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INTERVIEW WITH A CO-WORKER (Part 2) The Battles with Mental Health- Perception vs Reality /Rising Above the Struggles

Friday 31st Jul


(i)               ❓: What has been people’s response (either at work or outside of work) in relation to you sharing about your mental health challenges?

   

😮: There has been a mixed response but mostly positive.

 

In my personal life, there are some older relatives or friends that don’t agree that ADHD is a real thing.  

        

People have been very supportive at work. Some have been curious and asking questions about how the experience have been like.

    

(ii)               ❓:What is your take on society’s view in relation to the issues surrounding mental health?

 

😮: Mental health issue is very much an invincible illness.

 

If you are limping, people would not ask you to do the kind of work that they would normally do as they could see that you are unable to.

 

If you have a mental illness, some people may still think you should still be able to function normally to a set standard. That attitude is still very much prevalent in Australia.

 

People understand that depressions is a thing but the level of understanding may not extend to the fact that there may be consequences as to what someone is actually able to do. Some people are faced with depression, which is so profound that getting out of bed is about all they can managed.

 

I have also been told that mental health was not considered a real thing or issues in some countries like Sri Lanka, which is mind blowing. The suicide rate in Sri Lanka is quite high in comparison to other countries.

 

If mental health is a more openly discussed issue, perhaps the numbers could have improved.

 

(iii)              ❓:How do you cope with work or life when it gets stressful or challenging?

 

What are you doing differently now in comparison to before you received your diagnosis?

 

😮: The main thing is to be kind to myself.

 

I find it very difficult to be kind to myself. I hold myself to a much higher bar than I would to other people.  

 

The best thing that I have done for myself is to learn and understand that I am making expectation for myself that are pretty much impossible. And, that not meeting them is not a reflection of my abilities or who I am.

 

(iv)           ❓: Do you have any advice to people, who are experiencing symptoms mental health challenges or noticing that things are not quite as normal?

 

😮: The best advice I can give is for them to be open to discussing it with someone, who is willing to actively listen and support you throughout the process like a friend, a family member or some professional assistance (ie. the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)). 

 

I have spoken to a financial counsellor of EAP to assist with financial management as this is one of the things I have struggled with throughout my adult life, which is linked to the ability to control the habit of impulse buying. 

 

It can be embarrassing and difficult to admit that you need help. But it is my firm belief that no one gets through life without needing help occasionally. There are just so many challenges in life that it can’t possibly be done alone. 

 

Another advice I would give is to understand that the solution or treatment is not about making one giant leap. It is a process of small steps, learning about tools and compensatory behaviours to overcome those deeply entrenched habits. 

 

There are some studies that show that by the time someone with ADHD is of 12 years of age, they have received around 20,000 more negative reinforcement  on their behaviour than other normal child (ie. Ordered to sit down; to pay attention; to try harder etc). It is then not surprising for people with ADHD to be moulded to become perfect in being our own worst critics.

 

(v)              ❓: It is not easy but I applaud and thank you for your boldness, courage in dealing with your own challenges and sharing your experiences with others.

 

As you mentioned previously, we would not need an R U ok day if people are open to discussing the issues surrounding mental health challenges.

 

😮: Yes, I did say that. We would not need a designated period to generate awareness about mental health if people are more open to having those conversations in our day-to-day life.

 

This would be my eventual hope.

 

**Consent provided to share the above content**

**Some information omitted due to privacy reasons**

INTERVIEW WITH A CO-WORKER (Part 1)- The Battles with Mental Health- A Journey of Self- Discovery

Friday 31st Jul


 

(1)                ❓: Hi xxx, I appreciate the time you have taken to share your experiences and views on the topic of Mental Health.

   

You mentioned that you were diagnosed with a mental health illness not too long ago. What mental health challenges are you currently facing or managing?

   

😮: No worries. I look at my daily struggles and late diagnosis this way.. If by being open and honest about my experiences could help save someone a single day of the challenges that I have had, it is worth it!

     

We just need to be forthcoming with this issue. It is hard enough to get to know yourself in today’s world, without having the added challenge of not understanding that you might be working a bit differently to other people. 

