From Erin.Jeanne: I posted a couple days ago. But I realized I needed to be more specific on what’s bothering me.

I’ve been working at the same job for 8 years, bit about 6 years ago, I started struggling with anxiety/depression that began affecting my ability to be punctual. My employers have met with me numerous times to try to understand my situation and work with me. I’m super grateful for their patience. Then about 4 years ago, I began seeing a professional therapist to work though these issues. I have seen some progress, but I still struggle with punctuality bc I’ve gotten comfortable with my own tardiness to the point that I literally CANNOT get myself out of bed any earlier some days. But I hadn’t heard from my employer for a while now, and my mental health was beginning to improve.

This past week, what felt like all out of the blue, one of my seniors was asked by my employers to meet with me to discuss the issue of my job performance. After I thought things were really going pretty well. He was very kind, explained over and over how he cares about my mental health and wants to be an advocate for me. I felt ok about how our conversation went, and we made plans to meet in a week to review my job description and put down some goals on paper to work towards my improvement.

However, every spare moment that I don’t have my mind busy with something else, I can’t help but worry and fear about what else I’m doing wrong, how I’m letting my team down, or screwing things up. And because my family members and closes friends are all a part of this organization, I feel like I’m completely stuck with no one to express my fear to.

I love my job and my coworkers, and because of my struggle, I don’t see how I would be able to ever hold down a different job. I feel stuck in my fear and suffering.


Being nervous is understandable, but your senior was caring about your feelings, and as a voluntary advocate, seems to be sincere about helping you manage your MH challenges. You’ve been there long enough that it seems they want you to continue being there.

It sounds like you might want to consider seeing a different therapist. When receiving therapy, a person should feel comfortable with sharing such feelings. After 4 years of dealing with the punctuality issues with this therapist, perhaps a different one can offer a new perspective. Alternatively, you can simply tell your therapist, “what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working very well. Lets try something else.”

I did a lot of strange stuff when I was young to try and wake up on time. I had several alarm clocks, including a clock radio that was wired to a really loud stereo. I had people calling me to wake up. I positioned my bed to catch the morning sun. For a long time, I worked afternoon shifts so I’d just wake up naturally before time for work. I had a really hard time disciplining myself to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep, which made getting up hard. I was also a very sound sleeper.

You’ve probably heard it all before, but I guess I’ll try and reinforce it.

Get enough sleep, even if you have to set an alarm to remind you when it’s bedtime.

Exercise, as it improves quality of sleep, allowing you to feel more rested when it’s time to get up.

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine for six hours before bedtime.

In my room I have an MP3 player that loops the sounds of rain and surf. There are other kinds of “white noise” machines available.

A lot of researchers report that if a person maintains a practice for 30-60 days, it becomes an easy habit to maintain. So, instead of saying to yourself, “I have to get up early forever,” say, “I only have to keep this up for a few weeks and I’ll be able to continue doing so for as long as I want.”

I eventually overcompensated, going for years at a time without being late or having an unscheduled absence. It was like I gave my OCD permission to express itself through punctuality.

A guy was bragging to me about his great attendance and I said,“yeah, you’re reliable alright. It’s just because you can’t help yourself, can you?” Fortunately he laughed about it.

From Erin.Jeanne: Thank you for your advice. This is helpful! Especially the part about “you just have to do it for 30 days.” That helps a ton to feel less overwhelmed.

Hi Friend

Thank you for adding the extra details to your post, it gives great clarity to your story.
I can completely understand your fears, its like when someone says “can we have a chat later” that makes you feel like someone may have said later im going to torture you. Lol the fear of the unknown can be so worrying because our brains overthink so very much but if we really look at the situation, your boss sounds awesome and they truly seem to want to help you be your best at work which to me sounds like they want to work with you to to make the changes necessary to make any difficulties easier for you, they want the best from you as much as you want to do your best. Ultimately I don’t think someone who wants to be an advocate for you is about to do anything to upset you. Good luck and honestly Im sure you are going to be just fine. Lisa. X


Hi Friend

It sounds like you have a very understanding and supportive employer, that’s really nice. I’m sorry that it’s so hard for you to get out of bed in order to get to work on time still after having some improvement in your mental health. It’s hard to change a habit, but it can be changed. One idea is to have more than one alarm to wake you up, and to put one of them in a different room and make it play something that annoys the heck out of you. This will make you get up and that might help you.

Employee evaluations happen all the time and I’m happy that your employer is willing to work with you so you can improve. It might not be as bad as you think and I’m sure with some guidance, it will help you. Please let us know how it went :hrtlegolove:

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Erin.Jeanne - Oh how anxiety and depression can mess with our ability to move and motivate. It can be really distracting, it can have us procrastinating and then we feel bad for that and the anxiety and depression spiral upwards. And so it goes. But it sounds like you have been working on change with your therapist. This is good. As for meeting with your supervisor about your job description and goal setting, that is something that everyone usually does with their employer every year. It’s a normal part of the review or “how I’m doing” cycle at work. And it makes all of us a bit anxious to go through that process. It can be uncomfortable to get feed back and suggestions for improvement. But that doesn’t make it negative. It’s a time to focus on growth.

As for your punctuality concerns: There are some things you can do. Have you worked with your therapist on having a good morning routine that gets you out of bed well before you need to be at work? Setting alarms, including one in another room can be quite helpful. Getting lunch, clothes, other items ready the night before can save time in the morning. Then getting to bed earlier might help too. These are the things I need to do to be ready the next day. Another thought is to think about how much you respect your employer and value your job. The more you choose to deliberately respect your employer the more you are able to motivate yourself to be on time. It’s about what you value. Something to think about. You’ve had the job for 8 years and that says that your employer values you. You have value, you matter and you contribute. Honor your work and your abilities. You are worth it. I wish you well. Let us know how this goes next week.

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Hello! Thank you for writing to us and telling us about your problems. It’s normal to be nervous when called into a meeting to discuss your work. But her employer has been understanding and cares about your mental health. If you want to improve your punctuality, I recommend setting two alarms beforehand, one of them may be in another room, so you have to get up and turn it off.
I also think a morning and night routine would be good. One that is not complicated, and the morning routine not too long for you to have time to get to work in time.
If in the morning you feel too tired to get up, I would also recommend sleeping earlier so that your body can rest. Drinking water as soon as you wake up is also good advice and helps to get energy more quickly.