Mental Health & Unemployment - My Story



Mental health is indeed health as it affects your overall physical health. I have gone from having mood swings, anxiety and depression, to actual fevers and falling sick physically.

It became clear I wasn't okay when my parents became worried and softened up to me at a very low point in my life. I wasn't eating, became skinner than usual, my skin was the worst, and I was more in my shell than I had ever been.

Over the years, this became a norm whenever I was down mentally, it showed on my physical health and it worried those who knew me well. This happened during the COVID lockdown also.

I was supposed to be getting fatter because I wasn't doing daily shuttles and I was home eating. It was the opposite because not only was I not happy in the space I was living in, but I was also not happy I was unemployed.

Unemployment-Depression Phase

I have talked about mental health in different capacities before but I've never talked about how unemployment affects my mental health. Being newly unemployed a couple of years ago was one of the toughest points for my mental health and it took a push to get me out of that rut.

Even professionals find it hard to get jobs, then there's me that hasn't really found where I fit into in the system. We all know how tough the job market is especially in a place like Nigeria.

What's interesting is that I wasn't even out of job for a very long time if we're to compare with the situation of others. Barely a month after I passed out from national service I had gotten myself paid internships that kept me busy until Covid happened.

Afterwards, I was sending out applications daily, getting a lot of 'unfortunatelys', not getting replies at all, and taking a few online interviews. I hoped that at least one would pay off but none did and slowly, I began dying inside.

How It Affected My Mental Health

There's a misconception by many that people suffering from mental health issues are all gloomy and downcast. These are not the only symptoms there are as they present in several ways. It could come as insomnia, constant tearfulness, zero motivation, and so on. Happy people suffer from mental health issues also, they might just be good in covering it up.


Ordinarily, I'd say I don't like being around people a lot but it became extra when I started feeling hopeless from being unemployed. I didn't want to hang out with my old classmates and friends whenever they invited me and I'd come up with silly excuses.

I was off-radar because everyone I knew was progressing as far as I was concerned, and I was stuck at one point.

Anxiety & Depression

I became easily triggered and suffered continuous anxiety and sadness because I thought I wasn't worth it. At that point, I let the one thing I disliked take over me - comparison. I went low and began rating myself with others and I sunk even more.

These were thoughts that had been hanging in there even while I was still in school and also during my service year, but, it felt more real in the real world and it all came raining on me.

Falling Sick Constantly

There was not a month that I wasn't sick. It was as if the state of my mental health had a direct impact on my immune system. Every little thing triggered sickness and whatever was in the air, I'd catch it.

No motivation

I lost the motivation to do a lot of regular daily activities and even the motivation to continue my job hunt. I was crying at every unanswered mail and rejection from jobs that I had looked forward to. It was so weighty and I lost the will to continue.

How I'm Dealing With It

I had someone to talk to that kept reminding me to not attach my worth to being unemployed. That kept me sane for the most part and it still keeps me sane till this day.

I don't think they understood the degree of my frustration then because I tried not to be a burden, but they did a great job in making me stop undermining myself as an unemployed person.

It became easier to deal with when I busied myself with something I enjoyed doing. Now, I find joy in what I'm doing and try to be consistent at it. It isn't the traditional form of employment that I wanted but I make the best of it while being strategic with job-hunting.

For close to two years now I have stopped actively job hunting because I honestly was just tired. It's one of the hardest things ever to actively job-hunt. These days, I only send out an application once or twice a month.

My point is, to take a breather when you're tired and then go over your job-hunting strategies again.

I don't go applying for just any opening like I did back then which caused me more heartbreaks than necessary. Gradually, I learned to take rejections like a champ and move on to the next best opening that comes along.

My advice to unemployed young people like myself is that they shouldn't equate their worth to their current state. Also, no matter how little it is, do something that will generate little income while you wait. It might be part-time or freelance, just take advantage when the opportunity comes.

For family and friends of unemployed persons, try to be understanding and considerate especially when the person in question is putting in the effort to become gainfully employed. Unemployment can really mess with one's head so let's try to maintain healthy relationships and be supportive in whatever way we can be.

Cover Image

I had wanted to craft a proper health promotion article as I didn't initially intend to get personal for this prompt but this is where my pen led me. You can join in and share your knowledge about mental health too.

Thanks for reading!

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Twitter - wolfofnostreet_


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Loved that you brought your experience here. When we talk about mental health making people understand that it is a common issue is quite important because some people think it happens to only them.

they shouldn't equate their worth to their current state

Very true.

Their self-esteem makes them keep thinking they need to work on the somebody meanwhile they can create opportunities for themselves by leveraging on the little things they know.

Thanks so much for the post.



People have a very dismissive attitude to mental health in these parts, and while that might make the problem disappear temporarily, it comes back and hits so hard.

Thanks for raising this topic.


Interesting read. This here particularly caught my attention.

Even professionals find it hard to get jobs, then there's me that hasn't really found where I fit into in the system. We all know how tough the job market is especially in a place like Nigeria.

This has become a norm in a place like Nigeria. Professional abilities are usually not adequately given attention like before.

Even though the world generally is tending towards rewarding what value one can offer than professional experience, professional experience is still adequately rewarded in first world countries.