Depression: A practitioner's view

As part of our stress and mental health awareness series on AccountingWEB, member Sir Digby writes about what it's like to be an accountant while coping with the pressures of depression, and what those affected can do to get help.

When I reflect back on the past seven years of my career, as a sole practitioner, the overriding image is of me sat at my desk piled high with overdue work, desperately avoiding my phone which seemed to ring constantly. 

Despite being aware my personal finances were teetering on the brink of oblivion, I just could not bring myself to get the work done, or...

Continued...

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Good Article    3 thanks

AndyC555 | | Permalink

For some of those lucky enough to have never suffered from depression there is an attitude of dismissal of the whole idea and a "pull yourself together, man!" view of those suffering.

But it is real and can take over someone's life.

Personal circumstances were such that in the past I had a period which by the definitions above would clearly be classed as depression (even though at the time I wouldn't actually admit it to myself despite being prescribed medication!).

I can't over-emphasise my agreement with the comments above about 'silent support'. I hardly noticed at the time but looking back I recognise that a very good friend of mine went out of his way to just 'be there' and keep in touch and support me.  It didn't take a massive effort on his part but it made a huge difference to me and anyone doing the same for a friend or colleague would be doing them an awful lot of good.     

 

applaud your contribution    5 thanks

frankfx | | Permalink

Dear Sir Digby Chick   I am writng to applaud your contribution to the debate on depression. Your candid comments and observations , I am sure resonate or send shudders down readers spines. I note that at the time of me writing that there have been some 568 eyeballs on your article....yet mine is the first comment. that in itself may tell a sad story- !!  All the best   ps can not seem to get para spacing here!!

Support    1 thanks

shaka198 | | Permalink

The key thing is to have a buddy or two you can talk to whether a life partner or a professional colleague/friend/mentor.  Amazing how talking things through with another intelligent being will help put things in context and enable a sensible plan to be drawn up to deal with the pressures, whether too much or too little work.  We all know how to eat an elephant.........., it is the same principle.

Paul Scholes's picture

This is no longer Black Friday    6 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Thank you SDC for being so open about this, I hope writing & publishing was of help to you and, I for one, have been uplifted by seeing this sort of article on a forum of accountants who, if I'm anything to go by, tend to be masters of illusion and denial.

Until you experience it for yourself it is almost impossible to describe the debilitating effects of depression and how many leagues below sad & fed up it is.  I'm fortunate to have only experienced two short episodes but have experienced it more fully with a loved one.

In addition to a shift in society to regarding it as an illness, it's also reassuring to see a steady growth in support facilities and, for anyone needing to switch off the basic auto responses to stimuli that can spark depression, anger, stress etc etc there is now a wealth of work being done and support provided around Mindfulness training. With the added benefit that you don't have to be ill to find it uplifting.

Best wishes SDC

 

Thankyou    1 thanks

abacusman | | Permalink

Being a sole practitioner means I am glad to know that there is someone else out their like me

Thank you    1 thanks

emilyduffy | | Permalink

Thank you for sharing and speaking so openly about your illness. I will second the recommendation of Moodgym, I have found that a really useful resource.

Counselling    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Having been to the edge and looked over, not a good place, and a long way back.

Counselling with a psychotherapist worked for me, didn't cure the problem but it was a voyage of self discovery.

Looks expensive and I was very sceptical but approached it with an open mind, was pleasantly surprised and I can now better manage situations.

Funny thing the mind and human behaviour but fascinating too.

You will also find that a lot of issues are actually other peoples problems that they are not dealing with themselves and feel duty bound to off load on you.

You have talents that come with this affliction too, look at what you can do that others can't.

Candid    2 thanks

derdle | | Permalink

A good candid article. I'm glad you found some resources to help you and you are ringing the praises of your local GP service too - I imagine that they went the extra mile and simply didn't provide "happy pills" as a first course of action. It must have taken real "guts" to write this.

puzzel's picture

It takes time    1 thanks

puzzel | | Permalink

to get back on your feet, I know as I have been trying for the last two months.

Got so low down, the wiskey helped numb everything. But the problem with that is I never could do much on an evening or weekend. And as for work, well everything seemed to be in slow mode.

