Loss of identity

Posted on March 26, 2010


A writer that I admire ever so much is Tessa Kum. Even in her blog, she is able to turn the most wonderful of phrases. I should be so envious that I hate her guts but instead I just quietly sit in awe, thinking things like “I wish I’d thought of saying it like that.”

In her latest post, Tessa talks about the loss of identity in depression. This struck such a chord with me. In a near-blinding moment of epiphany, I realised that is just what I experienced. With my mental health crumbling, a workplace made it abundantly clear that I was not wanted there. My job was not just taken away from me, I was eventually told that there was no longer even a desk for me to sit at. Never mind repeated medical advice warning my beloved ex-employer against these stunts. Or the workers compensation finding that linked that mental health injury to the workplace. Instead, that Awful Bloody Shithole (those in the know will understand the acronym) repeatedly and wrongfully denied any such link being found. Every single day when I was actually well enough to drag myself into the office, it was knowing that there was nothing for me there any longer yet also knowing that I was well and truly trapped there at the same time.

After years of investing so much of myself into my work, having worked ludicrous hours and weekends that I did not get paid for or even get time in lieu, at a less-senior level that had no business being expected to have to work such hours, I no longer had that identification of myself in the workplace to hold on to.

The great love of my life could neither understand nor cope with the mental jellyfish I had been turned into and it ultimately drove her to taking her own life. So not just one life had been ruined, a second was lost to the world entirely.

This loss of identity to people who desperately need that, is crippling. It cost me everything. And to paraphrase Forrest Gump, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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