Navigating Mental Health
in the Workplace
Ep. 103 ft. Melissa Doman
“Managing mental health is a healthy adult practice.”
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In this episode you will learn about:
- Learning the new language of mental health at work
- Well Being shaming
- How to communicate what you need
- The gender stereotype in the workplace
- Intention vs. impact
• Talking about how people need to be clear about intention
- Finding the what workplace wellness looks like
- Who the best person to encourage you in workplace health?
Lesley Logan 00:00
Hey, Be It listener. Well, we had to have to put this woman on this particular month and we worked move mountains to get MST and EST and PST timezones to collide in order for us to get you this guest. And so first of all, thank you for listening to Be It pod, without your listens, without your reviews, without your comments and shares. We can’t bring amazing guests like this. So because of you we are and I’m so grateful. I heard Melissa Doman on another podcast and I was like, “Holy frickin moly.” Yes, I have to have you hear her words? Because one of the biggest things I see from people being it till they see it is not listening to your mental health and well being needs like not actually listening to them. And if you don’t listen to them, then you can’t be your full self. And if you can’t be your full self, how are you going to be it till you see it? So, Melissa Doman is incredible. She has a book we have in the show notes. And she’s going to give an honest conversation like truly honest conversation around mental health well being. What is well being changed? Why we have to stop doing it in the workplace? But also these are all tools you can use in your life. So May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I would love for us all to be more on board with her and out about our mental health throughout the year, but wanted to get her in here on this month while we’re all thinking about it. So let us know what your favorite takeaways are as you listen to Melissa Doman.
Lesley Logan 01:21
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.
Lesley Logan 02:06
All right, Be It listeners. I’m freakin stoked for today’s guest. I have Mel Doman, Melissa Doman here today. And one, I heard this woman’s amazing words about mental health well being in the workplace, and I was like, “We have to talk about this.” She is an expert. And because it’s May, when you listen to this is mental health awareness month. So of course we have to talk about that. But also, I just I know how, how much our mental health affects us being it till we see it. So I wanted to bring an expert in here to talk about that. Mel, let you tell everyone who you are, and what you rock at?
Melissa Doman 02:39
Oh, I’ve so been looking forward to this conversation. So, I am Melissa Doman. I am an Organizational Psychologist, former Clinical Mental Health Therapist and Author of Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work: Here’s Why and How to Do it Really Well. So what I do at my core is I help organizations, leaders and individuals learn how to constructively talk about mental health at work. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. It’s not a dark, deep depths. It’s somewhere in between, because that is the human condition. And this is not just a wellbeing thing. It’s not just a DEIB thing or accessibility thing. This is a crucial, conversational, literacy development thing, period. Every person needs some modicum of ability to have these discussions in the world of work going forward, not negotiable. And so I tend to be the spoonful of honesty helps the education go down. (Lesley and Melissa laughs)
Lesley Logan 03:39
I love that. I mean, first of all, I love your drive towards this and your passion towards it, because … (Melissa: Oh, thank you.) Yeah, I mean, I mean, obviously, for good reason. But also, I do think people do the dance, or they have someone come in or they hire someone in HR, and they’re like, “Okay, you know, here’s this” but we’ve we’ve come a long way with the with the mental health in the workplace and met people even talking about mental health with their friends and family. And we also have so much more to go. (Lesley laughs)
Melissa Doman 04:09
The thing is, we’re trending in the right direction, you know, a bunch, a bunch, a bunch of people who came before me, laid in the groundwork for this to even be possible. So, you know, I tend to joke that I went from the back end job of being the clinical therapist, to the front end job of being the organizational psychologist who’s trying to help people share their toys better in the workplace … (Lesley laughs) Make no mistake, the workplace is just, you know, a playground, but we’re all older and have different toys and there isn’t a jungle gym. It just happens to be who gets to CEO. (Lesley: Yeah) So it’s so, a lot of folks are trying to do what they can, when they can with what they have. But it has to be done differently. And so (Lesley: Yeah) I do all of my talks with companies or trainings or any of that, very much steeped in reality, because if you’re not setting people up for the challenges of these sorts of conversations or what to do if it goes wrong, or changing the language you use, the mindset you use, you’re just setting them up for failure. Right? So it has to be lead with purpose and intention, as opposed to we need to talk about it, we need to talk about it. And most people are like, “Where do I put my hands? I don’t know what to do.”