Things seem to be getting better, at least I don't have wiskey in the house anymore.

Thanks SDC, I will be looking at the moodgym.

Red Leader's picture

another perspective    3 thanks

Red Leader | | Permalink

I have had some experience of being close to someone who was suffering from depression. In this case, it didn't seem possible to provide support, though perhaps just being there was enough, I don't know.

The problem as I saw it was that the depression was almost like an entity with a life of its own. Whatever was said or done by others was always interpreted by the depression in a negative way and used to feed the depression. My moods are pretty even, but in the end I was finding that the depression was starting to get me down as well.

Luckily the depression came to an end and we got through it.

I realise that the above may not be of help to those suffering from depression but in the interest of the whole picture, I thought it worth posting.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

For some it may be worth ...    2 thanks

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

... contacting the Chartered Accountants Benevalent Association.  This is a charitable organisation one of whose purposes is to assist individuals in the accountancy profession who suffer a variety of work-related mental problems.  Although the organisation includes the word "Chartered" in its title it services the entire accountancy industry.

I am (so far) fortunate enough not to have required its services, so I can provide no direct recommendation, but I am just aware of its existence.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood.

Depressive Illnesses - a solution    2 thanks

wingco44 | | Permalink

I certainly recognise SDCC's comments about GPs not really being much help.  Unfortunately we have developed a 'prescribing' regime where people expect a magic pill to treat all things.  I once worked with a private GP who rarely ever prescribed anti-depressants because of the damage they do particularly to young brains (under 23 years).  He was instrumental in getting well known brands banned for those under 18.  Depression is at the route of so many other illnesses; nearly all alcoholics are depressed.  Most stress sufferers start with depression due to a lack of coping mechanisms and/or a loss of control over their work - I feel sure that applies to many accountants!! There is also a proven genetic link with depressive illnesses and that is why the professions (Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants in particular) are more likely to suffer depression - they give birth to baby doctors, solicitors and accountants and the defective gene stays in the professions.  I discovered in 2012 a unique to Europe but well established treatment in the US founded by the late Dr Hitt.  You can find masses of research and data on line by searching Amino Acids & Addiction or Depression.  There is only one UK clinic providing the appropriate medically supervised high-dose intravenous programme but the results are amazing,  At present they are running just 2 programmes, one for addiction and one for 'wellness' (stress & depression) and it costs under £4000 which is highly cost effective when compared to long-term and far less successful counselling programmes.  Hopefully the NHS will in 5-6 years realise the efficacy of natural Amino Acid treatments and bring much needed rapid help to depressive illness sufferers.  I don't wish to advertise the clinic's name on this website but anyone interested can find out at www.admitservices.co.uk or www.neuroaminos.com.   And please do your own research, like I did.

Correction

wingco44 | | Permalink

'root' not 'route' ooooops

maz444's picture

WOW what a day to see this    2 thanks

maz444 | | Permalink

Here I am sitting at my desk with piles of paperwork and frozen, don't know quite where to start.  I can relate to this post so well, thanks Sir Digby Chick for posting this.

In the past few months I have (successfully, thank goodness) been treated for cancer.  During this time my book keeper let me down and invoiced me for work that he hadn't carried out.  Companies House penalised some of my clients for late accounts and this cost me almost £3,000, I did appeal but it wasn't accepted.  My biggest client decided to take his work elsewhere due to my illness, I didn't mind but handing a client over creates a lot of work that I could have done without at this time.  Deadlines are looming and I have an investigation to prepare for.

I had never heard of  moodgym  but will look into it.

Thanks again

Maz

 

beatty_2002's picture

Thank you    1 thanks

beatty_2002 | | Permalink

Thank you for your article.

Suffering from it myself and being in a home office with just 4 walls and not seeing people for days on end, it can get very hard.

I'm going to have a look at mood gym.

 

Well done for publishing such a thoughtful & insightful article    1 thanks

sclack | | Permalink

I echo others in commending your courage in admitting to it.  I've suffered on and off for a few years, but find it very difficult to be open about it and only my other half really knows.  I haven't involved the doctor, simply because I felt they would only refer me to a counsellor that I'd have to pay for and I don't have the money.  You've made me think I should review the matter with them at least: thank you.

