Happy Friday everyone!
Over the past month I have been horrendously treated by my employer for having difficulties with my mental health. Last month I came off my anti-depressants and the withdrawal gave me a panic attack which resulted in missing 2 hours of work whilst waiting at a&e to be seen. When I explained this to my boss he accused me of lying.
I am not a liar.
My boss then proceeded to tell me to stop my ‘weirdness’ and get myself together & ‘just do my job’. My job involved being sat alone for days at a time waiting for the phone to ring (which it never did). This deeply effected my mental health and made me feel incredibly isolated.
I am not alone.
I decided it was time to hand in my notice. His reaction was unsurprisingly heartless to say the least and he left me a nasty voicemail informing me he would see me work every day of my 30 day notice. I went to see my doctor for advice and thankfully my GP signed me off sick for the next month and advised me to take some time to breathe and recoup before applying for another job, perhaps a job that was less isolating.
I am allowed to ask for help.
Thankfully I was recently offered a job at a local SEN school as a learning support assistant, allowing me to get back into teaching and doing what I love. Out of pure naivety I listed my employer as a reference because I thought the worst he would do is not supply a reference. Sadly, this was not the case. He wrote a false and nasty reference about me, which nearly caused my potential employer to take back their offer.
I am not sorry for not being okay.
They have chosen to see past this reference and the offer employment still stands but it has still made me so upset that someone would do this out of spite. The reason I have posted this is because I want to make people aware that the stigma of mental health is still there in the work place. If you feel like you’re not being heard please know there are helpful charities fighting this cause.
Today I donated to Sane, a charity fighting the stigma of mental health issues and helping employers find the right way to help employees struggling. Visit http://www.sane.org.uk if you would like to know more. Donate £5 and receive the below wristband to help fight the stigma.
There is also Time to Change and Mind who are also fighting this cause
I will be organising a large local event for Manchester in the Autumn that will help employers and employees know how to deal with mental illness in their colleagues/employees/managers and how they can help.
I am strong.