Mental health & the work place

How getting fired built my confidence & what I learnt from it.

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of getting fired. I won’t say much about the company, or the reason why I got fired, but I was lucky that I left the company on good terms. Getting fired is something that usually knocks people’s confidence, and while I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t done that, I’ve rather found this to be quite a positive experience. To explain this, using JK Rowling’s Harvard Commencement speech would be a good example. She talks about the fear of failure, and how that some people in life are so afraid of failing that they won’t even try, however. When she hit rock bottom, she found it liberating, because she had been stripped free of all that fear and could only see that there was a way up. So, I’m writing this piece to help those of you who suffer with mental health, as I do believe that my mental health affected my ability to work, and if I’d have searched for help quicker I might still be in that job.

I was working this job in the middle of my final year at University, when I had all my deadlines on top of me, a bereavement in the family, and my mental health was at breaking point I was so stressed that it was difficult to see outside my own mind. This resulted in me becoming self-absorbed, meaning working with people was often difficult. Things got worse I started conducting self-destructive behaviour which almost cost me some of my friends and my jobs. But if it wasn’t for my friends supporting me and guiding me in the right direction, then I wouldn’t have the confidence and wisdom I need to help me through the next job I get.


I was bad with self-care over the last 6 months simply because I could not see how I had the time to give myself that destress I needed. I couldn’t stop thinking about writing my dissertation, and I was working shifts that could start anywhere from 6am to finishing at 2:30am, and they could last between 6-12 hours. I just had too many responsibilities and I didn’t think self-care was that important, however. If I had given myself maybe half an hour a day to watch a TV programme, or read a book, or play a game for a bit, I would have probably felt much better because everyone needs that time to do absolutely nothing, otherwise you will go crazy. Make sure you take some part of every day to reenergize. This will help you think clearer during your next shift.


Over the past 6 or 7 years I’ve been attending counselling sessions on and off. As I struggle with people, and especially new people, I found it difficult to keep up counselling sessions to the point where for about a year I stopped almost completely. This was until recently when I went to a great local charity which is run by people who are completely voluntary, which made me feel even more comfortable because these were people that genuinely cared. I feel as though if I’d have had a safe place to go where I could have thawed out all my demons, or try to rationalise all the over thinking I was doing which was a massive part of my craziness, I would have had a much clearer mind as it would have not been overstuffed with overthinking. Instead, I could have used that energy I wasted to solve problems that needed to be dealt with in a rationalized manor. At least I now understand the importance of having a place to talk through your feelings, and to solve these problems. Nothing beats that feeling of weight off your shoulders when you leave because you’ve let all that wrath of emotion out. It’s something that I’m going to make a priority.


If you work in an environment that is in anyway stressful (which given today’s job market, it almost certainly is), CBT is something that I’d recommend looking at because while Therapy gives you the opportunity to let out your feelings, while CBT is a practice which gives you the tools to control your anxiety/depression. I started taking a CBT course before I started working at the job which I got fired at, and although I didn’t manage to finish the course because I was working another job at the time that I had to be at when the course was. But I have continued to study CBT and use the tools that I was taught on this course whenever I could feel a panic attack coming on. CBT changes your way of thinking, and rather focusing on the fact that you’re always in a negative place, you can bring yourself back down to earth and remind yourself of the reality, rather than refer to the crazy, hellish fantasies that are going on in your head.

Save Money

I’m a student which means that I’m terrible with money. The reason for me getting this job in the first place was because I ran out of my student loan and couldn’t even afford to eat. Money is a huge factor at getting people motivated to work, and can lead to people being desperate. Had I have saved up some money, I believe that it would have reduced the pressure at work because I wouldn’t have been relying on it. I would go home knowing that even if I didn’t get a large pay check towards the end of the week, I could still eat and pay my bills without having to rely on my parents, thus damaging my relationship with them. So, wherever you can, save as much money as possible so at least when you get home from a stressful shift you have a nice hot meal to look forward too, or can order Deliveroo if you get too lazy.

Balance & time management.

My final advice to making your work life easier is to get time management down. Every time I see someone who has really homed their time management skills it makes me green with envy because they always seem to get more done, also allowing them time to socialize with their friends because they’ve utilized their time properly. I do believe that the way to be happy in life is by getting that work and play balance right. Working so you feel productive and as though you’re contributing to society in a positive way, while also finding time to recharge and explore all the pleasures that life has to offer. Take the weekend to go on an adventure with loved ones, have a night out with friends, or even a night in watching your favourite movies and eating your favourite fast food take out because everyone deserves to enjoy themselves.

#Issue6 #Article #MeganMcMillan

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