“You Don’t Have Mental Health”
Someone I thought understood mental health and mental illness told me that he wants to get to know me and that he does not see that I have mental health. He also added that I want attention for acting out and stating I’m suicidal to my colleagues. I have mentioned being suicidal to my colleagues on many occasions because I’m scared and I want help. I was confronted by human resources and my manager about this and I lied on all occasions. I was scared and when I’m scared of possibly being involuntarily committed somewhere, I lie. I don’t see the benefit in doing this anymore because I’m only causing more problems for myself. By distracting myself through work at my other job, what good is this doing to me when I need to be reaching out for help?
However, I don’t know how to reach out for help. I don’t know how to do anything anymore. It’s clear that this society is backwards and there’s nothing more I can say. This person works in mental health at the same organization as me. Last night, I explained to him that just because someone has a smile on their face does not mean that they’re okay. I explained that because someone carries themselves “okay” in public does not mean that they’re okay.
I’m almost tempted to show visible proof of everything in terms of my medications, diagnoses and past/current hospital visits. Should I show him all the trauma and everything I have been through? I’m tired and frustrated because people think I’m a joke who seeks attention and is manipulative. This is due to masking and pretending that I am okay when I’m not.
I want to work today but I’m upset as a result of this. I know this may be a small issue to most of you. I’m also upset due to other reasons because I do not feel that people really get it as much as I want to scream and have them get it. I’ve tried to be transparent with some people I work with in MENTAL HEALTH and they don’t get it. It’s like we have to conform to a level of “normal,” whatever that is… How do I conform to a level of normal when ‘normal’ in my mind does not exist? The word normal should not exist at all because nobody is really normal.
I’ve been broken for years with a lot of trust and abandonment issues. I want people to get it but some peoples behaviors and words are only pushing me further to a point where I slowly give up on humanity. Some people are not even aware of the stigma and shame that they’re placing on mental health, mental illness and addictions. This makes me question society.
With this individual, I told him that everything is okay and that I don’t care what happens in regards to my full time job. I also stated how I do not have a substance use disorder. All of these are lies and I wish I can honest. It just goes to show that society does not understand and we’re brainwashed to believe the lies that we feed others. I mean to say, when someone tells someone “I am okay and you have nothing to worry about,” we believe it. We believe these lies. “I am fine” has so many different meaning. This is why I always tell others and myself that a true mental health professional is someone with actual lived experience. It doesn’t matter what type of “work” experience you have; if you have your own lived and personal mental health experience, you’re going to make a difference in those impacted by mental health, mental illness, substance use disorders, social isolation, trauma, poverty, and much more. You’re needed the most in the field if you’re someone with personal lived experience. You’re needed to help de-stigmatize mental health and mental illness because truth be told — Even with conversations and topics about these issues, people are still not getting it. These conversations have to start with us.
The level of normal that we have to conform too is not ideal in whatever this society is. The level of normal that needs to be applied to function in workplaces shouldn’t exist. Why? We’re all human with our issues. Everyone has a story and these stories are different to others. We don’t have to prove our stories to anyone. I once had someone tell me to prove that I had mental health and to prove my trauma to them and then they would for sure reveal their identity. I laughed at this. I laughed at this because why should I have to prove my trauma and mental health to anyone? People don’t live with me. People are not there to know what’s going in my mind daily; this goes for anyone else. On some days, I can barely wake up and get through the day and this has to do with everything and the way I’ve been mistreated by people I thought were there but were not. The problem I have and this is my hugest weakness — I trust people far too easily to a point where I do get hurt and then violated against. This is hard to explain but if you are someone that has been there, I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about.
I want to talk about masking behaviors and what society does not know much about. I’m one of your typical neurodivergents and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I tend to be very impulsive and I don’t have a filter from time to time. I clue into my behaviors and what I say and how this has an impact on others around me. Upon clueing in, I instantly feel guilty but others think I’m being spiteful and vindictive. The only two people that can see who I really am and they know when everything is not okay when I say “I’m fine” — I’m grateful for these two people in my life. They know when to disengage and what to say to me and I’m grateful I met them.
But anyways, I think everyone puts on a mask. We pretend to protect ourselves in terms of employment and relationships. If we say, “I am not okay,” what do you think will happen? With all the shame and stigma entrenched with mental health and mental illness, society will judge us. We will likely be excluded from society and we won’t be trusted. Instead, we will be looked at as dangerous, manipulative and attention seeking. I’m apparently labelled as this and I’m not sure why because, deep down, I’m broken. I do mask a lot and I don’t know how to have these honest conversations with everyone around me and this applies to my full time employment.
