Recognizing World Mental Health Day

Recognizing World Mental Health Day

During our adulthood, a huge portion of our lives are spent at the workplace. The time spent employed accounts for much of our general wellbeing. Quite often a happy work environment can contribute to an overall happy life. However, an unhappy work environment can do the opposite, in fact it can snowball you into a pit of anxiety and depression. An unhappy employee is likely to be physically burnt out, unproductive in their work and may lead to an unhealthy substance abuse.

It is estimated that globally more than 300 milllion people suffer from depression, making this the leading cause of disability.  More than 260 million are living with an anxiety disorder

A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in productivity. This year the focus for World Mental Health Day focuses on Mental Health in the workplace.  First held in 1992, today marks 25 years dedicated to raising awareness of mental health illnesses. Every year on October 10 the world is encouraged to pay particular attention to a disability that is often overlooked and undermined.

This year’s theme is particularly close to my heart.  

A few years back I had a mental breakdown due to depression and anxiety, which was triggered by an unhappy work environment.I was young, in my early twenties and thriving in my work space, but not everyone was happy for my seemingly progressing life. One year into my new and exciting job I was marked as a target for the office bully. What complicated things further is that my work bully was another black female who was now appointed as my line manager.  The bully would go out of her way to make me feel unwelcome at the office, on many occasions I overheard her sniggering about my “white accent”, she’d greet everyone in the office apart from me and she’d find any little excuse to find flaws in my work. 

At first, I thought I could handle the abuse and isolate it to ‘a work problem’ but soon I found myself taking those issues home with me. This soon affected my relationship with my family, as I was always in a foul mood when I got home. Her menacing bullying tactics began to creep into my dreams. Almost every night I lay awake riddled with anxiety, only to fall asleep and dream of the bully.

Eventually I sought help and started taking antidepressants. But after almost 4 years my mind, body and spirit were so worn down, that I thought I may not make it to see my 30th birthday. After a failed suicide attempt I was hospitalised into a psychiatric clinic.  For 3 weeks I was in a medicated daze as I worked tirelessly with a team of doctors to repair my battered confidence.  It was at the clinic where I learnt to reset my boundaries and work towards repairing the damage that had been done to my mental state.  

I’m still a work in progress, but I am no longer on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. Instead I’ve found ways to curb the ugly depression monster when I feel that sting of tears behind my eyes, feelings of worthlessness and tightness in my chest.

Most people don’t know what depression and anxiety look like, but if you agree to 3 or more of these symptoms you may need to seek help.

A major depressive episode may include these symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.

Depression can affect anyone, rich,poor,black, or white. 10 celebrities  open up about their struggle with depression- Video Below.  

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Jestho Lucas