   

It is a bit of a rat’s nest of issues and I’ll give you as much context as I can.

   

Both my parents were alcoholics as I was growing up. Since I have learnt more about mental health, I can now see that was just an effort to self-medicate and deal with issues.

   

I grew up thinking I have escaped the trend within the family and turned out relatively normal. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Depression around 3-4years ago.

   

I have since looked at my past through the lenses of that and realised that probably I have been struggling with depression (to varying degrees) as well as the anxiety since my early teens.

   

When I was younger, I had been taken to the emergency ward a few times as I thought I was having heart attack. Now that I have learnt more about it I realised those were panic attacks.   

 

When I didn’t know what they were, it was terrifying as I thought the worst of it, especially when I had heart rate of like 120-130 and I was sweating etc.

   

(2)                ❓: You mentioned that you were experiencing all these symptoms since your teenage years. But you had received a proper clinical diagnosis in your adult years.

 

What was the reason for the late diagnosis?

 

😮: No one mentioned to me when I was admitted to hospital in my younger days due to (what I thought was a) heart attack other than confirming that the issue was not related to my heart.

   

It is really interesting no one else has really thought to point out the signs to me. My family and I are not super close so I can understand that.

   

But I had been dating and married to the same person for 14 years of my life and she never mentioned anything to me.

   

In my younger years, I have found it difficult to associate with my peers or teachers would constantly tell me to put more effort in or to pay more attention. In hindsight, I was wondering how could anyone not put the two and two together.   

 

I had a relatively successful job in my adulthood and seemed to have everything under control. Development of mental disorders put a lot of stress on the person to do something called ‘Social masking’- trying to act like a neuro-typical person when you are out in the world. I thought the way I conducted myself was normal.

     

One of the things that I have issues with is the stigma around talking about issues like that or calling out behaviour that may be associated with those signs.

   

It may just be down to the fact that people don’t know how to have those conversations or they just don’t know the signs that people might show when they are depressed or suffering from other mental health issues. 

      

(3)               ❓: Would you be able to share about the process you have gone through and efforts taken, which led to you finding out about what has been happening?

   

😮: From my experience, starting the conversation is very good place to be coming from even if you don’t have the knowledge to get into the technical details.

   

A very good example would be my GP. I have been treated for anxiety and depression for a couple of years. Before I started work with xxx, my doctor said to me “Why don’t we look at the anxiety and depression as symptoms of something and not just isolate them as problems of themselves?”. 

   

She suggested that I get tested for ADHD. I thought that was ridiculous as I didn’t understand what ADHD was. I have the beliefs that many others have, like they are people who continually bounced off the walls and can’t sit still for 5 seconds etc. 

      

I went home did some reading and all of a sudden it was like someone out there understood me.

         

(4)              ❓: Based on your experience, it really highlights the importance of having a medical professional, who has the expertise and proactivity in assisting a person with his/her mental health challenges.

    

😮: Yes. Despite the mountain of evidence we now have that shows that ADHD is a developed mental issue and it has some fundamental differences in the way the brain works, there are still a lot of GPs, who thinks that ADHD is something that kids grow out of or some believe it doesn’t exist.   

 

We now have evidence (like an MRI) to show that someone with ADHD- their brain functions in a different way compared to a neuro-typical person.

   

(5)              ❓: How do you feel after receiving a proper diagnosis for the challenges you have been facing?

 

😮: I have a mixed emotions about it. On one hand, it’s nice to have a name in relation to ‘what is wrong with me?’ and some understanding that I do function differently from a neuro-typical person.

                        

I do have anger and regret as well around not having anyone pointing out to me many years ago, considering what I could have achieved if I was treated for it.

   

What I have can be treated with medication. There is definitely some form of relief in knowing that there is something else going on and I am not just lazy etc.

   

It is still a struggle to keep myself organised but I am less hard on myself now. Although I am facing some challenges of my own, there are also some challenges that other neuro-typical person struggle with (which I find easy).   