Lesley Logan 05:30
Right. They’re like, “I don’t know where it is. Where do I start? What’s the starting point?” (Melissa: Right) And then also (Melissa: Exactly) like, I’m sure you, I’m sure a lot of people are afraid to get it wrong. Because (Melissa: Yes) and like, we’re gonna get it wrong. I was just listening, re listening to Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead and she says, “You’re gonna screw up (Melissa: Yeah) 3,571 times trying to be empathetic.” (Melissa: Yes) (Lesley laughs)
Melissa Doman 05:48
I have shit the bed more times than I can count. But I had to do that, to get to where I am now. (Lesley: Yeah) And so it’s a slow burn. It’s not like the matrix where you can plug the skill set into the back of your head overnight, although I’m sure people in biotech are working on that. (Lesley: Right) But it’s going to take practice, and it’s going to take mistakes, and there are literal scripts. I’m not playing, literal scripts in my book, here’s what to say, here’s what not to say. Here’s why to say and not say those things. (Lesley: Yeah) And it’s learning a new language, really.
Lesley Logan 06:23
Yeah. So okay, I want to I want to definitely talk about workplace and I also want to talk about because we have a lot of people who even work for themselves. So they are their own everything, (Melissa: Yeah) they’re having all. And so what, what are some things that you see happening as far as like, even ? What do you see like far as like, shaming goes when people are like trying to give themselves well being like, I’m trying to like trying to get themselves balanced, and then they kind of like, you know, get in their own way of doing that. And what are some signs that they’re on the right track?
Melissa Doman 06:56
So there’s a concept that I wrote about in the book called Well Being Shaming. And the reason that I love talking about this is, it happens all the time, even now. And people just didn’t know what to call it. So for example, we’ll say in the before time, that if you didn’t want to stay till eight o’clock in the office, and you tried to leave at five to have some sort of semblance of integration, of not living at work, and someone might say something like, “Oh, must be nice to leave at five o’clock,” or “Oh, must be nice to go for a run on the lunch hour.” I wish I had your easy schedule. You know what that is? Number one, that’s people being just total buttheads. (Lesley: Yeah) And number two, it’s just them holding up the status quo, or they’re secretly jealous, and they they feel envious, that you’re doing something that they can’t or they’re too scared to do. Or they really genuinely believe that you shouldn’t be doing that. (Lesley: Yeah) And so that sort of well being shaming is unconscionably wrong, especially now. And that shit still happens, by the way, despite the fact that there’s a pandemic and mental health is in the front and center of most conversations. So the response that I always tell people, to tell folks like that, who are discouraging you from engaging in healthy, reasonable practices to manage your emotional well being is as simple as this. Doing things to manage my mental health is a healthy adult practice. Can you help me understand why you don’t agree? (Lesley: Ooh, I love that.) What are they gonna say? (Lesley: Right) What are they gonna say? (Lesley: Right) Right.
Lesley Logan 08:36
And also, like, first, they might be saying it because someone said it to them. And that’s the workplace they grew up paying… (Melissa: There paying forward.) Yeah, and so they’re just making sure we all gotta be, we all gotta stand this line. This is the line. This is a playground I played in. But also like, whether you’re in a workplace, or, you know, family (Lesley laughs) must be nice. That, you know, I definitely get that a lot from some family members. And I know it’s not a personal attack. I know it’s them, not me and I … (Melissa: It’s their stuff.) It’s their stuff. But it is like, yeah, okay. You don’t have the weight of 25 people’s payrolls on your brain, on your mind every day. This, this is what I this is what it takes for me to show up every day, so that I can be the best version of myself to pay them. (Melissa: Yeah) You know, and so I think like, that is a great, everyone it’s in the show notes, write that down, copy and paste it, you can put it in text messages, or respond to (Melissa; Yes) this because we also they’re never going to stop unless someone brings it to their attention that what they’re doing is… (Melissa: thousand of …) you know.
Melissa Doman 08:36
And and notice you’re not even being defensive. You’re you’re making a statement and asking a question. Doing things to manage my mental health is a healthy adult practice. Can you help me understand why you don’t agree? (Lesley: Yeah) That’s it. And so I always tell people, please tell me how far they, their mouths dropped to the floor because they just what can you say to that?
