Full-time Work and Depression

Hi, ive just joined this site. I'm just looking for some advice really as i feel a bit lost in life.

I am 17 and i have suffered from severe anxiety since i was very young, I have never been diagnosed with depression but i'm sure it started back when i was 12 due to this anxiety.

I have just got an apprenticeship - my first job. Ive been there for 3 months now. It's 35 hours a week (8-3:30) and i am really, REALLY, struggling. Whenever i say this, people either think i'm just a lazy teenager or "welcome to working life". I am just so tired all the time, my job isnt exactly stressful, but then again i manage to stress about everything!

The slightest thing sends me into tears, every evening when walking back to my car to go home i'm in tears, every time my family ask about work i'm in tears. I'm just really scared and lost. I feel so trapped in a job, it seems so scary that i cannot just stay at home if i'm having a really bad day like i would for school.

I know everyone has to work, and i'm not saying i'm not willing to try, maybe less hours until i, i dont know, maybe actually sort my head out one day. But am i ever going to get used to work? I know i HAVE to work, but if i'm going to feel like this for the rest of my life i don't think i'll cope at all.

I know people also say that working gives your life that well needed structure when you have depression - but in all honesty i was happier without work. There was a few months between school and the apprenticeship where I had no work and it was honestly the happiest time i can remember. Yes i had my bad days, yes i would still find things to cry about, but i wasn't tired all the time, i went out every day with my dog which i LOVED, i would regularly go out with my mum, which again i loved. And i now don't get to do these things because i'm either working or i'm recharging my energy at the weekend.

I'm sorry i have rambled on, i just don't know what to do.

7 Replies

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  • Hi MaisyMay2

    Welcome to our friendly. supportive & non-judgemental forum. Feel free to post as & when you need to, we will do our best to support you as much as we are able!

    First of all I would get off the guilt trip, we don't ask for depression to be part of us, it just happens that way for reasons that often we don't know specifically or remember that has happened in our lives!

    It is difficult to get work when we come out of education into the working way of life! Well done for getting the apprentice job, I know it is not easy! But if it is affecting you that much, and causing extra stress & crying every day I think you need to pay a visit to your Dr be honest with him about how you really feel, the symptoms that you have & see if there is any way in which he can help or support!

    As you said people have said 'welcome to working life'! Yes it is hard to make the change between school & work hours, yes it is good to work & everyone had to work! Be honest with your Dr see if he can make any suggestions of how to help you to adapt to the change! Having depression & anxiety can drain you, and it can loiter in the background for some time & then it hits you like a big wet fish in the face!!

    See what support your Dr can offer, you must be coming up to your 3 month appraisal soon?!? Does your boss know anything about what's going on for you? If you've had your appraisal, how did it go? Did you mention anything to your boss at that time?

    It is important that you visit your GP! Sounds like the school hours worked reasonably well for you, as you could take time out when you felt unwell! But it is more difficult when you have a paid job! Can I for the moment suggest maybe taking a power nap during your lunch time maybe in your car! It's been said that power naps can help you get through the rest of the day! Try to get some proper sleep at night, even if you have to go to bed earlier than normal! Look at your diet and see if your are eating some slow release energy foods, that will hopefully give you a boost throughout the day! And rest when you can, maybe over the weekend to catch & keep your energy topped up!

    I wish I could help you more, but I have limitations on how I can advise you! Sorry!

    Good Luck! Take Care of You Warm Wishes & Blessings spykey🤗

  • Thank you for your reply! The things is, ive seen doctors in the past about anxiety/depression and it has not helped. They referred me to Cahms which in all honesty was the worst service i have ever seen and i ended up leaving it. Ive now gotten to the point where i'm too anxious to speak to anyone about it face to face, so i'm kinda stuck in a cycle, i'm too scared to seek help because i know to get better i need to step out of my comfort zone and i'm not ready for that.

    I have an appraisal coming up soon, work are oblivious to my illness and i was not sure about telling them. I'm sure they would accomadate to my needs - they are a nice work group. I just feel that face-to-face it might be a bit awkward, especially their reactions and the gossip. So i was unsure whether to mention this or not. My other meetings have been well, they believe i'm doing perfect there and i tell them i'm happy to avoid further conversation.

    Don't apologise youve helped me consider a few things - thank you!

  • Hello! I'm in a similar boat, I am 17 as well and I just feel awful everyday...I understand you are going through a rough time! But you should be proud of yourself already! I feel you have answered your own question since you tell us that your job doesn't make you happy and that walking your dog and not working did make you happy, then surely you should be doing that! You are only 17 so you don't have to have it all figured out now! Try focusing on things that make you happy because your happiness is the most important thing! Maybe take a gap year, clear your head! And remember next time somebody says you are a lazy teenager you tell them that we are more 'lazy' because our hormones are crazy and are constantly going up and down through our body, causing us to be more tired! All the best to you, everything will turn out fine! Your on the right track, and it's great you have acknowledged how you feel!

