So I figure Fridays will become my more personal post day. Maybe that’s sharing a bit of writing I really like, maybe it’ll be something else. Today I need somewhere to rant, because stupid things are happening to friends of mine and I have very little patience for it.
SO HANG IN THERE WITH ME.
I’m going to try and be kinda vague, because I don’t need this getting back to my friend’s Powers That Be and making anything worse. But the long and short of it is that my friend has been having troubles with his job (with a church) and how they’re reacting to his discussing the fact that he has anxiety and doesn’t want to pass it on to his new child.
Being someone who has (I suspect) lost a job due to depression and anxiety, this makes me STOMPING AROUND MAD. Sure, let’s take everything he’s going through–new house, new father, many things–and toss “job insecurity” on top of it. How is this going to help? How is that reasonable for someone in his line of work?
Depression and anxiety are difficult topics to deal with in general. It doesn’t help that the vast majority of the world doesn’t seem to know how to approach it. It’s either “you’re just sad” or “you’re broken and you shouldn’t be around other people.” Neither of these approaches, one might guess, are helpful–and neither are true. Can they make it more difficult to do your job? Sure–that’s why things like the ADA exist. Sometimes life is too hard, and a few exceptions need to be made. Does it mean they can’t do the job? Of course not. It just means it’s harder some days.
I’m lucky at the café because many of my coworkers have the same trouble. (I’m also lucky that all of you lovely readers don’t mind when I talk about this! I try to be as open with you as I can without falling out somewhere.) So when it’s clear that today is not a day that Rion’s at their best, they let me step aside and catch my breath. I had a manager let me take a day off because I knew my mental state was completely not going to let me be useful. Meanwhile, at my last job, when I ran into the worst period of my depression ever, a week after I was (to their knowledge) suicidal, they let me go because I “seemed to be having trouble with the job.”
I kid you not. That was genuinely their answer. I’d been spoken to…twice? Maybe? In just shy of a year about my work? Had been told within the past two weeks by my immediate supervisor that I’d been doing better? And when I mentioned that I hadn’t heard my performance had been suffering and in fact had been told the opposite, and was wondering how I was to do better when I didn’t know I was doing badly…the response was “well, I’ve heard about it.”
The president of the company told me that. To my face. I’m sorry that losing this job and your health insurance means that you can’t see the psychiatrist you need, Rion…your troubles really do touch me, but we can’t just keep on people to be nice.
Yeah. Reasonable accommodation.
To see a friend in more dire need than I be told by his employer, an organization that specializes in being kind to one another and helping the needy (in theory), that somehow mentioning that he fights with anxiety makes him at risk for performing sufficiently for his job infuriates me. Particularly when seeing adult figures in power with the same troubles you face is one of the most empowering things I ever saw as a youth. We want to know we’re not alone–and seeing people we can look up to admitting to the same flaws and seeing their own battles is massively helpful. We need to see more of this openness; we need to get rid of the stigma against mental health issues. We need to be able to talk about this, and not see it somehow as a black mark of death that makes someone completely incapable of being a functional human.
We need to stop acting like we’re broken. And maybe that’s as much on some of us as it is on them. But something needs to change.
So if you all can keep my friend in your thoughts, that’d be awesome. It’s a rough time for him and his family.
I’m gonna go stomp around some more somewhere. *rage monster stomps*