Depression articles

Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to a stressful event. However, these feelings can become intense, last for long periods and prevent a person from doing their normal day to day activities.

We live in uncertain times and in a world of constant change.  We have to adapt very quickly to new restrictions and lack of freedom.  This comes at a price for our physical and emotional wellbeing. It is important that we focus on ways we can build our resilience and tackle our stress responses.  In the pre Covid-19 world, anxiety and depression were some of the most common mental health problems in western society, with 10% of us experiencing anxiety in the past year. With so much change in our lives, it’s inevitable that some of us will experience more anxiety now than we did before the pandemic.  Try these 4 simple techniques, to help ease anxiety and leave you feeling more relaxed. 1. 7/11 breath Closing your eyes and: Inhale to a count of 7 Exhale to a count of 11 Aim for 10 rounds of the 7/11 breath each time you practice This will help you feel calmer because the longer exhale stimulates the body’s relaxation response. 2. Altering the sensation Close your eyes and notice where you feel anxiety in your body Visualise what colour and or shape the anxiety would be Imagine how the colour and shape would need to change for the feeling of anxiety to be manageable and ok 3. Shaking off the stress When we experience anxiety, the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol run through our bodies. To break down these hormones we need to move, so shaking your body is a very effective way to release anxiety. Simply shake your arms, legs or torso vigorously, focusing on areas that feel uncomfortable. You could put on your favourite music! 4. Dialling down Close your eyes and imagine as vividly as possible a dial with the numbers 1 to 10 on it See or sense the needle registering at the number that best represents how anxious you feel right now Look at the dial and choose to turn it down to the amount of emotion you feel is appropriate to the situation CA Support has a confidential listening service and is here to support our students, members, and their families. Contact the CA Support team on mobile: (353) 86 024 3294 or email:  casupport@charteredaccountants.ie Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.

Feb 02, 2021
News

"Ah, sure, it'll be grand" is an expression widely use in Ireland. Sometimes, however, your staff really do need help. Damian McCourt emphasises the importance of listening to your employees and offering support when they need it. “This is ridiculous,” I said, staring at the influx of work in dismay. “I’m never going to get through all this.” It was 2013, and I was a project manager with far more work than was good for me. I was feeling panicked. My manager looked across at me, shrugged his shoulders in a what-can-you-do sort of way, and announced, “it is what it is”. I put my head down, kept my mouth shut, and proceeded to work myself into a burnout. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I had just been ‘minimised’. Talking about our mental health is never easy. Even if your workplace encourages open discussion on mental health, the desire to appear capable, competent and – above all – strong can be a severe deterrent to asking for help. As a result, it often falls to the manager to ask if someone is okay. This is difficult even at the best of times. It requires planning, privacy and a careful, non-judgmental approach. Try doing this over Zoom with your locked-down kids, and you have a genuine challenge. The good news is that if you’re a careful listener, you won’t even need to initiate this conversation. People ask for help all the time – they just don’t make it obvious. Seemingly off-the-cuff comments on energy levels, mood and workload sometimes hide a call for help, and you can respond in one of three ways: Shift the conversation to you “Oh, I’m up to my eyes too! Wait ‘till I tell you what I had to deal with last week…” Shifting the conversation back to you isn’t helpful but it’s an easy mistake to make as a manager, especially if you’re feeling slightly stressed yourself. Do it often enough, and people will stop talking to you. Minimise the situation “Ah, it’ll be grand. We’re all in the same boat. That’s just the job. Man up and get into it.” Minimise is a put down, pure and simple. Everyone else is OK so you should be too. Pipe down and get on with it. For someone who is already worrying about their ability to cope, you’re doubling their anxiety by dismissing their concerns. Not only are you being supremely unhelpful, you’re giving yourself a harder conversation later on. Offer support “Are things really bad? Anything I can do to help?” We would all like to think that we’d be the one to offer support, and yet we all live with our own concerns and priorities. It’s easy to miss an opportunity to help. Remote working tools can actually make monitoring the health and wellbeing of your staff easier. Keep an eye on your Teams chat and watch for clues in email conversations. It’s easier to ask if someone needs help than if they are okay, and your offer of support might make all the difference. Damian McCourt is a freelance trainer and consultant specialising in workplace resilience, productivity and sensible leadership.

