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Depression: A practitioner's view

28th Nov 2013
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As part of our stress and mental health awareness series on AccountingWEB, member Sir Digby Chicken Caesar writes about what it's like to be an accountant while coping with 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 my personal finances teetering on the brink of oblivion, I just could not bring myself to get the work done or speak to anyone.

If anyone had been unfortunate enough to share my office with me, they might have come to the conclusion I was simply bone idle. But the simple truth is: my depression was crippling me.

And despite having suffered depression for most of my adult life, when researching my illness, I found the statistics for mental health problems in the UK surprising.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, “Mixed Anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis”.

We all have our down days, not least with the cold dark evenings and the tax return season looming large. 

Many of us will bound about the term “depressing” when we discuss the upcoming January gloom, however how many of us are truly aware of what depression really is? It’s actually pretty easy to identify in ourselves, with three core symptoms:

  • Low mood
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lack of interest or enjoyment in life

To be diagnosed with depression, at least two of the three core symptoms would have been experienced for most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks.

They can be accompanied by excessive feelings of worthlessness and guilt, hopelessness, morbid and suicidal thoughts and weight gain or weight loss.

Spotting depression in others is considerably more difficult.

Some sufferers will naturally reach out to those closest to them for support and otherswill go to extraordinary measures to conceal the condition understandably so, as despite a recent high profile media campaign, mental health is still perceived to be heavily stigmatized.

Perhaps more so by the sufferer, than by the rest of society. There is often a sense of 'what is wrong with me?' particularly where there seems to be no rational cause for depression.

There are some common signs to look for that might indicate someone close to you is suffering depression, such as difficulty concentrating, seeming tired or listless much of the time, extreme weight gain or loss, extreme irritability or aggressive behaviour which might have previously seemed out of character.

I’m not suggesting in any way that you jump in and confront anyone you suspect may be experiencing depression, particularly as they may be going to extreme lengths to conceal this from the rest of the world.

The best approach is to be silently supportive and if this is a colleague ensuring that they are not under excessive pressure in terms of workload and responsibility in the same way you would any other colleague.

One of the key characteristics of anxiety and depression can be overwhelming self loathing and lack of self worth so stacks of encouragement and simply helping them feel others are interested how they are, can be a real boost for their sense of self worth.

For me, the turning point came when I started to view my depression as a disease.

I didn’t choose to suffer this affliction, nor did I do anything to trigger or exacerbate it. Once I had accepted this simple point, I stopped blaming, hating and berating myself. It’s taken a long time, but I can now reflect on how my conditioned responses to anything negative can set me on a downward spiral.

Essential to this change in mindset was a website that completely changed the way I think. Moodgym is an interactive website created by the staff at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University. It is a completely free program of cognitive behavioural therapy that gives depression sufferers the tools to cope with and overcome the negative effects of depressive thinking.

For sufferers of depression, it’s important that they realise you are not alone. There is lots of help available and by far the best place to start is with a GP.

I have been incredibly impressed with the attitude and support provided by all of the GPs - yes, I have spoken to all of them over the course of the past few years - at my local practice. I believe that the NHS has taken great pains, from the doctor’s perspective at least, to recognise depression for the illness that it is, and treat sufferers with support, kindness and understanding. I sincerely hope that this is the experience for everyone seeking help for depression. I recommend if it is not, that you find a better doctor.

Helpful Links:

Talk to Someone:

  • Samaritans - If you need to talk to someone in complete confidence call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 24 hours a day.
  • The Mind Infoline - If you have any questions about mental health problems or where to get help call 0300 123 3393 or email [email protected].

Replies (55)

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By AndyC555
29th Nov 2013 11:06

Good Article

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.     


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By frankfx
29th Nov 2013 11:13

applaud your contribution

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!!

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By shaka198
29th Nov 2013 11:15


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.

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By Paul Scholes
29th Nov 2013 11:23

This is no longer Black Friday

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


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By abacusman
29th Nov 2013 11:32


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

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By emilyduffy
29th Nov 2013 11:32

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.

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
29th Nov 2013 11:57

another perspective

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.

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Replying to SteveHa:
By stepurhan
01st Dec 2013 08:17

The entity of depression

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






Beating on the walls

Not to get out

But to stay in


He’s in my head again


Pressure building



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

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By The Black Knight
29th Nov 2013 11:41


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.

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By derdle
29th Nov 2013 11:56


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.

