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More Musings on My Road to Recovery*…

Photo by Sandy NaimanWe all have to start talking openly and strategically about these issues ~ in the workplace.

When it comes to mental health and well-being, it’s high time attitudes changed ~ from the top down and from the bottom up. And in middle-management, too. Especially.

It’s time to take action…

Education is the key.

If you’re an employer, middle manager, boss, consider listening actively and empathetically to anyone who needs to talk to you. Give them time. Open your mind.

Learn to listen with your eyes, ears and heart…

Work at developing a healthy workplace. Statistically, healthy and happy workers are more productive and they save they’re companies billions of dollars a year in lost productivity and absenteeism.

A priceless gift for your workers…

This Christmas consider giving to your workers these 12 Gifts for Christmas for Workplace Support and Affirmation in Stressful Times from Bill Wilkerson and his Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.

These gifts won’t cost you a penny.

Having a mentally healthy workplace is good business ~ and profitable…

Have a look at Bill’s Corporate Leadership in Mental Health Charter ~ well worth it, believe me. I’ve known and worked with Bill personally and professionally. He’s a leader in the realm of revitalizing workplace culture around mental health and mental illnesses. And he lives with depression.

I’ve always been open and upfront at work…

In any of my workplaces ~ a major newspaper from the mid-1970s to 2007,  a radio station from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, another from the late 1980s for two years, and now a large suburban community college ~ I’ve always been upfront and open about my life and my mood disorder. And especially about my road to recovery.

This was always to my best advantage.

I’m emotional, sometimes demanding and can become psychotic ~ manic ~ never depressed. Even at work. Until 1988, my psychotic episodes were so severe and always annual, they necessitated hospital stays of between three weeks to three months.

On several occasions my editor had to take me to the hospital  ~ but I always gave my immediate bosses the name of my psychiatrist ~ just in case. This paid off I always seemed to become psychotic in February when my parents where in Florida. It was wonderful to have the support of my employers, who knew what to do and whom to call.

I always had a chat with the heads of human resources wherever I worked, first…

Then my immediate superiors. In 1981 when it was published in paperback, I bought and distributed to my editors and several senior people at The Toronto Sun, a half a dozen copies Dr. Ronald Fieve’s landmark book Moodswing: The Third Revolution in Psychiatry when it was first published in paperback, all about Lithium, the drug I began taking in 1975 for my so-called manic depression. (Before that, my diagnosis was schizophrenia and there was no treatment for the disorder then, just powerful, mind-numbing typical anti-psychotic drugs like Chlorpromazine ~ “the chemical lobotomy” ~ and Haldol. You took those and felt like you’d been hit over the head a few times with a baseball bat.)

So, I was hot to trot to help my employers would understand what it meant to have a diagnosis of manic depression, so they’d understand how to handle my emotions ~ and it worked.

Let’s face it. There is no “normal” ~ we’re all “next to normal”…

Yet the pressures imposed upon all of us in the work world today in our current economy, where we are supposed to check our emotions at the door and play by corporate rules inflicts unnecessary and unforgiving stresses that could be alleviated with honesty, empathy, compassion and openness ~ more humane accommodation.

There is no mind-body split. No Cartesian DualismRene Descartes was wrong and sexist, to boot ~ but that’s another discussion.

We are whole beings. When our bodies hurt, our minds are affected. When our minds hurt, so do our bodies. We don’t feel well or function well.

So now’s the time to look at each other in our totality. As human beings with minds and bodies that are inextricably connected. One. We work best when we’re at our best, mentally and physically.

To heal means to be whole …

We can all heal, recover, be healthier. To talk about our issues, whatever they are, with our families and our employers. And as employers, it’s your responsibility to be open to these discussions.

One person at one of presentations shared a personal story. A few years ago, she lost her job because an employer refused to accommodate her or even see her as an asset to his company because she was having problems with depression.

Ultimately, it turned out that he had emotional problems himself.  One reason, perhaps, why he was so insensitive and intolerant.

This is such a common story. And so unnecessary.

Building stronger teams of healthier people leads to success…

Accept it. We’re human. We have problems. We’re all complex and we’re all different. We all need to heal in some realm of our lives. To feel whole. To function at our best.

When you can accept that, you have the ability, the potential, to help the people with whom you work to grow, become more productive, successful and fully-actualized people.

And to help yourself, too. Workplaces are all about relationships. Business is all about relationships. Between people who have enormous potential and can be stronger team members creating stronger teams. And what does that mean? Success. And satisfaction.

What have you got to lose and what a gift that is.

*    *    *    *    *

*The picture with these last two posts was taken by me. I was driving along a street in my neighbourhood and I spotted this sign. It’s at the east border of a very large and well-respected rehabilitation centre called St. John’s Rehab Hospital ~ the SJRH above the street name.

I stopped my car and snapped the photo with my iPhone because I simply loved it. St. John’s rehabilitation for organ transplantation, burn rehabilitation and many other physical medical health conditions. It’s an amazing and exquisitely beautiful setting for this state of the art facility. There are even Community Wellness Clinics and an Active Living Program. I thought you’d enjoy this picture as much I do.

More Musings on My Road to Recovery*…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2016). More Musings on My Road to Recovery*…. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Aug 2016
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