caba gave me access to an online programme for treating stress, anxiety and depression. It did me a lot of good and made me realise that I have choices. I am much happier at work and at home now.
My wife's a chartered accountant, I actually work as a financial analyst for a large financial firm. My problems at work crept up on me. It was a very stressful time for the team, and looking back, I didn't manage that stress as well as I could have done. The workload was very heavy, I never seemed to get to the end of any task, and everything I did was being judged. I felt very rushed and some comments were made about my output which I felt were very unfair.
I took it all too seriously, and stopped enjoying life. Everything at home was fine - my family were doing well. But I was preoccupied with work all the time, things just went around and around in my head. I wasn't getting enough rest, I wasn't eating very sensibly, I wasn't getting anything out of music or walking. There were times when I had thoughts of jumping in front of a train.
I got to a point where I realised I needed to do something about it. I knew I needed help. I rang work and told them that I wouldn't be coming in for a while. I told them about the stress I was experiencing. I was offered a programme of emotional support through work, but I wasn't confident it would be confidential. So my wife suggested caba. I emailed them and had a few phone conversations. My advisor was really nice, very respectful. He listened without judging, and gave me access to an online support programme. It's a step-by-step programme that helps you recognise the causes of stress, anxiety and depression and helps you to overcome your issues. It looks a lot at patterns of thought and you start to realise that maybe, black and white thinking, or exaggerating things in your mind can make you feel worse. The course trains you to have new, more positive thought patterns.
While I was doing the programme, I came to see that one of the things that was contributing to my anxiety was my son. He had recently left home to join the army. There was a lot in the news at the time about young soldiers being hurt, and I now see that I was very fearful for him. I was caught in a loop of pessimistic thinking. Doing the programme made me re-think what my son was doing and realise that I held an overly-negative view. I feel very confident about what he is doing now, and I am able to enjoy his successes. Also, seeking support from caba helped me demonstrate how determined I was to improve my mental state. I think that helped my relationship with my wife and work. At that point I returned to work, and while the environment hadn't changed, I had.
After a spell, the stress got to me again, but this time I recognised it and I went straight to my GP. He encouraged me to have more time off, and focus on the relaxation techniques and what I had learned about thought patterns. It did me a lot of good and made me realise that I had choices. I decided that if I was to stay in such a demanding job, I needed more time to relax, practice music and have time to myself. I asked my employer if I could cut back to a 4-day week and they agreed. I don't think I would have made that decision without having done the online programme. My thinking would have been too narrow to see other options.
I am much happier at work and at home now. I still use what I learnt, not just to stay on top of my thought patterns but also to help me understand my relationships more. I think it has been good for our whole family.
If you are feeling anxious, fed up or that others are asking the impossible of you, you should contact caba without delay. For me, it was the first step on the journey to getting better.
caba supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. Our support is free, impartial and strictly confidential. For advice, information and support please click on the button below.
We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students.
You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer page.
If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.
*Please note none of our other services are means-tested.