Do I let future or current employers know about my depression?

JJAT | | Permalink

Good article to read - thank you.

I've suffered from anxiety and been treated for it for over 5 years now and depression is always so close at hand for me.

I've always wondered though, due to the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety, whether I should tell any future or current employers. I know by law they can't discriminate against me for that but I still am concerned about the reactions I may face if I mention it. 

Does anyone have any advice or tips on how to handle this?

Thanks

Thank goodness for the debate

RKemsley | | Permalink

As a person who has worked with Clinical depressed professionals it is a worthy debate to highlight the pressures accountancy inflicts on an individual and family. Sadly, it often ends in suicide, or a serious illness, cancer or heart problems that lead to a withdrawal from the profession and income levels. Greater awareness of well-being within the profession would be welcome. We study ethics and professional standards yet little is studies about the well-being of the individual as part of providing the best to a client. Depression is a serious mental health issue affecting 'white' collar workers and can involved huge chunks of time off work. One person I knew took three months off and really that was not long enough.  Appraisals should include areas of well-being and employers needs to reflect on how they look after their staff. The other issue is Senior Partners in a business, where egos are high on the agenda and lifestyles are not the healthiest. Access to alcohol is a major contributor to depression developing in the industry and I think a social change to where to host a client lunch should be explored.  Getting staff away from the office for breaks is also a matter that employers need to consider and self-discipline within the workforce is essential. However, not easy as our business culture tells us to keep going and depression is not a logical illness. We are organic beings not robots and the debate over technology used within the profession is linked to depression as we cannot escape the email/telephone calls. We never shut the office. Life coaching within the profession would be great as it is a positive non-medical education programme to achieve personal and professionally goals. see http://vickyross-training.co.uk tel: 07859 940947

Rachael_Power's picture

Discussion group

Rachael_Power | | Permalink

Since this thread has touched so many other members, we've opened a discussion thread in our health discussion group. Feel free to post about your experiences either here or there and let us know what helps.

Medical records    4 thanks

RKemsley | | Permalink

Hi JJAT I have stress related illness on my medical records and therefore have to declare it. It was a long time ago and related to a specific situation- a family death. However, I have found a positive way to put it on my CV. I have a greater awareness and compassion towards staff and clients which enables me to put staff and clients at ease. As an accounts manager this has proved very successful, in putting well-being plans into the office which have improved efficiencies and productivity.  I am also very aware of my triggers and therefore make sure I look after myself and this also has a positive result as I am in control and not fearful of a possible bout arriving. I work for a small and family minded company and I am respected. I would suggest you look at your anxiety in a different way and think of how it has helped you be more alert with decisions etc.  It is part of you and if you can discover the triggers, be they food, places, words you can begin to overcome them. As I wrote in my post life coaching could be an option as it is a very positive way to move forward in your life and let go of the labels you and others have placed on you.  Good Luck

Thank you    1 thanks

Linus Letap Limited | | Permalink

Good article, its good to have a different article from the norm.

Thank you Sir Digby, for    1 thanks

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

Thank you Sir Digby, for having the sheer guts to express your experiences and the internalised misgivings and problems.

Sadly, mental health problems grow apace in Western society; caused by the frenetic and non-stop reality of trying to integrate oneself into a synthetic and unhealthy 24/7 lifestyle: yet the reality is suppressed, because since Victorian England, such ailments suffer the tinge of the pariah; the social leper; the malcontent; and the invalid.

Yet, however, mental health is the poor relation inasmuch as the NHS is concerned.

Worse, the average GP suffers a myopia in this regard and only resorts, in the main by rolling our another 'scrip for SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibiter) such as Prozac: instead of referral to the correct therapeutic diagnosis and treatment.

Often such illness has a simple cause: lack of a hormone or some other chemical which causes Clinical Depression and is normally transitory if correctly diagnosed and treated.

Unfortunately, the sole practitioner's work style can lead to introversion. And the more aspects are divorced from everyday human integration and dedicated to an online processing approach, then the worse such separation from a "normal" life becomes.

