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Understanding depression and anxiety
Understanding depression and anxiety

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1  Understanding the role of stress

It is often the case that those developing depression or anxiety have experienced significant stress in childhood or in adult life or both. A case of work-related stress that precipitated serious depression is described in Vignette 1.

Vignette 1  An experience of stress

The following extract is taken from an interview with a 43-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with depression at 40.

Background: Is a divorced part time carer. Before her depression and suicide attempt she was a workaholic in a job that was becoming more demanding. Her depression required hospitalisation.

‘Work had always been really important to me and I’m more like a perfectionist. So everything has to be a 100%, you know, and all that. And I got made promotion several times with my job, and then suddenly, I think like many companies, people started making people redundant, and requesting people to take on more and more and more. In the end I was doing the job 5 people used to do. I was enjoying it. I enjoyed it to the point where it was just getting, physically it was just getting an impossibility. But I’d always loved my job, but it was then becoming that I was away 5, 6 days a week, getting home and I couldn’t get away from work basically, because I would get back here and there would be faxes and messages and goodness knows what and … A lot of my job was travelling a lot I was covering a huge area, not just the UK. And one day I just sort of came home after I had been away for a week, parked my car outside, sat on the pavement and just broke down, basically.’

(Health Experience Research Group, 2010)