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  • #2252209

    Mental Illness and Work


    by teaching information systems ·

    Has Depression, anxiety, or mood disorder kept you from being productive?
    My son was diagnosed with Cancer in Nov 2005 and declared in remission in Oct 2006. I was lost at work during that whole time. I could not concentrate and could hardly function. Speaking with my doctor recently, he said that I was most likely suffering from depression. I was lucky. My boss and coworkers really stood by me. What has your experience been?

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    • #2490636

      Need to find an outlet for it

      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      and that is a key thing. without an outlet, just like being chronically pissed off, you do suffer dramatically, everyone does, yet some do not show it as much.

    • #2503337

      Moody Blues

      by dan powers ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I find even the weather can really have a negative affect on
      my work habbits. This is not near as bad as a close sick
      one. But what I found was a little website that was full of
      about the corniest jokes you could imagine. On those
      gray and gloomy days I go to this site and read a few.

      What I fifound for me is these little jokes quickly make me
      forget all the crap that was bringing me down. It gives
      you a chance at happiness for the day. All it took was that
      slight smilee to help get the day started.

      It doesn’t solve the big issues in our lives but getting that
      first early smile in the day really helps me make it

    • #2491288

      It is impossible to 100% “compartmentalize” – so why try?

      by jimirob ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      OF COURSE serious “non work related issues” impact our ability to focus and excel at work. Extended personal or family member illnesses (physical and mental) tend to have the most impact as they lead to a feeling of powerlessness and agner (that is typically turned inward while we put on the “brave face”) – and that is the very definition of typical underlying mechanism of depression and anxiety.
      Unless you OWN the company – or work for one of those rare companies where “family matters matter” (as helping employees in need raises productivity and breeds life long loyalty), expect the worst: You will forever be tainted by you “exposed to be human” behavior. PLAN to change jobs (or even entire career paths) once the ciris has resolved itself. It will be scary but it will also put yourself back into control of your life.

    • #2491285

      Travel do things look better

      by leesti ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I was in a situation when for some time I worked literraly doble hours. After that I felt my job to be irrelevant and not satisfying at all.
      Changing jobs did not help.
      What I found helping was
      1) Travelling (preferrably somewhere far)
      2) Doing more physical excersize and strictly separating work and family life. However I cannot separate it completely (I partly do my work from home), drawing the line helps.

    • #2492677

      Work should be therapeautic

      by problemsolversolutionseeker ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      But we must remember it is also a curse.

      Work cannot solve our problems; those solutions come from outside of anything we can do……

    • #2492621

      Mental illness?

      by linuxnerd ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      Anyone in your situation would need a little help. Coworkers would be heartless to ignore it. I wish you the best.

      However, I feel that mental illness is chronic and usually comes without sympathy.

      • #2492407

        I dunno,..

        by dsrobinson ·

        In reply to Mental illness?

        I wouldn’t charaterize mental illness as necessarily being treated without sympathy. I’ve suffered from depression for most of my adult life, and since I’m pushing 40, that’s quite a while. I manage it without meds now, but it still kicks me in the butt from time to time. Luckily, I’m very productive when not depressed. With a kid to chase around, I can’t let too much slide when I am depressed, so I keep it pretty well under the radar. That being said, my boss and coworkers know that I’m doing the best I can at that time, and that when I pull back out of it, I’ll be doing even more to make up for it, so they’re all very understanding.

        I have a friend at work who’s bipolar. He manages it pretty well. Luckily we work for a *very* family/life friendly company that doesn’t care about what hours you’re actually in so long as you get the work done. We almost never see him before noon, but he does a lot of work between midnight and 6am, so it evens out. I’m not sure I’d call that “normal”, but it certainly fits in the tech world!

        • #2492175


          by linuxnerd ·

          In reply to I dunno,..

          But you have to admit that post-traumatic stress and major depressive disorder are a little different. People are less likely to understand when you don’t have a reason.

        • #2517080

          sorry it’s very late..

          by dsrobinson ·

          In reply to Sure…

          how did I land a job in such a great place? I did a lot of temping… crap pay, but I got to find the place I wanted to stay, and got very varied experience.

