So, this blog has nothing to do with my business directly. However, it is something that has affected me, and I would like to share that experience with you. This is an ever-growing problem, and we should all be making more aware of it and how it affects individuals.
before I talk about myself, I recently heard the sad news that a young teenage girl took her life who suffered from depression. Yet no one knew it was affecting her life until it was too late. I find it so sad that someone at such a young age suffers from this illness and ends her life when it really should just be beginning.
This is about me and how I let pressure, stress, whatever want to call it, get the better of me. I hope by publicising my experiences it will help someone else suffering from depression.
It seems a lot of people are talking about mental illness. I suppose this covers a variety of illnesses but for me it was depression / anxiety. This was brought on by relentless pressure at work, no support from either HR or my line manager, in fact, they were a big part of the problem.
Before I start, I do want to point out that even though I highlight what brought on my depression they are facts gone by. They are in my past so I can not change them, so I have learned to no longer let them worry me.
It took 5 hard years of nonconstructive criticism, wages being frozen, others being taken on with more than a 20% increase in salary to mine, even after after I had been told that my wages were in line with a bench marking exercise. 2 years of highlighting concerns from a new manager, nearly every day by e-mail. I ended up taking this home with me which put a lot of strain on my marriage and relationships with my family.
I was stress at work and then found stress on my return to home, basically caused by me, but unknowingly at the time. There was no rest bite. I was angry and very resentful towards my employer, and my moods were very unpredictable at home. I could snap, or cry at the smallest things. I seemed to have no control over my emotions.
With all of this racing around in my head over a lengthy period, with the constant criticisms, putting your down, trying to find faults, micromanagement and added pressure I started to have suicidal thoughts, These thoughts would come and go throughout my day. Where and how, they would come into my thoughts at least 5 times a day and just got worse. My work life seemed to be a constant battle with management. My home life was upside down, constant arguments with my wife, confused and really unhappy with the situation I had caused. I could not get to sleep, my mind seemed to be on permanently and would not rest. I focused on all the negativity around me. Slowly as I span out of control, I came to the conclusion that everyone / life would be better off if I was not around.
One Sunday morning sitting on my own, the thoughts were getting louder and louder and going around and around in my head, I knew what I had to do, I got up from my chair, ….. at this precise moment my wife walked through the front door, and I am glad she did. I was frightened and for the first time, in floods of tears, I told my wife my thoughts. We talked about life, she told me she loved me and it would not be the same without me. I thought about my family and how I would want to see my daughter succeed in life. She has put up with so much too, I am so proud of her and what she has achieved so far in her life.
I needed help, I and could now see this. I could see how I had become. I went to the doctor who told me I was suffering from depression. They gave me antidepressants and booked me into therapy and signed me off work.
A friend of mine suggested reading a book called “The Chimp Paradox” They had read it and thought it would help me. I had a holiday with some friends just around the corner, that had been booked for a while. At the airport, I thought I would purchase this book, but could not remember what it was the called. Instead, I purchased another written by the author “James Borg called Mind Power”. It was a self-help book and I hoped very much it would help me.
7 days on holiday laying in the sun I read the book. For me, that is an achievement, I have not read a book in ages and I felt good about that. The book opened up a whole new perspective on my thought process. When I got back I hunted down the “The Chimp Paradox by professor Steven Peters”This is another very good book to read.
Even though both books aim at the same things they explain the information in different ways. I recommend both books, they have helped to tackle the negative way of thinking. I am not there yet, it will take a while, but am better than I was and on my way to a better life.
What you must remember and it is something important that both books highlight, you are in control of your thoughts. Don’t let the thoughts control you.
There is a part of the brain called the LIMBIC which controls your emotions, feelings, and drives. In the Chimp Paradox, this is referred to as the chimp. This is the part of the brain that responds to the fight, fight or freeze in us, in other words, your emotions and drivers. From this part of the brain is where we can create negative thoughts if not controlled. Once you start with the negatives thoughts, you find they can manifest. If you are in a stressful environment they can get out of control, they are like a negative whirlpool pulling you down and down.
The books have helped me and with practice, you can control these thoughts. It can take about 12 months to master this control but everyday it does get easier and you can slowly start to recover.
You are basically rewriting thought patterns and memories of how to behave, controlling your emotional thoughts. Looking for facts and reasons in your thinking not reacting with just emotion.
If you or someone you know is in a bad place, I recommend
1. See if you can get them to understand their behaviour, get them to talk to you about the issue, what is the cause. I found I took advice from someone outside the family circle. When my wife first told me that I needed help, I either didn’t listen or I would throw a rage.
2. Move away from the situation that is causing the stress. Not necessarily forever but for enough time to help your mind recover.
3. Go to the doctors. The tablet that I was subscribed needs to be taken for a minimum of 6 months. They need this time for your brain to change its cognitive thoughts.
4. Get them to read one of the books that I have mentioned or something similar. They are both particularly good and have helped me. Book yourself in for CBT Cognitive behavioural therapy.
5. If you are suffering then Talk to someone who will listen. Don’t keep it to yourself, you don’t have to be ashamed or feel embarrassed, I am a man, therefore nonsense, I am a man and I can tell you it’s better to talk. It the start to the road of recovery. I have cried on many shoulders.
6. Go on holiday, chillax, and read a book. Spend some time in good company.
7. Set yourself achievable goals (outside of work), there is nothing better than the feeling of achievement. This could be as simple as going to your child’s football game that you have been missing for a while or getting out on your bike.
8. Do exercise of some sort. Get your blood pumping. This help gets rid of the stress chemicals on your body.
9. Remember you are only human, we are allowed to get things wrong we are not infallible so don’t beat yourself up if something does go wrong.
10. Remember you are in control of your thoughts don’t let them control you!! And talk to someone!!!
I do hope that this helps someone. There are too many sufferings, with too many companies putting too much responsibility and too much pressure on their employees. Just because you are a manager it does not mean that you have to work a 16-hour day. You need a good work life balance.
My way out…. I could not work for a corporate company again like my last employer and how they treat their staff. After 22 years of service, they treated me so badly. For my Health and sanity, I had to resign. I will prove that with the right positive attitude and hard work anything is possible. I working with my brother to grow his business that cares and has value within it for staff and customers alike and will never put the pressures on anyone like my last position. SMB Records management , we will get it right because we care.
I wish you all the best in your recovery. Just remain optimistic and you will enjoy life again.