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Mental Health in the Workplace

I have been in the workforce for nearly 5 years now. During that time I've had some amazing highs, extreme lows, and an additional mental illness diagnosis. Just like every other aspect of living with a mental illness there is no guarantee of how you're going to get through the work day. Do I have all of the answers? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I don't even have the answer for myself all of the time! But while I started to come down from that all too familiar tightening of my chest and shortening of breath, I decided that I should share some of what helps get me through being a working professional. Also so that when I forget how to get myself through the day I can refer back to this.

I mostly struggle with depression and anxiety, although sometimes my anxiety manifests into OCD. Obviously none of these are great when trying to get through the day, especially when you work in an industry like communications where everything can turn on a dime in an instant. For the most part I rely on lists (oh, hey OCD, that's where you've been hiding!). While most of the information is in my head, creating a list helps me to visualize what's in front of me and helps me to feel more confident that I'm not forgetting anything.

If I'm having a depression day, I try to tackle more brainless tasks such as data input, document organization, clearing through my inbox, or, if all else fails, reading through the Twitter feed (yay working in social media). When I'm depressed I'm not creative, and I obviously don't want to do anything. However, people are still paying me to do things so I gots to get something done. Tackling something like organization also helps me because when everything is in order I feel better and ready to accomplish more.

I find anxiety the hardest to deal with in the workplace. This probably has something to do with the fact that I've had anxiety for a fraction of the time that I've had depression and still have a lot to learn about how I experience it. The biggest thing is just to tell myself that it's okay and that work can wait. Get up, go to the bathroom, get a glass of water. Has the world exploded? Hopefully not, but who know what's going to happen these days. Your health, both mental and physical, is the most important thing and the world can wait while you take a moment for you to take care of yourself.

And if all else fails, take a sick day. Sure your don't have a cold, but you have a legitimate illness that is affecting your work. That is literally what sick days are for. For staying home, and doing what you need to help yourself feel better.

Look y'all, life is tough. There's no getting around it. But there's no need for us to make it tougher on ourselves. So take the time to take care of yourself whether at home, work, or whatever comes between.




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