I find this one of the hardest things when it comes to mental health as you need to make sure that you don’t let it affect your every day job. It is not easy at times keep your home life and work life private and working for a bank this is highly important however, I have not been the best at this over the past few months with being seriously poorly with my mental health and still struggling now.
What to say to work?
This is something which can be asked a lot by people and well I have myself this many of times and well it is what you feel comfortable with and this is not something we can’t answer for you. One thing I will say is tell them enough so they can understand the pain and struggles you are facing, you don’t have to tell them the ins and outs, just enough so they can understand. I was lucky enough to have the support of the hospital and work so I was able to find the best way to say what I needed to. I would go into work on a weekly basis while being off so they knew what I was up to and how I was getting on and working with such amazing people they was able to let me know that there was no rush and to keep me informed in regards to pay etc.
Do I need to take time off?
This is entirely up to you and well if you are unsure go and see you local GP as they will be able to advise more for you and give you some good advice. For me I took 3 months off work to help me get through the crisis point of my mental health and I was able to get the help I needed to get me back to work. I had support for when I returned and took it easy to ensure I was doing too much. When it comes to taking time off this something you should speak to your doctor about as they can provide a lot of guidance and support. I would recommend trying to keep a routine up, as even in the mist of my mental health I am going to work and doing my day-to-day roles, this helps me to not feel crippled by my illness. It can allow me to live a ” life which I want so badly.
Does going to work make things better?
Yes – Going to work can definitely help as it allows you to think about something else other than the illness you are facing. It also allows people to see you are still the same person. It can give you a reason to get up and out of bed in the morning… which is one of the most difficult things to do at times. It allows you to socialise with your friends even when you don’t want to, it helps you to come out of your box and be part of the big wide world. It can also show you how much people actually care… it’s amazing what people say when they begin to realise.
No – Well as with most things there are pros and cons. Going to work can make things a lot harder as there is more stress involved with your day. It can become over whelming… but this not all the time. Speak to your manager and ask for some time away from the desk. It can make you feel as though you ‘have’ to speak to people and be nice. Work can be hard at the best of times so having to do this while going through the struggles of mental health can be a challenge within itself.
I have to be honest and say that it does have it’s negatives of course like pretty much everything in life, but if you do everything you can to speak to your manager and see what they can do and do things to help yourself you can get some positives out of going to work while suffering.
Is it classed as a genuine illness?
If you are off work with mental health this is classed as a genuine illness as mental health such as being off with a physical illness.
In the UK, there is no legal difference between taking a mental health sick day and a day off for a physical problem like a back problem.
Last year, Britons took 137 million sick days. Of these, 15.8 million days were for a stated mental health issue – whether that is stress, depression, anxiety or a more serious condition such as manic depression and schizophrenia – according to Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey statistics.
By contrast, 34 million days were “lost” to minor illnesses, like coughs and colds.
Do not feel as though you can’t have a day off as this is not a physical illness, there has been a lot more light shed on this subject and workplaces are starting to understand this is not as easy as ‘just getting on with it’.
How can I help my mental health while being at work?
So first things first would be that you look after yourself and of course manage your stress levels… I know it is a lot easier said than done! If you are unsure if you are stressed or not then you might find that your first clues about being stressed are physical signs, like tiredness, headaches or a funny tummy.
As soon as you start to feel the stress coming on then you will need to take some time and remind yourself it is just a job and well you do not need to become over stressed. The best way for this is to take 5 deep breaths through the nose and out the month counting to 5 for each inhale and exhale. This sounds silly but it can make a difference, or have a stress ball to hand and you may feel a lot better after.
There are many ways in which you can help bring the stress levels down it is all about find the right way for you.
*All my own photos