My Boss Made My Mental Health Worse

Working while having a mental illness can be incredibly difficult. I write and design for a non-profit organization which was a choice I made specifically for my mental health (and my bank account).

In my previous job at a local newspaper, I was one of a handle full of reporters covering a wide variety of news stories. My main beat when I left was religion, education, charity, police/fire and general news. Whenever there was a story that needed to be done about those topics, I was the one who was writing them.

I had always dreamed of being a reporter and I loved the actual work of it. I loved getting to meet so many people and tell their stories to the community. I loved seeing how my stories could make a difference in other people’s lives. There are a few stories that I hold close to my heart because of how deeply they meant to others.

I got a card in the mail once from the daughter of a woman that I had wrote about her mom. The mom had passed away and they had the story I wrote about her framed at her funeral. It brings tears to my eyes even now because of how that little story impacted their family and helped them to remember her in a special way.

It wasn’t the stress of doing a million stories at once or meeting deadlines. It was my freaking editor. I’ve never met anybody like this woman, she is absolutely crazy. I know that word can be upsetting for some but there is honestly no other way to describe her.

She has screamed at me, ripped my head off, chewed it up and spit it out onto the unvacuumed floor of the newsroom. I lived in constant fear of her. I worried that I was one story away from getting fired. Especially in the beginning, my stomach was in knots because I was so anxious about getting fired.

During many times when she made me cry, I would usually go into one of the single stall bathrooms or , if it was really bad, out to my car. I would usually be in there feeling like a total failure because of some mistake I made that my editor would intensify.

It was such a battle to love reporting but be terrified to walk into the newsroom.

So when I was asked to work at a local non-profit by my former boss, I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to get paid more, I was going to be in a less stressful environment. I also believe strongly in the mission and the programs we have to help victims of violence and women and children experiencing homelessness.

Changing jobs really did help my mental health. I got my own office where I could cry in private, the stress was lower and I had a regular schedule instead of one that bounced around.

I still have depressive or anxious episodes that I have to ride out which happened today. I get very distracted when I have a thousand thoughts buzzing around in my brain. I can’t focus on whatever I’m supposed to do so I end up zoning out a bit.

In my next post, I’m going to give some suggestions about what I do to help when my mental health is making work nearly impossible.

Waking Up Empty

If you’ve ever experienced depression or anxiety, you have probably experienced the emptiness that resounds in your chest the moment you wake up. I felt that this morning for the first time in a while.

I forgot how horrible it feels to be hollow once more. For many weeks I only woke up feeling sleepy, ready to go back to sleep instead of getting up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. This morning I rose, began to stretch then the empty feeling began to settle into my chest.

I have today off so I should be looking forward to everything I get to do (and don’t have to do) today. I have some work for my side gig to do, I’m going shopping, hopefully going to the gym and best of all, I am getting a sauna and massage. My emptiness calls me to forget those positive activities, instead to focus on how depressed I feel.

This is a feeling I hoped wouldn’t touch me until the new year. I deeply hoped that the light inside me could continue to shine brightly. To light me up like a jack-o-lantern, but it seems that my candle was blown out.

I don’t want my depression to ruin the holidays for me. Not this year!

On Christmas 2016 I was remembering that I had been suicidal for 3 months instead of celebrating with my family. The desire to die was so strong even on my favorite holiday. This year, I don’t want that to be the case! I want to be happy spending time with my family, my boyfriend and his family.

This empty feeling may not go away for a while, that’s reality. I know myself and have learned so much through my long journey with mental illness. In time I will be better. In time I will have my energy back and be able to feel good again.

It’s all in time.

Guilt and Mental Illness

I seem to always feel guilty about stuff. Whenever I make a mistake or mess up in some kind of way, I am overcome with guilt and anxiety.

This happens on a weekly basis. I neglect to do something or I say the wrong thing, my stomach gets tight and my heart sinks to my feet. I lose focus on whatever was going on previously, the feeling of guilt starts to swirl around my head.

Recently I told my best friend from uni that I wouldn’t be going to her party where a bunch of our friends from school would be. Ones we haven’t seen in a long time. I said, no for many different reasons but I felt horribly guilty about it.

I felt like a bad friend even though she had been incredibly toxic to me. I felt like an ass for telling my friends who I haven’t seen in 3 years that I wouldn’t be there, like they didn’t matter to me which isn’t true.

I’m a professional at ruminating on negative thoughts. If you are too, I see you. So for days I thought those things over and over until my stomach began hurting.

Anxiety and depression love to team up and remind me how nobody likes me, I’m a terrible person and all of the shit they’ve said to me since I was a child. Do I believe them? There’s a part of me that really does. Then there’s another that says, “Well Megan, maybe that’s not 100% true.”

Today is the day of her party and I’m writing this blog post from the comfort of my bed. I’m feel a little guilty still though if I’m going to be honest. Instead of ruminating on the guilt, I’ve been enjoying my time off doing whatever I feel like. I’ve let the day take me wherever it may lead, it’s pretty awesome!

So if you’re feeling guilty too, I understand where you’re coming from. If possible try to relax or distract yourself with a coping mechanism. Do something that makes you happy even if you don’t think “you deserve to feel happy.”

Stay strong, my readers! — Megan

Be Alright

I love Ariana Grande. When I was at my lowest point two years ago I could play her music and feel better. Her songs improved my mood, her lyrics lifted me when I needed it most.

The name of this blog, Be Alright, is named after her song “Be Alright” from her album Dangerous Woman. If you haven’t heard it, check it out here!

The chorus is what always gave me strength. The words, “Baby don’t you know, all of them tears are gunna come and go. Baby if you’re gunna make up your mind, we decided baby be alright.”

Those lyrics helped me to see that the state I was in would eventually pass. She also helped me to understand that I can choose to be alright (well kinda). It made me feel like Ari was cheering me on and telling me that I can survive this and eventually I can be alright.

For a long time I wasn’t into pop music but after being severely depressed, it was what kept me going. I’m going to make a playlist on YouTube and Spotify of the pop music that encouraged me to continue existing.

I hope you, my lovely reader, will be alright. –Megan

P.S. Here are some other encouraging Ari songs: “No Tears Left to Cry,” “Breathin’,” “The Light is Coming” and  “Break Free.”