We all remember the days that changes us – whether they are good days, or bad.
I thought I was heading into an ordinary weekend – one spent with love and laughter – as I prepared to head home and visit family in Charlotte, North Carolina. To my surprise, however, my life changed forever when I learned that my cousin had committed suicide. I never thought this could happen to us, but there we were – trying to make sense of it all.
My cousin’s battle with depression was something I had been aware of for a short while, as we would talk almost daily about his struggle with this disease. Because he often spoke to me about his mental health, his death almost made me feel responsible, because I didn’t do more to save his life.
I was devastated. I knew that this trauma was going to have a long-lasting impact on me, and I knew that I needed to do whatever I could to heal from this. I just didn’t quite know where to start.
Consumed by the recent news, I didn’t even know how I was going to go back to work. I was having a breakdown almost every hour and had no idea how I could be successful at my job while dealing with my personal life. Luckily, I am a part of a team at Cisco that cares more about its people than even it’s quarterly successes. People are at the heart of Cisco, and so I knew I could talk to my manager about what was happening in my life outside of my day-to-day work.
She was, of course, understanding and – while I may have been lost in a fog – she knew just how to guide me through the resources Cisco offers its employees to help in difficult times like these. It was during this time, I realized the importance of a company’s focus on mental health – and how Cisco is leading in this area too (our CEO, Chuck Robbins, even sent out a company-wide email to employees letting us know benefits that were there to help employees and our families in regards to mental health).
Because of Cisco’s flexibility, I was able to take the time I needed to work from home, be with my family, and begin to cope with our loss. Cisco’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered me access to attend therapy for FREE, which was exactly what I needed to start the recovery process from such a traumatic experience.
Additionally, I had a support system outside of my immediate team. The Leaders in Finance & Technology (LIFT) Program is not just a group of my coworkers; many of them have become my friends and support system.
I couldn’t have gotten through this time in my life, let alone share this story with others, without the support of my co-workers and the resources that Cisco offers. It’s often so easy to forget to take care of yourself and your mental health, especially with the fast-paced world that we live in, but at Cisco we are committed to having those difficult conversations and supporting one another through tough times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday.
Good for you for making use of the resources provided to get yourself in a healthy mental state. Very brave indeed. Best of luck
Radhika, Thank you sharing your story!
Sorry that you and your family have to go through this. Thanks for sharing your story, and glad Cisco and your team were able to help you recover!
Thank you, Justin!
Thanks for sharing your story, Radhika!
Thank you so much, sharing your story
Thanks for sharing your story. Very brave. Stay strong.
Bravo Radhika for sharing your story and committing to your recovery! I hope this inspires others who are battling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues!
Thanks, Smriti! My hope is the same!
I’m so sorry for your loss. Years ago, I too lost a sibling to this disease. It leaves you feeling very helpless so I’m glad you have a great support team. If you ever need to just have a conversation, know I’m here to talk to as well. It is very brave and therapeutic that you wrote this….thanks for sharing. I’m sure there are others it will help.
Thank you, Gloria. I am so sorry for your loss – I am always here as well!
Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing – very brave of you. You are not alone. Stay strong.
Thank you, Deno!
So sorry this happened, but thank you so much for sharing your story to help others.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too suffered this tremendous loss, my oldest sibling committed suicide twenty-five years ago. The pain and the guilt is beyond comprehension. I watched my family implode over the strain and stress of this unbearable pain.
Twenty-five years ago, I wasn’t in high tech and no one had the resources that are available today. I was given the standard three days bereavement. To return after three days was extremely challenging to put it mildly. I recall my GM pulling me into his office and telling me to just move on, I had a job to do. I nodded and with that, tried my best to push forward. I truly wish there was an EAP program at that time, I needed it desperately. I am so happy that Cisco has this program in place. Is it an amazing program and it’s here for us. Cisco is truly doing their part to raise awareness on the mental health crisis.
I won’t lie, the road will be bumpy. The pain will always be there but it will eventually move from the front to the back. You will get to the other side of this painful and difficult journey. When you get there, your focus will be on all the great times you two shared. Those memories are precious.
Stay strong, keep your beautiful smile, keep humor in your life and always walk in the light.
Thank you again for sharing your story, I wish you and yours love and peace.
Sherie, I’m so sorry about your loss as well. I couldn’t agree more! We are blessed that Cisco offers the resources it does. Thank you!
Sorry to hear your loss. #StayStrong #WeAreCisco
Thank you Dixit!
I’m very sorry that this has happened. You are a hero for sharing your story with us. Thank you!
Message from Karen Pinsker
Thanks Radhika for sharing your story with us!
All the best to you and it feels great to hear that Cisco is human-centered & cares for its employees.
I am sorry for your loss. It’s very brave of you to share your story and inspire others through it. Take care.
Thanks, Kishore! Appreciate it.
Thank you for courageously sharing your story and inspiring hope.
Thank you for sharing your story! Get all the help and support you need to stay strong and positive. Best wishes.
Thank you for sharing your story and may you be an inspiration to others in need.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing your story, Radhika! Wish you all the best, love and peace.
Thank you, Markus!
So sorry for your loss. I lost both of my children 8 months apart from a drug overdose between July of 17 and March of 18, my son was 30 with 2 kids and my daughter was 28. I was destroyed and in real bad shape. People have no idea what Cisco does for its employees with all the different options we have. I received a hand written note from Chuck that literally helped pull me out of my tail spin. Every day is still a challenge, Cisco just makes it a lot easier.
Wishing you peace,
I’m so sorry for your loss, Pat. I agree completely – people have no clue how much this company does for us! Wishing you peace and happiness
Cisco is truly a great place to work, thanks Radhika for sharing, by sharing your story you shown that you care as well.
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