Yes all – I’m back, after a solid 50 days of no blogging, I have a new post – (I know you’ve all been waiting in anticipation). And apologies, it’s quite a depressive one, but very important.
As PR people, we represent, fight our clients battles, deal with crisis, write riveting stories, talk the talk, walk the walk, etc etc. We always make sure our clients are the ‘Brangelina’ of whatever industry they operate within. And we do it well. But what about when it’s our turn to have a crisis?
We, unfortunately, do not have our own PR team to help us fight off the awkward questions and help us look strong when sometimes we are not. So do we admit defeat, or stay strong? My advice: admit defeat. But do not think this makes you weak, in fact you are stronger for admitting, and dealing with, your problem.
I recently read a blog post about a man who suffered from depression and was currently on his third week of leave from work. He spoke of how he had ignored it at first, assuming that if he asked for holiday because he was depressed, that people would think he was making excuses, or was just ‘sad.’ But in the end, he had to admit that he needed the rest, that he simply was not doing his job correctly, and if he didn’t leave, he might be asked too.
Almost 7.6 million working days were lost because of stress, depression or anxiety in 2010/11 alone.
In PR, we find it hard to admit defeat, which is probably why we are so good at what we do. But for those who don’t know, or haven’t suffered from, depression is not just being sad, its a serious thing – which affects your entire life; especially your working one. Memory loss, lack of concentration, sleep deprivation and feeling like you are worthless are all common symptoms of suffering from depression.
Not only this but added pressure and stress from work can only increase the problem, and exacerbate your symptoms.
You might be wondering why I am writing about this, but depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, size or even past experience.
See your doctor! Most importantly – see your doctor. You may think ‘go to the doctor for depression? pfft.’ But no, it IS an illness, as much as flu or meningitis. Things you would absolutely go to the doctors for. So go. If your not sure that you suffer from depression or anxiety – you probably think that your going mad. I certainly did, thought I would be locked up in a straight jacket before long. But these thoughts will only make you worse. So get that clarification, and start the journey to recovery.
Talk to someone at work. Whether its senior management, or just a colleague. Telling someone who works with you immediately helps the problem, and they may be easier on you with workload and giving you more time. Even if your on student placement, don’t be afraid. The most important thing is your well being, and that your performance at work does not drop drastically (in fact, this is even more important on student placement)
If you start to feel frustrated, angry or upset at work – ask for a break. If you have already told someone your problems, ask that person if you can go outside for a five minute break and gather your thoughts.
Write down your thoughts / keep a diary. Are you having a good day or a bad day? How do you feel today? What has stressed you out today, made you upset or happy? I know it sounds silly but writing down how you feel as if your talking to someone really helps, and it means you don’t actually have to say it all out loud. By referring back, you can try and (or ask too) avoid certain situations which have made you worse.
Take a break. If you start to feel overwhelmed, can’t do any work or want to run to the toilet every five minutes to cry: take time off. Talk to the manager you refer too and explain. Ask them to look it up if they need too. This is serious – and you need to rest. Go home, sleep, relax, pamper, spend time with the people who make you happy, do things which make YOU happy. Just breathe.
I would really like to hear any thoughts people have on this, whether you have suffered through the same things, or have any further advice please leave a comment. 🙂