 

**Consent provided to share the above content**

**Some information omitted due to privacy reasons**

Fostering positive Change of Culture in a broader environment (ie workplace etc) starts with Self-Work

Saturday 25th Jul
Daniel Murray, a business consultant, mentioned The below in an interview with R U Ok? shows how important it is to have a HEALTHY workplace culture:      

“Every second of our lives, the human body sends about 11 million bits of data to the brain for processing. Our conscious brain, however, only processes about 40 bits of data each second, so most of the processing is done in the subconscious brain. What this means is that we’re constantly taking in signals even if we don’t necessarily realise it. If our working environment is one filled with aggression, we’re going to be receiving those signals of stress and discomfort, which will go on to impair how we feel and how we make decisions.”

***Driven by Fear 🤯😰 OR Driven by Love ❤️& Care👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👨***

Without realisation (at times), many of us bring our past or current negative life experiences or underlying FEARS 😰when responding to a situation or conversation. 

A leader, who has a lack of sense of security or self-worth, may feel that he/she is being disrespected 😡when a constructive criticism 👍is being made. This may lead to them feeling the need to validate themselves by exerting control on others via micro- management or bullying.

A co-worker, who is driven by the fear of not achieving a mapped out goals in their career/earnings, may try to run their race in the company by ‘stepping’ 🤥on others or disregarding the feelings of others. 

Above are just a couple of examples which could be stemmed from unresolved negative emotions or lingering FEARS- Fear of how one is being perceived; Fear of not being able to sustain a desired lifestyle 🤑; Fear of not being heard and needing validation. 

Some of us are constantly looking for people to fill in the gap (...)😖😕Gap of (Cravings of Praise for validation).. Gap of (The need to feel secure and superior by speaking over people instead of listening 👂when others are speaking)..  

When unresolved negative emotions bottled up inside a person, it will eventually ‘Cook up a storm ☔️ ⛈ ‘ from the inside out.. 

***So, bulldoze the above and..😪
what EXACTLY is MY POINT? 😲***

Sometimes it’s NOT about ‘battling’ with other people.. BUT it is about US facing our own unresolved emotional issue (this is the enemy!), which requires SELF-WORK! 🤓

Many of us would not realise that unless & until we SELF-REFLECT (#Honestly)!

Try taking a Stocktake 📝 of your own underlying Emotions ❤️& Morale 🙌..  

If we focus more on working on ourselves instead of trying to ‘work’ on or ‘control’ or ‘change’ others, the positive change in culture will happen organically. 

But we must first be honest with ourselves and work on ourselves, which requires:

-us to show empathy to ourselves knowing that No one is perfect, and 
-us to be bold and to have humility to ask the tough questions or deal with past events.


Daniel Murray had also mentioned that a change in workplace culture requires us to PRACTICE empathy and honesty. 

As aforementioned, we won’t be able to interact with empathy 💕 and honesty 🌟 if we don’t start with ourselves. 

It’s important that we shift from being fear-centric to LOVE centric ❤️. 

A leader, who GENUINELY cares about not only the work but well- being of the employees. 

A co-worker, who LISTENS to constructive feedbacks as an encouragement to better themselves and helps others do the same.


Having said that, I am not perfect and am also a WIP (work in progress). But I believe with the above shift we will arrive at the destiny of having either a healthy community or workplace culture.

***One Question*** 🤔😮

Last but not least.. What would be your answer if I ask:

Are you motivated by Love 💕 & Care in what you do and your interaction with others?

❤️❤️❤️Rest assured that 
LOVE NEVER FAILS ❤️❤️❤️

❤️❤️It will have a positive change on many and the environment and you will be renewed from the inside out❤️❤️

The Comforter vs The Person who receives comfort

Sunday 12th Jul
***Useful contacts below***

In this period of isolation, we see a spike in people facing various challenges/lost, which ultimately takes a toll in their mental health 🧠 and well-being.

This is evident from an interview with Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman: 


https://www.facebook.com/119817336421/posts/10158314772896422/?vh=e

In the midst of the chaos, we find ourselves being either a Comforter or a person who needs to be Comforted. All of us are being challenged in one way or another.

