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Sh*t happens. We can always learn from it

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I’ve lived with depression and anxiety for nearly half my life. 

It started as a teenager. I wanted to look like everyone else and be thin and pretty. It consumed every part of my life. I ended up with an eating disorder, which is something that still haunts me today as I find myself thinking “well it worked then, I could do it now”. 

Today, at my hardest times, I feel very paranoid. I wonder why you didn’t invite me out for drinks, why you didn’t tag me in that Facebook post or I sit there thinking if that negative meme you just shared is about me!

There have been times when I’ve been off work for months, barely leaving the house. I’ve had other times when I felt like I was smashing life left, right and centre. There have been some amazing people around me who’ve wiped my tears and cheered me on – they’ve never given up on me.

But, to really help myself, I needed to do more. I attended cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, also known as CBT. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. 

As a scrum master, it reminded me a lot of our Agile way of working here in Digital:

  • Communication is critical (daily full-team stand-up meetings) 
  • Big things need to be broken down into manageable chunks (Refinement)
  • You have to look back at what’s happened and how things went (Sprint Review) 
  • After looking back, you have to learn and make changes for the future (Retro)

This is precisely what I do today with my mental health. Bad days happen, I’ve come to accept that. But, it’s what I do after that matters. I can’t ignore it. I have to look back and learn from it. Every bad day you learn from is one bad day hopefully prevented in the future.

The best thing I’ve done in my DLG life is become a mental health first aider.

Whether it’s your mental health or an unexpected emergency at work, sh*t happens. All you can do is try to accept it, talk about it, learn from it and try to make the next day better. 

This attitude has helped me a great deal. My mental health now is completely different to how it used to be. I’m a happy person. CBT is one part of this, but another is being able to help the people around me during their hard times.

The best thing I’ve done in my DLG life is become a mental health first aider. DLG made it easy for me to return to work after a difficult time. They allowed me to phase back. They made sure I was ready.

Being able to help other people when they’re going through a hard time is immensely rewarding and goes some way to repay the generosity and understanding that DLG showed me.

We all have good days. We all have bad days. What makes Digital a special place to work is that the people really care about how you’re doing, making those bad days easier to manage.