3 Unexpected Words My Boss Told Me After My Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis

By Mary Gutierrez (Guest Writer) –

“No, you can’t!”

“We need you.”

“Do your best.”

“Not an option.”

“You are fired.”

I was practicing in my head how I will break the news with my boss. Different scenarios played and I imagined his different facial expressions and responses. I did not want to have to tell him, but I was barely functioning. I needed some time off.

Then questions and doubts crept in:

“What will he think of me?”

“Will he be disappointed that I’m barely functioning as myself?”

“Who will cover for me while I’m away recovering?”

“Will he think that promoting me 6 months ago was a mistake?”

“Will he let me take some time off?”

“Will he understand?”

He said a 3-word sentence and it was not one of the above.

The Good Teacher

That year we had a very successful summer camp and it was very special to me. Not only because it was one of our biggest, but because it was my first camp as the head teacher. Oh, how fulfilling it was to help those foreign kids to speak, listen, write and read in English.

It was fun testing their English levels and customizing a curriculum for them. I, personally, enjoyed teaching speech, loved creating their activities, and I got to spend the longest hours with my students daily.

This was my calling and I would retire as a teacher!

Or so I thought.

I Stopped Sleeping

I thought it was only the flu.

I was tired and lethargic, had a fever, cough and colds. I had been out of the office for 2 weeks already and I could not feel the slightest sign of recovery anytime soon.

I always had a weak immune system and my recovery time was usually long.

So I did not worry about it until a slew of strange symptoms started to take over.

No sleep (as in zero. Nada).

Sweating profusely.

Constipated.

Bloated.

Forgetful.

Brain fog.

Heart racing.

Pain all over my body.

No appetite.

Losing the will to live.

I saw my doctor and told him what I was going through. His face stiffened. Worry crossed his eyes. Finally, he told me that I was dealing with anxiety and depression.

My heart sank.

Ashamed and confused, I knew I had to let some people know. My boss included.

The 3 Words I Treasure

I called my boss and set up a meeting.

I poured my heart and soul out and he told me…

“Take your time.”

With so much compassion.

I started to breathe normally and let out the heaviness from my chest. The tension was lifted off of my shoulders.

All the doubts and what-if’s suddenly went poof!

He told me to take all the time I needed to recover and I could come back whenever I was ready. He would accept me with open arms because the most important thing was my health.

Aside from my family, he is the person who showed me true love, support, and hope.

That was the starting point of my healing. My new life.

It can only take 3 words and a sincere heart to change a person’s life or give them life.

Your Turn

Is there anyone in your life who needs to hear the words, “Take your time.”? Your spouse? Child? Colleague?

What kind words did you receive during a struggling time that helped you to press on?

Share with us in the comments.


Mary is a thriving spoonie, a health blogger and a natural healing advocate. Despite chronic illness, she believes spoonies are valuable, strong and capable to make a difference in our society. She’s on a mission to help women with chronic illness thrive by sharing her own experiences, fellow spoonies’ success stories, tools, programs and tips that focus on real food. Join her in this journey here.

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