We see companies like Brooks Brothers filing for bankruptcy; people losing their jobs; an increase in separation/rate of divorce; death of a love one; challenges in adapting to the revolving changes in our daily lives etc. 

One thing am sure we all have been reminded is that certain things in life are beyond our control. 

And, I am also being reminded of how crucial it is to Master Our Mind esp in the period of crisis, which involves a lot of swift decision making.

No doubt a lot of us are going through a period of Grief. We don’t only grief as a result of a death of a love one. Grief could happen when there is any form of loss, ie. business failure; failed relationships etc.

I have learnt that the process of Grieving is actually crucial to our health. Many of us deal with losses through either unconsciously (repression) or consciously (suppression) trying to block out a painful 💭 thought. 

Without going through a process of grieving after a loss/failure, a person could be faced with a build up of negative/debilitating emotions, which could eventually resurface or blow up at a later stage (esp when faced with a similar event in future).

The initial step towards grieving is to come Face-to-Face with the pain/loss we are suffering from. Hence, it enables us to Accept the fact that ‘This has happened to me. But I can reign over the situation as this event does not define who I am as a person/ can make me stronger as a person’. 

Never underestimate the Power of Acceptance! As Dr Margaret Rutherford mentioned in her SelfWork podcasts, the first step towards change is Acceptance (whether it is accepting your weaknesses/failure/ the state you are in).
  

There is definitely a sense of LIBERTY when one come out of a period of Grieve!

Here is a quote from Rick Warren (who wrote The Purpose Driven Life):

***
There is no growth without change;
There is no change without loss; 
There is no loss without pain;
There is no pain without grief.
***

Another important thing to remember is that we do not have to face challenges/grief alone. It’s always crucial to find a positive community or reliable professional help and never give up in doing so. We cannot grow much on our own. 

On another side of the coin, don’t forget to reach out to others who are facing challenges/grieving. Don’t judge or minimise others’ pain for we all have different strengths/ weaknesses. 

Never rush someone in this healing process by saying things like ‘Just get over it mate it has been that long..’. You will never fully comprehend the battle someone else’s facing. 

Ofcourse, it is also important to set boundaries when helping others (ie. taking breaks from the person from time to time) as it easier to be pulled down than to pull someone up. We do not want the support person to have what I call as a ‘support fatigue’. The person , who is grieving, may not realise the extent of emotional/ mental burden they may have placed on others during the process of grieving. 

Last but not least, whether or not we come out enjoying a rainbow 🌈 at the end of a dark tunnel ultimately depends on how well we deal with a crisis/ a loss/ grief. 

We are responsible for our own mental health! 

Here are some reliable Counsellors, who may be able to assist for those who are needing some help: 

(1) Katrina Richardson
Bay Street Consulting Suites
T: 0427 343 799 
E: kalford@dodo.com.au 
W: www.katrinarichardson.com

(2) Peter Mauger 
Down to Earth Counselling 
T: 0431 420 005

Interview with the CEO of R U Ok?

Saturday 4th Jul
In certain community, people often thinks that noticing the subtle downward changes in someone’s else’s mood/ actions/ behaviour & asking ‘R U ok ...?’ is prying too much into their lives..

There is a heighten sense of PRIVACY.. 

But at times you never know when someone else needed to know that You Care! And, how much of a difference this can make  in that moment or in what they are going through 💪😊

There is always a healthy way of asking these questions as described by the CEO of R U ok? below:

Ks for ‘K’aring & ‘K’onnecting

Wednesday 24th Jun
Hi everyone,

Given this unprecedented times,  a lot of us are going through different challenges. 

This is a great opportunity to get together, spread some love ❤️ and remind ourselves to check in with our own physical/ mental health & others’ too. 

For anyone who are struggling, you may find the below handy:
-SelfWork podcast by Dr Margaret Rutherford Or 
-Dr Caroline Leaf YouTube channel

Let’s enjoy the challenge together  & spread some joy 😆🏃🏻‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃🏽🏃🏿



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