Monday, 26 October 2015

Physical vs mental illness

Today I woke up with a pounding headache behind my eyes that slowly spread down my neck and into my temples. And did I worry about taking a day off for it? Of course not, I wouldn't have been at all productive.

And yet, when I'm having a bad day with my depression, which is 100 times more often than feeling physically ill (I'm quite robust), I always feel guilty for taking a day off for it. Still. After 7 years of suffering with depression and writing a blog post about taking mental health sick days. And filling in an absence form and writing 'depression' as my reason can sometimes make me feel like a fake.

However I do feel like it's becoming more normal for me to tell my supervisors and teachers that I had to take a day off for my mental health. I also think that because of that, I am getting more support and sympathy, which is definitely a plus. And you know what, sometimes it makes me feel good when I write 'depression' on an absence form and see the person I hand it to look at it - I feel proud that I can own up to struggling, and know my own limits. More often than not they will be genuinely sympathetic towards my illness too.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there shouldn't be a disparity between taking a day off for physical or psychological reasons. You shouldn't feel guilty for taking time off for the good of your mental health. In fact, I felt like I would have been more able to go in today, whilst suffering with a migraine, than when I have a low day - which just goes to show the effect a mental illness can have on your motivation and well-being.
Give out what you most want to come back.

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