          It definitely helps to be able to bite your tongue though. I don’t get aggressive in my depression, just silent, so it’s rather different, yes. I’ve not had a lot of experience with PTSD, so I can’t speak to it much, you know?

          I guess what makes this place so great is the fact that upper management actually beleives that we should have time for our families and that getting the work done is more important than being on time every day. Oh sure, if someone’s *always* late, they’d probably ride that person about it. Even my bipolar friend makes it in earlier than I when he’s not on a low. What upper management thinks is what gets passed down through a company as the “corporate culture”.

          I used to laugh at that concept, but I learned that it’s real. Only it’s not really “corporate”, it’s the people who run the corporation who set that culture. They’ll deal with middle/low level management who don’t tow their line. It always rolls downhill, whether it’s good or bad. Though the bad rolls faster. 😉

          I’m intrigued by your comment that “people are less likely to understand when you don’t have a reason…” I completely agree with the sentiment, but I’m not sure how it fits in with the PTSD vs MDD. If you happen to read this reply at some time, could you respond? Thanks much!

    • #2492620

      Oh yeah.

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      Undiagnosed PTSD cost me a good performance report and a promotion after I got back from Desert Storm. Mind you, my performance WAS less than optimal. Thing was, all the managers who’s business it was to be on the look out for such things missed it.

      It took a friend of the family who was a psychologist to spot it based on my wife’s comments; and six months of having people work me through it. This was all unofficial as the military is still one of those career fields that takes a dim view of human vulnerabilities.

      And I’m still not the same person I was before going over. Better than I was, but still not as good as before. Like the the cliche’ goes, “That’s going to leave a mark.”

    • #2492548


      by yobtaf ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I had my first bout with anxiety/depression thirty years
      ago. At that time there none of the SSRIs available.

      It has been a constant battle but it has never stopped me
      from having a full life.

      If I didn’t have this handicap I probably could have
      accomplished more, but if you do a little research you will
      find that many famous people suffered from this problem.
      Winston Churchill called it “The Black Dog”.

    • #2492419

      As you can see…..

      by mishanv ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      from the replies so far, some people don’t understand what’s being dealt with and others do. “Mental illness” has such a negative conotation in our society, that I prefer the terms “chemical imbalance,” “neurological” or “neurotransmitter disorder.” However, depending on the intensity one is experiencing will influence how much work or school is disrupted. I gave up a supervisory position not only so I could get better, but also so my peer group would not have to feel I was a burden to the team. The depression has been gone for awhile but I still deal with GAD and ADD as comorbid conditions. Some days are tough, but I still have plenty of good time and goals and plans, some of which just have to be modified somewhat.
      There is still quite a bit that needs to be done in educating people about these disorders and there are many examples of extrordinary people that can be cited.
      For some of us it is not a short term bout and it is NOT just about one’s attitude or outlook.
      By the way, I’m retired U.S. Navy and currently on my second long term career with a major corp., turn 53 this week and there is still much for me to do. 🙂

      • #2492083

        “Mental Illness”… “Chemical Imbalance / Neurotransmitter Disorder”

        by scott ·

        In reply to As you can see…..

        You’re absouletly correct… many “Mental Illnesses” are nothing more than a chemical imbalance in the body that can be corrected with proper nutrition along with vitamin and mineral supplements that the body needs. Check out “” for more information on this. My only question is… “Why would anyone take SSRI’s and live a drug induced, unproductive life where the risk of suicide is increased when they can take naturally occuring minerals and vitamins and overcome their depression / bi-polar disorder / mental illness?” Don’t get me wrong, Truehope is not the cure-all for everyone, but thousands are now leading a normal life because of Truehope.

