A Snapshot of My Experience with Mental lllness at Work
By Mandi Luis-Buckner
Seven years ago I was a successful employee at a large financial organization, anding achievement.
But depression did hit me, and it hit hard. I underwent an 11-month struggle before I realized that I was experiencing depression. During that time, a number of personal life challenges erupted which compounded the stressors at work. My confidence ebbed day by day—I was suffering. As a result the quality of my work also suffered. I lost a career that I loved.
I now know that with the proper information and trauma of losing my job.
Depression looks different for each of us
Perhaps you are unable to start projects, focus on tasks, or meet deadlines – and people are noticing.
Perhaps you are obsessed with details, or everything seems like a blur.
Perhaps you are worried about your lack of productivity, and feel guilty about letting your team down.
Perhaps you are irritable with colleagues, and feel like they’re ganging up on you.
Perhaps you feel overwhelmed, guilty, frightened, and see your self-confidence slipping away.
Perhaps you feel powerless to voice your needs because you can’t seem to determine what they are.
Perhaps you wish to have time off, but you’ve used up all your sick days and the paperwork to apply for long term disability overwhelms you.
Perhaps you are concerned about losing your income if you go on long term disability.
Perhaps you are worried about losing your job because you are experiencing depression.
I wish I knew…
- I was at risk for depression
- I was ill, not weak
- Information about treatment
- Depression would impact every area of my life
- I needed help earlier
- I was not the only one
- I needed to be valued at work
- It was okay to ask for my manager’s help
- I needed the people at my workplace to listen
- I needed ongoing support at work
- I needed my benefits to cover more than six sessions of therapy
- I needed organizational support when discussing my recovery
- I needed to return to work gradually
- It can take a long time to recover from depression
As a peer, I use my story to help others who are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace…
What I discovered is that recovery is a process based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and community. My hope is that you will explore the recovery process fully – while you are still employed.
Mand Peer Consultant specializing in the field of Mental Health. After leaving a 27 year career in the financial industry due to depression, she shares her story to help others experiencing mental health problems at work.