What's going on at Oliver & Co

Mental Health and Me

Posted on May 14th 2019

The 13th to 19th May 2019 is Mental Health Awareness week. As an employer we feel we have a responsibility for creating a mentally healthy workplace and we always strive to become better equipped to provide the support needed in the workplace for those suffering from mental health conditions.

This is an open and honest article, written by one of our members of staff, which gives an insight into their life with anxiety and depression. We think it goes some way to helping us understand the everyday struggles that people with mental health conditions face. We hope you agree.

My Story

Mental health conditions are very individual. I have anxiety and depression but how it affects me will be different from other sufferers. For me, it can be like having an “emotional hangover”. My head pounds with irrational thoughts, I feel sick, my chest is tight, my breathing becomes rapid and my body shakes. This is at its worst.

Anxiety and depression

Sometimes I just have a low day. I might not know why but I feel overcome with sadness, my motivation depletes and my self-esteem plummets. I have to psych myself up for any interactions and try to avoid drawing any attention to myself. Alternatively, it could be a situation that triggers my anxiety. For example, if I need to book a doctor’s appointment, my mind floods with lots of potential negative scenarios and this drowns out any rational thoughts such as “Your colleagues will understand if your appointment overruns”.

Coping techniques

I do not struggle every day, but any day. Not knowing what might trigger me to feel this way makes it difficult to prepare.
When I joined Oliver and Co I was undergoing a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which provided me with coping techniques – I had the tools to deal with my condition but I still had to use them. Firstly, I needed the courage to ask my boss for Monday mornings off to attend the sessions. This courage was rewarded as I was met with complete reassurance that I would be supported and a willingness to provide me with the time and care I needed.

Asking for help

Gradually, I felt more able to share and each person I confided in has been kind and understanding. Thanks to the positive response I received, I now feel more able to ask for help when I am struggling and even just knowing that I can do this helps me to cope.

Medical condition

My mental health issues are just as much a medical condition as diabetes or arthritis and I am so grateful that my colleagues recognise this. There is no judgement or dismissal but understanding and support. I hope that this is not an anomaly in the work place and that through mental health awareness week we can reduce the stigma that is sadly often associated with mental health and encourage more people to share without fear.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306