Excitement about a new job and cross-country move comes with unexpected mental health challenges.
1. EXCITING CHANGES
Johnathan was filled with optimism at the beginning of 2020: after accepting a new job at a top firm in his field, he and his wife had just moved cross-country to a city where they’d always wanted to live. “We were excited for this new chapter and filled with hope for our future. It was tough moving so far from family and friends, especially my elderly parents, but they were all supportive and excited for us.”
2. UNEXPECTED CHALLENGES
A few days after starting his new job, his firm transitioned employees to working remotely due to the pandemic. Johnathan still came into the office occasionally along with a handful of other colleagues, but found it challenging to build relationships and get up to speed in his new role. “I felt isolated and unsure but wasn’t familiar enough with my new team to know who I could lean on. That brought on a lot of anxiety and wondering if we’d made the right decision to move.”
3. UNEXPECTED SETBACKS
Anxiety about his job performance was magnified by worries about the surging pandemic and acts of anti-Asian violence happening across the country. “I feared for my parents’ health and safety, and felt guilty that I was so far away when they needed me most. We talked almost every day by phone or video and they assured me they were fine, but the worry ate at me.” He began having trouble sleeping and couldn’t focus at work.
FEELING THE EFFECTS
4. FEELING THE EFFECTS
“What started as a dream year had turned into a nightmare. I felt irritable and distracted all the time, and my wife and I seemed to argue about everything. I’d fallen out of my usual workout routine and was eating a lot of unhealthy take-out food. I was always tired but couldn’t sleep. One day I was walking upstairs to my apartment and suddenly felt short of breath and tightness in my chest. That’s what convinced me I needed help.”
ASKING FOR HELP
5. ASKING FOR HELP
“The physical effects of bottling up all my emotions were eye-opening and scary. I’d downplayed my mental health challenges but couldn’t ignore what felt like a minor heart attack.” With help from his doctor, Johnathan has taken steps to lower his blood pressure including changes to his diet and getting back to exercising regularly. He also joined an online community for Asian American employees at his firm that helped build connections with colleagues experiencing similar challenges.
6. LONG-TERM CHANGES
Johnathan also began using a free app to track his daily patterns and moods, help manage stressful situations, and access support when he’s feeling especially stressed or anxious. “I realize now how important it is to understand and talk about mental health. You can’t be truly healthy if you’re not taking care of your emotional wellbeing. Being open and honest makes the problem seem more manageable and allows the people who care about you, to offer support.”
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