Lesley Logan 10:01
Yeah. And (Melissa: So) it might, it might be exactly if they are someone who’s never had this brought to their attention that they can even ask for for (Melissa: Exactly) things that support their mental health, it’s going to help them see that. And if they (Melissa: Exactly) are someone who has been told this many times, they need to hear it more, they need to hear 17 to 21 touch points is how much it takes these days. So (Melissa: Oh my gosh. Yeah) isn’t that crazy? Yeah. So okay, um, when people are, people listening to this are maybe thinking, “Okay, Melissa, I love this. I want to actually leave work at this time. But I don’t want to feel bad about it.” How do they have this conversation with a co worker? Or the or the gatekeeper (Melissa: Yeah) that that stands in their way? You know, how do they explain this to them?
Melissa Doman 10:44
So the challenging thing is that each workplace and even each team has their own set of kind of written and unwritten rules, so to speak. So this really depends not even on the company or the division, but the team. So you have to take this information and adapt it realistically, based on the situation you’re in, there’s no one size fits all. And so even now, with the fact that lots of folks are doing hybrid working, or they’re doing you know, full time remote, some organizations are forcing people to go back in the office full time, which is a whole nother kettle of fish. And the thing is that it’s about understanding that people have different levels of needs, people have different ways of working, different ways that energize how they work. And so it’s not enough to say to someone, you know, I have to stop at five every day. There has to be, these are the reasons that I want to work this way. And this is how it’s going to help me to feel good and to do good work. And so if you’re going to share these sorts of things, people are not mind readers, no offense to people who believe in psychics, but I don’t want to shit on anyone’s beliefs. So people don’t know what you need, unless you tell them. (Lesley: Yeah) Seriously, people don’t know the type of help you need unless you tell them, people don’t know what you want them to do with the information you share. Unless you tell them, they will fill in the blanks if you don’t. (Lesley: Yeah) So if you need to say to a colleague, you know, I’m really trying not to be tethered to my email 24/7. You know, I’m gonna start putting my working hours in my email signature. And I’m going to try to honor that. And I’m going to ask that other people do as well, people do that now, where they write their working hours in their signature, and say, “I respond, you know, in these hours, if that doesn’t work for you don’t feel pressure to reply,” and really just putting that boundary out there. And there reasonable ones, by the way, (Lesley: Yeah) And so if it’s to a manager, who is like a horse blinders on, and they they wear their stress, like a badge of honor, you guys might have different expectations and needs. So it’s not about pulling each other to the other side. Because when has that ever worked well, with (Lesley: Right) my human condition? The answer is never. And so just being clear about what the needs are, what the boundaries are, and being very clear about the why. And (Lesley: Yeah) also that it’s not going to negatively impact because you do have a responsibility and a job. So just make it so clear that there was no room for confusion. And ask yourself, if your your, your requests are reasonable, you know, if your whole team works, you know, let’s say I’m just gonna give a number nine hours a day. And you say you want to work six hours a day, that that may not be seen as reasonable, unless there are ways that you can make that up, or there has to be some sort of logic behind it, not just because you want it. (Lesley: Yeah. Right. Because it may be …) So be practical pragmatic.
Lesley Logan 13:52
It may be that, that you may also just need to switch jobs then if like, if you really only can work six hours, and the the agreed (Melissa: Right) upon work schedule was nine hours, (Melissa: Right) and that’s not you. And that’s okay, too. It’s also like, it’s also goes both ways. You don’t want to be shamed for your well being. But we also have to understand (Melissa: Right, they have them too.) that like, there’s other expectations.
Melissa Doman 14:13
Right. (Lesley: Yeah) And I want to make it so clear. And I have lost track the number of times I’ve said this, you leaving a job, or even leaving an industry because it doesn’t feel right for you anymore is not quitting. You’re not giving up or any other ridiculous synonym that you might be thinking about. That’s you making an emotionally intelligent decision and disengaging from something that doesn’t work for you anymore. (Lesley: Yeah) It’s really that simple.
Lesley Logan 14:43
Yeah, that’s so keep that’s ann I you know, if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, “Lesley, I don’t really go into many workplaces or like I go into a studio and I leave.” I feel like you can use all of this like around your family with your kids. You can say, “Hey, I would really love to play with you. I’m going to have to wait until this time and here’s why.” (Lesley laughs) No, their children, so good luck. But like, you, what if you talk with them.