It is most interesting to myself that some years back, Scandinavian and Nordik corporations realised the deleterious effect intensive personal work style was becoming and redesigned their large offices to include meeting pints and coffee areas where staff were actively encouraged to take time out and chat.

The results were simply astounding, huge jumps in morale and far greater efficiency and work output.

 

Excellent excellent article    3 thanks

Simontax | | Permalink

Dear Sir Digby

Well done, Sir.  It is certainly an issue on which awareness needs to be raised and perceptions need to change.

I have worked in the industry for 25 years and was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder 9 years ago.

The condition has, at times, given me a severe kicking.  It left me jobless, homeless and friendless.  Pre-diagnoses, I didn't know what the hell was happening to me and could only see two ways out; an asylum or death.

To compound matters, I was working for one of the Big 4 at the time.  Their treatment of me was absoluitely appalling, bordering on the inhumane.  My so-called team just wanted me out of the door and, had I not been so depressed, I would have had a cast iron constructive dismissal case but I could not even face going out to buy food, never mind take that on.  To the firm concerned, I really was just a piece of human capital (with not much emphasis on the human) who was malfunctioning.  If they could see me now though, they would not believe it was the same person.

I have since found the right medication and have turned my life right around.  I have started afresh and now have a job in which I am flourishing, a loving partner and children and a roof over my head.  Pre-diagnosis, all of this would have seemed like an impossible dream.  Yes, it never really goes away and I still have ups and downs but with the correct medication, my support network and hope, the world is a very different place.

If you are afflicted with depression, or even think that you are, I would urge you to seek medical help and if they seem dismissive at first, persist, no matter how hard it may seem.

When you are depressed, it is a very lonely place to be but you are not alone.  Remember, if you get to see a good doctor, they will have seen it all before and they will know how to help you.

Sir Digby.....thank you again and hopefully your thread will inspire people to seek any help they may need.

simontax

 

 

 

Excellent article    1 thanks

jennyj12 | | Permalink

It is so good to see an article like this related to our profession.  It really does help sufferers to realise that they are not alone. 

 

 

 

 

I'm Amazed    1 thanks

TaxMatters | | Permalink

As a sufferer you always think you are alone. I'm completely amazed that the article attracted so much attention and support. I regard myself as one of the lucky ones - I have a way out of this vicious affliction. As unlikely as it sounds when I begin to suffer I get out of the office and go customer hunting. It works for me but would it work for any one else? A client of mine is a carpenter. His reaction to it is to throw himself into his work - to create something. Does this mean that each of us has a way out of this? All we have to do is find it? I made the mistake of sharing my guilty secret with my daughter and was treated to a chapter of ridicule. I won't make that mistake again.

Amino Acid Treatment - obvious!

wingco44 | | Permalink

I have just checked with the clinic that provides this immediate relief and recovery from depression and they are currently charging just £750 per day for min 3 days (5 days for Alcoholism). I have no connection with this clinic.  When you read some of the contributors on here saying they lost clients, their jobs and relationships it seems a very small price to pay,  But don't just take my word for it.  Those who hate SSRIs and other chemical drugs who have tried this and got well in no time have written reams on the Internet but the UK and Europe are way behind the US in dealing with this 'brain imbalance' illness. If I or any of my team were sufferers I wouldn't hesitate in accessing this programme.  Nothing goes on your medical records which, as already pointed out is a major objection to seeking NHS treatment as future employers will have to be informed; it is highly likely it will affect your employability although it shouldn't but the stigma will apply. I know of a few people who have used this clinic and a friend has sent me an enlightening email after I recommended he tried this route as everything else failed - he couldn't believe how quickly and effectively it worked. If you understand how a lack of Dopamine and Serotonin affects our pleasure and reward feelings, it goes part way to understanding how our neurotransmitters work and how some people become depressed whilst others soldier on regardless.  People continue taking SSRIs and other treatments with very low success rates - it's the first sign of madness - continuing to take something that doesn't work and expecting it to work in future.  The solution is staring us in the face!  And it is entirely natural with no side effects.

daughters

The Black Knight | | Permalink

TaxMatters wrote:

As a sufferer you always think you are alone. I'm completely amazed that the article attracted so much attention and support. I regard myself as one of the lucky ones - I have a way out of this vicious affliction. As unlikely as it sounds when I begin to suffer I get out of the office and go customer hunting. It works for me but would it work for any one else? A client of mine is a carpenter. His reaction to it is to throw himself into his work - to create something. Does this mean that each of us has a way out of this? All we have to do is find it? I made the mistake of sharing my guilty secret with my daughter and was treated to a chapter of ridicule. I won't make that mistake again.

