Saturday, March 26, 2016

Work and Anxiety

Back in September when I was first hired, I didn't tell them about my mental illness. It was a personal test for myself to see if I could, in fact, handle a job.

I took a xanex every time I worked for the first week or so. I don't remember. But eventually it became necessary only once a month or even less than that.

Then came the day when there was a child throwing a complete and total tantrum. His mother just ignored it and continued shopping. Screaming, yelling, crying, loud loud loud. I broke down, freaked out, and my manager had me sit in the office until I calmed down - and the lady had *finally* left the store.

Not long after that, my xanex kicked in and I was ok the rest of my shift.

Since then, most of the people I work with now know about my anxiety. Amazingly enough, there are at least three other people there with the same issue. They each handle it in different ways. Me, I prefer the safety of the fitting room cave. Others prefer the register or they feel claustrophobic and freak out in fitting room.

With the stressors in my life and the ups and downs with the bi-polar, naturally there are going to be some days that are better than others.

Thursday there were a bunch of teenagers trying on dresses, a couple of moms with little kids, and some adult friends, all in the echoing fitting room. Oh my Holy LOUD. I thought I was going to lose it and start crying. The shakes started, and I was having a hard time breathing.

I called on the radio and asked if there was anyone on the sales floor that I could trade with for a few minutes, until all the loud was out. Immediately one of my co-workers came and took over for me and I went and helped finish the area she was recovering.

I didn't have to ask more than once, I didn't have to explain myself, it was just taken care of.

So far as I know, that has happened for every co-worker that has had an issue with their anxiety flaring.

We cover for each other, management doesn't resent it, and after it's calmed down, we go on with the work.

I don't regret not telling them up front about my issues and why I was looking for a job. I didn't know if they'd hire me if I wasn't sure I could hold a job.

While there are days that I don't want to go to work, don't think I can handle it, or just don't think I can crawl out of bed, I have to admit that it is an immense relief that my co-workers know.

People aren't nearly as judgemental as I assumed they would be. At least not in my workplace. Reasonable Accomodation is what they call it. I call it basic good humanity and I am grateful for it.

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