If you have read my previous articles, you will know that I am not always bright or breezy, unless I have just eaten beans, then I can get quite breezy! The other day, my boss came in and asked me how I was. As any Englishman worth his salt, the answer to the phrase, « and how are you at the moment? » the answer should always be « Oh, I’m fine thanks! » You might have just taken one for the team, or have just had your leg eaten off by a tiger, the answer should always be « Fine thanks » or « well, mustn’t grumble… »
I was a fool. I fell into the trap and proceeded to tell him, sparing no details. I think I must have scared the poop out of him. I think he was visibly in shock. I had obviously said the wrong thing. Yes, people should be able to talk about mental health of lack thereof, but they should ask if they are not ready to hear the brutal honesty that can go with the answer. To be honest I have a blank as to what I may have said, but left him in no doubt about how I was feeling, and that I was lucky, as I was rising up the wave once more.
He went on to say that he would have to talk to his boss, or my plus 2, and I replied, you have to what you have to do, not fully realising the bomb that I had just dropped. It was too late anyway and out of my hands. When that happens, you just suck it up and keep going.
The next day I got a call from my plus 2 telling me to come into the meeting room and asked if I knew why he wanted to see me. I was on one side of the desk, and my big boss, and that nice man from Human Resources was there. They asked me the same question, and I answered them as honestly as I had my boss. I think they were as shit scared as he was. I explained that even though I had be harried by suicidal thoughts, that I was going to get through it, as we weren’t working for France Telecom, and I didn’t want to give them some extra paper work. If there is a suicide in the work place then some very difficult questions are asked in the ensuing inquiry. There might have been some nice flowers from the Company on my coffin, but it is not ideal. I explained that I was crap at tying knots so hanging myself would not happen. Saved by my own incompetence!
Strangely ever since having told them how I was everything in their comportment, or attitude towards me has changed. Am I on suicide watch, or do they just think that I am mad and need shutting away? Now I am training somebody to do my job as if I have an accident or worse, there is nobody who replaces me. I have told my trainee what happened so at least she knows. The other colleague that I have on the phone every day, and orders all my stock, is up to date on the situation too. She is the person that often keeps me sane, allows me to tell my crap jokes, and actually laughs at them. She seems to think that I’m fine, just different. And, you know what, I’m fine with that.
I do however feel like a criminal that is about to face sentencing by a judge. I hope those nice gentlemen in white coats don’t try to take me away. It is like having the famous Damocles sword hanging over you. Thank heavens I still have my photography, and that I am still very capable of doing my job.
It’s at moments like this that I wish I could just go home. Not just the country, but the year too. I want to wake up in 1979 with all that I know now, and be a kid again, and tell my parents not to send me away to school, tell the guy that sexually abused me to bloody stop and go and get some help, tell the bullies to go and run under an oncoming bus, tell my teachers that they had no idea about what would be useful in my later life, right all the wrongs that I could have righted, and tell that kid, that despite everything, it would be OK, and give him a big hug. He needed it…
I don’t know where I am at this very moment in my life. I think back and wonder what if. How would my life have changed? I might have bought shares in Apple and in Google. I might have learnt to drive earlier. I might have drunk less alcohol when I was 16 and 17, and tried to find a different way to express myself and treat my many woes. Thank the lord that it’s a nice day out today, and earlier this morning we even got a full double rainbow. The little things keep you going. Thank you for listening Dear Reader and I promise to try be a little more cheerful.
Some people don’t know how to handle mental health worries and managers need to be made aware of the problem, and take away the stigma that is the result. Training, training, and even more training. It’s not a pleasant situation and even more so when you feel stigmatised. Shit happens, but I’m not dead yet!