“It’s Unprofessional To Be Depressed!”

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Those were the first things I said to myself as I forced my exhausted being of an existence out of bed.

It was 830 am and noticed that I did, in fact, get a full 8 hours of sleep but I still felt like I only had a nap for an approximate hour. My body felt tired and lethargic. My mind was blank and I felt… numb.

I guess those are some of the prices one would have to pay for having depression. No warning, no pending list, no invite either. Not even a sentenced punishment. Just a room with your name on the door – and you somehow find yourself in that room without you even knowing.

But that’s not gonna stop me from doing my assignments. Nope. It can’t. I refuse. (My ego also says Hi)

Being someone who has dealt with the tight grip of the ropes of depression for many years now, I have worked, or tried, my very best in separating my professional life (school, university, assignments, deadlines etc) and  personal life (dating, heartache, family, emotional stuff – you know what I mean). That alone took years of therapy as I fought internal conflicts, in order to allow me to function greatly in a world that’s outside of my own head.

Having said that, getting myself out of bed to complete the work that I need to do despite whatever internal turmoil that I was rummaging through was all I have ever known. I’d even have a panic attack and give a presentation 15 minutes later.

Yes, I got the work done. Do I feel like crap? Yes.

Getting good reviews/grades about my work? Yes. Do I feel better? Hell no.

But why do I do that then? Why do I burn myself out, even if I may already be having one of the worst days in depression? Why do i still feel the strong need to be professional even when I felt like crap?

Heck – why did I even associate depression with being unprofessional?

I get that, especially in our Asian culture, work is emphasized and that we should be working hard all the time for the sustainability of our current affairs while working towards a concrete future.

All in the expanse of resilience. But to what extent?

According to a study by AIA Vitality, it is revealed that 53% of Malaysian employees experience at least one dimension of work-related stress, having another 12% experience high levels of depression and/or anxiety.

It’s something no one ever really talks about.

For those who have, or currently, went through a similar experience I have, if not more – I hear you, I feel you and I sure as hell relate and respect you.

Like the saying goes – “It’s rough out there in them streets!”

So now with all this information – How do I deal with all of this? What did my therapist teach me?

How did I cope?

Know, and allow, yourself to be human.

Know, and allow, yourself to be human

I know, I know, cliche as it sounds. But it’s true. You got to remember – you’re no robot. You’re not a machine. You sure as hell aren’t one of those superheroes from Endgame (even they have breakdowns!). You are human – and you are not alone in this. Think about it, none of us have our shit together.

Get Out Of Bed – To Do Something You Love

Doing something you love in the earlier part of your day is a sure way to get your spirits up. Be it working out, dancing, having your favorite meal for breakfast, going for a walk – anything that would start your day on a positive note.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Like the saying goes – “if you replace the “I” in Illness with “We”, you’d get Wellness”. A concept that I’m still trying, sometimes struggling, to apply in my own bouts of living. It’s okay to not be fine, and it’s okay to get help and the support you need. Be it from a close friend, a family member, a Befriender or even a therapist. Think about it this way, helping yourself ask for help is also indirectly helping the person that you once were that needed help. I’m gonna let that sink in for you.

Never Forget How Fierce You Are

Listen, you had some pretty shit moments in life. And you may, or may not, still be feeling like shit. But here’s the gag – you’re still here! You made it through the day/month/year/decade. Heck you made it through the last 15 minutes! That’s something to be proud of. Life may growl at you at times, but never forget that you’re fiercer that what life throws at you. So, always give yourself credit for that. 

Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of nor is it “unprofessional” – I say, as I try to let that marinate into my own thought process. What’s amazing is that you’re still here, we’re together and we’ll have all the time in our own world to figure shit out. 

Celebrate that. 

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