        • #2506788

          No One Size

          by mishanv ·

          In reply to “Mental Illness”… “Chemical Imbalance / Neurotransmitter Disorder”

          I agree that much can be done nutritionally and by learning about the disorders and what one can do to deal with symptoms. This is the method I use now days.
          With that being said, the evidence is in overwhelming favor of treatment with SSRIs(and similar drugs)in many cases and the risk of suicide being a statistically small percentage. Let’s face it, many people do not even know that something is wrong, until a doctor recognizes the symptoms when a person has gone in for an unrelated (or so they think) condition or problem. By this time a person may not be following any nutritional guidelines and not have the fortitude to learn and change what they must. If either method or combination were foolproof, there would be no discussion. How to manage the chronic conditions is dependent on the individual involved.

        • #2508210

          T.I.S., more, to your point

          by mishanv ·

          In reply to No One Size

          As I said in first post, I gave up a supervisory position. I still work for the same company and my current manager is very empathetic. His wife has Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
          Productivity is impacted by how severe symptoms are on any given day, and I must say that most days are good. Being able to stay focussed and pay attention is the most predominate aspect I have to deal with from the ADD side. If my anxiety levels are moderately elevated (from the GAD side), I have some things I do to try and keep them in check. The amount of productivity impacted during these times fluctuates, but overall I’m viewed as doing a large amount of quality work.
          On days when both disorders are rather elevated is when I have difficulty staying productive. Work that on most days I could normally finish in an hour or two, can take me all day. When the two conditions feed off each other and symptoms continually keep elevating, its time to cut the day short. As long as I have “time” available, my manager is very accomodating.

    • #2492288

      SECRET to what is really happening to your Q

      by cd613 ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      What is happening is that creation is speeding up which makes time feel like it is also

      since all or most of were born before 1999 we feel after 1999 that we are doing each year what we did in 20 years… wait till 2011

      this is why all these anxieties and disorders
      thread back w/email and will send you more of this

      because this is what is happening that corp is not talking about

      • #2508087

        I’m afraid to ask, but…

        by darinhamer ·

        In reply to SECRET to what is really happening to your Q


        • #2507351

          not to be afraid

          by cd613 ·

          In reply to I’m afraid to ask, but…

          are you feeling the change?
          its not to be afraid but knowing of this
          helps you to plan.

          we are now in a cycle of ‘Ethics’
          so if you here more talks of ethics
          in the board room it is because of this timing.
          Any entity that is not ethical will not survive for long
          understand what I wrote on prev thread
          and will write as time permits

    • #2492283

      I can relate

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I lost a breast to cancer and am in the position of having to consider prophylactic surgery now. I was a tad depressed.

      Run, do not walk, and get some B-Complex. Will it solve your problems? No. It will help your body to deal with the stresses that it is being dealt.

      What you may not have heard yet is that your body has to recover from depression and severe stress. Give your body some tools.

      Frankly, your whole household could probably use some stress compensators. They help.

      My prayers are with your son and with your family. I know how devastating this can be and want you to know that you are never alone.

      You are always welcome to PM me if you just need to vent. I understand.

      Cancer sucks!

    • #2492269

      I don’t need to leave my apartment complex,

      by ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      to find a bunch of retards that can’t even operate a car door, that by judging by the dents and chips on mine.

      And when you get on the open road, they don’t become brilliant after a cup of coffee either.

      True story, last Saturday, a stretch of road is under construction, nevermind there were no construction workers present. There are signs for a good 2-3 miles, indicating that the left lane ends and merges. So several cars are driving ahead of me. I anticipate and heed the warnings, moving into another lane and creating space. Meanwhile, the rest of the brilliant masses of retards in front of me, continue to tailgate and stay in one lane, while others continue to drive in the left most lane. So what happens when everyone gets to where these lanes merge ? They all come to a grinding halt. Thee of these, the dumbest of the bunch I’d venture to guess, rammed each other and were involved in a 3 car collision. Notice I didn’t empower this stupidity with the term “accident”. The Highway Patrol has my blessing to execute these people at/on the roadside (j/k). I wonder how much everyone else’s premiums go up to cover these type of accidents ?

      • #2491202


        by jupiter9 ·

        In reply to I don’t need to leave my apartment complex,

        What does this have to do with coping with stress and depression in the workplace?

      • #2491092


        by cuteelf ·

        In reply to I don’t need to leave my apartment complex,

        I really hope you’ll edit this post…

        As people with mental illnesses arent retards.

