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Andrew’s Personal Journey – A Toromont Employee’s Experience

Feb 10, 2022, 13:38 PM by Marilyn Burgoyne
One of our employees shares his personal journey, recovering from a workplace incident, dealing with mental health challenges, and eventually utilizing his network and resources to find a path to recovery.

Andrew Williams/ Christine Hackett Czar

Field Technician / HR Wellness Specialist

Concord Branch

Wellness Andrew_300x170

Andrew Williams, Field Service Technician

One of our employees shares his personal journey, recovering from a workplace incident, dealing with mental health challenges, and eventually utilizing his network and resources to find a path to recovery.

Please see Andrew’s journey below.

My name is Andrew Williams I'm a field service technician for the Toromont Material Handling Division, based out of Concord.  I'm entering my 10th year of employment with the company. I'm a big sports fan and love charcoal bbqing as a hobby. Today is Bell "Let's Talk Day".

 

I'm honored and privileged to write today's letter. I struggle with mental health, attributable to my workplace accident which occurred on July 10th 2018. As background, while servicing a forklift, I had an inner mast channel weighing about 1000 pounds crush my right hand. The injury left me both physically and mentally injured, with dark, murky thoughts constantly plaguing me, like demons inside my head.  I've asked "Why me?", and "What

could I have done differently?"  I feel that I have let not only let myself down but my family, friends, coworkers and supervisors.

 

Being injured surprisingly comes with a lot of guilt. Firstly, there is the guilt of surviving the accident. I replay the accident in my head over and over again. I feel useless, and feel like my actions are preventing the company from succeeding. During my progressive return to work, I spent 26 months at the Stoney Creek branch working in parts - while I know this was not the case, at times I felt as though this was a punishment for my accident. I felt lost, moving away from my skilled trades role, and it is still hard coming to grips with not being on the tools anymore. I defined myself as a technician, and this part of me is gone now.

 

For me, mental illness is a 'darkness on the inside'. While I am functioning at work and performing my daily duties, I am battling with this demon inside my head. The pandemic has affected all of us in many ways, but it has further impacted me mentally as well. Those that know me well would know that I always put others before myself; when my coworkers went on work share and I was still working 40 hours a week, I felt guilty because I was worried about them and the financial impact this might have on them and their families

 

Three years later, I am still not fully recovered, and I never will be. I am waiting for a third surgery that has been cancelled so many times I just can't keep up anymore with the plan.  The uncertainty around my recovery, the guilt from the injury, and the pandemic all contributed to a downward spiral for me.  In November of 2021,  I'd had enough of dealing with the dark demons in my head alone.  I finally realized that I needed help to deal with it.  In desperation, I sent an email hoping someone receiving the email would hear my cry for help.  And someone did.  A few days later, on the Tuesday of the TDMS Lift Division launch week, I entered into a meeting with a group of colleagues that have now become my "support team".

 

Honestly, I thought I was losing my job going into that meeting . I was stunned when they told me that I was not alone, and that "it's okay to not be okay". I had hit rock bottom when I finally asked for help.  I needed help to cope with my mental health issues.  As Bon Scott from ACDC would say "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n roll". After discussion with this group of colleagues, I entered the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in December and while on my time off I had my first session.

I have just had my second session and my mental health is trending in the right direction. There is no real 'cure' for mental illness; however the more we speak out about mental health, the more it encourages people to ask for help, and, like myself, recognize that we are not alone.

 

I will live with the consequences of my injury and the physical and mental impacts  of my injury for the rest of my life. However, I'm proud of myself and that I had the strength and courage to reach out for help. That's a win in itself!  I'm proud to be a Toromont Employee. I get to work with some amazing talented people - another win.

 

Without rain nothing grows; learn to embrace the storms of your life.

Be safe and speak up! You are NOT alone!   #Let's Talk.

 

Andrew Williams Field Service Technician.

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