Hey everyone, Firstly, here is some basic information about myself and my situation. I'm twenty-four, male, and I live in the United Kingdom. Last summer I graduated from university with a law degree, and I have worked in retail, part-time, for a total of four and a half years. I held my first job from March 2006 until May 2008, and I held my second job from October 2009 until February 2012. I'm an aspiring poet/novelist/musician/visual artist, and I'm an aspiring bdsm houseboy as well. I suffered from fairly severe depression and anxiety (related to university amongst other things) basically from the beginning of my time at university until I finished my degree near the end of 2010. I live with my parents. Last Saturday, I quit my job. I had pretty much wanted to quit since I started, although until I finished my degree my life was so messed up generally that I thought about killing myself a lot more than I thought about making myself unemployed. I wanted to quit for a number of reasons: (i) I'm really socially awkward, and I found the job of interacting with customers painfully difficult. I struggled to interact with some of the people I worked with as well. (ii) I felt like every second I spent in my job was a second that I could've been spending doing stuff I believe in, for example, writing, drawing, making music. (iii) I hate capitalism and I felt like I was betraying my political beliefs by spending about twenty hours every week contributing to what I believe is a system based on exploitation. (iv) One of my managers was really unpleasant and abusive and had this amazing ability to make his employees cry, and the security manager was condescending and paranoid. (v) Physically it made me feel really bad, my jaw seized up when I tried to interact with customers because I was repressing about ninety per cent of my personality. Furthermore, I used to get tension headaches all the time, though I didn't get them as much near the end. (vi) I just felt like I was turning into an automaton and like I was wasting my life. Until August last year I had a student overdraft with my bank, and deep down I knew that I couldn't quit until I paid it off. So I stayed, and tried to cope to the best of my abilities with everything that I described above, plus the relentless hostility of customers, who were generally either actively unpleasant to members of staff or just cold and indifferent. And then in August I finished paying it off, and I felt free. I was a university graduate, and I wasn't financially dependent on my job in the way that I was before. It felt great. But then the feeling wore off, and my situation seemed as bad as ever. For the past couple of months, I spent every moment of every shift hating it, and telling myself that I had to quit, and feeling like my spirit was dying, and feeling totally suffocated by the situation. I used to respect authority when I was younger, I guess because when I was younger 'authority' meant my parents, teachers, university lecturers etc. But I feel way differently these days, for lots of reasons but my experience of working a job is one of them, and in the months before I quit, I became more and more assertive when my managers tried to enforce rules that I felt were unfair. I refused to do things that were embarrassing (for example, asking every customer if they wanted to purchase phone credit) and I began to let my timekeeping get fairly bad. Part of it was to do with my paying off my student overdraft. I had fretted so much about doing everything right in my job when I was in debt, and when I became free of debt, my perspective changed. But part of it was basically me trying to get sacked. I guess I believed that messing about and coming in late and whatnot was less scary than actually quitting, and that since I was too scared to quit, my remaining option was to get them to hate me. I should mention, as well, that I called in sick a number of times because I was experiencing so much anxiety. I never gave anxiety as the reason, but there were times when I really couldn't take it. Anyway, last Saturday I decided I had to quit. Nothing in particular had happened, I guess I just felt I wasn't able to do it anymore. I wrote a letter to the personnel manager, explaining that I had been experiencing anxiety related to work for some time and that it was beginning to affect my performance, and I requested that the notice period of two weeks be waived since I believed I wasn't going to be of any benefit to the company if I continued working there. And then I went into work, and gave the personnel manager the letter and explained the situation. She was nice about it, she agreed to waive the notice period, and kept asking if anybody in particular was making things difficult for me, and I just kept saying that it wasn't a particular person, I just find it really difficult to cope in a retail environment. She said she was sorry to be losing me, wished me all the best and said that if I ever feel differently to re-apply. For the rest of the day, I felt scared. I profoundly regretted what I had done, and believed that I had destroyed my future. I had been saving up to do CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) so that I could go abroad and teach English as a foreign language. I don't need CELTA to do it, but it's meant to be a really great form of preparation. And I kept thinking, for the time being at least I've thrown that opportunity away. Furthermore, I felt scared of telling my parents that I had quit my job, and I began to consider something that I consider when I'm really down, which is cutting myself off from my family and moving to England to live with a man that I'm internet friends with, to be his bdsm houseboy. And I began thinking about suicide as well. I felt like this until the middle of the week, and then for some reason I began to feel better. I think I came to understand that this was something I had to do. Part of me wanted (and still wants) to ask for my job back, although it's unlikely they'd say yes, and besides, the humiliation of asking and then returning to work, with members of staff asking me what happened (and some of them making fun of me) wouldn't be worth it. But the reason I have a new sense of perspective is that I quit in the first place. I understand now that there are probably a hundred coping mechanisms that I could use to make my time at work better, but if I hadn't quit my job, I wouldn't have been able to see the value of it. I'd still be messed up and confused and doing self-destructive things to try and get sacked. The choice I had wasn't between staying in a job that I was able to cope with and quitting that job, it was between staying in a job that I hated and quitting that job and learning a lesson and gaining perspective in the process. I guess I could've talked to a counsellor at uni or something about the situation, but in a way I feel like I would've rejected any help they might've given. I feel like I probably needed to learn this lesson in the way that I did. My present situation is that my parents still don't know. In fact, nobody outside of work knows that I quit. I said to one of my friends that I have lots of free time right now "which I will explain when we next meet up", therefore he might suspect something, but it's still a secret. I really need to tell people, though, starting with my parents. I intend to tell them tomorrow (I think), and I will explain to them why I quit, how the job made me feel etc. When I came out to my parents in 2008, my mum said that they would always love and support me, unless of course I "murder someone or something like that", so I'm guessing that they'll be okay with it, especially since I intend to begin applying for jobs on Monday, and applying for volunteer positions as well since I know that the job market is a bit rubbish right now. But I still feel suicidal at times. Part of it has to do with CELTA. I have £900 ($1400) in my bank account, and CELTA costs £1200. My birthday is in May, and I might get £300 from relatives which would be amazing, but I give my parents £20 for electricity every week, which will set things back. I might be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance - your entitlement can be delayed for up to six months if you quit your job voluntarily, but if you quit for health-related reasons (including stress, anxiety etc) the delay mightn't apply. The ideal situation is finding a new job as soon as possible, but I guess it'd make sense for me to apply for Jobseeker's Allowance in case finding something ends up being difficult. I pretty much know that I can't do the bdsm houseboy thing. Not right now anyway, not as a response to this situation. My relationship with my parents (and my family in general) is weird and awkward, and sometimes I want to escape my family's expectations of me, but I get on okay with my family, and it'd be selfish and cowardly of me to cut myself off from them and run away without even giving an explanation just because I'm nervous about how they'll respond to finding out that I quit. I need to face up to my responsibilities and deal with the awkward conversations if they happen. Besides, if my family completely disown me because of this (and I really, really don't believe they will) then I can do the houseboy thing with a clear conscience. When I started writing this I thought I had lots of questions, things I was unsure about, but it seems that writing this has helped me to sort through the questions I had. I need to keep reminding myself, when I feel suicidal, that I don't want to die. I just don't. I used to, when I was at university and believed that I wasn't good at anything, that I didn't have a future. But I've come to understand that I have stuff to give, and that I can have a future if I want it, even if it doesn't consist of a job in an office or whatever. I have bookshelves full of stuff I want to read, and films I've never seen and music I've never listened to, and there's so much art that I want to make and places I want to go and things I want to experience. Even if I was to spend the next six months of my life homeless, on strangers' couches or on a bench somewhere, taking drugs and playing guitar, it'd be way better than not being here at all. I need to keep remembering this. I'm sorry that I wrote so much. Thanks for reading.