        We’re humans, with differently wired brains. Our chemicals are different than some other people, and to fit in, we have to adjust.

        Your comments about retards is very very saddening – but it reminds me that not everyone is educated, and some are still ignorant.

        Cute Elf.

    • #2492246

      Mental Illness and Work

      by kcast1 ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I got a medical discharge for major depression from the Army. It is good that your boss and co-workers stood by you through it all. It’s sad for me to say that my co-workers and boss never stand by me. Instead they spread rumors about me and my condition. This just bring mood disorder into my life. I guess they don’t know anthing about mental illness. Best regards to you, your boss and co-workers.

    • #2492241


      by futuregeek ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I lost my Mom to pancreatic cancer a few years ago and was in a rut[sp?] for a while. I was able to take emergency leave but my Mom died so quick that I barely took any. I returned to work A.S.A. I had a chance. I didn’t want to stay home and rumminate about what had happened.

      I hope you sons cancer stays in remission.

      • #2492238

        A.D.D & Depression

        by futuregeek ·

        In reply to ;o)

        I’m 38y/o, I was Diagnosed with A.D.D. as an adult, [adult by chronology not actual developement], and Dysthimia [mild on/off depression]. One of my main “problems” is getting it together enough everyday to get out of the house and at least walk my dog. Don’t get me wrong I’m not debilitated; I go to school full time, 16 units worth. I have a full time job as a nurse with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and hardly call in sick, save for finals week. It’s my personal life and my days off; I have so much running through my mind I have trouble picking just one thing and going with it. Then some days, which are few and far between, the universe is in such perfect order that it includes me. Those days I get such a great deal accomplished, I amaze myself. I try to recreate the previous GREAT day but to no avail. All this coming from a former paratrooper, ironic isn’t it.


      • #2492237

        A.D.D & Depression

        by futuregeek ·

        In reply to ;o)

        I’m 38y/o, I was Diagnosed with A.D.D. as an adult, [adult by chronology not actual developement], and Dysthimia [mild on/off depression]. One of my main “problems” is getting it together enough everyday to get out of the house and at least walk my dog. Don’t get me wrong I’m not debilitated; I go to school full time, 16 units worth. I have a full time job as a nurse with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and hardly call in sick, save for finals week. It’s my personal life and my days off; I have so much running through my mind I have trouble picking just one thing and going with it. Then some days, which are few and far between, the universe is in such perfect order that it includes me. Those days I get such a great deal accomplished, I amaze myself. I try to recreate the previous GREAT day but to no avail. All this coming from a former paratrooper, ironic isn’t it.


    • #2492049

      Lucky you, they did not badger you to go see a doctor.

      by jean-v.cote ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      Lucky you to have such coworkers. I know many people who would send any person who shows lapses in performance to a psychiatrist in order to be prescribed some wonder drug which would boost the level of some neurotransmitters. The problem with this, of course, is that when the causes leading to the depression subside, the brain has often become accustomed to a skewed production of those neurotransmitters as an adaptation to the effect of the drug, so that the brain still needs the drug in order to keep functioning normally, whereas it would not need the drug were it not from the drug intake. Also, those drugs often have a spate of strange side effects, which may require other medication in order to be controlled. And health insurance companies are wary of clients who might need such expensive medication. So jumping on the drug bandwagon has its drawbacks. Of course, it might still be necessary, but if you had toxic coworkers as well, you would have been better off switching jobs, maybe working from home in order to be closer to your son and thus allay the fear of losing him to cancer with no sense of closure. There are many options available. One has to consider them all.

    • #2492032

      They may only notice if you crash

      by funker ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      Probably the thing that saved my career with the company I am with is the fact that I was committed under suicide watch for a month and was off work for nearly six months, the latter three being a staged return to full time.

      It was a real shock to my superiors. To most people, it’s one thing to be ‘depressed’ and quite another to want to die. My performance had been slipping for a while but I didn’t mention anything because of the stigma of mental disorders. It was impossible to cover up once I was hospitalized. They (my superiors) kept it somewhat quiet so only the seven people I answer to knew what was happening. When I came back, the other employees didn’t know why I had been missing because they had just been told that I would be absent.

