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Being judged for not working full time

Z

ZoeZoe

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Aug 12, 2020
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22
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UK
Hi everyone, I have BPD, anxiety, depression and a few other things going on. I find it very hard keeping it together socially day to day, and afterwards I am exhausted. When I saw a therapist last year they were impressed at how, given what I carry around with me mentally, I was able to force myself to go to work part-time (3 days a week) as they said most people in my position wouldn't be able to cope in a job. I am proud of myself for making myself work but at the same time I am ashamed that I cannot cope with full-time.

When people ask me what hours I work or what my job is etc I am looked at like a lazy part-timer who doesn't bother going to work full-time like other people. You might say I'm just assuming they think that of me, but I have had people respond with things like "oh, so you ONLY work 3 days a week?" and "That must be nice having 4 day weekends whilst the rest of us have 2 days......".

Yesterday I had another one of these comments said to me, by my fiancé's aunt. She doesn't know my mental health situation as I try to hide it from everyone except my fiancé and parents, but she is also the sort where if she did know about my mental health she would not be sensitive about it.
Anyway, her sarcastic comment and almost eye rolling made me feel very attacked, and this morning I have woken up feeling one hundred times worse with my stomach flipping and in knots and short of breath and angry and upset and panicky all at the same time. Which then makes me want to not exist or leave my fiancé so that I don't have to see her ever again. I cannot shake off the negative emotions when something like this affects me and I function even worse than normal.

I know I shouldn't care what people think, and I try to coach myself to not care and let the emotions go, but I can't help it, the feelings stay. I can't stand the injustice of her thinking I'm lazy for working part-time when actually it is near on a miracle that I manage to do that.

Does anyone else experience these overwhelming feelings? How do you stop them taking over?
 
B

beautywithin

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Jul 10, 2020
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UK
I do feel for you having mental health is hard but I know of people not working who don't have mental health and they just don't want to work, be proud of your self you are doing your best. It is also hard to get a job now a days. I work part time 4 days a week and I have children and yes I have BPD but I also tell people even once my kids have grown and left home I still wont work full time because I also want a life. I pay my own bills and get by on my wage so if im happy with that's then its no one else business unless there paying my bills.

Id just say that look work isn't for everyone and I do work but I also want to live life so unless your paying my bills can you please keep your insensitive comments to your self.

Your doing fantastic and sometimes you just need reminding of that x
 
bpd2020

bpd2020

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May 25, 2020
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England
I am sorry people are so ignorant. I think it is amazing you are able to work part time. I am unable to work at all. I have had people tell me I am so lucky not to work as I can do what I want. It really is ignorant and annoying. Please do not feel any shame in working part time.
 
R

Rex Smith

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Aug 30, 2020
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326
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San Diego
The problem is society and not you. The only thing you should be ashamed of is this world and the "normal" people living in it.

I know exactly why it's difficult to work. It's not because you're lazy or don't want to work. It takes massive amounts of energy to be and act like someone else. You know it's impossible to pull it off 24/7. It's frightening to be yourself when you're ashamed of who you are. No one wants to be judged or treated as an outsider. When people don't understand another person they’ll ignore, ridicule, or leave them. It's what they do. I've studied and observed all types of people for decades. They're all a bunch of hypocritical worms.

It's easy to tell others don't be afraid or don't worry about what other people think when it's not them. It's normal to be afraid and worry about what others think of you. You live in a world that judges others constantly.

Tell your fiance aunt that Rex Smith says, she's a ****.
 
A

aisha23

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Dec 29, 2019
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I can't work because of my physical/ mental condition

it's amazing how not accepting people are of it
 
M

Mistral

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Apr 28, 2011
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387
I would tell them that three days is all you can do at the minute, but you hope it is only temporary and that soon you will be back working full time again at some stage.
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Feb 27, 2020
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Nashua NH
When people question me about it I tell them that I have some very challenging problems with depression and it’s all that I can manage at the moment per doctors orders. I have Bipolar but that is more scary to people than depression (I imagine) so I use depression as a form of mental illness that they can relate to. By telling them it is in the doctors hands it absolves me of any choice in the matter. I think they are still pissed off about it but at least they have an explanation that it is a medical issue and out of your hands. xo, j
 
Z

ZoeZoe

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Joined
Aug 12, 2020
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UK
Thank you for all your replies. I got quite emotional reading them as it is so nice to not feel completely alone with my experiences and to hear helpful advice. Thank you:grouphug:
 
Ghost_Owl

Ghost_Owl

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May 13, 2017
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U.K
The people that view you as lazy have no idea what it is like to be you. The challenges you force yourself through. The extra efforts it can take. The toll that extra effort can bring upon you. They are simply being judgemental. Your continued well being is more important than their view of you. What your support team trained in and are knowledgeable in beats a strangers view of you. It only matters that you know you are not lazy. You have to hold onto that despite judgemental people in your life. There are always going to be judgemental people. Some you will never be able to get through to even if you explained it to the best of your ability. So sometimes it comes down to falling back on yourself and what you know to be true. Their aunt may one day find out what it is like to have to struggle through something. Until that day they won't be able to relate.

