For the last two months, I have been quiet, not blogging or doing many of the things that I enjoy. I didn’t have the energy to do any of this. I started a new role, was excited to be joining a company that I had worked as a contractor and enjoyed every minute of it – even through the challenges and major learnings. The people were great, I was supported by a great Leader and other team members. As team members, we supported each other, had each others’ back and even though we worked hard and achieved a lot – we had a lot of fun. Every team member contributed and utilised their skill set to compliment each other and achieve our project outcomes – we problem solved as a team, we had fun as a team, we celebrated each others’ wins, we treated each other with respect and as people first. We were led, guided and supported by a great leader and we all worked well together. I was sad to leave that team but excited to start a new role. This is where things took a nose dive. I started my role with enthusiasm, seeing where I could contribute and add value. I am direct with my communication because I don’t appreciate people blowing hot air up my rear end and so don’t do it to others. I treat people as equals, with respect and how I would like to be treated. This works when other people appreciated it and don’t see you as a threat. I am not doing anything to undermine anyone or threaten their role/job. I respect that everyone has their own skills, experience and capabilities they can bring to the role and team.
When it doesn’t work is when the behaviours of the team have not been managed and addressed. When the behaviours of the team have been left for so long that it has become systemic. It has been happening for so long so the behaviours have become accepted and tolerated, which is not a conducive environment for teamwork and collaboration. When someone is aggressive and trying to discredit someone else’s experience – this is unacceptable. It is a form of bullying. It becomes even more problematic when the person who is aggressive is a male towards a female and has happened more than once. The behaviour is not aligned with the company values and need to be addressed, managed and changed. If an organisation is serious in changing behaviours, this type of behaviour, when observed and reported need to be dealt with accordingly. This is an example of what has been happening in the last two months in my new role. This has triggered my anxiety, I have not had my anxiety triggered like this in over 15 when I was the victim of workplace bullying. The example of aggression I described in this new role was not directed at me, but was done in meetings in front of other team members. I was not present the second time but was advised what happened. This makes me very anxious because I am worried if I say anything – even if it is to help, I may be the recipient of the aggression. It is also stressful for me because I feel I do not want to attend meetings in case it may happen again. It is stressful to think it could happen to anyone else in the team or to directed at me. To me, this is unacceptable behaviour. This is only a couple of incidents, the reason for my anxiety is because the leader in this instance is so angry with the organisation, they are openly negative. They are not managing this behaviour and contributes to these behaviours.
For me, no job is worth your mental health. These behaviours have been raised with our manager, however, this manager has recently advised they will be stepping down into another role. This fuels my anxiety because I feel I am not being heard and there are limited avenues for me to raise this issue to be addressed. I reached out to a colleague who listened to me, created space for me and gave me permission to leave work when I was at my worst at the end of a week. I was advised to log off and if I didn’t feel like I could get back to work the next work day, advised me to take another day to take care of my mental health. This is what a supportive person in a leadership position looks like. They have also reached out to check how I am doing and that I have made time with my manager to discuss the issue. I am grateful for this person and hope to get my headspace sorted so I can be less anxious when I return to work to be able to have this discussion. This is important to someone who is not coping and has not ever been like this for the last 15 months in this organisation or the last 16 years in any other role even when there were challenges. When you have the support you need, it can help you manage the situation and face challenges that arise. Creating space for someone who needs it is crucial to recognise person first, work second. It also makes someone feels heard and validated, and that they are being heard as a person, not defined my their mental health condition. I have anxiety. I was diagnosed only three years ago after suffering an anxiety attack. I thought it was a once off thing. However, after watch a documentary about anxiety, it made me realise I have suffered it my whole life without knowing what it is. It is good to finally be able to identify, define and manage it appropriately.
Because of this, I am an advocate for mental health, we see a doctor for our physical health – there is no difference in seeing one for our mental health. A lot of times, our mental health issues manifest as physical symptoms if they are not addressed adequately. I am walking for mental health in this month of October to raise funds for mental health research and services via OneFootForward. If you can donate, then I’d appreciate any amount, large or small as this will help a lot of people. If you cannot donate to my fundraising, could I ask you to support any local mental health services where you are living. Mental health conditions are something you or someone you know may experience in their lifetime and these support services are so helpful. Research states; 1 in 5 people in Australia experience symptoms of mental illness every year. Together, we can show them they are not alone. This shows we are standing together in solidarity with them. We are stronger together and together we can make a difference for someone who may need these mental health services. Educate yourself about mental illness so you know what signs to look out for – for yourself and your loved ones. Educate yourself about mental illness so you know how to provide support. Educate yourself about mental health so you can advocate for others who are unable to do it themselves. I wrote a book called Face Everything and Rise to raise awareness about mental health and a percentage of sales is donated to Beyond Blue. Links to purchase my book can be found below:
Thank you for your support here on my blog, it helps me to write out my thoughts to help me process them. It helps ease my anxiety and helps me to put into words what I am feeling. It helps me clearly formulate a plan and articulate what I need from people around me. I hope you receive the support you need, if and when you need it. Because you can’t see mental illness, it is often not spoken about and there is still stigma surrounding mental illness. I want to de-stigmatise talking about mental health – especially of you suffer from it and need to reach out for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it takes great courage and strength to ask for help. Please don’t suffer in silence or let others you love and care for, suffer in silence. Being able to openly discuss mental health, asking for help when needed and getting the support you need is crucial for your mental and physical wellness. A small gesture can mean such a big thing to someone who needs it to help them feel heard and that their feelings are valid. Some people may not realise they need help because they have used their default coping mechanisms for so long, they don’t realise it is unhealthy for them. Allow people to make a big deal out of things that feel big to them. Being kind to others, showing love and support is important. We all need help at times, we are all human. We are all messy, complicated and need love, help, support, kindness and compassion in order to Laugh.Love.Live to our full potential. Remembering to see people as people and not their illness is important. Peace and blessings!