Do you want to know why we don’t tell a soul?
Do you want to know why it is kept under lock?
Do you want to know why we scuttle through shadows,
Licking our wounds and patching up gashes,
With dirty, torn rags and useless, worn plasters?
It’s because we’re ashamed and it’s all down to you,
Making us feel like we’re meant for the corner
With the rats and the vermin,
The creatures that nobody wishes to see.
Because you are worried that we may infect,
That our weakness will claw at your shell that is cracking.
And once the disease is inside the body,
There’s no fighting the symptoms with rainbows and smiles
And all of the things you suggest all day long.
Better to turn a blind eye to the darkness,
Or maybe just shout at it, bully it out?
Because you are respectable and can’t have our kind
Clouding your doorways and draining your bank.
You are rich and above all this death and disease,
But herbs and spices stuffed in your nose cone
Will do nothing to help when the fear comes a-knocking.
It knows not the difference between master and slave.
So you’d better be kind while you still have the chance.
To take part in this deathly and gruesome last dance.
There is a lot of shame involve in telling your boss that you have a mental illness and many people choose to not divulge that information. Unfortunately a lot of people have had bad experiences and it is really sad that this means that they are then scared to get the support they need in the future.
I’m guessing that the reason some bosses are so unsupportive is because they don’t understand mental illness. They think that because somebody has anxiety or depression, they may be taking time off constantly and costing the business as a result. But many people who suffer are really hard and conscientious workers and it’s just cruel to treat them in a way that’s so disrespectful.
When I see managers treating their staff poorly because they have a mental illness, it makes me think of the illness as being a bit like the black death. I imagine these people being frightened of getting infected themselves and shunning the sufferers. I imagine them tucked away in their ivory towers thinking that they’re safe because they have money and power and status.
But the truth is that we are all vulnerable and it only takes one traumatic experience or a bad run of luck for a few weeks and we can all find ourselves on that slippery slope downwards. So if you are in a management position, show some compassion. Don’t just try and bully out the weakest link, because sometimes that ‘weakest link’ can be the one that is brimming with the best ideas if you just give them a chance and a bit of support when times are hard.
And if you are struggling at the hands of someone who is bullying you at work because they know you are weak, stay strong. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you never deserve to be put in the corner if you are feeling sad or anxious. I’ll say a little prayer for you today and I hope that some of that positivity reaches you in some way, shape or form.