The HR Juggler

The 25% Club: A Piece Of Me

Posted on: January 31, 2013

still waters

This post is part of the 25% club series dealing with the topic of mental health, particularly as it relates to the workplace. Some of the posts, like today’s, will be accredited, others will be anonymous – all have a powerful impact and help to shine a light on a topic that we need to talk about so much more than we currently do. Today’s post is by the very excellently named @HRTinker.

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After Alison’s blog last week this really got me thinking about mental health and how it affects me.

For the majority, we all have our own black dog that we keep and, for the most part, we manage to control and maintain. However, on occasion (at some point during each year for me) the dog becomes a lumbering force in my life. My depression, anxiety, stress, low mood, call it what you wish, flares up. The impact is not debilitating, but on a level it stops me functioning.

What it does do is impede my ability to have clarity of thought and strips every ounce of self-belief from my bones. I question every single action that I take. I don’t believe that anything I do is productive, worthwhile or right. I have nightmares and sweats, it’s horrible. But I get through it, it lasts for a period of time and then goes as I feel comfortable with whatever the issue is.

As I have gotten older, I have found the dips to be lower and the time it takes me to get out of these dips to take a wee bit longer each time. While I am lucid about all of the above, it doesn’t get away from the fact that I have a problem.

In truth, I don’t wish to go to the doctor as it will probably only confirm that I suffer from low mood and periodic periods of anxiety and stress. This doesn’t make me a strange or weird person, I’d say most of us have a mild mental health issue.

But there is a stigma with admitting this. This isn’t a problem, it’s just a piece of who you are, how you break down problems and how you react to certain stimulus.

This is the crux of the matter, because the ‘what’ that gets you to the point of depression is so personal; so is the way of getting out. I would never be able to tell you exactly how I control the dog but I do, each time is a different.  In the desperation to help, many talk about counselling, therapy, pills but you need to be ready to address what it is that gets you there, before you can start talking about it.  

For me, the way out is deep thought, it’s reflection and with a few select friends (generally with no association with the issue) I will open up. If you were to meet me in work or at a party you’d say I was loud and outgoing, I am. But I also have problems that I struggle to escape from. I don’t think I’m strange, I just think that at times I struggle. Don’t we all?

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If you care about mental health and want to make a difference there are lots of things you can do

  • visit Mind’s website and check out their excellent corporate resources
  • take the ‘time to change’ pledge
  • attend our event with Mind on 5th February 2013 at 6pm
  • share your story and read those of others as part of this blog series. If you would like to contribute, please get in touch with me on Twitter (@AlisonChisnell) or through the comments section of this blog
  • do you want to join me in running the Royal Parks half marathon in October to raise money for Mind? Register here if so and let’s form an #HRforMentalHealth team (non HR people welcome too!) 

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