Daughters can be particularly cruel if they are the right age. But bear in mind that the brain is still developing at 15, 16, 17 particularly the bit that relates to empathy. So forgive her too.

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar's picture

Thank you    4 thanks

Sir Digby Chick... | | Permalink

Wow, what a response! Thank you for all of the kind comments and for sharing your own experiences. I'm slightly overwhelmed but so glad to hear so many people have found this article helpful.

I feel I have taken a lot of good advice from the Accountingweb community so it feels great to be giving something back for once.

On a personal level, if there is anyone who would like some one-to-one support I would be more than happy for you to PM me.

Tom 7000's picture

Really...Really...

Tom 7000 | | Permalink

.... the overriding image is of me sat at my desk piled high with overdue work, desperately avoiding my phone which seemed to ring constantly.

Despite my personal finances teetering on the brink of oblivion .......

 

So you have enough work but no money. How can that possibly be so. Youre not charging minimum wage for what you do. You can easily bill £300 a day or £75k a year. .

 

If you are behind hire a temp pay em £150  a day and make an extra £150 a day till you catch up...how hard is that....and you have more cash...and when caught up..no issues.

It may not be so and I apologise if it isnt  but... If what you are  really saying is ( which I hear a lot from the clients)  I need £100k a year to run my life with 2 kids in private shool and the payments on the new Bentley and the Mrs out shopping all the time.... then......sorry right out of sympathy

 

The main reason I have learned why people are potless is because they put themselves in massive debt to pay school fees...when there are free schools

 

So what I said was if I send mine to fee paying school thats £30k a year for 12 years or £360k each x 2 = £720k...how about I just save that up and when they leave...just buy them a house each.

 

Poor quality school..I hear you cry....well the first one  got an A in his GCSE maths is top of his A level maths class and in A level Accounting his teacher says he has a real apptitude for it.....Thats my boy :)

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar's picture

@ Tom    1 thanks

Sir Digby Chick... | | Permalink

Both my children are in public school and I'm happy for them to be so. We live an extremely modest lifestyle (ie have a tiny house).

I think the issue I am trying to raise is more the debilitating effects of depression.

Tom 7000's picture

fair point

Tom 7000 | | Permalink

But having no moneys the only reason I can think of to be depressed...

But thats just me...

I grew up with nowt and I am jolly well not going back there :)

Flash Gordon's picture

Assumes rationality    2 thanks

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

Saying that the only reason for being depressed is money assumes that depression is a rational thing. If it was there would be very few depressed people. Depression doesn't have to have (and probably rarely has) any logical basis. That's half the problem. You can't say to someone who's depressed 'just pull yourself together' or give them a solution for their 'problem' because it's so much more complex. I've had depressive episodes in the past and I doubt any of them had a really obvious reason behind them. Some might have been pushed over the edge by a particular incident (maybe) but the depression was there anyway. I'm lucky that these days I'm as near as dammit depression-free - being self-employed and having pets has done that. And coming to terms with it. Admittedly my OCD is now worse and my introversion is much more pronounced (though that's probably because I no longer feel the need to conform to an extroverted society - and maybe why I don't get depressed!) but that's fine by me.

(And people don't understand OCD either - I know my thoughts aren't rational, that's the problem!!!!) 

Nick Graves's picture

Role of diet

Nick Graves | | Permalink

First of all, congratulations to all who have been brave enough to post. I've seen what it does to people.

The amino acid point is very interesting - there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the rise in depression (like virtually all common illnesses) may be linked to the modern, high-sugar, highly-processed, low-fat diet. Like diabetes/obesity, depression's not actually 'your' fault!

I've switched to a high fat diet (full of amino acids!), lost weight despite eating like a glutton most days, and having become ketone-adapted, find my mental processes (limited as they might be) much clearer, more focussed and far less prone to 'downer' time.