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By puzzel
29th Nov 2013 11:57

It takes time

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.

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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
29th Nov 2013 12:00

For some it may be worth ...

... 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.

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By wingco44
29th Nov 2013 12:17

Depressive Illnesses - a solution

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 or   And please do your own research, like I did.

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By wingco44
29th Nov 2013 12:19


'root' not 'route' ooooops

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By maz444
29th Nov 2013 12:24

WOW what a day to see this

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



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By beatty_2002
29th Nov 2013 12:25

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.


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By sclack
29th Nov 2013 12:25

Well done for publishing such a thoughtful & insightful article

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.

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29th Nov 2013 12:26

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

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?


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Replying to Wanderer:
By RKemsley
29th Nov 2013 12:41

Medical records

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

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Replying to Wanderer:
By plummy1
08th Dec 2013 19:29

In may experience.....

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?



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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By RKemsley
29th Nov 2013 12:31

Thank goodness for the debate

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 tel: 07859 940947

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By Rachael White
29th Nov 2013 12:35

Discussion group

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.

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By Linus Letap Limited
29th Nov 2013 12:59

Thank you

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

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By Michael C Feltham
29th Nov 2013 13:00

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.


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By Simontax
29th Nov 2013 14:03

Excellent excellent article

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.





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By jennyj12
29th Nov 2013 13:26

Excellent article

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. 





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By TaxMatters
29th Nov 2013 14:12

I'm Amazed

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.

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Replying to legerman:
By The Black Knight
29th Nov 2013 14:28


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.

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By wingco44
29th Nov 2013 14:24

Amino Acid Treatment - obvious!

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.

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By Sarah Offord
29th Nov 2013 14:31

Thank you

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.

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By Tom 7000
29th Nov 2013 15:00


.... 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 hard is that....and you have more cash...and when caught 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 = £ 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 :)

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By Sarah Offord
29th Nov 2013 15:06

@ Tom

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.

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By Tom 7000
29th Nov 2013 15:32

fair point

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 :)

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By User deleted
29th Nov 2013 15:41

Assumes rationality

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!!!!) 

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By Nick Graves
29th Nov 2013 15:45

Role of diet

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:

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.





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By User deleted
29th Nov 2013 17:23

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.

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29th Nov 2013 19:10

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

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. 


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By Paul Scholes
29th Nov 2013 23:01

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.

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By Dawson
29th Nov 2013 23:01

The truth

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.  

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
30th Nov 2013 10:53

Help is always available
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.


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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
29th Nov 2013 23:28

Well done Sir digby

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

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By tom123
30th Nov 2013 09:15

Good to hear

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.

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By Alexdon
30th Nov 2013 11:05

Acceptance is the first step.

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.


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By dropoutguy
30th Nov 2013 13:54

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.

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By carnmores
30th Nov 2013 20:24

been up and down like a yo yo for years

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 dont just have a happy christmas have a happy life its eluded me

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By The Black Knight
02nd Dec 2013 10:19


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.

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By mcgregorian
02nd Dec 2013 13:22

Very helpful and honest posting

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.

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By Swedish Chef
03rd Dec 2013 14:21


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.

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By Alexdon
03rd Dec 2013 21:50

Swedish Chef - Grumpy

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

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Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
09th Dec 2013 12:40

Thanks for posting this.

Aren't there a lot of us here? I've suffered with depression since I was a teenager, and I work for myself because my illness makes me unemployable. Turns out, that's a good thing, because I love running my business. It would fall apart without my employees, though - they are one of my key coping mechanisms, and they are wonderful.

To the poster above who said "having no moneys the only reason I can think of to be depressed..." that assumes depression is a choice. Is epilepsy or diabetes a choice? Is cancer, or the flu? Is schizophrenia or fibromyalgia a choice? Depression, stress and anxiety are no more choices than any other more tangible and identifiable illnesses.

I've run my own business for over 9 years now. Because of public attitudes such as the above, I've only started to feel confident enough to be open about my mental health problems (in a business setting) in the last 12 months. I'm no longer ashamed, but I realise I was embarrassed about it for many years.

I'm a fully signed up member of the SSRI club (antidepressants). Talking therapies do b*gger all for me, I tried MoodGym a while ago but it didn't click with me at all (but what a fab resource for those who do respond to it!). A low level medication gives me my life back. And I love it.

Thanks AWeb and Sir Digby for speaking about this openly.


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