Why we need to stop being surprised when employers understand mental health
I am so happy that an email is circling the internet where an employee had the courage to tell her work team that she needed a mental health day and she would be back in next week. The response that her employer gave was astounding and something is almost unheard of in today’s society. He understood and didn’t shame her for needing time to take care of herself. We are all plugged into this realm where we apologize for when our symptoms flare up or when we have no want to get out of bed or plug ourselves into work. But we have got to stop praising employers for understanding mental health.
Whether they go through it themselves or not, We need employers to understand that sometimes our mental health is going to take a major toll on us and we need to stop being shamed for it. Our mental health is equally as important as our physical health. When we are physically injured, we need time to recover and heal. So why is it any different when we say that we have a mental illness and you need to take care of it?
We did not ask to have days where our anxiety is so crippling that we can’t even breathe. We did not ask to have days where our depression gets so bad that the sadness wraps itself our bones that we can’t even consider getting out of bed. What we do ask is for understanding and compassion when those days do happen. We want to feel like we are still human beings and not the isolated beings our mental illness makes us feel. We want to be able to survive in this world and do what makes us happy. We need support, understanding, and love when we can’t see that for ourselves. We need you to stop making us feel bad that we need a fucking break sometimes.
We need employers to understand that this is 2017 and guess what? People need mental health days. You want good employees? You need to treat your employees right. As a millennial, I am tired of being shamed for needing a break from work one day. Personally, I am angry as can be when we have to praise people for being understanding humans when we should always be like that. We need to be listening with intent to understand and not just reply. It is time that we stop allowing the stigma of mental health to continue in the work place.
To those who suffer from mental health, we need to stop apologizing for having this. We have been learning to deal with it and what our limits are. If you need to take some time to take care of yourself, then please please please do so. I know that it is tough some days to even feel safe enough to disclose that kind of sensitive information but you deserve a working space that understands and empathizes with what you are dealing with. Do not apologize for exercising self care when it is necessary for yourself.
If you have never had to deal with the sadness that consumes every bit of your being or endure the feeling of your skin crawling because you are having a random panic attack in the middle of the grocery store, you have no idea how lucky you are.