Which is it – a beginning or an end? A beginning of yet another exhausting work-week or the end of a relaxing weekend? Unlike most people who feel this way about a Monday, Sunday is usually the day which gives me the blues. This wasn’t always the case though. I think my case of the Sunday blues started around the same time I started at my job after college.
I attended an engineering college (which is the biggest cliche in my country). College life was amazing. It was where I met Bud, my soul sister. It was also where I transformed from a socially anxious caterpillar with an inferiority complex, into a much more open and confident butterfly. The change wasn’t drastic, but it was just what I needed at the time. Slowly, but surely, I left the girl who used to feel nervous calling a pizza delivery place behind. I landed a job with the first company that visited our campus for recruitment. I was one of the 24 people selected from a pool of 600 people. It was the proudest moment of my life. I finally felt like my good grades at school and college had paid off.
Come July 2015, I made the big transition from college to corporate. I was nervous, but it felt great. I was going to be financially independent for the first time in my life. I was going to be a working young woman! The first three months were enjoyable. We were welcomed into the firm with parties and the only work we had was training for the job. However, like everything new, this too had a honeymoon phase which passed me by before I could even anticipate what was going to hit me. As we stepped into the firm’s busy season, our workload increased considerably, expectations mounted and deadlines grew close. In retrospect, I was severely under-prepared.
Work started to dominate my life. It was the first thing I did on waking up and the last thing I did before going to sleep. I couldn’t let myself fail, after all I had always been the sincere student with good grades. I failed to make time time for anything or anybody else. My mental health suffered and I didn’t even have the time to realize it.
Busy season ended after another five months. I earned a lot of appreciation from others regarding my work ethic and quality. I also came out of it with increased weight, dark circles and an intense dissatisfaction. It was now the lean season, when one typically has less than 20 hours of work per week. I now had free time at my disposal, but something had changed. I did not have the will to use my free time to enjoy myself, something I had longed for during the busy season. I cried a lot for no reason. I was anxious about work all the time. It was clear as day – I was depressed and I needed help.
My intention isn’t to whine about my job. In fact, I do not blame my job for what happened. Our education system is designed to build our skill-set so that we can get a job, earn money and live a comfortable life. The focus is never on emotional intelligence or to how to learn to control, express or even be aware of one’s emotions. Looking back, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I refused to take the idea of being depressed seriously. After all, what was so wrong in my life?
There is still a lot of stigma attached to a mental illness. A lot of people continue to suffer in silence. I wish I could tell each one of them that it’s okay! We’re human, we fall ill. We should never be afraid to reach out for help. We will get better and we’ll be stronger for it. I wish I could tell every parent to foster such an environment at home where the child does not hesitate to talk with them about anything. I wish that we as a society, became more aware and accepting of mental issues so that nobody ever has to feel like they’re alone in their pain. I wish.