My Anxiety And Depression Was Overwhelming, So I Quit My Job. Here’s Why

4 min read

By Olivia Mulligan

I used to think that people with depression were negative people. I thought that people with depression were the ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I’m not good enough for that’ kind of people. The glass half empty kind of people. My assumptions were wrong because I am none of these things and I suffer from depression. 

10 October 2017 marks World Mental Health Day, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. My decision to share my story was not an easy one, but by doing so I hope to do my part in raising awareness of this illness.

I can say proudly, with a sparkly ego – I am a positive person. I believe in myself and I also always try to see the best in others. I’m adventurous, creative and kind. I’m athletic and I’m determined. My downfalls are the fact that I have terrible hand-eye coordination and very poor general knowledge.

I also have anxiety and depression.

I feel the need to always introduce the ‘anxiety’ first and foremost, as this is what came first. Through the exhaustion of worry and debilitating panic attacks came the depression – I saw a scary life unfolding before my very eyes – one where social occasions, decision making and even just facing another day became too much to bear. This makes me sad because I know that deep down, I love life. I am spontaneous and free. Why can’t I be that person anymore?

i quit my job because of depression
Why I quit my job because of depression: my story

My friends listened but I didn’t want them to

You see, the real me is (was) the positive, happy-go-lucky, adventurous girl, but the illness that had (has) consumed me creates an overwhelming feeling of panic, loneliness and failure.

Having a support network is vital for anyone suffering from mental health issues. However, having people that love me, for me, was (and is) the hardest part. I know that it is good to talk and not to bottle things up, but being truly open and honest to my loved ones about the very dark place that I was (and am) in, well that breaks my heart. They know and love the fun girl, the adventurous girl, the ‘I’ll give anything a go’ girl. I want to be that girl, not the girl who struggles to take care of herself and who is deeply sad morning until night.

This decision to quit my job and move back in with my parents so that I have a solid support network, is not failure, but rather, it is taking the scenic route.

I’m not a quitter but I quit my job

I’ve literally never quit anything before. Never quit my studies, never pulled out of a race or an event, never given up on a relationship (only been dumped, well done me).

Because I’m not quitter, I didn’t want to throw in the towel. But my loved ones begged and pleaded with me to take time off to recover and heal. (Even though my problems had not come from my job. I liked my job. My job gave me purpose).

My loved ones persisted.

I ignored them.

My loved ones persisted.

I ignored them.

My loved ones persisted.

I finally listened.

A couple of months ago, I handed in my notice and I quit my job. Not to go onto a bigger and better career. Not to start again and train up in something new. I just quit. Quit to nothing.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing, I kept telling myself. What a catastrophic failure.

The reaction from my colleagues really shocked me

When my colleagues caught wind of the news that I was leaving to focus on my wellbeing, I strongly predicted their reaction:

“Oh no. Poor you!”

“Bless you, hope you get better soon.”

“How sad that you’re leaving.”

Oh how wrong my predictions were. Rather, every single person that I encountered at work, greeted me with the following reaction:

“I’m so proud of you!”

“Congratulations! Well done!”

“That’s amazing. Wow. You’re so brave.”

I was shocked. Genuinely shocked. Why am I being rewarded for quitting? Quitting is failure. But surely, all of my incredible, intelligent colleagues – they can’t all be wrong.

They’re not. It has taken a lot of thinking time and processing but I have realised that they are right – it genuinely isn’t failure, but a huge leap forward towards happiness and fulfilment.

It’s not failure. You’re taking the scenic route

Because I truly want to get better (I don’t quite know how) but I know I want to recover more than anything right now. I am doing my very best to keep reminding myself that this decision to quit my job and move back in with my parents so that I have a solid support network, is not failure, but rather, it is taking the scenic route.

It may take me longer to eventually get to where I want to be (because, quite frankly, I have no idea) – but this longer process has the potential to be beautiful and exciting.

I am still a long way from feeling stable and secure, but the shocking and heart-warming reaction from my colleagues, has really helped me start to see some brightness in the future.

Keep talking. Keep supporting.

All my love,

Olivia xx

Daisy also bravely wrote about her own battle with anxiety. Here is her story.

If you would like to talk to someone about your mental health, you can seek support using the links below.

If you live in the UK: here

If you live in Australia: here

If you live in the US: here

If you live in the Hong Kong: here

Read about World Mental Health day, here.

i quit my job because of depression
Why I quit my job because of depression: my story

Why I quit my job without a backup plan: depression uk

  1. Neeti Jain says

    That’s a very brave decision. I’m glad that you got support from your friends, loved ones and from your colleagues. It’s also amazing that you recognise your own love and zest for life. I’m sure that this will see you through. I am very close to people with anxiety and I know what a struggle it is, on a daily basis, to make your mind behave. There are days when it is just overwhelming. It’s certainly not a case of negative thinking or not having enough willpower. Thank you for sharing your story. I would love to share this with others in my friends and family.

  2. Maria McGrath says

    Hi Olivia, my name is Maria, & i help women release anxiety & move past depression..with a process called Creatrix ®. I know that sounds hard to believe, but I have been free of depression for 5 & half years now. Before my breakthrough, i was barely functioning & cried mist if the day. I know how difficult it is to see past the pain. But i love life now & have a new job helping women get back to living their best life. If you would like to know more, as you said above you want to feel better,

  3. […] Yesterday was World Mental Health Awareness Day. Passionate about raising awareness, I wrote an article that can be found here:  […]

  4. Caroline Mulligan says

    Hi Olivia. You are amazing. To be able to accept/ know you’re illness so young is incredible
    Most of us don’t realise that dark cloud, those crippling doubts about our own worth aren’t ‘normal’.
    Take the time you need now. Forgive yourself for any slips and trips and on the worst days let loved ones make you a cup of tea ( ie love you)
    Caroline xx

  5. Denise Louise Timbrell says

    hey, i know we dont talk anymore but if you need to talk none of our family know this except my mum and dan and my dad did but i have suffered with major panic attacks, it was so bad once when i was sat in the bathroom floor freaking out for no apparent reason shaking rocking to and throw and dan came up to check in be i started screaming and him and i pushed him and then i snapped out and it was strange the first one i had was when i was 14 got freak and pushed mum out my way and she fell and banged her head and was unconscious in the hall way when i rang my dad asking him to come home mum woke up shortly after he got home i still dont remember these they are just blurred memories i also go in to screaming attacks during thunder storms but getting better haven’t had any since hope was born so getting better and as for the depression school and the bullies did that im meant to be on anti depressants be i had them and feel worse so if you need to talk im here love your cousin Denise xx

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