I have no connection with this site, other than to say it seems to work for me:

http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/depression.html#.UpiyjtJdUxE

It seems Swedish Health authorities has recently stopped recommending the low-fat diet.

I post this in the hope that it might lead to happier (and by co-incidence, slimmer, healthier!) accountants, who might be able to avoid the worst of the black dog.

There are plenty of other writers on the subject, if you want to do more research. 

Good luck, and don't let the bastards grind you down.

 

 

 

 

Flash Gordon's picture

Don't forget

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

Don't forget that anti-depressants can help though. They can up your mood enough so that you feel like taking the next step towards recovery. I'm not saying that they should be automatically given out but I don't think they should be looked down on either. I've tried them and I've tried counselling; both have had their uses. What didn't help was a doctor telling me to go for a walk - when you're feeling that down even getting your shoes can feel like too much. Putting one foot in front of the other and going off for a walk... I don't think so. Some people are well-intentioned, and misguided.

You can have lots of money and still be depressed.....    1 thanks

AANM | | Permalink

It's not always to do with money. Depression is more complex that being broke. Being broke MAY contribute but its much much bigger than money. 

 

Paul Scholes's picture

Tom    8 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

I honestly hope you never suffer clinical depression, given your views, you'd possibly feel the effects far more than others who have commented on this thread. In other circumstances your comments would be extremely offensive but your behaviour exhibits the classic unawareness that is at the heart of many modern day ills including the belief that material wealth exempts you from illness and brings you peace.

The truth    3 thanks

Dawson | | Permalink

No one really cares.  If you are in despair and in need of help - then sod you, its each man for himself.  There's a lot of greed around.  

Well done Sir digby

sarah douglas | | Permalink

Hi Sir Digby 

A great article .  Having commented on your other posts over time.  I think your article is great help to people who suffer from depression.  I have never suffered my self but I did have  years on and off of chronic pain which I felt if I had not had a successful operation it could have potentially turned into depression as this is a major problem for chronic pain suffers. I don,t know if it would have happened but just don,t know.

  Anyone could be hit by depression, no one knows.  So I think people need to be more tolerate .  I would like to say there is a big difference between someone being low for a few months and depression .  

All the best Sarah

Good to hear

tom123 | | Permalink

SD - so glad things are sorting out for you.

It is only when you get out of an environment, and view it from afar, that you can see how much of a bad effect it was having.

 

Keep us updated, glad you are doing some 'non accountancy' work as well - like you wished.

Help is always available

EMWTRADER | | Permalink

Dawson, there are many of us who care deeply and, recognising that health issues are often accompanied by financial pressures, we choose to help regardless of whether someone is able to pay. I spend most of my free time doing pro bono work, much of it with individuals suffering depression/bipolar/anxiety/panic attacks etc.

 I extend that offer to anyone here who needs help but feels they do not have the financial means to secure it. Please just ask. You have nothing to lose and it could just make all the difference. I have witnessed the toll that depression takes on all areas of a person's life in a close personal relationship, as well as in many, many clients. It does not have to be this way, help is available and often with amazing outcomes.

 Shabnam
www.sublimeheart.com

Acceptance is the first step.

Alexdon | | Permalink

The number of responses to this article more than underline SD's reference to just how many of us actually suffer from depression. There are probably many more on here that suffer but have not accepted it.

I have suffered for most, if not all, of my adult life. I actually did not believe my doctor when he first diagnosed it so did not try to do anything about it. When I eventually realised the doctor was right I only confided in my wife and wouldn't tell my friends as I was embarrassed.

Eventually I started to get help which led me to be more open about my illness. Unfortunately my reputation as the life and soul of the party (mainly fuelled by alcohol) prevented a lot of people taking me seriously at first. However, whilst the illness is ongoing my initial acceptance of it has certainly made a lot of difference to my life.

Moving on to TOM's comment about money and work, it is not always about getting the work done. I manage to get all my work completed for my clients but once it is complete I sometimes don't invoice straight away and that's the reason my bank balance can be very low.

Finally congratulations to Sir Digby for his excellent post. I hope it is an eye opener for some of the doubters out there. Also thanks for the pointer to MOODGYM a resource I had not heard of.

