It’s funny how life can be leading you in one particular way one moment, and then all of a sudden with no warning it pulls you in another. That’s kind of how things have been for me over the past few weeks, and subsequently why my blogs have been a little thin on the ground.
So over the past few weeks I have parted company with my employer. It was a decision that I didn’t take lightly but one that needed to be made. Being in that office surrounded by people that in many cases had contributed to my mental illness, be it directly or indirectly wasn’t beneficial to my condition and overall well-being. The idea of me returning to my former job on an extremely limited part time basis was supposed to help ease me back in to the working environment. But all it actually did was put me back 6 months in terms of my recovery. I went from being fairly level headed and calm to a state of absolute despair and suicidal in the space of a week. It wasn’t what I needed, and plus what small financial gain I got from being there did little to boost our finances.
The other real issue I had was that my former employer had absolutely no clue when it came to understanding and dealing with the issues surrounding mental health in the workplace and appeared to have no real interest in educating themselves. To take my own circumstances as an example, I would’ve thought that an employer should be making regular contact with an employee that had been off sick for almost a year. A simple email perhaps or a quick catch up telephone call from the HR Manager every few weeks, just to maintain the relationship between employer and employee and to help reassure said employee that their job was waiting for them upon their eventual return.
My former employer did nothing of the sort and instead decided that the best course of action would be to basically ignore me for the best part of 12 months. When I challenged them on this I was told that they thought they were doing the right thing. Failing to realise of course that ACAS guidelines, -that are easily accessible via a quick Google search – say otherwise. Unwilling to accept responsibility. Unwilling to educate themselves. I think I made the right decision in the long run.
So what now? Well, I plan to take the next few months up until the end of the year slowly. I need to work on undoing the damage done to myself by returning to that backwards thinking place. I’ve got an assessment with my local Mind charity in the next few weeks for another run of counselling and I need to really work on my own self care. I guess a good starting point would be to try and actually like the person that I see in the mirror every morning.