Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Mental Health Fight & Unboxing a Little Box of Distractions

Four months ago, I tried to kill myself. The main cause was stress and workload at work, since we had lost several members of staff without them being replaced, but the trigger was an incident at work where I defended someone I 'saw' as vulnerable but I came under attack. Without consciously knowing it, I needed to look after that vulnerable person just as I was the sole carer for my Mother between the ages of 8 and 13. She died when I was 13 from alcoholism. My 'damaged' hardware and software of my mind crashed. Once I returned to work, I volunteered my NHS assessments to my employer, saw their appointed Doctor who gave them a list of adjustments (which they only followed one of) and I agreed to be more open rather than bottle things up. I did. We all did.
I lasted just over 3 months. The trigger was when I brought something to the attention of my senior Manager and challenged him, just like we are always being told to. I told him he had offended some of the staff and he replied with "I don't care". It set off the same cascade failure we had seen a few months earlier except this time, I asked for help. When I told that same manager I had been signed off due to work he replied "No one else has a problem." He even tried to convince me to resign. I've seen GPs, my psychologists, I've spoken with solicitors and legal teams at Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS as well as the fantastic team at MIND, the mental health charity. He discriminated against me, I assume because of my health condition, and tried to constructively dismiss me. I went straight to HR.

I self harmed because of him.  They knowingly exacerbated my condition.

On Monday, after some postponement, I have my first meeting with HR. If I didn't ask for help, this meeting could be taking place at an inquest in front of the press and a coroner. If I didn't ask for help they would have my blood on their hands.

I summarise my story because some of you are new to my blog. I have proactively removed any evidence of who I work for from my website and social media and I have never mentioned it here or in my interviews with the press. I want to tell my story but I do not wish for the negligent behaviour of a man to damage such a fantastic company I would work for but, I make clear, I would rather KILL MYSELF, then work in that department again or for that man again.

Such a meeting is playing on my mind. I went on a midnight walk last night to try and clear it. Will they be reasonable? Will they care about me? Will they be concerned for the welfare of those at work, working Saturdays to try and keep up? Will they want me to back in a different division?

Even though I am so much better than I was four months ago when I tried to kill myself, and better than I was a month ago when I first asked for help, my anxiety has returned and I am scared for my future. How will I pay my credit cards? My mortgage? It would be great if I could do more interviews like the one for LBC last week and fill my life with the little volunteer projects for the local Police and even this blog, but how will that feed or water me?

One way of helping people with mental health, especially those in a difficult place or an unhealthy frame of mind, is a box of distractions. Kerry Elliot is running a scheme where those who need the box can get one for free or a small donation. The scheme is crowdfunded. It is a brilliant idea and is really helping me at the moment, taking myself away from some of the more destructive thoughts. A video review is down below but boxes like this are really helping. I wonder whether a monthly box, like lootcrate, would work. I'm quite interested to use some of them and as you will see from the video, my cat Punch likes them too.

I have so much going for me. Hopefully you'll agree my interview on LBC went really well and maybe they will give me the leg up to do more media things. My radio show has a steady amount of listeners and my blog gets steadily more popular. The pantomime is coming really well and for the first time in a couple of years, I'm not being all negative and hateful towards it, an apparent side effect of work. I'm fighting. Fighting not to let them kill me. Fighting not to overthink. Fighting not to fail. Fighting for what is right and just. Fighting so that people with mental health are not locked away or left for dead. Fighting to survive and so that others survive too. Fighting to help others, and not hurt them.

I can see all of this on a loop. I'm going to open up that box and distract myself. I have to try.








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