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17 June 2011

Mental health days. Any reason to feel guilty? [More:]

To paraphrase Office Space, "I've decided not to go" to work today. I was really frustrated when I left yesterday because my boss, whom I love dearly, often shirks his responsibilities and leaves me holding the bag. Yesterday he shirked a very big one, and it just pissed me off.* I decided that I didn't want to spend today taking care of anyone but myself.

That's not a problem, right? If I'd gone in, I'd only be crabbing at everyone, including my boss. Better to take a day and cool off. They'll manage.

* When he does this, it's pretty much always because his wife has taken priority, as it was in this case. And I absolutely 100% respect that on a personal level. But it gets really, really frustrating at work.
I am a big believer in mental health days. I work my ass off when things are busy, taking a day during a slow spot is sometimes what it takes to get myself to ever go in at all.
posted by JoanArkham 17 June | 10:27
Mental health is health.
posted by galadriel 17 June | 10:34
I don't even understand why this would be a problem. (although this might be why I'm in a dead-end poorly paid job after all these years)
posted by JanetLand 17 June | 10:39
Mental health is health.

Bam. That's it.
posted by Elsa 17 June | 10:47
Mental health days. Any reason to feel guilty? - Yes, absolutely, and I strongly suggest you take another day off to deal with those guilt feelings.

IOW, I can't come up with anything that approaches the wisdom of "Mental health is health."
posted by Ardiril 17 June | 11:26
I feel guilty taking sick days, physical or mental. They do always make me feel better, though!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 17 June | 11:40
I give you the dispensation of the uber-mind. Heal thyself.
posted by Splunge 17 June | 12:14
Sometimes, you just have to say "Fuck it", pull the covers back over your head, and unplug the phone.
posted by BitterOldPunk 17 June | 12:29
You did good. . .I can't see anything wrong with "fuck it" days.
posted by danf 17 June | 12:31
I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it's okay to take a sick day sick day today, even though my head hurts so much that I can barely see straight. So take your day without guilt. Guilt is how they get you.
We had the concept of "calling in afraid." "I'm afraid I won't be coming in today."
posted by Obscure Reference 17 June | 12:43
Brings back bad memories of an old boss who, when you called in sick, demanded to know exactly what your sickness was and why weren't there any drugs for you to take to make you well enough to come in. Once, when my co-worker was snowed-in due to a blizzard, she wanted to know why he couldn't walk the 3 miles to the commuter-rail station.

Good boss now tries to send me home when I so much as sneeze. Love him so much.
posted by Melismata 17 June | 12:44
No reason at all to feel guilty. Be well, mups.
posted by deborah 17 June | 13:06
I manage a small team, and have all but ordered staff to take a mental health day when I can tell they need it. Galadriel has it exactly right: mental health is health. And just like you need to rest your bod when your physical health is not so good, you need to rest your mind for your mental health to recover. That means taking the day and letting go of any guilt you might feel about doing so.
posted by FishBike 17 June | 13:10
I've never taken one but it always sounds like a good idea in theory. It would just mean more work the next day though.
posted by octothorpe 17 June | 13:11
I think the issue is that it usually boils down to being a much needed vacation day rather than a true sickness/health day. And the awkwardness of explaining you need a vacation from the BS. On the other hand, if you have an upset stomach/headache/racing heart or some other stress style symptom, it sure is a fair reason to call in sick.

Anyway, enjoy your day and don't worry about it. Hope the weather is nice where you are and that things are back to reasonable when your return.
posted by bearwife 17 June | 13:26

Mental health days are totally fine.
posted by occhiblu 17 June | 13:54
You guys have all made me feel so much better about my own occasional absence from work ... :-)
Sometimes, you just need to chill, in order to remain functional. My father died of a heart attack at 47. I've outlived him already ...
posted by Susurration 17 June | 14:14
I haven't had to call in for years. I only work a couple days a week so there is no need. Back when I worked full-time I always felt guilty. I shouldn't have but did. Everyone needs a mental health day now and then.
posted by LoriFLA 17 June | 15:22

I went to the library, then took a nap. Now I'm eating potato chips, and I'm going to go sit outside and thumb through my library books.

Funny (sorta) story -- I called my coworker this morning and explained what happened yesterday that made me so frustrated. She works for my boss too, and she totally understood. We had a good grouse about his shortcomings (which is rare; we usually talk positively about him), and I felt better. I explained to her that I just didn't feel like taking care of him today, and that I was taking the day off from that.

When I pulled up to the library, she was there dropping her daughter off. As we were all walking in to the library, she said to her daughter, "Mudpuppie will be here if you need anything." And I was like, "Okay, bye!" and went and hid in the stacks.

Rude, maybe, but dammit -- I didn't want to babysit, either! I felt a little guilty about that too, but not much.

This is somewhat analogous to my last counseling session, during which I explained why the GF's clumsiness is so taxing on our relationship. It's not that *things* get broken. I don't care about *things*. It's that when they get broken, *I'm* the one who has to deal with it. Not because they're my things (though they almost always are), but because I'm the one who knows how. It's like someone randomly adds to my list of responsibilities, when I'm having a hard enough time managing the things I put there on my own.

After I got through explaining all this to the counselor and was leaving, the doorknob fell off in my hand. Instead of handing it to her and leaving, I pulled out my Swiss Army Knife and started fixing it.

I need to stop feeling responsible for fixing other people's problems. Must. Get. Through. Head.
posted by mudpuppie 17 June | 16:01
I used not not feel guilty about mental health days, but now I do. I think partly that's because I really like my current job and my co-workers all work really hard.

I used to have a boss where I could say: "I'm not coming in to work today. I'm having eye problems. I just don't see my ass coming in to work."
posted by Marxchivist 17 June | 17:25
Gertrude Stein once wrote on an exam:" I don't feel like writing about philosophy today".

The professor gave her an A.

Nthing galadriel.
posted by brujita 17 June | 19:06
After I got through explaining all this to the counselor and was leaving, the doorknob fell off in my hand. Instead of handing it to her and leaving, I pulled out my Swiss Army Knife and started fixing it.

That story absolutely made my day.
posted by occhiblu 17 June | 19:25
"I need to stop feeling responsible for fixing other people's problems. Must. Get. Through. Head."

You should meet my wife. She is so very much the same way. I don't know how to explain to you how much this sounds exactly like her. There are days when she calls me from work literally hysterical because she is stressed out and had to take a walk so that she didn't break down in front of her co-workers. She feels like she has to fix everything. Not only her own work, but every problem that others mention to her. She will come home totally an emotional wreck and scream at me. And I don't take it personally because i understand where she's coming from.

Then she gets all broken up because she took it out on me.

She acts like a martyr sometimes and we have even discussed that very fact. She wants to stop, but refuses to consider any kind of outside help. I don't mean to call you a martyr. It's just that it seems to be sort of the same. A kind of, I don't deserve a break because... thing.

Please excuse me if I'm totally off base here. She had a day like that today.

She just went to bed and i'm first trying to unwind from her unwinding.
posted by Splunge 17 June | 21:43
You know a movie is bad if this is the best image || Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!