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.
In previous blog posts or videos, I’ve talked a bit about a toxic work environment. And while I worked at Impraise, I got to study a lot about what makes a good company culture. Yet it only ocurred to me not so long ago that there is more than one type of negative or toxic work environment, which is what I’d like to talk about today.
I used to believe that a toxic work environement was the classic “Devil wears Prada” or “Horrible bosses”: people getting yelled at, intimidated, and whole bunch of fear tactics.
In my last two blog posts I’ve been talking about our relationship with work and how it affects our mental health. Generally speaking, the workplace has a huge impact on us – including our mental health. Working in a negative environment can be really detrimental. If everyone around you is demotivated or unhappy in their jobs, or if everyone is extremely stressed… no matter what it is, it will affect you.
In a previous blog post I talked about how we define success at work, and the impact this can have on our mental health. It’s a long and complex topic which could be debated for hours, but I think it’s super important to take a closer look at it and ask ourselves some hard questions.
The truth is, burnout and other mental health issues can be induced by toxic workplaces and other problems that stem from the employer, but sometimes we also bring it upon ourselves. That’s why today I want to take a closer look at the concept of being “busy as a badge of honor”, and what this does for our mental health.
For the longest time, talking about mental health at work has been a taboo. Have you burnt out? Don’t mention it or people might think you’re weak! Seeing a therapist? You must have something seriously wrong with you!
In general conversations around mental health have been taboo, mostly because there has been a big misunderstanding around what it is. If people don’t understand depression, or view OCD as “quirky”, it makes it harder for them to empathize with those who are experiencing an issue. There has also been a stigma around mental health, with people being viewed as “crazy” or good to be booked into the psych ward. But the truth is, mental health is not as black or white as it’s portrayed.
A topic that’s been on my mind for a while is our definition of success, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. Ultimately, I believe it’s the source of a lot of stress, and can end up being the cause of burnout and other mental health issues we experience at work.
I’ve been blogging about mental health for a while now, but I’ve not yet talked about finding or creating your own support network. And yet, this is probably one of the most crucial and valuable things you need to get through it. I’ve talked a bit about helping colleagues, but this time I’d like to refer to your “inner circle”, or those closest to you.
Once again inspired by the Sanctus podcast on mental health, I listened to them speak about the importance of relationships for mental health, and couldn’t believe I had never addressed it beforehand.
I often joke that I have PTSD from some of my previous assignments, but if I’m honest with myself, there is some truth to it.
Of course it’s not as extreme as for example, for war veterans or victims of abuse – but I genuinely believe that you can leave a work experience feeling scarred. The negative experience and consequences you carry with you can feel traumatic and affect your behaviour in your new workplace and with colleagues, which of course, you don’t want. So today on the blog, I want to tackle the topic of workplace trauma.