf. It doesn't mean you are stupid or ill because you made a mistake - it just means you are human.

    Bev x

  • Thank-you Bev ❤️

  • It's nice that they seem to have rallied round you? It's usually only when something reminds us of our and each others vulnerabilities when you see people showing they care, as when things are going well people forget human frailty. The embarrassment will subside in time. What is it they say a quarter of people will be treated for depression at some point in their lives...some figure like that. So, probably people will not be thinking badly of you but will want you to get better but might feel uneasy how to go about approaching you. In saying that, I would be mortified if my work found out. But I would think they'd get used to it after a week and would not be mean about it. Would think of anyone who scoffs at it as not really worth knowing as probably cold hearted people.

  • Thank-you for your kind words and sound advice. These people are being kind to me now- but I have heard some of them talk insulting things before about others with really the same problems as me. They convinced one man to go off his anti-depressants because of saying those drugs were basically a myth and drinking spinach and kale smoothies were the route to go. Then after work one night he went straight to emergency with complaints of pain in his heart and stomach. The next day he was at work and they asked him how it went - and he said the doctor said it was pain caused by stress- basically a panic attack. And they laughed in his face asking what he had to be stressed over. Um.... He lives with his sister with a disability and her two sons from different dads who neither come around- so basically their uncle is their father figure. I think he has plenty to be stressed over and besides I don't get why people feel it is their place to even make a statement like that anyway.

    I think they are nice to my face but some of them won't be nice behind my back. Nothing I can do about it of course. They are good people to be so kind and understanding. However they contributed to my mental breakdown with mean and insensitive comments before. I lost many nights sleep over conversations and mean things said to me there. Now that I actually deserve to be told I am awful- they thankfully want to support me.

    I know one of my co-workers manager that was not in the meeting but likely knows by now- his daughter who was my age commited sucide. However honestly I am not sure people will think I am legit sick for doing such a poor job - rather just lazy and got caught. But like you said anyone who scoffs at me opinion doesn't matter. The owner of the company and management told me they think it is stress and mental fatigue. But i said I should of came to,them sooner. That is nice in theory but if I had come to them earlier I think it would just sound like I was lazy and not interested in doing that part of my job. I am sooooooo embarrassed to a point I have a knot in my stomach but atleast for now i have the same paycheque. I don't even know who knows. But you being up a great point some people may be uncomfortable in how to approach me. I never thought of that!

  • I just got home from the doctor and he gave me new medication to ad to my existing ones.

  • Aspen, what is done is done, and there is nothing to be gained from beating yourself up about it. I am sure the 6 pound animal was fine. It is humans who get stressed about muck. Most animals are quite happy with a bit of muck. I think you are thinking too much about that, and not enough about why anyone who professed to care about you is encouraging you to do things which make you feel depressed.

    So my advice would be, Ditch the BF and do all the things you were going to do before he stuck his nose in. His family has obviously got a history of letting problems pile up, so that should tell you something. Maybe he feels inferior to you, with you being so proactive, and is trying to drag you down. I would keep well away from him and his family issues. They are not your responsibility. Honestly, it would probably be cheaper overall to get a taxi if you need a ride some where.

    I expect your employers are feeling guilty they did not pick up on your problems at work, which is why they are being nice. Go with it. It will help them feel better. In time you will shake off the negativity of this so called BF and be back to your usual star self.

    Best of luck.

