Debbie Butler ~ Work, mental health, and general health

Ever had a re-occurring health problem making time off work an ever increasing problem? Add on top of that a mental health difficulty, and what do you get? In my case very anxious and an enormous feeling of guilt: ‘If I don’t go to work they will think I am pulling a fast one’.

My physical health has been poor these last four years with numerous leg operations. For those of you who have known me for a while you will have grown close to my moon boot, crutches, and plaster. I have seen research showing that those individuals with mental health problems and are employed have a better attendance than those without mental illness. Within my circle of friends I have seen that a lot and am very proud of those that keep themselves in work under self-pressure to keep going. Work is difficult for us all at times, we all have things happening outside of work which can impact on our attendance, but if you add mental health problems to the equation then stress can be exacerbated.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who may have done research in this area or is contemplating doing so. I do know there is still a lot of stigma around employing people like me. I have the Personality Disorder label and do find some days hard but that shouldn’t stop me going to work. We all have bad days. I don’t give up easily and would advocate work as a real and useful distraction. I remember my first coping strategy when I realised I needed to evade violent and intrusive thoughts was to put the kettle on.  I do it as second nature now, as well as coming to work. I have a great bunch of friends and colleagues in the Institute of Mental Health and look forward to coming to work each day. Instead of sitting on the sofa as I did for ten years doing nothing. Over the last few months I have felt like going back to that sofa but you know I would miss the life I have now with all my friends and colleagues and to be honest I can now go on holidays; for example, I love to go cruising.

Don’t forget, if you need a forum to take research ideas to, let me know at the MHRN and we will get some service users and carers together to help you.

I look forward to seeing you when I get back from my operation.

Posted by:
Debbie Butler
Patient and Public Involvement Officer
NIHR Mental Health Research Network
East Midlands Hub

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Debbie Butler ~ Work, mental health, and general health

  1. Elly Jansen

    Your Institute of mental health is first rate in putting across the “inners” of mental health problems and responses. You gladden my heart! Elly Jansen, OBE, Consultant to RPFI

    On 23 November 2012 08:09, IMH Blog (Nottingham) wrote:

    > ** > The Institute of Mental Health (University of Nottingham and > Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust) posted: “Ever had a re-occurring > health problem making time off work an ever increasing problem? Add on top > of that a mental health difficulty, and what do you get? In my case very > anxious and an enormous feeling of guilt: If I dont go to work they will > thin”

  2. This is such a difficulty for me, right now i work from home but with mental health problems i struggle leaving the house alone let alone go to work, it’s so hard xx

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