Melissa Doman 15:06
Yeah but you even communicating with parents and siblings is like that, too, regardless of age. Come on. I have to be so clear with my parents when I’m like, “I don’t need you to fix this for me. I just need you to listen.” (Lesley: Yeah) And they just ignored it anyway. Well, what about this? Da, da, da, da is like. (Lesley and Melissa laughs)
Lesley Logan 15:25
Oh my God. Okay, so let’s say let’s like, let’s tie into like people not listening or (Melissa laughs) you know the well being. What like, when it comes to, you know, our mental health well being? First of all, it does require us to have some idea of what it is that our needs are. (Melissa: Yeah) So what are what are… Do you have tools or tips that you would maybe have this in your book that you tell people, like do these things so that you can figure out what you need at your workplace? Or do these things you feel like you need in life? Yeah.
Melissa Doman 15:56
There is, in fact, an entire chapter dedicated to that. (Lesley: Really cool.) So it’s basically an entire chapter just explaining not only how to talk about your own mental health at work, but all the pre work that you need to do. So there’s a lot of self assessment that needs to go on first, before you even do that. Because oftentimes, people are driven to this point of desperation, where they need to talk about it, but because they get to that boiling point, they just word vomit all over other people. And then when people are like, well, I don’t know what you want me to do weather respond the wrong way. And that’s not through any fault of their own. A lot of people are conditioned to do that, that we hold it in until we go pop. (Lesley: Yeah) So the nice thing about and again, this is super practical, step by step very, you know, personalizable. Where you got to ask yourself, what are your concerns about talking about this at work? Is this your stuff? Is this an environment that you’ve witnessed in your organization? If you have concerns, where do those come from? And be very clear about that? If you feel unsafe talking to your manager, is that you think because you have bad past experiences with other managers? Or is your manager an asshole? You know, (Lesly: Yeah) there’s so many questions, you got to ask, you know, where did these feelings come from? And then what do I want to share? Who do I want to share it with? Why do I want to share it? What do I want them to do with that information? (Lesley: That’s a good question.) These are the questions. Because a lot of times like it feels like what I’m seeing is like 100% of the onus is on the listener, that’s some bullshit. People need to also take some responsibility and how they pipe up and ask for help. (Lesley: Yeah) And people don’t know what you need, unless you tell them. (Lesley: Yeah) And so it has to be both ways.
Lesley Logan 15:58
I really love that. It’s, it’s a both ways thing. Because I do know that like, I’ve been someone who like waits until it’s like a boiling point. But then it’s like, well, now what do I want them to do with it? And how do we …
Melissa Doman 17:42
And so activated that you you don’t even know the answer?
Lesley Logan 17:53
You don’t know and so I think like, if it does come to a point where like, we have to have some enough self awareness on a daily basis to understand like, where am I at today so that… How am I receiving this? And how, what do I want people to do with it before it becomes a point where you can’t even, you can’t even know where to go? Yeah, Yeah, yeah.
Melissa Doman 18:22
Right. Because when you when you get in that state, I’m sort of nerd out for a minute if that’s okay. (Lesley: Yeah) When you get in that state, and your body and brain are going into survival mode, your prefrontal cortex that makes us uniquely human, it’s our personality, conscience, logic, all those adult words, that basically shuts off. So the other parts of your brain that are more geared towards survival, like the amygdala, like the fight, flight, freeze, response, and all that stuff, is all jacked up and pumping you full of adrenaline and cortisol. So when you’re having those feelings, or even if you’re in like a depressive episode, or you’ve been traumatized, or whatever it is, your ability to place a logic filter on those things is heavily diminished. So it’s better to try and get a sense of what is that I actually need to ask for when you’re not in that state. Because when you get in that say, it’s really damn hard and that’s not your fault. Your brain is like, “We can’t handle that right now. Shut up. We’re trying to just keep you alive.” That’s literally what it is, like the two parts of the brain are like, “Fuck you. No, fuck you.”
Lesley Logan 18:23
We don’t have time for this. You waited too long. You didn’t …
Melissa Doman 19:39
Yeah. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Lesley Logan 19:43
Oh my God. I just pictured the brain. I feel like a cartoon character. You know, what I do also think is really important about this. I hope everyone’s hearing is like you may to end up going to work and telling your … (Lesley laughs)
Melissa Doman 19:57
I might have a plushy brain.