  • Thank-you for your kindness and support. I will tell you a secret that I have not said before- and I was going to make an individual post about it but I already have a feeling what people would respond. I actually have a large amount of investments that are tied up into long term contracts - so I can not withdrawal anything from them for a number of years for,the most part with out penalty. However I could easily get a loan to atleast keep my boyfriend, cat and mother in their home a couple of years. But he doesn't know I have any savings at all. I am very careful with my money and when I had a successful career I lost because of a physical health condition I squirrelled a lot away for my future and retirement. I feel a bit badly for not even wanting to help him. Partly after that credit card thing that happened where he bought something in a different currency and gave me the cash in our currency and it turned out to be about 75 pounds different. And he never paid me back. But I do believe it was an honest mistake. I bought him gifts way beyond that money since but it is the principle of the thing that irks me. I choose what I want to give- opposed to saying it is okay you charged something to my credit card and didn't pay me back in full. He is the only person in my life that loves me. Not that I am super religious other than believing in God and do pray - there is a story in the bible about the groomsmen and the brides - and some of the brides didn't bring enough oil to keep their lamps lit- and their groomsmen could not find them. It was a story from the Old Testament and am pretty sure the brides were waiting at night to meet the groomsmen as they rode in on horseback. And the moral of the story was quite different than i would of guessed. The brides with enough oil for their lamps did not share with the ones who came unprepared because then they themselves potentially would also miss out on finding their groomsman and going to the big wedding party. I want to say there was something like 500 groomsmen and just as many brides - my Old Testament knowledge really lacks- but basically if 500 horses arrived at dark you certainly would need an oil lamp to find the person you were looking for. Especially when you knew in advance the situation to prepare for. And that is how I see money. Spend just what you need to be comfortable but also IF POSSIBLE make efforts or even a bit of sacrifice to save a bit of money to prepare for a time you know you won't have any- say retirement or an unexpected disability- which I may even be faced with now. I grew up poor not having girl clothes or even proper shoes as all I had was,older brothers. And it made me a bit careful with my money. But I think if he showed the same responsibility to money as me I would help him. I have no family now for about 15 years now- so all I have is me. I feel I think of myself in the third person sometimes act like I am my own guardian making decisions for me. And as much as I would like to help my partner - I know i won't or can't.

  • Good on you. You keep your money for your own future. x

  • Read this post about the parable.

    I think it makes the point that it is important to be prepared, spiritually. It is not about not sharing the actual oil. In this case the 'oil' is something money cannot buy.

    I am sorry that you are feeling so alone and vulnerable. I can see that your money is your security and you are worried about investing in someone you think will not value your contribution. I think it must be very hard to not have family (although you can have family who are not there for you and be almost as alone) and to feel all alone in the world. When one feels vulnerable and threatened one wants to hold on tight to what one has.

    Having thought about this a bit more I would say that I cannot give advice on your relationship. I do not know the people involved well enough, and even if I did, I would hesitate to advise on such a matter. It is a very personal issue and only you can decide what is most important to you.

  • Hi Aspen you are quite right to keep your financial matters

    Private. I have to say that Finding me wrote a good Post, that

    BF is a hopeless case, get rid of him, he sounds like a child living

    With his Mom. By doing this you might give yourself a chance

    Of meeting someone who would really be a help and support

    To you. Why do you put up with his behaviour? Laughing at you

    And being mean, is horrible of him.

    Have you ever thought that he is a big factor in your Depression?

    I think if I was with him I would be Very Depressed too, no I

    Would be in jail for murder. Lol.

    It makes me mad that your self esteem is so low that you are

    Willing to put up with getting so little out of life . Aspen

    You are bright, get rid of him, how can you even call him

    A boyfriend? He sounds more like a friend. Try seeing him

    As just a friend.

    Also get your doors fixed, don't get his permission, just be

    Proactive and stop being helpless and do it yourself. You will

    Be much happier and he might buck up if he sees you are

    Beginning to take charge of your own life.

    Hannah x

  • Thank-you Hannah - I just posted an add for a local handyman and estimate for the cost of my repairs. It might sound silly to some but not looking at those doors really is going to help me! It makes me feel so bad looking at them and waiting and waiting for someone to have their friend to fix them. There friend have one year to get here- he lost the job!😋

  • Great reply FM x

  • Yes Finding Me a fantastic reply.

  • Yes - Finding Me does have an excellent reply. Except that also I would like to add hearing your advice is still very helpful in helping me reach my difficult Personal choices. I had a major surgery and other big events in my life with no contact with my family. It has been many years now. Maybe 15. So really boards like this and people like you - is the closest I can get to family advice where people are nearly always in your best interests and want to avoid you getting hurt. Well that is my theory on what family is suppose to be. 😋 so thank-you to everyone for their kind words and support. It does mean a lot.

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