World Mental Health Day 2016

Today is World Mental Health Day!

…Or, was that yesterday?…

Well, the date isn’t as relevant, as we could all learn to be more open to talk with less of an ‘excuse’ to do so.

I considered writing about this and raising the subject on my “real-life” blog but, I know of at least one regular reader with whom I would not be comfortable sharing. So, I’m free to write here.

As you’ve probably guessed, if you don’t already know; I suffer from mental health issues and I’m less afraid to admit that than I was, say, four-years ago. Many of us will suffer in silence, fear, denial or unknowing.

My own mental health is partly on the decline, if I’m honest. I’ve witnessed a gradual slide as the past few months have gone on and I can notice similarities with how I feel sometimes and how I was back in late 2007, for example. Perhaps, there are also similarities with my psychological state in 2002-2003.

A long-running issue for me is my working situation. I have a full-time job in a manual production environment and I’ve been with this company for over five-years. I had never intended to stay this long when I joined, I am not passionate about the work or the firm and I am increasingly unhappy and uncomfortable being within the daily working environment.

A big development of recent months has been the lack of prohibition on the use of E-cigarettes in the working environment. Technically, people are not ‘allowed’ to smoke as freely as they do (cigarettes are otherwise banned) but there is no rule in place to outlaw “vaping” indoors. As someone who has never smoked and will never understand it, I am fed up and fucking sick of breathing this stuff in all day, every day. Tired of coming home with the smell in my hair, lingering on my clothes with the taste on my tongue. Worse still; I have complained and raised this issue with the health and safety rep… Who has done absolutely bugger all.

I have other issues with the working environment beyond that. Too many, in fact. I recently looked to revise a list I wrote maybe two-years ago – pros and cons of working in this job… I significantly added to the negatives.

If a company won’t change, I need to consider myself. My options and what repeatedly facing this situation is doing to my own mental health. For the last couple of years, I’ve been saying to myself “One more month and I’ll give my notice in… Just one more month…” Well, if I don’t do it sooner, I’m intending to leave at the end of this year, citing nothing more than a need for a fresh start on the dawn of a new year.

With that, comes the fear of unemployment and the stigma that surrounds being labelled as ‘Unemployed’ – honestly, this is a big reason why I haven’t already left (along with the fear of long-term unemployment, having bills to pay and no small fortune in the bank). I was there once before, from 2008 until 2010… My living situation was different (more affordable) and I did have considerably more in the bank to keep me going… If one parallel remains, it is in my lack of direction. While searching for jobs, I am not looking for anything in particular and yet, I am dismissive of so many jobs. I struggle to find motivation to regularly maintain my job search while I am in what I see as a ‘demoralising’ form of employment.

I’ve also become aware, perhaps within the last two months, that I’m beginning to believe as though my skillset and abilities as an employee are limited and restricted to my current role, which I recognise as being unhealthy and not necessarily true.

On a more positive note, I’ve been pro-active this evening in improving my own state of mind.

Normally, I’d be playing football on a Tuesday evening and it’s often something I look forward to and would not intend to miss. But, with my recent mental state and, having badly lost three games in succession, I felt like a break from the ‘routine’ may be in order. Instead of simply staying indoors, I’ve braved a drive in to the city centre and a hospital visit to see a friend who’s suffering medically at the moment. I felt good from doing this for a number of reasons – for being able to see my friend and not simply rely on words from a screen; for braving an unfamiliar hospital layout; for being a good friend, having failed to turn up on two previous evenings. I sincerely hope she doesn’t have to remain there much longer but, if circumstances change then, at least I now know where she is, how to find her and I can approach it with greater confidence and efficiency.

I guess that, really, I’m doing what I always do… Dreading the inevitable question of ‘How are you?’ from people in all directions. Not talking openly or honestly with ‘I’m okay…’, for fear that I’ll expose myself as someone who is constantly struggling.

How I feel is down to me and the decisions I do or do not make in life.

Thank you for reading.

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