Words On Wednesday

Wednesday (3)

Is enough being done to support employees who have mental health problems?  This is one question that has arisen since attending the HPMA Awards Ceremony last week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how well people with mental health problems are supported in their employment.  When I was signed off by the doctor back in September last year with stress, anxiety and depression I had to phone my place of employment on a weekly basis to update my manager on how I was feeling and how my treatment plan was going.  I was already experiencing stress and anxiety and this seemed to cause me further distress as part of my illness meant that I was getting over-anxious and finding it difficult to talk to anyone.  Couple that with my Aspergers which makes it difficult for me to vocalise my thoughts and feelings and get nervous about phone conversations and I was in a really difficult space.  I understand that my employer needed to know how I was recovering but when I was seeing the doctor on a fortnightly basis and being signed off for a fortnight at a time I did feel that the level of contact expected of me was a bit much at times.

When I returned to work I was introduced back to the working environment on a phased return which was a really good thing to get me used to being back in a working routine in the office and to test the waters with how I was feeling.

Now though, I feel like I am on my own where it comes to my mental health.  Unlike a lot of illnesses and other medical problems (like a broken leg for example), I will not fully heal and suddenly be better.  I have days where I am feeling brilliant, weeks when I am good or ok and then there are times that I really do struggle.  I have days where I have to drag myself to work and fight to stay for the day rather than run home and sleep.

Those bad days are the worst.  People often think that because you have managed to get to work that you must be fine and expect you to continue with your work as you had been on your good days.

The alternative to going to work on a bad day is to phone up and take a day off as a sick day.  I have not done this as I have no idea how to explain to someone that my mental health is such that I really can not face work.  I am also aware that the sickness policy is such that 3 sets of absence act as a trigger for a sickness review where a meeting with my line manager would take place and my “illnesses” discussed.  Any additional absences trigger further warnings until eventually you are dismissed from your job.  The policy for sickness may differ from place to place but for my last 4 jobs the same policy has been in place.

The big question is, should mental health be treated as a sickness under the sickness policy?  I’m not sure that it should be as it is something that has varying degrees of being ok or not.  I think that there should be an understanding between employer and employee with regards to mental health, and taking a day off because of mental health should be allowed, not be taken as a sick day, annual leave or as unpaid leave.  I think that employees who are either on medication or under their doctor or mental health worker should have some kind of special leave granted for when things become too overwhelming.

I can see that special leave for mental health could be abused by an employee but I feel that if it was monitored correctly then people would not need to take days off here and there.

More could be done by the employer too, whether it is having regular “check-ins” with their employee just to see if all is ok when the employee is in work, or just noticing if the employee has changed, for example – becoming more withdrawn when they used to be chatty, getting less work done than before, if they appear to be getting more stressed out…

What are your thoughts on this?  I’d love to have conversations with you in the comments about this.

My Perfect Job

My Perfect Job(1)

Since taking part in Blogtober and coming to the conclusion that I need to find ways to bring more elements of things that make me feel enthusiastic into my life I have been thinking about work and my job.  I spend a great deal of my day in a job that I have come to realise drains me of energy and feel that a change of job could be one way to inject some much-needed enthusiasm into my life.

I am in a really lucky position, where I am already employed and can take time to really explore this idea before I even start to actively look and apply for anything.  Today I thought I would take some time to think about what my perfect job would be.

I would really like a job that would allow me to do some of the things I really enjoy like art or photography or painting and decorating.  I think I need something that can tap into my creative side and encourage and connect with those skills.

I’d love some kind of job that would make use of my writing skills, maybe something that involved researching and writing articles.  Blogging would be a brilliant job as I could utilise skills that I have learned while letting me learn even more along the way.

I have so many qualifications in art-based subjects and would really like to be able to put those skills to work in a job and not just at home as part of my hobbies.  I’d love to be able to use all of the things I learned in my Degree and Foundation Degree, as well as the self-taught skills that I have mastered.

I would love to be able to create and keep an eye on statistics and be able to report on where things are headed and what I can do to improve on them.

I’d like to have a job where I am appreciated, feel like part of a team and to be included in team chats and outings.

I’d like to work in an office that understands and has respect for each member of the team, where the individual matters as much as the rest of the team.

I’d like to be heard and have my concerns listened to and to be taken seriously.

I don’t have a job role that I am aiming for anymore, most of the “job roles” I have searched for in the past, even working as a member of bar staff, all have so many different requirements, that, now, I am looking at job requirements first rather than job title.

What would your perfect job be?  What would you look for in the perfect job?  I’d love to know your answers so let me know in the comments!

