The Journey

If you listen to our podcast, then you’ve heard me talk about group therapy numerous times. But what got me there? And how am I coping now that I am no longer in group? 

In 2017 I left a job that was mentally abusive. The experience there was to the point where my manager wasn’t trying to accommodate me to attend one on one therapy. I have dealt with depression since I was 12 years old. This was my second time seeing a therapist and I felt like it helped. I decided to leave after my supervisor stood there and watched me struggle to help about 25 people by myself. I felt upset, sad and just overwhelmed because my job kept showing me that they did not care about me. I had reached my breaking point; I couldn’t take my health not being taken seriously anymore. 

I took some time off and worked a few jobs here and there but never lasted long because I was ignoring my mental state. My doctor had suggested group therapy twice and I kept pushing it away. I had finally got hired at a full time job with great pay and I just knew I would be okay after starting work; wrong! I started having anxiety attacks and began isolating myself from my training class as well as work as a whole. My anxiety got so bad, seeing my job made me want to throw up. 

I finally decided to start group therapy June 7, 2018. It was not an easy feat and on day one I wanted to run. But I stuck it out, going 5 days a week from 9-2pm for two weeks. Then, 3 days a week 9-12pm for 4 weeks and my last week I attended group for one more day. I learned many skills to cope with my anxiety and depression. Group therapy wasn’t a cure all or permanent fix. I still have moments where I feel extreme moments of anxiety and depression and I try my best to use what I learned. 

The journey to group wasn’t easy. I chose to ignore the signs that I needed to go because I did not want to feel crazy, stupid or weird. I left group feeling great that I was able to get the help I needed at the right time. My favorite quote I learned from group is “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” Simply put, don’t beat yourself up for waiting to help yourself. Be proud that you did seek out professional help when you did. Dwelling will get us nowhere. If you or anyone you know needs help try to encourage them to get the help they need. 

I attended group therapy at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, WI 53202. I recommend it 100% 

Know that it is okay to walk away from a job environment that isn’t healthy for your mental health.

Mental Matters because YOU matter…

Maintaining Your Mental Health In The Workplace

We spend at least 40 hours or more a week at work. And just like we encounter stress in our personal lives, we encounter stress at work. I recently started my job and not even 30 days in a coworker tried me. They tried to bring their negativity into my life and I just want to come to work and do my job. I don’t want to leave stressed or annoyed with the feeling of not wanting to return the next day.

So how does one keep their mental together when one has exhausted all PTO and needs vacation time for that Vegas trip? Here are some tips that I find helpful when trying to maintain mental health in the workplace:

1. Breathe

⁃ Sometimes you just have to take a step back and breathe. You can use a meditation app or your smart watch if assistance is needed. A nice deep breath can get you focused and back on track.

2. Walk Away When Needed

⁃ There’s no need to consistently converse with your coworkers. It’s nice to talk to coworkers but don’t force yourself to sit through negative/toxic conversations. Use downtime to read, meditate, organize your work, etc.

3. Keep Busy

⁃ Get up and verb. Do something that hasn’t been done yet or ask a coworker to teach you about that one task you don’t know how to do. Staying productive can change your whole day.

4. Listen to Music

⁃ Use your lunch break to unwind from your work environment and coworkers.

There are other options that can help including: texting friends, being on your favorite social media site, contacting your employers EAP if you need help, and many more. What are some of your favorite ways to maintain your mental health in the work place?

Mental Matters because YOU matter...

Music mainly. Taking walks outside helps too if it isn’t too cold or around the building. Calling someone. And researching things I dream about doing
— John P.