Jan 22, 2021

Each year in January we have Blue Monday, and it has been cited as the most depressing day of the year. However, it is important not to allow the concept to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps it is time to re-train our brain - maybe January could be the time for new beginnings. The days start to become a little brighter and we are a step closer to Spring and Summer. There is something re-assuring about the subtle change in nature in anticipation of better weather that can lift our spirits and encourage us to look to the future. With the current restrictions in place time is something which is not in short supply, so perhaps make plans and try to think about what we can do instead of what we cannot do. Enjoying an early morning walk Having breakfast with your kids Exploring, and appreciating, your local area Getting out in nature every day Embrace online learning Tackling that big DIY project and much-avoided clear-out Develop new gardening skills Learn to cook or bake Start to play an instrument Catch up with friends on Zoom Activity/Health Now is a good time to think about your health. Being active and having a healthy heart has never been more important. A regular walk will make a big difference and there is plenty of workouts or classes online, no matter what your fitness level is. Self-care Managing our stress and anxiety levels is essential and many people use meditation or yoga. But everyone is different, and some find painting or gardening works. Explore some options and find what works for you.  Dublin City Council has developed a great website with lots of activities and classes to keep us occupied and content during lockdown: Holding it together apart. Appreciation The New Year gives us time to reflect and consider our surroundings, our family, friends, and appreciate all that is good in our lives. It also gives us the opportunity to consider changing things which perhaps were not so good for us.    If, however, Blue Monday has made an impact on you then perhaps CA Support can help? We have a 1:1 confidential listening service and lots of other supports to help get your mojo back. CA Support is here to support our students, members, and their families. Contact the CA Support team on mobile: (353) 86 024 3294 or email:  casupport@charteredaccountants.ie

Jan 13, 2021

Has a friend ever said "my life is just worthless"? You may be strong and grounded and able to cope, and you may be able to offer support to others. You may have a friend, a client, a relative or a colleague who tells you that s/he is considering suicide. Let us consider this and how you might response to such a disclosure. How do you respond? Take the disclosure very seriously. Do not try to cheer them up and ‘take them out of themselves’. Ask the direct question if s/he even obliquely mentions suicide, saying something like: “My life is just worthless”,“Sometimes I think that I just cannot go on”, “My family would be better without me”.The direct question you should ask is “Are you thinking of taking your own life?” If the answer is “No”, then you should listen empathetically to how s/he is feeling and notice and name the feelings s/he seems to be describing. Do not deny how s/he feels. For example, if s/he tells you s/he feels worthless and useless, do not tell them that s/he should not feel like that with their beautiful family, fantastic job, and gorgeous house. Accept that s/he feels like that and let them stay with those feelings and talk about them. You just listen. If the answer is “Yes, I have thought of suicide”. You should accept this calmly and hear the depth of the dark place s/he is in. You should then ask if s/he has a plan and let him talk about it if they have a plan. Again, you should give time and listen empathetically. It is important to respect how s/he feels and not to provide your own experience or answers. Having given time and space to allow for the discloser’s feelings to be unpacked, ask what options s/he thinks are available to him. Do not produce your own solutions – listen to the potential ways forward and encourage development of those ideas. However, it is important that someone who is suicidal seeks professional help and you should guide them to that conclusion if it is not emerging. Tell them you will support them as s/he moves along the journey to recovery. Make sure that you stay connected and arrange for your next meeting /conversation to support them as s/he takes the journey they have outlined. Contact them if you have not heard within the time you have agreed. Make sure you are supported yourself, as this kind of disclosure can be difficult for you.   CA Support has a confidential listening service. Feel free to get in touch if you need support during this time. We can be contacted by email at casupport@charteredaccountants.ie or call us on (353) 86 024 3294. Article written for CA Support by Prof. Patricia Barker, Dip. Couns., MPhil, PhD, FCA