Saturday Shout Out

SATURDAY

Saturday Shout Out gives you all a chance to meet some new bloggers, find new blogs to read or get your blog noticed a bit more. It is my way of thanking the blogging community for being so supportive of me and my little blog and introducing new blogs that you may not have seen or read before.

What this means…

Every Saturday I will choose one blog, share a bit about it along with your blog link. I will also share your blog to my Instagram account and my Twitter account.

If you are interested in taking part then drop me an email to my.colourful.life@outlook.com with Saturday Shout Out as the subject line and I will send you a form to fill out!

Weekly Roundup 09/11/19 – 16/11/19

Copy of WEEKLY ROUND UP BLOG(14).png

  • Reading

I’ve continued reading “The One Plus One” by Jojo Moyes, which I started a few weeks ago, it has been really nice to come home from work, make a coffee and sit and read for an hour each evening.  I’m trying to find new ways to wind down after work and this has been perfect so far.

  • Watching

I have been watching “The Great Interior Design Challenge” on Netflix where designers go head to head in design challenges, each week there is a winner who then goes through to the next round.  It has been really interesting to watch and see what the designers come up with based on a brief.

  • Listening to

This week I have been listening to lots of different podcasts while at work.  I have been enjoying the “Do You Even Blog?” podcast as well as “Casefile” and “Crime Junkie“.  I really like listening to true crime shows, it is bizarre how many crimes have been committed and how much people have gotten away with before being caught.

  • Eating

Pasta has been my go-to meal this week.  I have been eating it with lots of different additions, from veg to cheese sauce, and it has been perfect to take to work for lunch the following day too.

  • Drinking

I’ve been drinking a lot of squash again this week and have found the perfect apple squash which has been tasty hot and cold.

  • Doing

I had physio on Tuesday morning, my physio and I chatted about different options that were available to me as well as the pros and cons of each treatment.  one of the options was to continue with the exercises and physio sessions or have a steroid injection into my shoulder and continue with physio and exercises and the third option was a guided steroid injection using ultrasound scanning as the injection was made and then continuing with the physio.  I have opted for the steroid injection and more physio as there is only a 4-week wait for an appointment compared with up to 6 months wait for the guided injection.  On Wednesday I travelled to Cardiff to the HPMA Awards where I was asked to be the photographer for the day.  I had so much fun there, the day was really interesting and there were talks given by some really interesting people.  The conference was all about Respect and Resolution in the Workplace and fitted in really well with the anti-bullying week.  Other things that I have been doing are editing photos and getting the images I took ready to be sent off!  I have also been spending some time setting up my Facebook pages in a better way (I had to delete the one I had and then re-set it up as I was having a few teething problems…)  You can find me on Facebook here (my blog page) or here (my personal page).

  • Feeling

I’ve been feeling quite good this week, I don’t know if it is because I have been sleeping a bit better or if the Vitamin D tablets I am now taking have started to work properly or if it was because I was doing something I enjoy this week (photography).  I am feeling a lot more positive, upbeat and motivated to get things done.  I always find it really funny how such small things can change my whole outlook on life.

How has your week been?  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

Bloggers Meet-Up?

Bloggers Meet-Up_

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about organising a bloggers meet-up.  The idea would be to meet up with other bloggers one weekend and chat all things blog, from how to create a content schedule to generating ideas and ways to engage with our readers.  I have a few ideas of things that I would like to chat about and, more than anything, this would be a weekend where we could make friends with our fellow bloggers and share advice, hints, tips and ask questions.  I was thinking of arranging something in the New Year (possibly March/April time)

So, here are a few questions for you regarding this…

  1. Would you be interested in this kind of thing?
  2. Would you be willing to travel to South Wales (UK) for this?
  3. What sort of things would you like from a bloggers meet? (e,g types of topics covered, activities etc…)
  4. Would you prefer a 1 or 2 day meet up?

Let me know in the comments, and any other thoughts you may have!

 

Blogtober Results and Reflections

Blogtober(2).png

Since the end of Blogtober, which saw me answering the same 3 questions each day ( What made me feel enthusiastic?  What drained me of energy?  What did I learn about myself?), I have been analysing my answers and thinking about how I can make changes to my day to day life to change the energy drains and to bring in more things that make me feel more enthusiastic.

What made me feel enthusiastic?  Mostly the things that made me feel enthusiastic or filled me with enthusiasm were crafts that I enjoy, creating logos, drawing and decorating.  Other things that got my enthusiasm flowing were taking time to listen to audiobooks, read, spending time with family and friends, housework, making plans and getting tasks ticked off from my to-do list.

