Several months ago, I was sat at my laptop after a lousy day. I did something that I hadn’t done for a long time, I started to write.
I have recently got massively back into reading after rather a long break. I will talk about some of the most inspiring books I have read this year in my future blog posts. I had just finished Robert Webb’s ‘How Not to be a Boy’ when I knew I wanted to write a book too. I had the subject already, that was easy.
Mental health in the workplace is something I can talk about because I have lived it. But it always struck me, that we don’t talk about it enough. There is an invisible barrier that prevents me from being truthful with my employer about why I had the day off that time. It wasn’t a sick bug, it was a spell of anxiety or depression. This has happened on a few occasions, but I just knew that honesty wasn’t going to help me out.
I wanted to make sense of my anxiety and how it has had an impact on my working life. So I began to write. I wrote for a long time, pages and pages of my thoughts strung together until my head hurt and my mind was screaming for a break.
It carried on this way, until I’d written about 15,000 words of pure thoughts. I realised that I did this about 10 times quicker than my dissertation, and with a hell of a lot more motivation. I made a decision to not only do this for my own benefit, but for anyone who struggles with anxiety and depression in the workplace. I named the book ‘You’re Quiet Today’ because it’s something I used to hear a whole lot w#hen I wasn’t feeling 100%.
I carried on reading in my spare time. Books about autism, race relations in the UK, feminism and masculinity. Overwhelmed by how many people were facing barriers in all aspects of their life, I knew that it couldn’t just end with my book. I wanted to create an inclusive forum where everyone would have the chance to share, to vent and to speak up about their barrier. Mental health is a subject that I know well, but there are many people who struggle with all kinds of things that prevent them from reaching their full potential in the workplace. They deserve to be heard too.
I have just finished my first draft of my book detailing my own experiences. From what I’ve researched, the sensible thing to do now is to leave it for a week or two and then blitz the whole thing, editing, re-writing, cutting out etc. Apparently you’re supposed to do this before trying to find representation. So that’s where I’m at.
It’s been a long and difficult process. More than once I’ve wanted to throw in the towel but with encouragement from my wonderful husband, I have ploughed on. I think the reason it’s so difficult is because I’m writing about quite sensitive stuff. I’m not censoring my material because I believe honesty is so important if I want it to be relatable. So I’m writing about some painful memories and that can be tough. I stopped writing for a week after I forced myself to revisit one particular memory, because the feelings came back stronger than expected and I questioned whether what I was doing was going to have a negative impact on my mental health.
But here’s the good news, it’s actually done the opposite. I have a new found drive and motivation that I didn’t have before. I have forgiven myself and other people for past events because I have a much greater understanding of why certain things happened. It’s been an incredibly therapeutic exercise which I would recommend to everyone. That’s what makes this book worth it, even if it stays confined to my laptop forever.
I’m 63,000 words in and taking a mental break from it for now. I’m excited to get going again and share updates with you!