Regaining my confidence
My name is Martyn and I am an Associate within the Public Services Assurance team based across the South West and Wales. The main purpose of this blog post is to provide some insight to the slightly more sensitive area of Mental Health within the workplace, and methods of managing and overcoming it.
To give you all some background, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety and Low Mood several years ago by a specialist adolescent psychiatrist. The nature of this diagnosis means that I can go for long periods unaffected, and times when I just can’t see a way out. Add to this a job which can be stressful at times and can all build up. I manage this with anti-depressant medication and is something I am not afraid of people knowing. I’ve been on and off them several times, and is a proven method for me. It is far more common than people realise, we are not alone in this.
In my day-to-day life at this moment in time, I am on the road to regaining my confidence in everything I do. I came back to GT in August 2018 after several contracts and placements spanning the previous three years. It wasn’t until I got to a couple of months in that I noticed a change in my thought process, although I thought nothing of it. Fast forward to February of this year, my attendance had become a talking point for more senior members of the team. I finally confided in two colleagues (as well as my long-suffering girlfriend and family who have dealt with my affliction for longer than they care to imagine!) I was working closely with and sought help from a GP. The result of this was a familiar green slip of paper and a trip to the nearest chemist. In the months that followed my anxiety levels began to fall, I was confident in being able to complete a full days work to the highest standard possible and taking on tasks beyond my remit. This has continued to present day, although I am still taking medication and in absolutely no doubt that anxiety will rear its ugly head in years to come. Another key factor to managing my day-to-day life, was engaging with job managers and in-charges to set out expectations when working on a client. It always helps if management are aware of the circumstances and agree a plan of action so that all parties achieve the best possible outcome.
The support the people at GT have given me has been quite simply brilliant. I have confided in friends (although still colleagues) within the team as well as my People Manager, and have been able to get things off my chest when the going has been tough. You soon realise when you talk to others, its never just you.
GT offer a multitude of support methods through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which is a confidential helpline for any matters you feel you don’t want to/can’t discuss with those around you. This can be accessed online (in person via Skype) or over the phone.
In addition to the EAP, yourself and your People Manager can complete a Wellness Action Plan. The Action Plan is a document which enables you and your Manager to understand your individual needs and how to maximise your potential in respect of these. Both services are accessible on the Intranet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When it comes to stress and wellbeing (although cliché), ‘It’s Ok Not to Be Ok’. If you don’t feel okay or someone close to you seems down, speak up and ask the question. The longer things are left, the worse they can be.
I hope the coming months are stress free (as possible!) and rewarding for us all, whether you are applying for a role or waiting to start your contract!
All the best,