 

Don't    1 thanks

dropoutguy | | Permalink

Don't knock antidepressants. I suffered burn out ten years ago following a business partner's double dip maternity leave.  Although at times I was better than others, the effects lasted until late 2010 when ( after trying several medications to no avail ) I started on escitalopram. These helped almost immediately and I was able to resume the more challenging technical tax work that I had always been trusted with previously.  If I stay on them, it's not a problem to me.  it's better than the paralysis of anxiety.

It's not about knocking anti depressants......    3 thanks

EMWTRADER | | Permalink

It's not about knocking anti depressants. Used appropriately, they can play a valuable role in managing the symptoms of depression.

 However, they are not a panacea and the evidence appears to be that they are often prescribed inappropriately by GPs for various reasons (such as lack the time/knowledge to advise on more appropriate alternatives and lack of funding/availability of other treatments).

 GPs in the UK prescribe more anti-depressants than most countries in Europe, yet a Cochrane review suggests that only one in seven people actually benefits from anti depressants, with millions enduring at least six months of ineffective treatment. That is at least six months of depression plus side effects from the anti depressants and then withdrawal symptoms when they try and wean themselves off the drugs (which in itself becomes a challenge for many). Another Cochrane review concludes that some anti depressants are only marginally more effective than placebos and the effects of antidepressants may generally be overestimated and their placebo effects underestimated!

 Most people are buying into the belief that there is no cure for depression, the best they can do is manage the symptoms. Big pharma has a very deep pocket and a vested interest to perpetuate this belief, as well as the notion that depression is simply an imbalance of brain chemicals and so is best managed chemically. Big pharma will never allow the release of a pharmaceutical cure for depression, it is just not in their interests to do so (ditto the government, which would lose massive revenues). In the meantime, all this takes us completely away from investigating wider issues such as the impact of lifestyle, as well as trauma-related depression. I have many times cleared/dramatically reduced the latter in a single session, in some cases with clients who have been medicated with limited results for many years. That is one of the things that has really made me question the allopathic treatment of depression.

 Various mental health experts have expressed concern in this regard, including Prof Tim Kendall, the director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, who publicly disagrees that the growing rate of antidepressant prescription is about better management of depression:

"It's much more likely a testament to the effective marketing by the pharmaceutical industry......I also wonder if, in better-off countries, which OECD countries are, we don't have time to be depressed and seek chemical solutions to 'get rid of it'." (Guardian interview)

 The UK is heading the same way as the US at present with anti depressant prescriptions increasing year on year - for children as well as adults! (now that's scarey, especially with links being shown between depression medication and increase in the risk of suicide in certain groups).

 Our worst failing is that at the point where most folks finally seek help for depression they are in a place where their judgement is likely impaired on their best way forward. They are desperate/resigned/overhwelmed/numb/feeling paralysed by then, often with partners/families feeling alienated and struggling to make sense of what is going on. My concern is that they are let down by the very people who should be safe guarding their welfare, and for the wrong reasons. Anti depressants may be a (short term) solution, but there should be no automatic assumption that they are the solution.

 Huge credit to those who manage to come out the black hole long enough to seek help and, if that help is pharmaceutical in the first instance, let's ensure that is appropriate. We need a more holistic approach and much better education to ensure appropriate and effective solutions.

 Ok, off soap box now! Well done if you read this far...... :-)  

carnmores's picture

been up and down like a yo yo for years    1 thanks

carnmores | | Permalink

i didnt know how bad it was until i was frogmarched off to the doics by my colleagues 7 years ago , tried everything citalopram  and countless other drugs but in my view the best thing are CBT and online tools such as moodscope.com. dont just have a happy christmas have a happy life its eluded me

stepurhan's picture

The entity of depression    4 thanks

stepurhan | | Permalink

Red Leader wrote:
The problem as I saw it was that the depression was almost like an entity with a life of its own.
Coming out of the end of a severe bout of depression myself, this comment really resonates with me. The person depression makes you can feel so at odds with who you think you are, it is like someone else has taken over. One of the things that has helped me has been taking up writing poetry again after a long break. This one is about precisely that feeling.

