For Mental Health Awareness Week I’d like to share an insight into my world, in the hope to increase awareness and encourage honest discussion around a sensitive and often stigmatised subject.
As I shared in April, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s as an adult and began to finally understand and embrace who I was. Alongside this, I struggled with anxiety and depression through periods in my life often hidden by the mask of my Asperger’s that I had become familiar with, to meet the expectations of others. This hidden story created an extra burden for me to carry on and my ‘cool and calm’ appearance made others struggle to understand my own need for support. Anxiety can be as mild as the ‘I would rather not do that today’ to a heart thumping, mind puzzling, waltzer ride that you just can’t seem to get off. When that ‘one more request’ makes your stomach turn and your head spin and without a pocket left to hold, any extra requests you begin to spin in the darkness.
There are many masks we all wear to seem as if we are all sailing through life at ease, however I have learned that seeking help early on, surrounding myself with a few people I can be honest with, planning in downtime, allowing time to do something I am passionate about, and being open and honest about how I am feeling can provide the safety net needed during more challenging periods in my life.
I have found that my vulnerability in sharing enables others to be honest about their own struggles, creates a supportive and open working environment and empowers me to bring my whole self to work and take control of my story, my journey and my work life experience.