Mental Health Awareness

Office Life

Working full time while depressed can be a real challenge. It’s even more difficult when you’re stuck in a corporate office. That’s where I’m at right now. I’ve always imagined myself being self-employed but just never knew what to do. Because of that I’ve been stuck working in corporate hell until I figure something out. Corporate life already sucks for some of us but when you’re depressed AND have dreams of getting out of the 9-5 life it can be crushing.

Sure, a full-time job isn’t all bad. Steady income, plenty of people to talk to, growing opportunities, blah blah blah. The problem is that while you’re guided to think you’re doing it for yourself you’re really doing it for someone else. Yeah, you’re busting your ass so someone else can grow THEIR company, not yours. Not all of us are okay with that, and it is certainly okay if you are, but for those of us who let our own minds defeat us all day the office life is like living in mud.

I live for Saturdays. All week I’m just dying to get there. I don’t get excited about much else. (That hurt just to type out.) I’m in school for what I used to think would be a great career but really, unless I find a way to do it independently, I’m just training for another corporate job. A life of servitude. I dwell on what I could be doing. Maybe I could use my degree to find a way to be self-employed. Maybe I can find other means. The problem is that I’m in a rush to find whatever that thing is so I never stop to really think about what I would enjoy doing. If I force myself into something I could still be unhappy.

I’ve been trying to make myself relax and just think about ideas and work slowly on improving myself instead of rushing into the first thing I think of. I’m trying to get myself to come to terms with the fact that it will take some time before I reached my ultimate goals. With that being said I’m actually a little calmer and I’m starting to look at all of my options more realistically. I have been able to narrow things down and see what are plausible opportunities. I’m also finding out what my true passions are. That feels like progress.

If you’re feeling stuck right now and want something new, I know this sounds counter-intuitive but slow down and just let yourself think about where you’re at and where you want to be. The rat race of normal life can be overwhelming for people like us and you’re probably dying to get out. You can, you just have to take little steps. If you see little bits of progress let that be your motivation to keep going. A strong word of caution: do NOT get stuck in the habit of wishing for overnight change. That puts the pressure of the entire plan on you and you will get overwhelmed and quit. Just take little steps. Even if you only work toward your goal for 1 minute a day. You’ll see little bits of progress and not only will you feel good about the work you’ve done, you’ll also feel more hopeful about your future.

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Mental Health Awareness

It’s easy as do re mi, ADD/ADHD, 123…

I’ve never actually been diagnosed with either but I’ve always thought I must be afflicted by one of them, given that I’ve never been able to sit still and no matter what I do cannot focus on anything for more than a few seconds at a time. Don’t even get me started on short-term memory. Whether or not I do have one of these disorders, I definitely sympathize with anyone dealing with them.

It is extremely frustrating trying to get through school when you can’t settle your mind long enough to read your assigned chapters. It is also discouraging when you’re in a team trying to work on a project and you have no idea what is going on because you keep spacing out or have forgotten what your current task requires. After a while, it starts to take a toll on your self-esteem. You start asking yourself if there is something wrong with you. You feel like a failure because for whatever reason everyone is working hard and knows exactly what they have to do and your mind is a blank slate. Well… not so much blank as much as it is pre-occupied with other things. It’s just that none of those things are helpful in that moment.

Here’s some light at the end of the distracting tunnel – I’ve recently stumbled upon ADHD lectures by Dr. Russel Barkley, thanks to the good folks at https://www.reddit.com/r/ADHD/. Not only does he explain what is really happening inside the brain of someone with the disorder but explains how to treat it.

I noticed while watching one particular video that some of the things he mentioned regarding habits and the best ways to handle them matched pretty closely to my experiences. He suggests a modified Pomodoro Technique, the 25:5 rule, and says people with ADHD benefit more from shorter bursts like 10:3. If you’re unfamiliar with the Pomodoro Technique I suggest looking it up if you are in school or tend to have a heavy workload. Essentially it’s about working in chunks and taking breaks in between. This keeps your mind fresh so you stay motivated. He said something about our “Executive Function” tank, which is our motivation to complete tasks, and how you’ll notice someone with ADHD can play video games for hours and yet can’t sit down and complete homework for more than a few minutes. It has to do with immediate rewards. It made sense, at least from my standpoint. My whole life I’ve loved video games and could sometimes play them for hours at a time and yet when it came to homework, even if the content was not exceptionally difficult, I could not complete it unless I did it little by little. I just never felt motivated to do it all in one shot.

I highly recommend looking up lectures from Dr. Barkley. You might learn a lot about yourself and hear suggestions about how to work more effectively. If you’re not currently getting professional help, after watching his lectures you may want to consider it. I know I am!

And as always, if you aren’t the one experiencing problems but have someone in your life who is, please do your best to be understanding of them. It helps their self-esteem and is really important for mental health awareness. People tend to feel alienated when they have mental health issues because of the negative connotation it has always held so let’s try to stifle that, shall we?

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