I’m a fairly private person, a little introverted, with a tendency to over analyse everything in my life. I guess I’m doing this to try and shake that up a little, maybe stop the ‘doomsday’ way of thinking. Putting pen to paper has always helped me with expressing my thoughts and feelings before, it’s just that no one else saw it!
This year has been a crazy one already and I’ve definitely been struggling with the enormity of it all. I was signed off with depression in September 2019 and didn’t return to work until March/April. I had tried returning earlier but was overwhelmed with my depression and suicidal thoughts and had to seek extra help.
Whilst signed off I spent long periods of time not leaving my house or seeing other people, including my family, so coming back to work in a post COVID world where we’re working from home has been really strange. On the one hand I am very lucky to be able to work from home, but on the other.. I was living like a recluse for months as it was and now suddenly no one was socialising or even shopping in person! So even though I felt like I should be attempting to go out and get into a more ‘normal’ routine, the advice was to stay in and avoid interacting with anyone else. Mind **** for sure!
One of the positives to come out of all this was that I opened up to my manager at work about my struggles, both mental and physical. It wasn’t an easy conversation and it was the first time they’d needed to think about anything like that with an employee but with help from HR and Occupational Health we finally got to a good place for everyone. I have reduced my hours to four days a week which has made a huge difference to me personally and I know after being honest with my team, they are now more appreciative that I sometimes need a little more time off due to my mental health or physical health. I’ve had a number of direct messages from coworkers going through the same or similar struggles which only goes to show people are still scared to discuss these things out in the open but I’m hoping it’ll continue changing for the better.