      The next thing I did was answer questions directly. Obviously people are going to wonder why I am so special as to take three months off and come back without penalty. I told them that I had severe depression and needed to escape for a while. I didn’t go into details because it was none of their business.

      I have been back at work full time for nearly eight months and I have yet to experience anything that could be interpreted as negative to my condition, even through a variety of setbacks.

      After reading the posts here I think my workplace may be special, though I really don’t understand how the reactions could have been any different. Then again, I don’t claim to understand people.

    • #2491096

      Its’ been interesting..

      by cuteelf ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      To say the least.

      I classify as disabled due to having Epilepsy AND Depression.

      People usually hear about my E first from me, but notice I’m not chirpy or happy (always)…or productive. The D is being treated also, but it’s such an underlying daily part it’s not fun.

      I dont notice it, because it’s part of everyday life (kind of like smelling a perfume every forget it after a day or 3). Only when D kicks up his head and tries to throw me in the ditch is when it gets bad. The 800 pound gorilla is not a happy camper.

      I treat both E and D with prescriptions, and counseling, but it is not something I’d wish on anyone else.

      It affects my thinking, my short term memory, my attention span, my general daily behavior, and just about anything you can think of in a daily life.

      How do I deal? I read AND do hands-on to learn something, I ask faster than other people (I dont look stupid asking!) and I love to make lists.

      What do I tell my employers? Nothing until I’ve signed the W2 form and am on payroll…after probation. I’ve had 2 or 3 people get rid of me directly due to E. Ironically, untreated D turned me into a real butthead, but I got away with it.

      I wish people (as in co-irkers and managers) knew more about E…more than just people having seizures. Temperal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) is my flavor, and TLE is noted by neuros & psy doctors to go hand in hand with D. TLE doesnt CAUSE D…but it sure doesnt stop D. There are sooo many many other side effects of just having E besides a seizure. Behavior, thinking, comprehension, retaining memory…all of it.

      But, I look at myself and say: I’ve kicked some serious ass in life.

      Ive got an AAS degree…wanting more.
      i’ve got a drivers liscence…controlled the E.
      I’ve got a steady job w/ a good company
      I’ve controlled my 2 demons pretty well
      I’ve figured out how to work around my demons..cant stop me!


    • #2507070

      it always depends

      by helpusobiwan ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      the owners are a pretty euro-young bunch … I’m pretty sure admitting to depression would earn one a ticket out the door at the next opportunity

    • #2506796

      I lost my career

      by cartcnd ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      On top of severe depression and anxiety, I was being verbally abused. Broke down and laid up in bed afraid to leave the house.
      Under Doctor’s care since 1986, and the company denied me Disability pay (outside insurance company). No lawyer would help me because mental illness is difficult to prove for workman’s comp unless I could find witnesses. No one wanted to risk this person abusing them too. Not many states acknowledge mental illness for workman’s comp. So now I have lost my career, don’t have any desires or goals anymore and my family half understands. I just sit and wait for the days to go by now. Hoping and praying that it will all end.

    • #2506790

      Being Productive

      by ang2006 ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      I too have had many problems with staying focused on computer work but have not been able to decide if it is mood or depression or a combination. I will keep up with this discussion to see what others may contribute.

      • #2508034

        It’s best to know yourself

        by funker ·

        In reply to Being Productive

        There are many factors that could contribute to lack of focus and loss of productivity that do not have to do with depression.

        Ang2006: There are an array of questions that you should answer for yourself (I am not a counselor). How long have you been feeling this way? Do you have a historical pattern of feeling down over the winter? Have you noticed other changes to your temperament? What about eating and sleeping patterns? Is there someone close to you that can help you discern if your answers to the above are accurate?

        Depression has such a vague description and the diagnoses are often derived solely from the patient’s description of the problem. Thus, anyone can be diagnosed with depression if they took care to answer the questions in a leading way. Now, granted there are far more severe forms of depression where the signs are all there, but my point is that depression is diagnosed too readily so unless you have taken the time to review things before you see a doctor you will find yourself taking some sort of SSRI.

