I was feeling sick, not wanting to go into work. I had depression as well; you don’t even want to get out of bed, you just want to hide. I work in a room full of 30 or 40 people and I felt like I was the only person in there. You can feel so alone and you just want to hide in a cupboard. It’s like you’re in a little bubble.
It was around this time I had a couple of months off work. HR become involved and I put onto a process that monitors sickness leave. Suffering from anxiety, this was a difficult time. And while I can see it from a work perspective – I’m here to work, I’m paid to work – I also have a mental health illness that I can’t control. It’s a tough place to be, you want to be there at work because you don’t want to lose your job, but your mind is telling you that you want to hide and run away.
I worked with HR to see if any adjustments could be made based on recommendations from my counsellor. The absence policy allowed for three sickness periods a year before any HR involvement. I suggested an adjustment of up to six but was told this couldn’t be authorised for my circumstances. At the time I felt that mental health wasn’t being treated as a serious illness – it was this feeling that set me on a path to change attitudes.