Mind Games

He’s in my head again

 

Shouting

Wailing

Screaming

Crying

Beating on the walls

Not to get out

But to stay in

 

He’s in my head again

 

Pressure building

Growing

Spreading

Filling every part

From top to toe

 

He’s in my head again

 

Weighing me down

Clouding my thoughts

Sapping my energy

Leaving a husk

That struggles to go on

 

He’s in my head again

 

He’s not me

He can’t be me

This grey misery

I’m always cheery

I’m wild, I’m free

I’m full of glee

This smile you see

That’s me!

Isn’t it?

 

He’s in my head again

you    3 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

You just have to pick yourself up and carry on the other choice is not really a choice attractive as it may look sometimes.

It is probably different for everyone too, with a variety of causes, childhood trauma, illness , chemical imbalance, loss of security, death etc etc etc.

The one thing in common is that it is debilitating (what a fantastic word) like wading through treacle

If it were the same for everyone we would all choose the same suicide methods. (some are just awful, how mad is that)

Like anything the answer is education and awareness.

I could do with a time machine if anyone out there has got one.

mcgregorian's picture

Very helpful and honest posting

mcgregorian | | Permalink

Thank you for posting it.

I can identify with nearly all of it; I have never been self employed,

Glad your GP experience has been a good one.  Mine has too.

Best wishes to anyone with depression reading this.

Swedish Chef's picture

Grumpy

Swedish Chef | | Permalink

I had my first spell when I was a bachelor at the turn of the century - lost weight, insomnia, stress, all of that - brought on by a failed relationship amongst other things.  Took a good 18 months to come through but when I did I felt so much happier that I was before the original slide.   I think it's a case of learning to look at life in a different way.

I kept on top of this until recently when my wife was diagnosed with severe depression (originally post-natal, but developed into "the works" as I would refer to it).  She's coming through it now thankfully, but I must admit that with the added pressure on me in recent months to hold the household together (now have two young children), I now feel it all coming back (my wife is aware of it).

What's striking for me is that before, when I lived on my own, I could hide away, let it happen, and deal with it in my own way and in my own time.  This time, I have to pretend for the sake of the children.  I am a very private person, and because of the work "gossips", keep it hidden from all but those close to me - so I'm now labelled to all as "grumpy".  But that gives me an excuse to develop an alternate "persona" if you like, a la Victor Meldrew, in which I can deal with some of my low points in an almost comedy fashion.  That's my therapy - though nobody knows that's why I do it.

It's interesting - we all want people to think that we are resilient, and can cope with anything that life throws at us, but simultaneously hate it when those same people don't realise that actually, inside, we're falling apart.

Swedish Chef - Grumpy    1 thanks

Alexdon | | Permalink

You don't say whether you are employed or the employer, but I suspect you are an employee based upon your post. You obviously have a recognised illness, try to tell the people you work with, it is their problem if they don't understand. I appreciate that is far easier said than done but believe me I have been there and it is a huge weight off your mind when you do it.

Whatever, you and your family are the most important people in your world so do what is best for all of you.

Good luck, I hope most of the responses on here help you to view a solution to, or acceptance of, your problem in a positive way.

My current view is "If you get the choice to sit it out or dance - DANCE

plummy1's picture

In may experience.....

plummy1 | | Permalink

JJAT wrote:

Good article to read - thank you.

I've suffered from anxiety and been treated for it for over 5 years now and depression is always so close at hand for me.

I've always wondered though, due to the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety, whether I should tell any future or current employers. I know by law they can't discriminate against me for that but I still am concerned about the reactions I may face if I mention it. 

Does anyone have any advice or tips on how to handle this?

Thanks

 

I can only talk from my own experience as someone who has been managing depression most of my adult life. Although I work primarily for myself when I applied for jobs in the past I never sought to hide my medical history although like you I did I have the same internal debate. All I can say is to the best of my knowledge I never missed our on a job on medical grounds and I was relatively successful in my previous career. I think if those of us who do suffer start to try and hide the fact then there will never be a wider and more empathetic understanding of the condition.

Hope that helps and may thanks to OP for bringing a debate on this subject into the pages of AccountingWeb. 

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