A bloke with “Workers of the World Unite” emblazoned on his t-shirt sits in a stairwell, sipping tea & occasionally nibbling a pecan danish, because he is too frightened of his fellow workers to countenance having lunch in the office canteen. In between bites of the shaking danish – due to his anxiety, it’s not just some sort of naturally tremulous pastry – he wonders what it is that made him this way. What it was the made him so scared of strangers, and crowds of strangers in particular, that he suffers an emotional reaction similar to a panic attack.
He had tried to enter the canteen at lunchtime. It was busy but not packed. Nonetheless, the fact that people kept getting in his way, and he in theirs, began a chain reaction of nervousness. Then he had to clean a cup. Then he had to fight for access to the bags of tea. Then he had to gormlessly stand there, sticking out like a snowman on a sodding Sicilian beach, while the kettle boiled. Then there was no milk. He didn’t bother searching for spoons – there was a workmate whose endless activity around those drawers indicated that he must have been stocktaking the contents – and made his escape ASAP.
The stairwell wouldn’t have been so bad, except that coworkers kept coming up and down it. Technically speaking, he was sitting on a table at the top of the 3rd floor stairwell, but there was a door right next to him and there they would periodically come; entering and exiting with all the second hand awkwardness that comes from encountering a random paint-covered man having his lunch outside what you consider to be ‘your’ door.
He was employed painting the office studio. I probably should have mentioned that.
‘Fuck it’, he thought, his physical reaction reaching the stage that the medical community term Really Fucking Anxious, Actually. ‘I cannot hack this’. So, with a cursory text to his immediate boss conveying his apologies, out the front door he went. Hating himself with every step. The co-morbidity of anxiety and depression being explained yet again with another episode of his life.
Anxiety makes him do things, or prevents him from doing things.
Depression arises from all the things he did, and all the things he couldn’t do.
On and on it goes, no end in sight.
Fit for work? He isn’t fit to paint a wall.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…