Lesley Logan 19:58
Or just a plushy brain. You, this is why to watch the YouTube channel, everyone … (Melissa laughs) to be plushy brain. But we if we don’t do this, so let’s say, you if you do this and you go and tell your boss and your boss is like, whatever I’m not here for the mental health, we did a meeting, and that’s all we’re doing here, we’re checking a box. (Melissa: Those people still exist, by the way.) And they do and but if you don’t do this, then whenever whether or not you leave that whe… or not you think that boss is actually gonna be receptive or not, you’re still taking you with you wherever you go. And you’re just (Melissa: Yeah) going to repeat the same, you can have a boss that actually talks about mental health. But if you aren’t practicing what that barometer feels like for you, you’re going to, you’re going to miss the opportunity to have a good boss who’s going to listen. Right?
Melissa Doman 20:43
And, and the thing is, and I want to be very clear, there are a whole variety of reasons why managers do or don’t talk about mental health, we cannot assume there are a keep in mind, you know, leaders are fallible creatures, like the rest of us, they’re humans first, say the job second, so give them just like a teeny bit of grace. (Lesley: Yeah) And so there are a whole host of reasons that they may or may not talk about it, it doesn’t mean make it right. But it could be a bit of the they don’t know how to start, or they screwed it up in the past, or they’re very old school. And that’s just not something you talk about at work. And so there are lots of reasons for that to occur. So the only thing you really can do is not only to you know, self organize those questions I was talking about, but if it’s really something they avoid, try to understand why, you know, not in like an accusatory way. But like I noticed, you really seem like you don’t want to talk about this. I don’t want to assume the reason. Can you can you tell me? And so I distinctly remember, and I will never forget, keep in mind, I used to work in corporate as well, I was also equally tortured by managers that I described as emotionally constipated. (Lesley laughs) (Lesley: I’ve been with that.) And I’ll never … Oh my gosh, putting it mildly. So I will never forget one manager in particular, where it was very clear that this person practice favorites in the team and was like, just not a psychologically safe leader. I didn’t make the favorite list. So I was treated as such. And it even got to the point where this manager was trying to kind of sabotage me sometimes in some of the stuff I was doing in the business. And when I don’t hide my emotions, so this person noticed on my face that I didn’t look pleased. And they said, “Are you okay?” I said, “No.” They said, “You want to talk about?” I said, “Yeah.” So after months of being terrified of this person, because make no mistake, they were absolutely a bully. And there were other people that this person bullied. And I sat down. And the first thing I said, was and this is true, you negatively impact my mental health at and outside of work to which they said, “Well, what’s your proof?”
Lesley Logan 22:04
That’s an interesting response. That’s a really weird response. What’s your proof?
Melissa Doman 23:04
Very, very, like sociopathic if you ask me, but I don’t want to like clinicalize this. And I just laid it out. And because that person who’s not willing to give me what I needed, the only other choice was to draw a boundary that I was not willing to accept that behavior anymore. (Lesley: Yeah) So you may not be able to give me what I need, but you are sure as fuck not going to abuse me this way anymore. (Lesley: Yeah) And so once I was had the, the strength to stand up to this person, the overt abuse stopped. But some, some managers cannot give you and won’t give you what you need, because they don’t even know how to do it for themselves. Or there could be (Lesley: Right) a whole host of other reasons. But you are chronologically aged adult and need to act as such.
Lesley Logan 23:58
Yeah, first, I think it’s like it took, it took so much courage, and like probably a boiling point to get you to, to do what you did. But I also think I probably would have been like shaking in my pants trying to do it. I know every time I set myself …
Melissa Doman 24:13
I was. I have nightmares about this person.
Lesley Logan 24:16
Yeah, but let’s talk about that because I, I feel like, I feel like that’s a being raised as a woman. And I don’t I don’t know that. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe maybe even people identify as males have a similar problem, like standing up to a boss. But like, I know, every time I had an abusive boss, where I felt like, “Oh, we got to be here, I actually need to work through my breaks. I need to do this.” Cause that’s what everyone’s doing. It, I don’t I remember thinking, I can’t say, “I don’t want to do this” or I you know, I just felt like as a as a, as a woman. I had the hard time of like standing up for myself. They might is that is it a gender thing or is it goes across the board?
