Mental Health Issues: Are They Truly Understood at Work?
May 23, 2022
Sometimes you can feel alone when you struggle at work, but does your employer truly understand?
Work can be hard no matter what we do. It could be due to how busy the job can get, or even just a feeling of dread when something out of nowhere hits you. You could be at the best job in the world and love everything you do, but something like this will sneak around the corner. Most people who deal with this are not just having a bad day as most people think but actually dealing with a mental health issue. Mental health issues can hit you out of nowhere. Sometimes you can see it coming and expect it, but most of the time it feels like being struck by lightning or getting a bat upside the head unexpectedly. It is a monster that is sneaking in the shadows waiting to strike, much like a shark or coiled snake.
Mental health tends to hit most people the hardest while they are at work. You could wake up like it is any other day, happy and ready to take on the day but then once you arrive at work it just hits you due to something randomly triggering it. You could even already be at work for most of the day and then bam, it hits you. Mental health has been made more aware of to employers and people everywhere in the last couple of decades. In the past, most people choose to ignore mental health issues because they didn’t understand them. Some people looked at people with mental health issues back then as being “possessed” or “trouble minded”.
A lot of time passed before mental health was taken seriously from the old days and old ways of thinking. People who are suffering from mental health are now seen more as someone who may need help or someone who needs guidance to get through the hard times they are experiencing. Mental health could develop over a number of reasons. It could be due to past trauma from our childhoods or just something that recently pushed us over the edge. Anxiety, depression, and the feeling of being overwhelmed are more common mental health issues than we think. Many people suffer from these whether they are small or severe have to deal with them while they are doing important things, such as working.
Working can be hard no matter work. There are constant distractions there already as it is because of how loud co-workers can be or just loud chatter going around like it usually does in an office environment. Packing that on top of suffering from mental health issues can make your brain feel like there is too much coming at you. You could be suffering from anxiety enough and just have more packed on to you. Many people get social anxiety just due to the fact of how noisy an office environment can be. Sometimes it makes you just want to cover your ears and scream for it to stop but of course if you did that you most likely wouldn’t have a job anymore. You could feel cornered and alone while all this is coming at you. Anyone who has suffered from mental health issues while they are at work can tell you this has happened to them on more than one occasion.
So, what can you do to prevent your work environment from being too much or just overwhelming as it is when mental health issues happen? The best thing to do is to make sure your employer knows that you are suffering from mental health issues. A majority of times someone passing by you while you’re dealing with a mental health issue will just see you as your normal self. We tend to put on a mask at work when dealing with mental health issues, as a way to shield ourselves from feeling exposed or vulnerable. It is a common defense mechanism that happens. Most of the time it is just a reflex, and we don’t even know we are doing this. This is being mentioned because no one is going to know you are suffering unless you tell them it is happening.
Letting your employer know that you are suffering from mental health issues may feel embarrassing, but it will save you much more embarrassment than bottling it in and having it explode out at the wrong time. The thing about letting them know that you suffer from this is that it will help your perception at work not be mistaken. There are times that if an employer doesn’t know you suffer from this and sees an episode of your mental health coming out that they see as anger or a “not so positive attitude”. Perception in the workplace can sometimes be misunderstood and used as a way to punish an employee. Perception is someone seeing something from their point of view that they may not understand, so putting an understanding behind it explains it. The explanation they come up with usually is never right. The great thing is you can make sure this never happens to you at work is by talking to your employer and letting them know what mental health issues you are suffering from.
Being open, honest, and in this case, a bit vulnerable will help your employer fully understand. They also will direct you to great resources to help you feel balanced while you are at work. Many companies have mental health resources for their employees. The biggest reason why is due to them wanting to make sure that their employees are cared for and don’t have to suffer. Many companies offer free therapy, resources to doctors who can provide you with further assistance, and much more. Taking that first step may be challenging but you have to remember that the only way you can have your employer truly understand, is by taking a chance to be open to what is troubling you.
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