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Musings on My Road to Recovery*…

Photo by Sandy NaimanI’m back after a whirlwind tour of eastern and southwestern Ontario ~ Ottawa and Windsor ~ and two presentations that I think went very well.

At least, I hope so. I never know. For sure.

What matters most to me is that my presentations provoke thought…

That corporate, government and business leaders, human resources managers ~ the groups I addressed last week ~ learn to accept, understand and realize the profound impact of mental health issues especially in our pressure-cooker workplaces during this listless economy of ours right now.

Why are we expected to check our emotions and problems at the door and become “professionals” at work?

It’s so unrealistic. So unfair. So unrelentingly stress-inducing…

Mental health problems, issues, challenges, illnesses affect all of us ~ directly and indirectly ~ at some time in our lives. You can’t turn yourself and your feelings off and on ~ at whim.

Discrimination and prejudice is toxic ~ anywhere ~ but especially in the workplace…

Where we spend the majority of our time. Too many people’s lives are destroyed by the ignorance and fear at the root of this negative stereotyping, the unnecessary barriers, the discrimination and prejudice.

Now is the time for change, but change isn’t easy…

I’m always amazed when I hear stories about abuse in the workplace over mental illnesses and mental health challenges because invariably, those abusive behaviours ~ that intolerance ~ is often from people who, themselves, have deep seated mental health problems they cannot accept, live with or find help for. They’re often too frightened to even look for help.

No one is immune and denial can be deadly. Disclosure remains the most problematic issue in the workplace.

Yet how can you be accommodated if you don’t disclose?

Then, a mental health issue becomes compounded, misunderstood, misinterpreted ~ and you feel like your walking around with a huge albatross on your back.

One of my messages is “No Secrets. No Lies”…

Live your life wide open. It not only alleviates stress, it helps to educate other with whom you work, including your superiors.

My mother always told me, from the time I began seeing a psychiatrist in 1960 at the age of 12 ~ that “when you break a leg, you go to a doctor to have it set so it can heal.” And she would continue, “when there’s something wrong with your mind, you go and talk to a psychiatrist, so you can heal.”

A brilliant analogy at the time, when you never saw stories about psychiatrists in newspapers and psychiatry was considered a dark, black, mysterious unscientific medical specialty not really linked to the practice of medicine.

Myth and misunderstanding have shrouded psychiatry and its practitioners far too long…

Today, that is still the case to a lesser degree, since the neurosciences and pharmacology have intervened. Still the “chemical imbalance” theory about the causes of mental illnesses is unproven. It’s a theory and the drug companies love it and have picked it up and run with it.

Too many people think you can take a pill for a mental health issue and be controlled, if not cured. It’s not that simple.

What about your lifetime of experiences, your parenting, your traumas, your perceptions, your psychic pain. Can drugs help change those for you?

Drugs hit the monkey, not the organ grinder. They deal with symptoms, but not the causes of those symptoms…

And drugs can have serious side effects. Though not always. They can be lifesavers, too. Yet, despite the use and sometimes the abuse of neuroleptic drugs, there is recovery from mental health problems.

You should read all sides like Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic ~ Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness and his earlier book based on a Pulitzer-Prize nominated series of articles in the Boston Globe ~ Mad in America.

Then read Daniel Carlat, M.D.’s Unhinged ~ The Trouble with Psychiatry ~ A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis and the NYTimes magazine cover story excerpted from this book. These are just a couple of sources for you. There is so much to know, but not knowing, not wanting to know, doesn’t erase the problem.

This isn’t easy stuff to simply brush under the carpet. Far too many people do just that. They don’t want to talk about it. It’s easier to suppress and escape those painful emotions through abusing yourself through food or alcohol or illegal drugs or other unhealthy behaviours.

Why not consider facing your demons? You’ll feel so much better. Everyone in your life will, including those with whom and for whom you work. It takes courage, but you can do it. Far more workplaces today are recognizing mental health problems and willing to work with you to help you…

To be continued…


Musings on My Road to Recovery*…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2019). Musings on My Road to Recovery*…. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 25 Mar 2019
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