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Friday, February 23, 2024

How Mental Health Impacts Work Performance

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Code language in the workplace often perpetuates a false sense of professionalism, leading to stagnation in career growth and potential termination. People with invisible disabilities often have to prove their condition, even when they appear fine.

The code language we use at work often perpetuates a farce, allowing us to hide our humanness and hinder career growth. This can lead to stagnation in career growth, being fired, or being labeled as someone who brings too many personal problems at work. People with invisible disabilities, such as mental illness or chronic pain, have the added misery of having to prove or show their condition even when they appear “fine.”

In India, rising online awareness and Gen Z’s entry into the workplace has pushed larger organizations to take mental health, employee rights, and general workplace wellbeing seriously. In 2016, India introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (PwD Act), which ensures all people with disabilities including mental illness are given the same opportunities and dignities without discrimination. However, unless our culture transforms and is committed to questioning our own negative conditioning and the stigma around mental illness, the implementation of this Act will be bare bones at best and actively harmful at worst.

Current global data on people living with ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, Migraines, Anxiety, Autism, and Bi-polar Disorder does not account for the experiences of Indians who live with these conditions. We live in a culture that either shames, misunderstands, or is in complete denial of their existence in our lives. Many people don’t believe me when I tell them I have ADD, dyslexia, and depression while also leading a “normal” life as an author and head of branding and communications at a corporate office.

My professional life in my 20s was founded on the idea that you mask at work to present your professional self. Even if you don’t have the support and accommodations to be successful at your tasks, keep your mouth shut and suffer through it, professionally. This is why I write about my own struggles openly so that we can start talking about this open secret in meaningful ways.

To drop the mask, start by investigating your personal life versus your perceived professional one. What work accommodations would have allowed you to thrive? What sensitivities would have made you feel seen and witnessed at work? What abilities do you have that are not categorised as mainstream talents or gifts? If you earnestly ask yourself these questions and still think you are your most authentic self at the workplace, consider yourself privileged and one of the very few lucky people who feel resourced, acknowledged, and empowered.

Work cultures that do not demand a professional mask permit people to fully be themselves, allowing genuine connection, innovation, productivity, and potent imagination to thrive both at work and in our personal lives.

Conclusion

The code language used in the workplace often hides our humanity, hindering career growth and causing stagnation. People with invisible disabilities, such as mental illness or chronic pain, face the added misery of having to prove their condition even when they appear “fine.” In India, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (PwD Act) was introduced in 2016, ensuring equal opportunities and dignities without discrimination for all people with disabilities. However, unless our culture transforms and questions our negative conditioning and stigma around mental illness, the Act will be bare bones at best and harmful at worst. Current global data on people living with ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, Migraines, Anxiety, Autism, and Bi-polar Disorder does not account for the experiences of Indians living with these conditions. To drop the mask, investigate your personal life versus your perceived professional one, identify work accommodations that would have allowed you to thrive, and consider yourself privileged and empowered. Work cultures that do not demand a professional mask allow people to fully be themselves, allowing genuine connection, innovation, productivity, and potent imagination to thrive both at work and in our personal lives.

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