My own battle with ignorance with some came down to using a more relatable story that seemed to work in some instances. I asked them if they broke their legs. Would climbing up stairs be easy? Would it be slower? Should a person with broken legs be shamed for being slower to ascend? For using crutches, not being as fast as others? For needing support to get back on their feet? For needing a handrail or chair lift a team of medical professionals? In this story I am the person with broken legs, just mental ones agreed upon by the medical profession. That trained for ten years to even be at a base level of making that judgement. How long have you trained for? How is insulting or judging a person as inferior or lazy beneficial? Do you mock people with cancer for vomiting? Do you think a person with broken legs should be forced to run just to meet your standards of productivity? Are you more knowledgeable than my care team? If so feel free to take it up with them. If not then you are in no position to judge.

If I am less aggravated and I am talking to a person who genuinely wants to understand something not just dismiss my struggle I share the spoon story with them.


You should be proud of yourself because you have to count your spoons, and know the price and pain of that, they don't. Look after yourself, don't let the judgements of others grind you down. Especially when they have no clue.
 
Jam1990

Jam1990

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May 22, 2020
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115
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earth
I only work part time and I judge myself on it so much sometimes. Especially because my boyfriend works full time and so does my mom. It makes me feel less capable and I’m pretty hard on myself for it. Just today I was telling my boyfriend how guilty I feel sometimes for only being able to work part time when he has to work full time. He tells me that I’m very brave for working when I have such bad anxiety and while I’m still dealing with mental health issues. From the outside looking in I will tell you that I think you are very brave for doing what you can. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t dictate how we feel even though I know that’s easier said than done. You’re very brave for working any amount of time and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of that.
 
DanL15000

DanL15000

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Jun 5, 2018
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703
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United States
From 1978 until 2009 I held over twenty-five jobs. I was never fired, often promoted, but my mental illnesses included delusional episodes where I would run off my jobs...I guess you could say I quit, though I have no memory of it when it happened.

The last job I had, I was promoted in a factory to work as a machinist on a particularly rough machine...the nickname for these in the factory was man killer. The third shift guy died of a heart attack while working on it. I myself wore out bones in both my hands and the surgeon who removed them in one hand (I refused the help on the other as it works better than the fixed hand and I like tying my shoes) limited me to two hours of work a day.

I earned disability. I never tried to get it for my mental issues. But I am so happy now to avoid all the anxiety and worse.

But here...like you...I face "the others" who don't understand. Either I'm completely nuts when I disagree with them about something. Or I am malingering (faking my mental condition) when I seem alright.

I don't think it is fair that the same people get to bounce back and forth with their opinions of me.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Jul 31, 2020
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1,245
Location
Canada
I can relate to most things said in this thread. The judges of this world are everywhere, wondering why you don't just get it together, stop faking it or making excuses. My older brother gave me hell once. I set him off in a way saying something that upset him a lot, but in my defense I was quite ill/psychotic with anxiety off the charts at the time. In his defense there was no way for him to know that, all that stuff is invisible.

But he's an angry judgemental person, one of these old school guys I guess. But our own mother had schizophrenia. And my brothers are smart people. How could they doubt me or another bro being quite ill and struggling because of that. I've worked lots of jobs but most did not last. That's not laziness/irresponsibility as much as a glaring pattern. Doesn't matter to some people. They just figure "If I work so should you."

Man, in this day and age how can people doubt the widespread prevalence of mental illness anymore? Maybe they just can't accept something they don't see..
 
jajingna

jajingna

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spoon story
Good story. "But you don't look sick" -the website name- I guess that's a phrase Lupus people get to hear sometimes. I think with mental health it could sometimes "but you don't sound sick." I say this as sometimes when ill in the past it occurred to me others had no idea of my inner experience, of course not, even family in the same house can be oblivious. After all, people think about themselves all day long. They don't notice your issues unless they're kind of obvious.

Well it's taken me a lot of a lifetime to be a bit more aware that things are not always obvious. What I was thinking of was years ago I talked to my bro on the phone, a normal conversation, or rather two non-intersecting monologues, with a few ideas in common. I was totally ill at the time. I was in the psych ward in another town like a day later actually.

After the weeklong stay I talked to him again. He was like, what the hell? You sounded fine when I talked to you a week ago... Oh, you mean when you talked about yourself and I was quiet except for a few words here and there, like "yeah" and stuff? Nah, was very ill.
 
Wolf359

Wolf359

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Joined
Oct 14, 2020
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5
Location
Los Angeles
but I have had people respond with things like "oh, so you ONLY work 3 days a week?" and "That must be nice having 4 day weekends whilst the rest of us have 2 days......".
(This may be my reactive personality kicking in... perhaps it touches a nerve for me.)

I think one solution is to stop sharing anything about yourself with people who don't care about you. For example, when people inquire about your work, and you haven't established that they care about you, just say "I'm pretty busy most of the time." If they inquire further, either repeat the line or say "I'll share more about it some other time," or if they display an attitude, say "I'm sorry to see you're unhappy about my response."

The other solution: the best defense is a good offense. Once they've made their snotty comments, you can say something like, "I'm sorry to hear you've failed to make a better situation for yourself."

In the case of your aunt, you could say something like, "you're an ignorant and judgemental person, and I have no interest in interacting with you until you find a way to improve yourself." Better yet, don't even say it, just write it on a card. If you have to spend time in the same room with the person, make up multiple cards and hand her a new one when she tries to speak to you, then keep ignoring her. No spoken words. Breath is life, no need to waste it on people who don't care.
Does anyone else experience these overwhelming feelings? How do you stop them taking over?
Back to the breath... I just lie down and observe my breath, or go for a walk and observe my breath. Some people do seated meditation with breath/body awareness and/or mantra, I've done that on and off.
 
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