Corporate executives operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment (V.U.C.A). Their everyday experiences at their workplaces can take them on an emotional rollercoaster of ecstatic highs and crushing lows. Such mental turbulence can leave them vulnerable to issues like crippling anxiety and depression that can have serious physical effects if ignored.
Multinational companies typically look for traits like creativity, high energy, and self-motivation when they hire their executives. While such personality types are highly desirable to thrive in a corporate setting, they can also be vulnerable to feelings of great despair, worthlessness, and depression when they are subjected to overwhelming amounts of stress.
Add long work hours, poor eating and sleep habits to this cocktail and you have all the ingredients for a range of dangerous mental issues starting from volatile moods to complete mental breakdowns.
Mental health problems can have adverse side effects that can affect your ability to function at work. Whether it’s a bipolar disorder (BPD) that can manifest in manic (high to low) behaviour, depressive episodes that can make you lose interest in your work to anxiety or panic attacks that hamper your decision-making skills.
While it is important to immediately seek therapy and medication (if prescribed) for such issues to continue to effectively function at work, Mental health surveys in India however, indicate that there's is a 90% gap between diagnosis of mental disease and its treatment.
The implication of this statistic is that people who suffer from complex mental illnesses typically shy away from getting therapy (despite the availability of therapists) after getting diagnosed for a mental condition. A possible reason could be due to the stigma attached to going for therapy.
Life with mental illness does not always herald the end of a productive corporate career. People who are diagnosed with issues like BPD, depression or anxiety can continue to lead productive corporate careers with the right measures.
Finally, it's important to invest in making authentic connections with your colleagues at work and understand that you are not defined by your illness.
Make it a point to have a life beyond your work. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy whether it's meeting your friends for a movie, volunteering at an NGO over the weekend or learning to play a musical instrument.
A holistic combination of people and purpose will help you live a rich and fulfilling life and dispel the looming clouds that mental illness can bring your way.