Certain experiences aren’t good for our mental or physical health. When we find ourselves in a situation, a workplace or even a friendship that is having a negative effect on our mental health we owe it to ourselves to remove ourselves from that environment.
Trust me, I know that leaving toxic environments is tough. And it often requires a level of self-worth and self-respect that doesn’t come easily to a lot of people, including people with a mental illness.
But there have been many times where I have had to make the decision to cut negativity out of my life. Here are some examples of why I had to and how I did it.
A couple of years ago I started work in a small office with other people around my age. I loved my co-workers, we all got on so well, bonded by the one thing we had in common – dislike of our manager. Feeling undervalued, unappreciated and often subject to tirades, rants and inappropriate and sexist comments I began to resent my job. The only thing that got me through each day was the close friendships we quickly formed. But friends weren’t enough to make me want to stay. I’d come home at the end of each day exhausted, feeling worthless and belittled. I started to believe what my manager was saying to me – I was inexperienced. I would never get a job anywhere else.
But with some encouragement, I started trying to prove my manager wrong. I started applying to other places, to recruitment agencies. I had an interview that didn't go so well. I thought, 'my manager is right, I can't do this job.' Two days later I got a reply about another position. The next week I had an interview, and the next day, a job offer.
Making the decision to leave that negative work environment allowed me to find other, better-fitted-to-me, opportunities. It also made me a much happier person. While my new job had challenges and learning curves too, I was in a supportive environment that allowed me to develop confidence in my own ability.