A Powerful Message About Mental Health
Ashley Zadlock, People Operations Senior Specialist, sits down with Marketing Associate, Harriet Levenston, to bravely share her personal account of dealing with mental health challenges, and her experience of “work-life integration” at Wiss.
Harriet: Thank you for courageously shining a light on mental health.
Ashley: I previously shared my story internally. Today, I want to share my story externally because I want those who may be considering working at Wiss to know that they would be coming into a genuinely supportive and progressive environment.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. What do you think is most misunderstood about mental health?
What caused me not to speak out sooner was that I didn’t want people to judge me or see me in a different light. The stigma is that, if you seek out therapy, people see you as not stable. This isn’t true at all; you’re taking steps to make your life more fulfilling.
I would say that a big misconception is that people who are bubbly and always smiling are having an easy time internally. Looks can be deceiving. It’s so important to connect with others, whether you’re having a hard time, or you notice someone who’s having a hard time. It’s hard to admit that you’re struggling. Your suffering needn’t be a secretive thing.
“The stigma is that, if you seek out therapy, people see you as not stable. This isn’t true at all; you’re taking steps to make your life more fulfilling.”
What does effectively managing mental health look like, in your view?
I fully support going to therapy. You get an unbiased professional opinion on how to better navigate your life. It helps you with your mental state, even if you’re in a great mental state! Speaking with a therapist can shed light on things you may never have considered, and can change the way you think, for the better.
Thanks to committing to therapy, I can better manage my anxiety and depression. I’ve come a long way. I’m much more aware of my emotional and mental being. I can anticipate triggers and get ahead of things. I have a strong sense of who I am.
You certainly seem self-aware. What would you tell your younger self from your perspective today?
Act upon how you’re feeling sooner. Stay true to yourself, trust how you’re feeling, and lean on the friends and family around you.
How has working at Wiss helped you?
I realized early on in my career just how much everyone at Wiss cares about one another! I personally believe we are at a crossroads where work-life balance no longer exists; it is more work-life integration.
To my colleagues at Wiss—from intern to partner and all others, you have impacted my life in a variety of ways, and I am truly grateful to each and every one of you! I enjoy coming to work every single day. I love having the opportunity to work alongside all of you and to make a difference in other people’s futures, careers and even lives. I never once felt alone here thanks to the Wiss family that surrounds me. My hope is that my colleagues all feel that bond and connection as well.
“I never once felt alone here thanks to the Wiss family that surrounds me. My hope is that my colleagues all feel that bond and connection as well.”
What’s one message you hope people take away from your story?
Everyone battles their own demons of some kind, but it is important for us to remember we are human beings first and foremost. It is in our nature to care about each other and build connections with one another. I hope that if you are struggling with your mental health, my story inspires you to seek help, if you have not yet done so already. Remember, you are not alone.