I just emailed my boss to tell him I called in sick today because I overslept and when I woke up and saw the clock reading a time that meant I couldn’t get to the office on time even if I went in my pyjamas, I just froze inside and couldn’t bring myself to do today. This is not the first time I’ve called in sick because the alternative would be arriving late, flushed and anxious, looking like I ran through several hedges backwards and hating myself so hard I couldn’t focus on work even when I got there. I have tried the latter approach a couple of times, and I think my team (the team I manage, because I’m supposed to be responsible and capable and a good example and able to manage the time of three people – soon to be four – rather than failing to manage my own) already have their own ideas about why I’m almost always in later than they are and often look absolutely shattered. Maybe they think I moonlight as a poledancer. I think I’d actually prefer them to think that than know the truth.
But my boss now does know the truth. I decided when I started my new role as a manager not to tell him about the depression because I was going to deal with it and not let it affect my work. Just like trying to come off the antidepressants before my wedding, that turned out to be biting off more than I could chew. Trying to hide it and pretend I just have flu or an incapacitating headache (sometimes I do, but they are not the reason I didn’t make it to the office that time), being ashamed of it and also terrified it will make my boss realise I was the wrong person for this job and I can’t hack it, just adds to the pressure and makes the whole thing more difficult. I really don’t have this looking-after-myself thing down yet. After nearly three years of being told to from every side you’d think I’d have a bit more of a clue.
Weirdly, if I get to the office I can usually hack it. I know it’s okay to stick my headphones in, or go for a power nap in a downstairs room, or get a cup of tea or even look at Buzzfeed for a bit, and there are people I can talk to. My best friend by far in the office is leaving soon, so that will be one such person down, and even she doesn’t always understand because (thankfully) she’s never had depression, but just having people around who care helps. Which is probably why I’m still in my pyjamas watching Come Dine With Me, because the only person in this house right now is someone who doesn’t have it in her to care about my welfare at all. Let’s hope the boss is more sympathetic; if I had any feelings, I’d be terrified.