So I want to talk about the meeting with human resources I had on Monday, May 16th regarding one of my favorite colleagues. I understand it’s odd to label our colleagues as favorite. However, I care and love her so much and these attachment issues are getting in the way of my work performance. It’s not that easy to mention attachment issues to my workplace but I do feel that having these conversations are necessary for healing. I’m not too sure how to have these conversations. I attended the meeting on Monday and I do not believe it went well as I was not necessarily honest. I lied to human resources that I was okay. At the beginning of the conversation, she asked me how I was doing and I lied stating that “I was doing GREAT” in a fake enthusiastic tone. Truth be told, my mind is all over the place and I’m not doing the best. I’m hiding behind working too much to further distract myself from my problems. I’m telling myself that I am okay when I cry myself to sleep every night. In the meeting, we had HR, some union rep and my manager. They had asked me what happened on May 4th. I explained this to them in the best way possible but I don’t think people realize that I struggle with explaining myself. I forgot to mention some vital points from May 3rd as that was another incident which led to the provoked and escalated incident with my favorite colleague. Just before the meeting ended, HR told me that I was able to return to work that following night and I took a breath of relief and I was ready to apologize to my colleagues for telling them to “fcuk off” on May 4th. I only uttered this out of frustration. During the phone meeting though, I left this part out and I’m not sure why; I think I’m scared of taking accountability even though the guilt eats away at me. I remember HR kept asking me the same questions about what I was saying, almost as if she was trying to catch me in a lie but I was so on point. I haven’t lied about this incident. I’ve been completely honest. I just left out some vital points, some points I purposely left out to protect myself and some points I left out because I just forgot. That’s the terrible trait of ADHD — We have a tendency to forget on top of our lack of processing. But because we’re able to maintain ourselves in society, people look at us as “normal,” again, whatever normal is defined by society. HR mentioned that she would call me just before my shift that day and I was so sure I was able to go to work as she had stated I was able too. I fell right asleep upon taking a melatonin after the meeting. I woke up at 6:00pm to a few voice messages and emails from HR. They had told me not to attend my shift that night and to give her a call back to further discuss. When I called the human resources lady back, my adrenaline was at an utter high and I was very upset. She advised me that due to health and safety reasons that I would be placed on a paid leave of absence until May 31st. When I questioned her about these health and safety concerns she mentioned, she refused to respond and kept on saying that she was going to hang up the call. I then disconnected the call out of frustration myself. She hasn’t emailed me at all and she stated that she would email me this paid leave of absence information with information on obtaining some medical documentation from my doctor. I still have not received an email from her, my manager or anyone to be honest. I’m still waiting for this email because I do not know what type of medical documentation I need.
I was frustrated and on Monday evening, I sent a long email to my manager and CCed the union rep and this other human resources person. Apparently there’s two human resources person a part from the other HR person I spoke too; I don’t really understand this. I informed them about the phone call and my confusion of it all. I also reached out to this other union representative person who stated that he will help assist me with this matter. He advised me to speak to my doctor and fill her in about the issues I’m experiencing at work. I’m not all there and everyone at work thinks I’m all there which is frustrating the most! I want to yell on the top of my lungs and I have nobody but myself to advocate for. I asked my union representative to kindly advocate for myself and he said he would do so. He told me to follow up with him on Wednesday, May 18th. It’s now May 18th at 11:48am and I’m sitting here blogging and I’m unsure what to say or how to make this phone call. The only person at my organization that GETS IT is this union representative. I thought my manager understood everything but he does not. The email I sent on Monday night, I stated to my manager that I do not have mental health when I do. Again, I don’t know how to communicate having mental health and that’s why I lied to everyone stating that my mother is unwell and in a hospital when I have not had contact with my mother in a long time.
That very email I sent on Monday, May 16th about not having mental health or anything wrong with me is a lie and I feel that everyone believes this lie. I feel that everyone plus that person that stated “I do not have mental health” assumes I am okay and only want attention. However, nobody knows the pain and how much I sit here struggling through tears as I write this… So today I am going to take it easy and place my phone in airplane mode. I don’t really want to pick up on any shifts from my other job. I’m learning to give myself space from everyone when I’m unwell. I’m in no state to work or open up to anyone. I mean to say, I don’t want to talk to anyone because people don’t get it — People only want to hear what they want to hear. When we say “I am not okay. I need support” this is almost burdensome and people run and avoid us. So what’s the point?