  • Thank you! I know what will make me happy (kind of) which is spending time with my many pets and family! But i know i have to work, my family are very strong in thought that it's good to take responsibility young, i need money to pay for fuel, phone bills, and soon rent to my parents. I would love to take a "gap year" where instead i get a small 15hours a week job, so i get a small amount of money in to keep me going but also plenty of time to myself. But i am very aware that i need to prepare for the future, and that i should try and get experience in different areas like perhaps nurserys while i can through apprenticeships. Oh i'm just so confused.

    Thanks again!

  • Hi, welcome to this group.

    Try seeing your GP again. If you are at a surgery with more than one doctor, try asking if there is one with an interest in mental health and seeing them. Perhaps some medication for a while and/or talking therapy/CBT would help you to find ways of handling your anxiety and depression on a day to day basis. It is important that you are honest with your doctor. It might help to write down how you feel and how it affects you, and give that to your doctor to read. A proper diagnosis is important, as there are other illnesses that have anxiety and depression as symptoms, so it is necessary to rule them out.

    Changing from school to full time work is hard, and I know I for one had to battle with anxiety everyday for a while when I started my apprenticeship many many years ago. Even now after over 30 years working, I have days when it is all too much for me, and I am just going back to work now after 6 weeks off sick. I am lucky to have a very understanding workplace, and also, because my illness is long-standing (I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 12), it falls under the anti-discrimination rules, so they have to help me where it is reasonable.

    You say your workplace is understanding, but you don't feel up to telling them about your illness face-to-face. You also say you have an appraisal coming up. Would you feel able to write down how you feel and how it affects your work and give that to the person doing your appraisal? Also, do you know if your employer has an occupational health advisor? They could be someone you could write to or talk to, and who could speak on your behalf to your bosses.

    It is important for you to try to adjust to working. Not only for the money and the related independence, but it is good for your mental health to have structure and to mix with other people. There will be times when it is harder than other times, times when you just want to hide away from the world, but please try to accept these as part of your illness. You will need to learn to balance work and rest, so you don't overload.

    You say you enjoy walking the dog - can you do that when you get home from work, or in the morning before work? That will give you something good to either look forward to or to do in the morning so you feel good about yourself before going to work.

    I do hope you find a way through this. Keep talking to us on here. We understand so well what you are going through.

    Tinyone

  • I understand completely. I work part time and really struggle. I take two days to recover after I've been at work. My colleagues don't understand and I often end up in tears sometimes with them having no understanding that what they said had upset me. I feel very frustrated whenever I hear that work is good for mental health. It probably is for some people but it's such a generalisation and I'm sure it has a negative impact on my mental health.

    That said not working isn't a good situation long term either. I was unable to work for about 8 years and I became very isolated and struggled to manage on the low money that benefits paid at that time. I think it's worth sticking with your apprenticeship if you can.

    As others have said you probably should speak to your GP again. It's a good idea to build a relationship with someone who can support you. If things get worse at some point it's hard to try to build a relationship at that point, better if you're already in touch with them and they can monitor how you are and they might be able to offer you better treatment options when you feel ready to access them. You are allowed to say to your GP that you're not feeling ready to step out of your comfort zone. Tell them exactly how you feel. You don't have to speak to them and accept everything they offer straight away. Take time and build your trust and think about further treatment when you feel ready for it.

    You might find Access to Work helpful. They sometimes can provide a support worker if your mental health is affecting your work. The support is mainly on the phone so might suit you if you're finding face to face difficult. You meet up a few times but not many and it's a 6 month arrangement. If you were able to get this support they might be able to help you decide how to speak to your manager about your health and how you're feeling, or even attend a meeting with you if this might help. You might find work easier to deal with if you have a supportive manager or colleage just occasionally checking in with you and you being able to honestly say how you're feeling rather than pretending that everything is going well.

  • I agree, work can help some people as it gives them a drive, gives them structure, gets them out and meeting people! But at the moment it really feels like I was better off home with no worries about getting up at 5 everymorning, and not having that well needed rest day if things were getting too much. But then again i know if i do not work, i'm not going to form friendships, my confidence will likely drop and i'll still be unhappy, i almost need to find a balance.

    Sometimes i have a week at work where i feel okay with it, i think "hey this week hasnt been so bad, kinda looking forward to this!" Then the next week soon results in tears and daily thoughts about leaving and just going to bed forever.

    Since posting this i have thought more and more about perhaps going back to the GP, it's just such a scary step to take.

    I'll look up that access to work thing, thank you!!

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