I joined a company's legal team in July and resumed working full-time. Since my break-down in 2017, I was constantly reminded by my therapist and family that work does not define you, and it is only a part of your life. Even a few of my friends used to tell me that.
My return to full-time work was gradual. I started my independent practice, then worked as a consultant with a company, and finally resumed a full-time role. During this journey, I remembered that I should not ignore my mental health like earlier and took time to work out, dance, do my prayers, meditate – essentially the things that helped me maintain the balance. I got back to complete functionality end of last year and continued paying attention to my mental health. Also, continued my medicines, therapy, and blogging.
Once I resumed work full time, I started getting busier and slowly slipping on my mental health needs. My work hours are not as crazy as they used to be during my law firm days, and after 7-7.30 p.m., I have the day to myself, and mornings also a few hours before starting work. Somewhere down the lane, I slipped and stopped paying attention to my mental health again. I got carried away and became over-confident, and only focused on my professional needs.
In my case, another important element is my inability to switch off from my work and focus on other aspects of my life. The line between personal and professional life is very blurred in my case, especially since my husband (Srini) is also a lawyer. We often end up discussing our job after work hours.
This neglect of my mental health needs and continuing my nature to over-emphasize work led to a blip in my mental health. Thanks to the awareness that I have got over the years, I was able to identify it early and take remedial steps. I have now reduced my functionality at work and taking it slow for a short period. I want to give a special shout-out to my employer and boss, who has been supportive, understands and acknowledges my mental health concerns, and accommodates my mental health needs.
In the next few days, while I recoup and get back to full functionality, I hope to remind myself that my mental health needs should be prioritized and not ignored. I should continue the practices that helped me maintain the balance.
I want you to know that it is human to slip and difficult to practice what you read and, in my case, what I advocate! So if you have been ignoring your mental health needs – there is still time to correct the course. Hope my experience is a reminder to all of you that one's mental health should not be taken for granted!