Most of Europe and the rest of the world has spent at least a month if not longer in various forms of lockdown. From not being allowed out without permission to partial confinement, our reality has changed a lot due to COVID19. With that, we are facing the new reality of spending a lot of time alone, and the implications for our mental health.
Today on the blog, another real life mental health story. This time from yours truly. ☺️ For a while now I’ve been wanting to talk about the bigger picture of my journey with mental health, not just my most recent experience.
Of course, my most recent experience (starting in 2012) is what triggered this blog and turned me into a mental health advocate. But if I look back, the truth is I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for as long as I can remember. It’s important that we realize how present mental health is in our lives, and that issues could have been there before we even developed awareness of them.
This blog post is part of an interview series for mental health awareness week. In this series, different people give their perspective on living with a mental health condition.
In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to share and to some extent, reveal their identity. This is brave, as it can be difficult and daunting. Congratulations to them!
Two years ago I published a blog post called “Living with anxiety“. It was my first step towards sharing my story about mental health, after which I slowly started to feel more comfortable talking about it.
For mental health awareness week 2019 I am publishing a series of interviews in which other people share their personal stories of living with mental health. The idea is to raise awareness and share different perspectives so others can identify, feel less alone, and perhaps even have hope.
While I have been blogging more about mental health consistently, it suddenly occurred to me that a very helpful thing I could do is to share more resources on the topic!
While I very much appreciate everyone who reads my blog posts, I’m also aware that I am not a trained healthcare professional, nor have I ever helped rehabilitate people who have suffered from mental health issues.
So here it is all in one place for you to reference at any time. There are a variety of different sources than can support with definitions of mental health issues, and in some case provide governmental resources and phone numbers for you to call.
If you are faced with some sort of mental health issue, you know that certain situations can “set you off”. If you suffer from social anxiety, going to large gatherings or parties may not be good for you. Or if you suffer from depression, an argument with a friend or a negative comment might start you spiralling into negative thoughts that it’s hard to get out of.
It’s difficult enough having to deal with these situations on a daily basis, but it’s an added challenge dealing with them at work. How can you ensure you will remain composed? How do you keep your emotions under control with your colleagues? How do you get away if you need a moment to collect yourself? I try to provide some answers below…
Last time I wrote about team dynamics in the workplace and how they can affect your mental health. A really important part of that, is how to help someone else when you see they are in need. If that person is part of your team, or a colleague you see suffering, what can you do?
Showing someone else you care is probably the first step towards making them feel better. Remembering the times I was in most difficulty, just the simple fact of someone telling me to enjoy a break, or ask for help, already relieved the pressure a little. So by the sheer fact of noticing, you might already be making a difference.
Continuing on the series related to mental health, another topic suggested was “techniques for self help”. It’s a difficult one because there are so many different ways this could be looked at, but for today I will pick my top 5. Read on!
Still on the topic of mental health and wellbeing, one of the topics suggested was “How to stay motivated”? I almost put this off to a time when I was more motivated, how ironic! But then it occurred to me I have experiences I can draw on to try to answer this question.
When you’re feeling anxious, down, depressed or stressed, it can become really hard to stay motivated. You may have the adrenaline pumping through your veins (if stressed or anxious) ensuring you keep delivering, but as for the rest… forget it! You don’t want to go out anymore, things you used to enjoy you ignore and you eat junk food.
As you may know, anxiety, and more broadly mental health are topics of importance to me. In particular when it comes to mental health in the workplace, I feel that the subjects are as yet not discussed enough, whilst seeing an increasing number of articles and studies on how many people are be burning out.
I recently reached out on my social networks to ask what you’d be interested in hearing about and the response was beyond expectations! Thanks to your answers, I now have many more ideas and topics to cover for the rest of the year.
One of the first I wanted to address was “What to say” or “What not to say” to someone who is suffering from a mental health disorder. This is a great question, so without further ado, here are my top 3 things to say and not say to your colleague/friend/family member/loved one.
With the recent publication of the « Thriving at work » study, it felt like an appropriate time to write the sequel to my first post, which I’d been planning for a while.
In case you’ve not heard of the report, it was commissioned by Theresa May and highlighted the fact that around 300’000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. Not only that, but apparently the number of people forced to stop work as a result of mental health problems was 50% higher than those with physical health conditions.