May 4, 2021
In this episode of The Mind Itself, John is joined by Doug Glen, a federal government civil servant who had his own experiences dealing with mental health, the struggle with stigma, and balancing it with his job. Covering topics from his struggle to how the government attempts to support their employee’s mental health-wise, Doug brings insights from a different perspective from the heart of DC.
Struggling With Mental Health in The Early Years
Doug talks about his journey with mental health, thinking back to the time when he was in middle school and high school. His father died when Doug was 11, and that was a very traumatic experience for him to work through at a young age. It wasn’t until a few years later that he decided he was going to go to therapy.
After going to therapy, he realized that it was helping him unpack these emotions that he was holding inside. Doug felt like he was reaching a breakthrough in therapy and realized more about himself. From there on, he has been going to therapy on and off throughout his life.
Leadership & Career Choices
As Doug was going through school, he realized that the strongest leaders were more in touch with themselves and their emotions. The more that they understood themselves, the more that they could see the impact that they had on other people. He wanted to be a leader. Doug craved to connect with people.
Originally, Doug went to school thinking that he wanted to be an engineer. Eventually, he switched to business and moved back home. He didn’t stay there long before traveling across the country and visiting family. Ending up in Virginia, he started doing audits and consulting for a few years. This was his job for a while until he had a cancer diagnosis in his early 30s. That put things into perspective for him, and since then, he wanted a better quality of life and started working for the federal government – making his way to an executive level.
Mental Health Stressors & Career Positions
As Doug became more involved in his federal position, he saw there were a lot of rules and regulations in place. Working for the government puts another sort of pressure on an individual. In a large company with a lot of rules, it seems to be harder to get things done. The ability to drive change is very hard. There is an emphasis on creating relationships and sharing knowledge of issues to create positive outcomes.
During Doug’s time working for the government has been supportive towards caring for mental health. Resources are available for federal workers, and they are often encouraged to put themselves first.
In his job, Doug finds himself faced with situations that place a lot of stress on him. He reflects on the time when he went to therapy when he was younger and played baseball. When he was younger, he was so worried about striking out that he couldn’t focus on anything else. Once he realized that his problem was worrying about striking out instead of focusing on hitting the ball. Since then, he realized the importance of positive powerful thinking.
Going to Therapy and Working Through Mental Blocks
Therapy helped Doug get through mental blocks that he didn’t even know. Sometimes there are big things that come to you in moments of realizations. If you’re not sitting down having honest conversations with yourself, it’s going to be hard to figure out the best reaction. There is no possible way to independently view yourself. Therefore, it’s hard to see yourself and the situation you’re in clearly.
Doug advocates going to therapy. You will get out of it what you put into it. It allows you to consciously chose the choice of actions that you want to partake in. Spending time with therapists changes the outcomes of situations. It can help build healthy self-esteem, confidence, and better problem-solving skills.