Glassdoor’s Chief People Officer: My Mental Health Journey In & Out of Work

Mental health is deeply personal in my everyday life. In addition to having family members who are surviving every day with their mental health issues, I suffer from and have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. And according to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness. This Saturday, October 10th marks World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share my story and why I’m proud to work for Glassdoor, which offers many mental health resources to our employees.

It’s important to me to share my story because there continues to be a stigma about speaking about mental health.  While we are making strides on having more open conversations, it’s often still considered taboo.  

My extended family has many mental health issues from schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and everything in between.  For most of my adult life, I recognized that I didn’t sleep well, I would always think the “worst-case scenario” was going to come to fruition, I dwelled on a mistake I made years ago and pick apart how I should have handled the situation differently, I worried about the future and was so concerned about not doing things perfectly.

After I had my first daughter, I noticed this was getting worse, but just chalked it up to being a new mom and that it was “normal” to feel this overwhelmed and tired all the time.  And then, my physician diagnosed me with postpartum depression.  I was prescribed medication and assigned to group therapy.  I refused to take the medication because I thought that was a sign of weakness, and I only attended one group therapy session.  I only attended one session because I didn’t feel like my issues were worth talking about compared to the other women in the group.  I was “just” worried about being a terrible mother while one woman was dealing with a newborn who had heart surgery, and another with an older child was inflicting physical harm on her newborn.

Fast forward to my mid to late 30s where I’m the sole income earner for my household, I have two children, working in a fast-paced environment, getting little to no sleep, constant travel around the globe; Though I knew I was fortunate in so many ways, I was extremely stressed out.  And I noticed I couldn’t stop my racing thoughts of worst-case scenarios; I was worried about messing things up at work, losing my job, being forced to sell our house, and therefore letting my family down. 

My husband and I went out to dinner, and I just started sobbing in the restaurant.  He says to me, “I think you need to see someone about this.”  So, I did and was immediately diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression.  I started doing individual therapy and was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression and sleeping pills.  It took a few rounds of trying out different medications until we found the one that worked for me.  But when it finally did, it made a world of difference!  And the sheer pleasure I had from FINALLY sleeping a solid 5 hours was amazing. Keep in mind, medication was one way that helped me after consulting with my doctor, but please know it may or may not be right for you; consulting your physician is always a good idea.  

During the course of my treatment, my psychologist recommended group therapy, which I declined.  I knew it wouldn’t work for me, given my postpartum group experience because I’d be comparing myself to others.  She understood, made a note of it, and we moved on.  I share this because it’s important to be self-aware and advocate for yourself.  If you know something isn’t a good solution for you, share it with your physician.  They want to work with you to determine the best solution for YOU.  

I’ve now been on medication for about 5 or 6 years, and I feel like “myself” again, and I have more energy now in my 40s than I did in my 30s.  I still have moments of racing thoughts, inability to sleep, not wanting to get out of bed, but it is much less frequent than previously.  And through my therapy sessions, I have a treasure trove of coping mechanisms to calm my anxiety and work through my depression.

As previously mentioned, I’m proud to work for Glassdoor.  We understand that mental health is important as we offer many resources to our employees related to mental health, including:

  • Medical plans that include mental health resources and support services
  • Personal direction to local:
    • Psychiatrists
    • Addiction medicine physicians
    • Psychologists
    • Licensed clinical social workers
    • Marriage and family therapists
    • Medical social workers
    • Psychiatric clinical nurse specialists
  • Employee Assistance Plan to get mental health support
  • Monthly global company day off to completely unplug from work.
  • Virtual wellness classes
  • Connection Circles
    • Provide a safe space to process experiences and emotions
    • Practice building empathy and connection with others
    • Practice vulnerability, listening, and mindfulness

Additionally, in November, we’ll be launching a cost-effective global mental health solution for our employees to assist with access to care and mitigate fragmented mental health services experiences.  This will include digital programs, virtual coaching, and clinical therapy. 

If mental health benefits are as important to you as they are to me, I also encourage you to research the ratings and reviews on Glassdoor about mental health benefits at any company you’re considering working at. Just enter in a company name, then go to their Benefits section, and under the Insurance, Health & Wellness category, you can see how employees feel about mental health benefits and other related wellness benefits for that specific employer. I hope it gives you more information to truly find a job and company you love. 

This is my journey, my story.  What works for me will not likely be what works for you.  If you feel you need help with mental illness, consult your physician.  If you can’t do it alone, ask a friend or family member to help you.  If you need immediate attention, call 911 or your local emergency services.  And if you’re in the United States and need to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.        

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