Isolated, menial work can provide some comfort for those troubled by difficulties interacting but such a lifestyle can give rise to degradation of self-worth, loneliness, depression and suicidal ideation. Moreover, poor working conditions in such employment, including, compensation, can not only contribute to damaging health but can leave one dependent on such employment.
Writing in a new autobiographical blog, a 33 year-old clothing warehouse worker details a typical working day. It involves a 7.5 hour shift in the ‘purgatory’ of the warehouse performing manual tasks and avoidance of most interactions with co-workers, to the extent of protecting himself from contact during the thirty-minute lunch break: “Unlike the normal socially functional humans I retreat for half an hour into my private safe space inside the toilet cubicle. This is my peculiar routine to never enter the intimidating coliseum of the canteen. That environment i find far too aggravating for my fragile defective personality.”
The writer was diagnosed with autism at a young age and identifies himself with schizoid personality disorder. His life is dominated by the opposing forces of desiring human intimacy and a severe difficulty interacting with others and severe social anxiety, resulting in depression: “My mind is ingrained with these fantasies of having a lover a person that validates your existence that makes you feel human. I realise in the chasms of my mind i will never have these wondrous tangible human adventures of sex and love. I am damned to locked inside this box of alienation never to receive the treasure chest of human infatuation.”
Ten years of this lifestyle shaped around working in the warehouse has degraded his self-worth and happiness: “Long ago in the embryonic stages of my tenure at TWC i was proficient enough to cultivate friendships here. Now at 33 my condition my asocial behaviour has deteriorated to the point friendships in the workplace milieu or outside in the world is unimaginable.”
He closes down communication out of a combination of hopelessness at forming intimate bonds and severe social anxiety: “Instead of embracing the light I retreat into my shell denying myself the improbable dream of love into my vacuum of a life. I ignore all these coruscating lights avert my gaze and put on this glacial mask.”
This pattern is followed in the safety of his flat: “When on the rare occasion somebody attempts to contact me i refuse to answer the incoming communication. A stranger or relative knocks ardently on my door i act all quiet turn off the lights giving the illusion I’m not home. Never do I depart from my humble abode to socialise with other humans except in isolated instances when I urgently need to buy some food or need a much needed haircut.”
It is clear that the “semblance” of safety that his isolated work and home provide are, in fact, deeply harmful: “Performing the carbon copy tasks like a mindless robot. The noxious fumes of this insular survivalist existence is slowing poisoning me like carbon monoxide chocking my soul removing the joy the desire to even be alive.” The goes on to writer describe his consumption of alcohol and drugs in his free time.
The writer depicts a wider social environment of economic deprivation in his home town in the UK: “Every workday to work and back home, again i face this sadness this urban sprawl of bordered up buildings of broken people living broken lives. To witness the decay every day effects my state of mind taking me deeper into prolonged states of forlornness.”
There are remnants of self-care and self-worth that give hope; after his shift, he describes arriving in his flat. “Firstly though i run a luxurious bath that relaxes my nerves. A lavender infused bath is drawn in which the bathroom is permeated with ethereal classical music taking to a higher plain of consciousness. The bath becomes a therapeutic relaxing habitual event that alleviates the toxic anxiety that i accrue during the day working in a noxious warehouse environment. The bath enables me to escape the moil the drudgery the agita of my life.”
Contrastingly, the writer has neglected self-care regarding his teeth, with significant impact on self-worth, body image and social anxiety: ” These once radiant teeth that once along time ago when i smiled revealed a glorious beaming youthful smile. Now in public I’ve become so intensely self conscious at these grotesque unappealing teeth that i refrain from smiling or laughing to prevent me from exposing my ugly fangs to the world. My self consciousness at the sad state of my teeth is emblematic of the flaws the holes in my personality my aversion to be vulnerable.”
It is through self-care and self-attention that the possibility of gradual steps of overcoming depression, isolation and anxiety seem to lie. Self-care could also include opening up to others and seeking help. It may, potentially, include, seeking new opportunities, whether in employment or connecting with people. The economic and health struggles can be overwhelming in isolation and support may provide the only real option.
Image designed by Anna Vanes.
To read the full blog-post, “Chapter 8: The Purgatory of 9 to 5,” click the link below:
Every working day starts and ends in the same laborious way. There’s no meaningful differentiation from one day to the next. It’s me completing the same task the exact duplicate itinerary for every single working day. It’s a vacuous boring subsistence existence that i have been condemned to endure. The routine however is comforting allowing myself for prolonged stretches of isolation from direct human contact. It’s my solitary employment I have maintained for over a decade now that protects me from proximate human interaction.
Despite the tedium of working in a claustrophobic intellectually uninspiring environment it provides me with solace working in a menial warehouse locale. The dearth of direct social communication the limited verbal acuity that is needed to be a functional employee at TWC are beneficial to my defective personality. The atmosphere however is slowly poisoning me with the noxious fumes of alienation I force myself to abide…
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