      • #2508506

        Comorbid Conditions

        by futuregeek ·

        In reply to Being Productive


        Keep in mind that mood disorder and/or depression may be comorbid [pertaining to two conditions which occur together] conditions. There might be a bigger issue and those two are the most obvious.

    • #2506770

      Life Altering..

      by candy ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      My Dad passed away suddenly, unexpectedly, July 6, 2005. My employer then, a small firm, was very understanding and sympathetic – urging me to take all the time I needed, if there was anything they could do, etc. and so on.

      From that day on I was never the same. Once I returned to work, probably far too soon, there were days when I’d find myself staring at the screen, having forgotten what it was I had been doing. My coworkers would ask how Mom was doing, how the family was, those sorts of questions, and while I appreciated their concern, it made it harder to compartmentalize my mourning and simply focus on moving forward. Dad was in the Army National Guard, and our office was situated directly in the flight path of the helicopters he spent his life working on – sure enough, one would fly over the office, and I’d crumple into a weeping mess.

      The sympathy and support and understanding continued, and I probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say if they would have let me go they would not have been out of line. I simply never attained the same level of quality work and attentiveness that I’d had before Dad passed.

      In all honesty, what got me through was a major relocation, clear across the country, jumping into a new life, new environment, everything. I believe if I had stayed where I was, in the same town, same job, same everything, I would have simply sunk further and further into the depression hole and likely not been able to drag myself back up out of it.

      Where I am now, it’s a fresh start. I miss my Dad every single day, and still mourn his loss and yep, still get weepy from time to time. But my job now.. no one knows he passed away. It’s simply not an issue, not a subject that comes up.

      Of course, uprooting your life and making a major move like have is not recommended for everyone 🙂 It worked for me, and I’m glad and a smidge proud of myself for taking the chance and making the move. I think Dad would be proud, too.

    • #2507475

      And yes you are human

      by greenie ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      The first step is always the hardest, be depression or anything else. Once that you have accepted this yourself, that I have a problem and also recognosising that you are not alone, then you can do something about it. The other important issue is that this does not occurr over night and that there is no magic pill for it. It is a lot of hard work on your behalf to get there and be comfortable about the fact that it takes time.
      I am fortunate to work in an industry group that does support employees who do suffer post tramatic events. It has taken me some five years to recover. I am coming up to the completion of my third year back at full time work.
      Remember one day at a time and smile at the good things that are present in your life.

    • #2503832

      Points to remember…

      by danopam2000 ·

      In reply to Mental Illness and Work

      Some of the replies I’ve seen here reflect the ongoing lack of understanding about mental and mood disorders. First, many mood issues can stem from physical, mental or a combonation of both reasons.

      I deal with adult ADD and Sleep Apnea that drives the Depression (comorbid). If you see a physician who has some training with mental illness or a therapist, they may find causes that can range from excess stress to Seasonal Affective Disorder, Sleep Apnea, reactions to other medications, Thyroid problems, environmental toxins, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Anxiety, etc., etc.

      Work performance and motivation could be just one outward symptom. Somebody might have already mentioned your depressive or aggitated affect to you already. Men in particular often try to shrug it off (or maybe drink it away). What’s important is that a person take the clue and SEE SOMEBODY THAT CAN HELP. I believe insurance policies (and law) allow you to see a mental health professional without any notification to anyone. Also, you might not have the support of your co-workers or friends and family. This way you can work things out in private and find help.

      It could work out that those lousy feelings are easily remedied with or without meds. Get a physical and mental check-up. Don’t wait to get canned because you never bothered to find out what’s going on.

      Note: not all mood/mental disorders are treated with SSRIs and anxiety drugs. Very few of the “blunt force” psych drugs from the past are used anymore either.

      • #2503829

        This helps too…

        by danopam2000 ·

        In reply to Points to remember…

        Go to The Onion website, helps no matter what mood I’m in. Find any way to laugh you can.

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