There have been a lot or articles recently about mental health, even the Royal Family and the Government are being open about the issue. You will have seen that we have a number of people who have been appointed as our company Mental Health First Aiders.
Over the past few years there have been a couple of times when my mental health has deteriorated and I’ve become unwell. The most recent occasion was back in 2017. Things had been building up over a few months when one day I couldn’t function any more. I had a chat with my line manager and let her know how I was feeling. I was advised to take as much time off as I needed, not to worry about work and to get better. I was given the details for the counselling line and told to use it if I thought it would help. I was very well supported. I began to take medication, the doctor said it would take about 6 weeks before it started to work properly, and that there may be some side effects. There were, are, still side effects. The most embarrassing one is when I start to yawn and look as though I’m about to nod off.
I returned to work after two months, building up to being full time again after a few weeks. My client managers had been kept informed of how I was doing throughout and supported me coming back. I will be on medication for the next couple of years, with hopefully a phased withdrawal afterwards, which could be another 12 to 18 months.
I’m well supported by my family, in my secondment and by the company. I’m doing fine now, but know who to talk with should this change.
Dan O’Neill – East Midlands Area Manager.