Yesterday was a bad mental health day. And I made it worse by not taking care of myself.

But in the interests of turning it into a learning opportunity, here’s what I should have done in five easy steps.

  1. I should have stayed on leave. I was on leave for a reason, I needed to get better.
  2. I should not have checked my work emails. If I hadn’t, HR would have seen that I was out of office and notified the interviewers.
  3. I should have asked for the interview to be postponed. It was short notice, and I was ill.
  4. I should not have let my desperation for a job override my need to take care of myself. It’s easy to say, but hard to action – I know.
  5. I should have asked to leave the interview. It would have been risky but my concentration was shot and I could feel myself getting distressed. I was clearly troubled and there was no way I could have redeemed myself in that situation… by staying there, I prolonged my discomfort and theirs.

I never know if I should disclose my health history. It would have been unprofessional but maybe people would understand and accommodate me? I just know that after half an hour I was sweating from pain, my skin was crawling and my teeth were grinding. It was taking all my willpower to stay in the moment. My brain became obsessed with escaping. I wanted to shout. It was a moment that scared me, because normally social interactions calm internal disturbances but this time I was inconsolable.

Today has been quieter. I have managed to leave my head for a while.

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