Melissa Doman 24:54
So that’s a very valid question. And the answer is kind of all the above. So there’s so many factors that go into that. So obviously, there is the gender piece. And on top of that, there’s also culture of origin, family of origin. Religion, there are lots of things that influence our belief as to whether we can or should stand up for ourselves. But in you know, when we’re talking about gender, you know, historically, people who identify as female, were taught to be more relational, to not be boundary setting to be more flexible, to be more accommodating. What that’s really code for is just people being allowed to step all over you without being sorry. (Lesley: Yeah) And on top of that, what I also noticed lots of like, super boss, bitches, who I’ve like the biggest respect for, is when they do put those boundaries down, or they do say their opinions. They follow it with a sorry. (Lesley: Yeah) And I just did this a few days ago to achieve level person who was one of my clients. And she kept saying, “Da, da, da, sorry, da da da, sorry, da da da, sorry.” I said, “Excuse me, ma’am, you need to stop apologizing. What do you have to apologize for?” And she goes, “I know, it’s a problem. “And I was like, “I’m a recovering people pleaser. (Lesley: Yeah) I know how to recognize gotta stop saying sorry. Like, you have nothing to be sorry for.” And so but also, there’s lots of men who struggled with that too. And sometimes you can have, you know, introversion that can also be a factor or conflict styles. That can also be a factor depending on how your conflict relationship wasn’t primary caregivers, or past relationships. There are lots of things that can shape or side self permission, and how we talk about these things. But when we’re talking specifically about gender, women still, in many, many circles are taught that being clear and assertive and decisive and boundary setting makes you a bitch. (Lesley: Yeah) Or makes you difficult, or whatever other ridiculous synonym. And there are some women who mask their aggression as those other things as an excuse, and we can be honest that those people exist. But generally speaking, that’s not the case. (Lesley: Yeah) So it’s really again, when it comes to that boundary setting and stuff like that, again, tying it back to mental health, especially as a female leader in the business because they still get shit. It’s if they’re like, “Well, I can you stop being so emotional, or whatever ridiculous thing that someone would say like you’re a leader now you need to keep it together.” Oh, my God, I can’t. I have two words, Jacinda Ardern. That’s it, I have nothing else to say like, she’s the best. (Lesley: Yeah) And then and then it becomes talking about and managing my mental health is a healthy adult practice and something good that a leader can and should do, regardless of gender.
Lesley Logan 28:09
Well, I feel like that’s a really amazing thing we can all think about with mental health. It’s like a lot of people, there’s a lot of things to think about mental health awareness month and all and everything. I think it’s amazing that people are, like, I love that my father talks about he’s 70 years old, like he’s reading what happened to you. And he, you know, I know, it’s really great. He’s, I’m really, he’s like, “Oh, maybe that’s what’s wrong with me, and my mother never helded me.” And I’m like, “I’m just learning about this now. You were never held? Well, that makes a lot of sense.” You know, but like, on the other side of this is a whether you’re a leader or an employee in a business, when I’m the throw line here, and it’s like a, you have to actually look into your own mental health first, you actually have to talk about your own well being and there can be no well being shaming of yourself so that when you (Melissa: Right) go into a workplace, now you can have an absolute bigger conversation, you can either be the the teacher that needs to be in the team, or if you are the leader, you can actually start to talk to your team about, hey, at and this team, we work, we work on, we work with mental health, I want to make sure we’re we’re adult well being. I want to make sure that your work schedule is working for you, as best as the company can allow it to work for it. Like we have, there has got to be a compromise. But I feel like it has to come from the person first so it can go to the team.
Melissa Doman 29:25
It does and on top of that, you know, I and there’s an exercise for this in the book as well. I encourage every single team to have their own, “why we give a shit about mental health” sort of statement. In the team, not the company because every team is different in a company. Your own little micro ecosystems. Why do you all actually care about this? What is being flexible and giving each other some damn grace look like in this team? What does it look like when you create a culture of understanding not shaming around mental health? What does it look like when you are bandwagoning? And using things as an excuse that invalidate the story of others? And why we’re not going to do that, you know, there has to be a come to Jesus very honest conversation about what those values are going to look like in practice, because oftentimes, people say, “Well, this is important.” And then people go, “I don’t know what that looks like.” (Lesley: Right) So you got to sit down and actually work it out together. (Lesley: Yeah) It doesn’t have to hurt.
Lesley Logan 30:30
No, it doesn’t have to hurt in it. And it keeps coming back to like, do you said the questions already, but also like, why? (Melissa: Why?) … why? Like, whether you’re having a conversation with a co worker, or a family member or yourself, here’s what I believe, here’s what I need. And this is why I need it. And this, like, here’s what we believe, as a team, this is what it looks like. And this is why we believe it.
