I’m passionate about talking to each other about problems – Nick Elston’s story
On World Mental Health Day, Tesco Customer Delivery Driver Nick Elston, shares his own experiences to support others struggling with their mental health.
Throughout my childhood I had severe OCD. The treatment at that time wasn't very effective and as I grew up, it left me with recurring anxiety. I would build simple things up in my head until they completely overwhelmed me. I wore a series of masks that suited the situation I was in, but people rarely ever saw the ‘real’ me.
I was working in a corporate world and one day I left a meeting and my anxieties completely boiled over. I had a nervous breakdown. I’d reached rock-bottom and I knew I had a choice: let my anxieties consume me or let them out.
Perhaps strangely, I decided to start speaking publicly about my issues. The place I felt safest was in the business world, so I began by doing 20-minute talks to colleagues. It was a great form of therapy for me and then I realised it was helping people in my audience too.
Seeing the power of speech
I’m so passionate about the power of talking to each other about our problems that I decided to leave my job and pursue it further. At about the same time, I saw an advert for a Customer Delivery Driver at my local Tesco store. The hours and the location were perfect. It meant I could drive in the evenings and weekends and pursue my speaking career on the other days.
I started work with Tesco in October last year and I love every minute of it. My colleagues all know what I do and my back story. People come and ask me for support and offer it too. It's a fantastic, supportive environment and I never feel judged.
Tesco mental health support for colleagues includes an Employee Assistance Programme and a host of health and wellbeing resources. We are currently midway through our sixth colleague health month event.