Aug 20, 2020

William is a Chartered Accountant who had his own business, but because of circumstances beyond his control he lost his business, his home and suffered with depression. CA Support have helped him throughout these difficult times, and he has given his permission for us to share his story with you. As a Chartered Accountant, I worked with a professional firm until 1985 when the entire department in which I worked was made redundant. With a partner I started my own business importing ladies fashion dresses and accessories from Hong Kong. It was very successful; the items were sold in exclusive outlets throughout the country. All went well until a supermarket chain sold identical items at a much lower price. My business partner left me with extensive business debts, so I had no choice but to sell my home. I was not aware of the Benevolent Society (CA Support) until I rang to explain why I could not pay my annual subscription fee. It was a huge relief to discover that there was support available to me. I worked hard to get my qualification and wanted to keep my membership up to date. On the initial call I explained my circumstances and it was a relief to have a friendly non-judgmental voice on the phone. There was a lot of unemployment at the time due to a severe economic downturn. To help those affected, the Benevolent Society (CA Support) hired the ballroom in the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge and asked me to address the large audience of unemployed accountants. The Institute then set up a small department to assist and offer advice to those who were unemployed. I was very glad I was able to help. I don’t know how I would have managed in the years that followed without their support. I am a very independent person, so the lack of control over my life was extremely difficult to accept. I was unable to find employment, my age went against me and I was also told that I was over-qualified. I turned to writing and had some short stories and magazines published. But the money didn’t cover a fraction of my outgoings, Unfortunately in the winter of 2013 I found myself homeless. I approached the DLR Housing Department and was initially promised accommodation but, the promise was not fulfilled. I was advised I could go into a hostel with the warning that I might have to share with a drug addict, an alcoholic or someone with mental health problems. It was only with the help of a compassionate community officer and my rector that my situation was resolved. Thankfully, I now have a home again I don’t know if I will ever forget that fearful experience, of not knowing what was going to happen to me. I still struggle to find words to express how awful it was. With assistance from CA Support I was able to go in a new direction. I continued with my writing, gave a series of public talks on the effect of suicide on those left behind and last September I gave a talk on the emotional impact of homelessness on mental health at the request of The Irish Council of Churches. For this, I could draw on my own personal experience of having been homeless. I have no doubt that there are others who have stories to tell on how CA Support has helped their lives and continue to do so. Speaking for myself, I hope that those who can will continue to support this organisation, especially now during the current Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertain future that face us all.   William Blackall CA Support are supporting our members and their families always. If you would like to help or if you need help please contact us by email or on 01 637 7342 or 086 024 3294.

Jun 04, 2020

You may think that, as a Chartered Accountant, you should be strong, resilient, and able to solve problems. This is not necessarily true.  You are just as vulnerable as anyone else to the tsunami of apprehension that may be coming at you from all points of your personal compass – from clients, employer, business partners, spouse, elderly family members, children, friends and colleagues.  There are now so many uncertainties about health, finance, fitness, home, diet, sleep and relationships to cope with. You may be strong and grounded and able to cope and you may be able to offer support to others at this moment in time.  Or you may be struggling. You may have a friend, a client, a relative or a colleague who tells you that s/he is considering suicide.   Or you may be so unable to cope yourself that you are considering self-harm, suicide.  Let us consider first who might consider suicide. Who might consider suicide?   Any of us, including you, might think of suicide as a means of dealing with an overwhelming situation.  Generally, suicide is considered when there is a significant imbalance between our risk factors and our protective factors. We all vary, and the list of risk factors is extensive, but your risk factors might include any combination of: A recent bereavement Bullying Serious financial problems A history of depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, or drug abuse A family history of suicidal behaviour or mental disorders A traumatic event Diagnosis with a possibly terminal illness or condition Relationship breakdown Isolation A personality disorder  Your protective factors might include: Your Relationships Social integration Good network Religious beliefs and practices Access to support agencies Your Personal resilience If you are thinking of suicide?   Take such thoughts very seriously. Do not dismiss them or think that you will come through it. Consider and confront your personal risk factors and notice, name and nourish your protective factors. Focus on your feelings and talk to someone about your feelings. You may be feeling overwhelmed, traumatised, fearful, guilty, unable to cope or powerless. You should name these feelings and the fact that you are thinking of suicide. Notice the impact on your life and name it to yourself and talk to someone about that impact. This might include loss of sleep, drinking, feeling depressed, loss of energy, loss of libido, short temper. Think about who you would like to talk to. It might be a family member, a colleague, CA Support, a counsellor, your GP, a clergyperson, The Samaritans. You should not attempt to deal with these feelings alone.   CA Support has a confidential listening service. Feel free to get in touch if you need support during this time. We can be contacted by email at casuppport@charteredaccountants.ie or call us on (353) 86 024 3294. Article written for CA Support by Prof. Patricia Barker, Dip. Couns., MPhil, PhD, FCA

Apr 09, 2020