I feel terrible. Anxiety and depression are battling for my soul. I had quite bad Pesach OCD anxiety this morning, but this has now been drowned out by despair and self-hatred. I had an appraisal at work, my first annual appraisal in this job. My boss still thinks I’m working too slowly and am not good enough at dealing with the client-facing side of the library. I said that the depression makes it hard to concentrate and slows me down and I think she accepted that up to a point at least, but I didn’t want to over-stress it, lest I make it sound like they would be better off terminating my contract and hiring someone else.
I didn’t like to mention the social anxiety and Asperger’s/autism with regard to interactions in the public part of the library because I don’t have an official diagnosis of either of those things, so I couldn’t substantiate my claims. But I know how I feel, and I feel panicked and confused when confronted with a lot of the students and with a lot of requests, even from the well-behaved, polite students. My boss asked if I get anxious about going on the issue desk and I said no, because I’m not conscious of feeling nauseous or panicked beforehand, but I do feel anxious when I’m interacting with the students. Afterwards I told her that I feel that I do have that anxiety in my interactions, so at least I’m being honest there, even though it feels like I’m using my mental health for special pleading again.
To be fair, we did discuss changing or shortening work hours to try to help, but I’m not convinced that either of those could help. I just feel like I’m in the wrong job. The problem is working out what the right job would look like and then finding something that approximates to it.
This is painful for me because I have always been good at my work, whether at school, university or in my previous job. I have always taken pride in doing well. It’s about the only thing I’ve had to hang my self-esteem on. Now it’s gone and I don’t know what to think about myself. I feel like I’m a terrible person. I feel like I’m stealing from the college by not doing the amount or quality of work that they were expecting, even though I’m trying my hardest, and even though every day is a struggle against depression just to get up and come in.
I worry what this means for me. Will I ever manage to do a ‘proper,’ adult, 9 til 5, five days a week job? (This job is two thirds of full time – I don’t work on Fridays or much of the school holidays.) And if I can’t hold down a full-time job, what does that mean about living away from home, marriage, children… ? My parents help me with rent and food bills as it is, living in my tiny, one person studio flat (a converted garage). Am I going to be dependent on my parents forever?