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When leadership fails

Guest Author: Dave

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

Hey there again, it’s been far too long.  How are you?  I hope you’re all doing okay.  I know some days are going to be better than others, but at least you’re here with me (again) and the rest of the team.  I’m glad for that.  SickNotWeak has taken off!  From #BellLetsTalk to an entire website and movement dedicated to providing the information, support, and public face for those of us that struggle with mental illness.

We all can acknowledge that some days are going to be garbage, and some days are going to be gourmet, but what do you do when during those garbage days the people that you’re supposed to be able to lean on for support, especially professionally?  What do you do when your leadership fails to support you in an empathetic and compassionate way?

Some days are going to be garbage

Well in my mind you have a couple options.  Leave the situation.  That’s the easy way out, and frankly might be best depending on the situation That might not really help you in the present or them in the future.  I know you might be saying, “They don’t understand, fuck them.”  That’s legit and honest.

What’s harder is to fight for the process of education.  Ignorance and hate can only be combated with education.  Stand for yourself and others like you when it’s the hardest.  When your voice is a whisper is when it has the most power because of the simple fact it takes the most then to speak.

My therapist reminds me that I cannot expect people that have demonstrated an unwillingness and inability to behave professionally in the past to change and do so in the future.  This is true.  That doesn’t mean YOU get to stop doing your best and proving every last one of them that ill does not mean weak, and that you are in fact Sick, Not Weak.  That you will stand for yourself.

So I am stuck in this situation; where I wake up and the thought of engaging with these people triggers my Fight/Flight/Freeze response and anxiety.  I spend the workday in a toxic environment ready to fight. The people around me I do trust have helped me see that the way I fight is to be the best “me” I can be.  The best, authentic, positive, me that I can possibly be in that moment; whatever that entails.

Some days are going to be gourmet

Hard as fuck, on an hourly let alone daily basis.

I get so angry and hurt that my only physical response is to shake and sob uncontrollably.  I feel so betrayed that people I trusted would use my vulnerability against me.  The days when I sit in my car in gridlock traffic turn off the radio and just cry to myself are many.  These feelings are usually accompanied by thoughts of suicide or self-injury.

That’s when I know they have won though.  When I hurt myself.  I’m better than that, most days.  I spent some of the Christmas holidays in the hospital.  I was convinced I wasn’t worth it anymore, and that the fight just wasn’t worth persisting.  I believed not only the lies that I was telling myself, but also the hateful and spiteful lies others were telling me.  I was wrong.  They were wrong.  (Thanks Shane, I don’t like pork chops either).

I will not stop fighting.  I deserve better, and so do you.  So as long as I have a voice, I will use it.  I will use it to stand with you, and to shout when you cannot.  We cannot let the ignorance of the uneducated define us.  We are beholden to no one but ourselves.

Comments

iam1in5
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David – I’m so glad to hear from you again. Yes, you DO deserve better. Thank you for standing with me. Please know that so many of us stand with you. Keep using your voice. It’s beautiful.

Kelly
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I live everyword you speak and then some! Please keep posting it helps me! Maybe I’m not alone!

DHead
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Thanks. I’m just trying to be like Mike. It’s gotta be the shoes. Maybe I need new kicks…

Munchkin Mom
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Dave, you are an inspiration to not just those who are fighting the stigma of mental sickness but to those who are left standing after they have lost loved ones to suicide. I lost both my sons to this horrible sickness when they took their own lives by suicide. I applaud your efforts to not suffer in silence & pray that you continue battling your demons.

barbara
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Mental illness is certainly not weakness! I find it so very hard to believe people don’t see this as an illness. I watched how this illness has taken my beautiful son’s life. Please get help….talk to someone. The stigma has got to go……

CelestialFire
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I am in this precise situation right now. Sure, there are laws, but money talks and employers always have more legal backing to turn the court to their favour.

lyricgal63
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I am almost certain I was let go from my last job because I disclosed my mental health issues. They never openly told me that, but I was “dismissed without cause” after 2 1/2 years of working for them, but only 6 months after telling them I had depression.
Keep fighting. Eventually, people are going to have to listen to us. Great post!!

CelestialFire
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I was literally ‘written up’ for disclosing that I had to go to the ER immediately from work the night prior because work caused me such terrible anxiety that I needed meds to calm down.

The indicated that sharing this sort of information is disruptive to the office. THEY. PUT. IT. IN. WRITING.

Needless to say, i’m on a leave now and exploring legal options.

Truly disgusting.

DHead
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CelestialFire, that’s garbage. You deserve better. Way to fight for you homie. Big ups.

Ktatebe
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Great words as always Dave, it helps us all stay connected so we can help each other however we can. 🙂

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