Can Mental Health Stop You From Working?

When Holding A Job Becomes A Challenge

Depending on the mental illness at hand, working can become difficult if the symptoms are not properly controlled. Many people suffer from very common illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and continue to work through them every day. But holding a job with uncontrolled depression or anxiety is not wise and definitely not recommended. In other words, mental health can stop you from working!

The job that you hold does not really matter, because poor mental health can become a huge distractor while on any job, even if the job is not very mentally or physically demanding. Imagine going to work and experiencing auditory hallucinations of voices in your head, while you’re trying to type up a word document or talk to clients.

Holding a job while suffering from an untreated mental illness is like working two jobs at the same time: your normal one and the second one being the illness in your mind. The problem is that the second job is not rewarding and most likely very emotionally and mentally painful.

When you are experiencing an unmanaged mental illness while on the job, there is absolutely no way that you can be performing at your highest level. If it’s anxiety, you become distracted by your nervousness, worries or even panic. If it’s depression, you are constantly distracted by your negative thoughts, low drive and poor self-esteem.

If it’s PTSD, you are distracted by your potential flashbacks of the traumatic experience in your past. If it’s OCD, you are bombarded with mental obsessions and compulsions which you have to perform in order to alleviate your obsessions. If it’s social phobia, you are constantly worrying about being judged or ridiculed on the job.

As you can see, mental health can stop you from working, because eventually your coworkers, clients or patients will notice that something is off about you. And when you start noticing that they are noticing your odd behavior and poor mental health, it makes you even more uncomfortable and insecure, further decreasing your performance on the spot.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to someone about your mental health problems. Never keep them to yourself and certainly never allow them to escalate to the point of robbing you of your job. Do not underestimate the power of mental illness: it can appear in a flash and last longer than you’d ever imagine.

If you are dealing with something, seek treatment right away! Talk to a psychiatrist and start a medication if you have to. It’s better to take medication and recover from your mental illness, then not take anything and allow your mental illness to bring you down.

As always, feel free to share your stories on The DSM Ready platform!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)


8 Replies to “Can Mental Health Stop You From Working?”

  1. Lost my job because of a schizo-spectrum disorder. Partly. Also genuine displeasure with the job. But I’m pretty damn good at forcing myself to do things I don’t like, and that shit was fucking impossible. I’ve recovered somewhat and am on the market again, in a different discipline but possibly the same industry. I have such traumatizing associations with the content of my previous job that I can’t even imagine putting myself through that sort of work again lest it trigger reappearance of the condition in full force. Associations are key–they can work against you, but it’s super-swell if you can make them work for you. Schizo-spectrum disorders are a fucking nightmare. It’s like one of those anime shows where you’re a superhero and a high schooler at the same time, except it’s a super-curse/super-disease instead of a super-power and you have to, like you said, work two full time jobs at the same time. I honestly find that to be the case.

    Well anyway, enough. It’s getting better.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. As a side note that merits more than a side note: Yes, it was all handled legally, and my company made attempts to accommodate me (which just logistically could not be met) and I was let go with benefits. It was super-fair. In all reality I could have just been hired due to my performance problems, regardless of the fact that I had taken multiple instances of FMLA/EDD.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. great information. However, I was seeking help and trying to slightly decrease my house then changed a good job for one that was paying a pittance. I have uncontrollable depression along w/ a string of other connected causes and effects. In my early 20’s before my first son I would have never guessed I could be the way I am. its now been a almost 24yr, continuous ever changing struggle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your depression. But I’m glad that you have the courage to talk about it. That’s what’s important! Please continue to see a psychiatrist and continue psychotherapy if you have already started it! Thanks for sharing


  3. Dealing with anxiety and depression while at work can definitely be unbearable at times. There are days when I don’t want to be around anyone or I can’t focus due to my constant negative thoughts. Great post btw!

    Liked by 1 person

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