What drained me of energy?  Work drained me of energy quite a bit which came as no real surprise.  The weather getting colder, rain, the mornings and evenings getting darker, headaches, tiredness, being interrupted when I am in the middle of something and not being as productive as I had planned were also big energy drains.

What changes will I be implementing?  I have been thinking about changes I can make in order to feel more enthusiastic about everyday life and have decided that I need to make changes regarding my job and how I plan my time.  I am not sure whether I need a total change of job, looking at a career in something that is creative and gives me an outlet for all my skills or if I need a change of work pattern so I can utilise my spare time to spend larger parts of my day focusing on my own creative projects.  I would like to better plan my day so that each draining activity is broken up with an activity that makes me enthusiastic so that I am less focused on the negatives of certain things and more focused on completing them so I can then do something I enjoy.  One of the lessons that I learned during this time was that I am able to be less drained of energy when I have fun things to look forward to and that the enthusiasm I have for some things can be carried through to less enjoyable ones.

In all, this was a really useful and interesting challenge that I set myself for Blogtober and I think it is one that I shall be doing again in the future.

Did you learn anything during October?  Has it made you re-think how you do things?  I’d be really interested to hear any of your thoughts so let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Today’s Top 10 post is a list of things that I am loving right now! I really like doing lists like these, especially in this season where there is so much that can make us feel a bit down, like the weather being damp and cold or the days being dark and gloomy. It is a nice way to remind yourself that there are some things that are positive in this season.

  • Fluffy, warm jumpers
  • Cozy nights in
  • The colours of the trees as the leaves change
  • Winter duvet on the bed
  • Dark nights with clear sky’s – perfect for star spotting
  • Crisp, sunny mornings
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • Snuggling under blankets and watching films
  • Comfort food
  • Listening to the rain falling down

The Hidden Effects of Mental Health

The Hidden Effects of Mental Health.png

There are now so many prompts to talk about mental health from Time to Talk Day to Mental health Awareness Week where opportunities are given to learn about mental health or talk about mental health from a first-person perspective.  Things that get talked about, often, during these periods are the causes of mental health problems, symptoms, medications that can help, looking after our mental health, spotting signs in friends and family and how to help others.  The stigma attached to mental health is often talked about in great depth but one thing I have found that gets overlooked is the hidden effects of mental health.

So, what are the hidden effects of mental health?

People who have had mental health problems experience the hidden effects, which often go unnoticed.  Some of these things can be

  • Social circle shrinks

When you have mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, it can be hard to stay in contact with friends, from calling, texting or attending evenings out, and before you know it, friends have drifted away.

  • Being overwhelmed

When my mental health starts to disintegrate, I stop doing things like cleaning my house or doing the washing up or laundry and as I get better, I can feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done.  I also experience a sense of overwhelm when I go outside – to the shops, after a period of locking myself away in the house.

  • People treat you differently

Without wanting to, I have found that people’s attitude can change and they start treating you as if you are fragile and will break.  I have experienced this in work, where, even now, I still get concerned looks from my colleagues or do not seem to get to do the same types of work as others in case I cannot cope.

  • Lack of trust

I think that this lack of trust can be linked to people treating you differently, shrinking of social circles and the stigma that is still attached to mental health.  It can be hard to open yourself up to people and to talk about feelings, especially people you may not know very well.

  • Feeling trapped in a cycle

I often wonder if I will ever be well enough to be medication free or if I will have to rely on my tablets to keep me functioning at a level forever.  Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in a cycle of requesting my prescription, collecting tablets, taking tablets and doctor’s appointments to monitor my medications.

  • Slowing down

If people have to take medication for mental health there are side effects, which can affect memory and the speed at which we process things or our ability to understand things as easily.  This can be frustrating as we know we should be able to understand, remember or process things easily.

I can only write from my own experiences, though I do know, from conversations that I have had, that there are other effects that having mental health problems which all have a different impact on us.

Have you had any effects caused by having mental health problems?  I’d love to chat about your experiences in the comments.

Saturday Shout Out

SATURDAY

Saturday Shout Out gives you all a chance to meet some new bloggers, find new blogs to read or get your blog noticed a bit more. It is my way of thanking the blogging community for being so supportive of me and my little blog and introducing new blogs that you may not have seen or read before.

What this means…

Every Saturday I will choose one blog, share a bit about it along with your blog link. I will also share your blog to my Instagram account and my Twitter account.

If you are interested in taking part then drop me an email to my.colourful.life@outlook.com with Saturday Shout Out as the subject line and I will send you a form to fill out!