depression · · mental health

Mental Health and unemployment

Last week I finished my internship and for the first time in my life I have no idea what is coming next. I had school then sixth form then uni then internship and now – nothing is certain. I’ve been applying for jobs and have a couple of interviews lined up but it’s all got me thinking about my mental health.

As far as I’m concerned, the reason my mental health was under control (well enough for me to complete my work) during education was because I was kept busy. However, I could always guarantee that when half term would come around and I finished any work I had, my mental health would rapidly decline. So as you can probably guess, my mental health has rapidly got worse over the past week because all I’ve had to do is look for jobs.

Now yes, that does take a lot of time and thinking. But it’s something I can do whenever I feel like it, I have no obligation to do it at set times of day, I have nobody to answer to. This type of ‘work’ is not enough to keep my mind busy enough to keep sane! The only thing that is enough of a distraction is work that I must do to earn money or make progress in some big way.

In short, unemployment = worsening mental health issues because of no distractions, feeling you are not good enough for any jobs etc.

So to cope, I often work crazy hard to keep my depression/ED/anxiety at bay. Yet I have recently come to realise that although this does work for me and means that I am productive and seem like I am functioning well, I am not coping. I am not dealing with any of my mental health issues, I am just avoiding them and doing all I can to keep them in a place where they will not interfere too much. I feel a lot of people do this. Use x or y as a distraction and continue with their lives not feeling the intensity of their problems until they stop.

Unfortunately, this means I do not like to take breaks even though everyone needs them. Breaks are just another way for my head to think too much. I do know that I need to work on this because sooner or later, I am going to have to stop relying on distractions and start fixing things… but I guess, I’ll have to wait until I get to the top of the waiting list.

Anyone have any experience/advice with this?

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