Melissa Doman 30:52
And going even further than that, you know, sometimes your colleague or your manager is not the best person to help you. You have to keep in mind, they’re not your therapist, they’re not your psychiatrist and not your doctor, they ain’t your mama. So sometimes there are certain things that your colleagues or your boss can and should help you with, and just be decent human beings. And sometimes they’re not the best people to help you and you can’t hold them responsible to be. (Lesley: Right) Sometimes it needs to be talking to a therapist, calling the AAP, speaking to HR, talking to your partner. And for example, when I was in clinical practice, if someone came to see me that what they were struggling with was really not in my wheelhouse. It was unethical and ineffective for me to keep treating them. So, I connect him somebody who can help them better than I can. (Lesley: Right) So it’s about understanding, sometimes, you know, the folks in the workplace should be the ones to connect and support, and sometimes not.
Lesley Logan 31:52
Well, and sometimes it’s like, you figure that out with your therapist, your partner, somebody and then you go …
Melissa Doman 31:57
Or even your boss. Like the boss, “I feel like I can’t be the one to help. Here are the people who can.”
Lesley Logan 32:02
Yeah, yeah. And then, and then you can and then therefore, you can actually work it out. And you can figure out what you need. And then you can say, “Hey, here’s what I need. And here’s how it helps the team or here’s how it helps the business or here’s how it’s going to help you.” What compromise can we make so that my (Melissa: Right) mental health can have some, it’s, you know, I do think like, we, I would love for every leader out there, including myself to be, you know, the most amazing at supporting mental health. But when you said it already, we’re not mind readers, we’re also human beings. There’s responsibilities on everybody. So if we go with it, that everyone’s doing the best they can, we all know that there are some people who could do better, but they’re doing the best they can, and they’re still not meeting your needs, you have to say something, because they can’t know. And they probably want to help you if they can.
Melissa Doman 32:48
And also, there’s not one way that that one person can meet all of those needs. I mean, it’s just some people can’t can’t and won’t give you what you need. And so you have to be prepared to take action of what how am I going to manage my own mental health? How am I going to manage the circumstance? How am I going to manage my expectations and my needs, who can meet these for me and who can’t. And because anything short of that is just a waste of time, seriously. And so being ready to take action, because no one is responsible for managing your mental health except for you, the organization and your leader are responsible to have a duty of care and create a psychologically and physiologically safe environment for you to work. But then you need to carry the baton in terms of managing your own mental health, and you can’t hold anybody else responsible. If they’re terrorizing you, or bullying you or not giving you any sort of recognition or any way of meeting your needs. A conversation can happen in terms of how that’s impacting you, because people are oftentimes not even aware of how they impact others. (Lesley: Yeah) But once you have that conversation, you’re still responsible for how you take action to manage things, whether that’s staying at that company with that person or not.
Lesley Logan 34:12
Right. It’s like if you say you want X boundary, but then you keep letting people push into that boundary or abuse that boundary. It’s … (Melissa: Like they don’t care.) They don’t care. Like you still have to stand up for the boundary, like, “Hey, remember I said this is and you agreed and now you’re crossing the line. If you’re not going to be able to do that, then it might not be the right place for you. Or he might have to figure out another way to pull that boundary,” you know, and it’s hard. It’s it’s not easy to hold boundaries, that’s for sure. But that’s (Melissa: very uncomfortable) very uncomfortable, especially … (Lesley laughs)
Melissa Doman 34:44
Well, people also don’t like when you put down boundaries. People like to do what they want when they want.
Lesley Logan 34:50
Yeah, but there’s also like, I do believe too that some people do want to know how to love, respect, and work with (Melissa: Yes) and you know, if they knew that every time They emailed you at five o’clock. It was actually upsetting you when they were really just emailing you because they’re about to leave. They weren’t expecting a response from you like, wouldn’t that be a great conversation to have? It’s like, “Hey, you email me every day at five o’clock, and it stresses me out.” And it’s like, “Oh, okay, well, I’ll just have it. I’ll have that boomerang to come at 6am tomorrow. When do you want email to come?” Yeah.
Melissa Doman 35:18
And the thing is that intention versus impact can be miles apart. And people are very creative, putting in the reasons why you did or didn’t do or say something. So that is why I am just all about crystal clear, clarity, about intention.
