Imagine your father is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, and you get a call from your mother, who says she’s been admitted to the hospital because she’s septic – all while recovering from shoulder surgery yourself. If that’s not enough, while your mother is still battling health issues and going in and out of the hospital, you find out your stepdad has prostate cancer and then learn your aunt has lung cancer.

That’s just a small preview of my life this past year. I think Michelle Obama said it best: “Grief and resilience live together.” For me, being resilient is a process. During the act of processing everything that’s going on, I nearly crumble, only to build myself back together again and realize that I can do this thing called life. I always say that I’m not unique – we all have our stuff, and that’s part of being a member of the human race. It just so happened that a lot of stuff coincidentally happened to me at the same time this past year, but I made it through and have become more resilient in the process.

Because of this, I’ve been laser-focused on my mental health to ensure I maintain my sanity. So what happens when you, as a professional, just need a break or are having a personal crisis? Do you tell your employer what’s going on?

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Tahira Hayes


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