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When you are personally dealing with trauma and mental health, your workplace can be a toxic place. Now consider that the entire world is undergoing a tough experience and this can be very difficult and stressful for everyone. My husband is sharing his personal experience with work relationships and trauma along with 3 tips to help co-workers struggling with trauma.
Disclosure: I am partnering with BetterHelp. All opinions are my own.
Trauma is the name of the game. As a child I grew up in all of it. My parents were divorced when I was born. My dad was physically abusing my sister and I. He then killed himself and I found him dead when I was just 8 years old. 20 years later my mother became very sick and eventually passed away from her illness. After that, there was a cascade of family members and friends passing away and with all of that loss and personal trauma, my mental health struggles began.
Trauma can come in any form. It can happen in an instant or it can build up slowly over time. It can compound from many instances and no matter what, it is always life changing. Change in general is not something that we are always ready for, but throw in traumatic events and it makes it very hard to deal with.
Trauma and the Workplace
Currently our world is dealing with a hugely traumatic and life changing experience. Many people have lost their jobs, some are furloughed, others are essential and are working in a social atmosphere that is scary. Often we are told to go to work and leave our problems at the door, but in the current atmosphere that can be very difficult. For someone that is going through personal trauma, that mentality is destructive.
The truth of that old sentiment that “you really never know what someone else is going through” is true. This current climate of self-care vs work is very toxic and one that we really need to be better at. Nobody knows what pain and emotions an individual is going through. As someone who has had sick family members for most of my life and a workplace that was very unsupportive and toxic, I can tell you that leaving my trauma at the door was impossible.
3 Tips to Help Co-Workers Struggling with Trauma
I used to work in a high stress environment. The pain that I went through at work and in regards to going to work, was unreal. I missed a lot of work because of the trauma I was working through. I think it is important for others to know how to help co-workers struggling with trauma so I wanted to share my tips.
- Befriend Them: I felt so alone while I was going through my depression. I would miss work and then come back and instead of people asking me what was going on, they would talk about me behind my back and make me feel even more worthless. If you notice a trend or a change in a person’s behavior, speak to them, befriend them and be their sounding board.
- Check In On Them: If they are not at work, text, call, email. Check in on your co-workers. Let them know that you care, that you are there for them. Remember to just treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
- Therapy Referral: There are amazing therapists available and my number one piece of advice is to have you or your co-worker speak to someone. We love BetterHelp and their have great therapists available via telephone.