Lesley Logan 35:39
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a great, that’s so great. Oh, my gosh, we could keep talking, obviously, (Melissa: forever) forever because I love you. And I love what you’re talking about. (Melissa: I love you) And it’s so honest, you know, like, we’re not this is not a sugar coated, like, let’s have a (Melissa: No) mental health, it’s like to have very good mental health well being, you have to know what you want, you have to state what you want, why you need it, and then you have to be intentional about it. You know, and like, we all if we all are doing it for ourselves, it’s so much easier to have that and hold that space for others. And so you can inspire other people to do it for themselves if you’re doing it for you, too.
Melissa Doman 36:15
And the thing is, you know, human beings are naturally social creatures. We naturally lean on each other, we want to have that sense of belonging and safety and security, that is a natural human thing. It also needs to be balanced with taking some individual responsibility, that doesn’t make you selfish, it doesn’t mean that you’re being totally isolationist and not allowed to lean on other people, you need both. And so that’s why while I deeply appreciate all of the advocates and activists who have come before me saying, we need to talk about this, we need to talk about this. But then there’s no practical implementation to enable people with the skill set to do so based in the reality that we all exist, not the hashtag tagable one that’s created on social media. So I am a, I sometimes feel like I’m a cold splash of water to the face and a hot poker up the ass to some people. But it seems to work because they keep wanting me to talk about it. So
Lesley Logan 37:16
Yeah, well, I also think people just appreciate honesty, you know, like clear, kind and being honest, because it is refreshing, even if as a poker. (Melissa: Oh thank you. I appreciate that.) Melissa, where do you, where where can people find your book? Where can people talk to you more, can they hear more about how to implement this and take care of their mental health and well being?
Melissa Doman 37:35
So if you want someone to come in to be a sweet, swift kick in the ass to your organization, to have a better understanding of what mental health and mental illness actually are, and how to talk about it. You, well and constructively, don’t be a stranger, reach out to me on my website, melissadoman.com, you can also add me on LinkedIn. My book is available, you can either get to through my website, or it’s also available on Amazon. And my Instagram handle is @thewanderingmel. And my Twitter handle is Melissa Dolman LLC. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help your company. And as a reminder, the name of the book is Yes: You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work: Here’s Why… And How to Do it Really Well.
Lesley Logan 38:22
I love this. I really am so excited because so many people that listen to this do work somewhere. They don’t just work from their house, they work somewhere. (Melissa: Yes) (Melissa laughs) And you know, I do believe that sometimes the thing that holds us back from the next thing we’re going to do is the energy zapping, mental health draining thing that’s happening at the workplace. And so if that can be a better source of love and support, then it’s easier for you to do the thing that you’re here on this planet to do. So, before I let you go. We have we asked everyone BE IT action items, bold, executable, targeted or intrinsic things people can do. So they can be it till they see it. So what do you have for us as far as mental health goes as far as BE IT steps?
Melissa Doman 39:03
So, I’m obviously very happy that you folks tuned in to hear me yak at Lesley for an out for an hour. What I would really prefer is you did something to action, this education, whatever that looks like. If that means reading the book, if that means trying to learn more about mental illness, if that means sharing about your own mental health with your boss or supporting a colleague that you know has been struggling, please take action immediately because it is a damn mess out there. And there is no reason that you cannot take concrete practical steps to show authentic care to yourself or someone else. And mental health at work is never going away. So it’s your choice about when you want to take part in that journey. And please, please take the steps to develop this conversational literacy whatever resource that is and do not sit on this education because education without action is a big fat waste of time.
Lesley Logan 40:06
Yeah. Well, when this one woman I listened to she says, “Information without integration is constipation.” So (Melissa: Ah, that’s so much better.) ( Lesley laughs) And that great. I love that one. So anyways, well, gosh, thank you so much for being here. Thank you, really for just, you know, educating us in so many ways and also allowing people to go, “Yes, that’s exactly how I wanted to be at work.” (Melissa laughs) I’m sure, a lot of people are like nodding their head along with you like,”This would be amazing.” So a lot of people feel seen. Y’all how are you going to take action? How are you going to take action towards supporting yours or other people’s mental health at work in your life? Do us a favor, screenshot this, tag @thewanderingel, tag @be_it_pod and let us know your takeaways. And if you’re like, “Lesley, I don’t even share things on my Instagram. It’s private.” Then text this to a friend, a colleague, your boss, say “Hey, this would be really amazing” so that they can hear the amazing tips that you just heard today and also we can help others Be It Till You See It.
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.
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