Largecorp induced anxiety, stress and depression; Management tips
My take on anxiety, depression and stress in a largecorp workplace is that it is most often a result of poor management and resource allocation by the Senior Management Team at largecorp. There is so much extra work piled on employees due to downsizing and botched outsourcing that many employees succumb to the pressure and “crack” hence workplace mental health claims lead the pack in the disability game. Largecorps have an insatiable appetite to increase profits no matter how badly the economy is doing. Are the analysts running largecorp? Analysts have a love affair with cost reduction so even if that means job losses result through largecorp terminations or through development of artificial intelligence by largecorp which also reduces “headcount” these analysts are as happy as pigs rolling in shit until one day, soon, AI will terminate them so they receive a dose of their own medicine.
You can either continue working in such a toxic working environment and let it destroy you to the point that recovery and healing is difficult if not impossible or you can grab the disability ring that is being tossed overboard to save you. This is what disability programmes are. They are there to help you recover and heal from physical and mental illness. They also ensure you have income flowing in during your disability. Sometimes largecorp takes care of its wounded. Don’t think you’ll qualify automatically for any stress or depression related claim that you may have! Many have tried to go on disability and have failed.
I am sure you do not like to think that when are suffering from workplace stress, anxiety and depression you are “mentally ill”. “That’s not me” you are thinking. It sounds so foreboding and disturbing, but it is just another form of disease like cancer or lupus.
No matter the public relations campaign by Bell Canada about society accepting mental illness as just another form of illness the stigma will remain for many more years. My advice is to hold your head high and get the help you need. In most cases you’ll need psychiatric help for two reasons. The first is that they are doctors of the mind there to heal your mind and secondly they are essential to have in your camp to assess you and report to your long-term disability provider. Evidence submitted from a general practitioner as to your psychological state has about as much value as 10 Mexican pesos as far as a long- term disability provider and their legal team and for hire forensic psychiatrists are concerned.
Of course, don’t be an emotional silly ass and resign. By doing so you are no longer an employee and as a result are no longer eligible for short and long-term disability. There is nothing more largecorp would like than eliminate the expense of an employee on disability. Cancer, depression or any disease make no difference to them unless of course employee backlash as to largecorp indifference creates a “reputational risk” that just may ooze out to the media and make a wonderful Robin Hood story.
Let’s cover what your strategy should be facing a disability issue while working at largecorp and I apologize if I am going to be a bit repetitive.
- Before taking any decision as whether to claim disability from largecorp or from its insurance company provider or administrator obtain copies of largecorp’s or the insurance company’s policies on short-term and long-term disability. You must follow the process set forth in the policies to determine if you qualify. Make sure any preconditions for eligibility have been or will be met.
- Clearly set forth to your superior and Human Resources Department that you are going on disability. Unless you are required to provide written reasons keep your communication on an oral basis to avoid any written response being used against you to your detriment in possible appeals and litigation. Try not to get personal and bitter and stick to the facts pertaining to your disability.
- Think about assembling your team even prior to “going out” on disability. Short- term disability plans are usually largecorp funded and it is a bit easier to qualify and less bureaucratic than a largecorp retained insurance company long-term disability application process. However, you’ll need some strong specialist advice to back your claim so always go to the relevant specialist and avoid your general practitioner if you can. There is nothing to be lost by asking for some advice from a lawyer specializing in disability law. If you are applying for long term disability from your employer’s disability provider or for CPP disability benefits a consultation with a disability benefits lawyer begins to make more sense as the value of a possible payout may increase dramatically the farther you are away from age 65 which is when Canadian government CPP and insurance company provided long-term disability payments will terminate. It is best to do it correctly the first time instead of being denied and having to appeal.
- Co-operate with your employer and its disability benefits provider. I’d say avoid being over friendly yet be courteous and answer any questions honestly. The last thing you need is to establish an antagonistic relationship with the payor of your benefits. Review any documentation you receive pertaining to your disability benefits and understand what your obligations you have in dealing with the benefits provider. Failure to comply may be a reason to terminate your benefits. Keep a well-organized hard copy binder of all relevant communication. It will be priceless if you decide to litigate. By relevant this should include all correspondence and notes on any meeting prior to “going out” on disability if they might be relevant to your disability.
- Attend all regularly scheduled medical appointments and follow all medical recommendations. Failure to do so may result in termination of your benefits. Promptly return calls to any disability “case manager” you have.
- Don’t drop out of life. Isolation is the worst thing for you. Keep up with your contacts. Go out for coffee and lunch. Just get out of the house even if it is only to grab a coffee.
- Physical activity and exercise are important. They’ll prevent a slide into oblivion. Be part of the world.
- Give yourself some projects to do. I found that house painting did wonders for me. It freed my wind to wander while doing it which in retrospect is healthier than thinking about your problems. Read those books you have been meaning to read for years.
- Take a mindfulness course. If you are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression mindfulness courses are a proven stress and depression buster.
- Consider bright light therapy. You can buy a bright light for under $50 these days. It has been proven bright light therapy with placebos are more effective than anti-depressants alone.
Of course, how you manage your disability is up to you but co-operation with your medical team and your disability benefits provider is a no-brainer. But unfortunately, there are those out there who think they know better. Remember anything and everything can be used against you.
As for depression the good news is that it can be beaten back but relapses are common. This is a curse you’ll have to bear. But you are a fighter and won’t give up. Do not let largecorp induced mental illness destroy you.