Hey everybody, It’s Mental Health Awareness Week so I have a confession to make to you all:
I have the loathsome combination of depression and anxiety. Sometimes I find it really hard to even motivate myself out of the horizontal position I am in due to the crushing nature of it all. Yay!
I live in an almost constant state of low-expectation of myself and excruciatingly painful low self-esteem combined with the fear of failure. My daily struggle is like watching a swan on a lake; I seem distant, aloof and in a constant state of annoyance at the world around me but gliding along with seemly little effort. Below the surface, I’m pretty sure it’s like watching a water polo match with those underwater cameras. Chaos.
The horrific reality is that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue like this every year and the more startling fact is that if you’re a man aged between 20 – 40, you’re more likely to die of suicide than anything else. How is that even a thing?
In the Tech World, with its higher-than-average male population (*cough cough*) that’s a pretty terrifying statistic. You would think that in such a male-dominated field, there would be more of an awareness but there still seems to be a massive taboo about opening up about how you are feeling across all fields in ‘traditionally male-dominated’ careers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lumping everyone into the same category here. I don’t think that guys at work are in some sort of ‘machismo arena’ where they can’t talk about their feels as much as women, I just think that maybe in the tech industry, we don’t slow down or stop long enough to recognise it or see any potential problems and try and fix them before they get out of hand (that’s what we do in our everyday jobs though, amiright?) Regardless of gender, it really does seem to be a huge issue that we need to tackle.
What can we do to change all of this?
Here at dxw, I believe we have a pretty good set up of humans who are capable of being quite open and honest about things.
I’m not saying we all sit around talking about stuff all the time, or that we don’t have unresolved stuff bubbling under the surface. However, we do try and make it a nice place to work and a place where depression and anxiety, amongst other things which can be discussed, whether it be in our ‘Buddy System’ or whether just be talking to the right people. These are important things to be able to get the support from work that you need.
I bit the bullet and opened up about my head-struggles last year and it was the best decision I think I’ve made at work (well, maybe not as good as that time I decided to fire Nerf guns at people at random in the office).
The support I have managed to get and the steps I have been encouraged to take and the progress I have made are pretty brilliant (apart from Imposter Syndrome, that’s a really hard thing to work out, isn’t it?)
I’m not here to provide anyone with solutions to their very personal and individual mental health issues, or tell you how wonderful life can be, that’s your own journey and is something I can massively empathise with. However, I think that just simply knowing that there are people out there that a) care hugely b) want to improve attitudes about mental health and c) want to promote healthier work environments, might help you make your own personal strides with a little less pressure or without that fear that comes with admitting to others that you’re not as strong and together as you may seem on the outside.