Let’s not beat around the bush: some people still have primitive attitudes to mental health.
Take me for example; I was belittled by HR for claiming to have PTSD in recent years.
The HR advisor, who shall remain nameless, twisted the words of medical experts claiming that I didn’t have PTSD but severe trauma and therefore was pulling a fast one – the same woman who ended a colleague’s career a few years ago, who was suffering from an unfortunate physical habit which was twisted into a safeguarding issue.
I don’t play mental health as a Top Trump card: depression, 27, anxiety 12, trauma, 45, but I was told by both therapists to be open to adults and children about what had happened to me and my mental health problems.
Should have come with a big warning – BUT NOT IN TEACHING IN THIS COUNTY.
In an email exchange between a group of people, it was stated about my depression “He was well enough to answer an email” which made the supposition that a depressed man is incapable of communicating and showed ignorance between her and other colluders about my welfare.
I’m not stupid though – what that nasty piece of HR work, the Safeguarding team and the church custodian were doing – was insuring themselves against discrimination claims.
You know – that golden rule when you hit a car at a junction and refuse to admit liability.
These gaggles of people were in denial, to prevent legal comeback.
Or if I’m being charitable, I was not behaving properly as I was ill.
What I realised however, was that by leaving education for good, I could speak openly, not using slander or libel, about the archaic knee jerk reactions to mental health.
I see those people now as childhood demons when I was verbally and physically coerced into doing things that horrified me.
Now we’re not talking neglect or abuse, let me make that clear.
But I am talking about being forced to do things against my will – normal activities in childhood, like going on the beach, paddling in the sea, but ones I hated with a passion and objected to vehemently.
In 2014, I admitted twice to parents of children I’d taught that I was suffering from anxiety, stress and depression.
In 2015, I admitted it to a headteacher and his deputy.
Both landed me in trouble.
Now my point is this.
If you are suffering, admit it, but your employer may not listen kindly to it.
They may be trapped in primitive procedural attitudes.
So what can you do?
Simple, find a boss that suits you and not a job.
I’ve found the perfect job and boss – being self-employed – whilst those educational dinosaurs roam this part of England, wondering why no one wants to teach in this pernicious county.