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Black Dog - my life is in ruins
#31
destroyingangel Wrote:My way of dealing with it is, well, my way of dealing with it... I keep telling myself that I don't need doctors or pills and that the situation will change for the better soon (optimistic thinking). Yes, I am also aware (afraid?) that I am burying my head in the sand and that, maybe the problem won't go away. But I live in hope and I still have my pride.

But are you really dealing with it or simply coping?

destroyingangel Wrote:Depression and many other health issues should be addressed here (through actually speaking about the problem) or, moreover, by the powers that be. At least we are talking here... as for the powers that be... I live in hope (again).

We have a thread, a forum and plenty of individuals who have shared their thoughts and experiences in as far as they are willing to do so. It's a start. As for the "powers" that be...I'm of two minds about this. I feel personally responsible to do something to address the issue of depression by seeking help (GP, NHS etc) and or changing my circumstances. I mean no disrespect when I say that my own feeling is my mental health is not the responsibility of a union or the IFA.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
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#32
Boxoffrogs- Perhaps, but then the percentage of archaeologists worldwide is even smaller but I would be willing to bet the percentage related to depression wouldn't be.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
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#33
mpoole Wrote:...and many people are very wary of saying anything in public that would reflect on them professionally, which may be why there aren't a lot of people talking.

This did cross my mind, but at the end of the day, I find the thread topic is too important an issue not to comment upon.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
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#34
I suspect that many who view this thread are like me, we do not feel qualified to comment. My minor gripes against the world fade into insignificance when put alongside those of someone who has real depression. I do not feel qualified in any way to comment on facing depression but would say that BAJR is the place for such a discussion. Anything that highlights the real damage that is being done to individuals by the present economic and political set up can only be for the good
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#35
From the heart:
I make a very poor unemployed specimen. The media example of the guy who gets up around midday, spends what little cash he has on booze, tabs and other vices just ain't me. When dealing with very self destructive thoughts you need a clear head. I'm still here although there have been many times in the past when work has dried up and I have been unable to get anything (or enough to pay the rent at least) and my self-worth has hit rock bottom.
I try not to think too much, at least not about how bad things are.I try and reflect on good things and the simple things that we take for granted or never really notice - the way the Bluetits go mad for peanuts hanging from the tree, the crispness of the air early in the morning etc - and this really gets me in a better mood. Endorphins and all that stuff.

I look towards the future. Sometimes I think about how my suicide would effect those around me...those supportive family and friends who I know worry about me. I wonder if they would cry or keep a stiff upper lip. Whether the wake would be a gigantic piss up or whether it would be quite restrained as folk had to work the next day.But these destructive thoughts pass. I write that I look towards the future - some stability in my life and not worrying every month about whether or not I can pay the rent.I'll get there. I imagine that I am swimming across a pool. It is very deep and if I stop swimming, I know I will drown. So I concentrate on the far side of the pool where I have to be and try not to think about how deep the pool is. As long as I focus on where I have to be - and will be - I don't sink.Its a bit like Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. He is able to fly but only if he doesn't think about it.

I try not to think about. Thats not burying the head in the sand. Thats self preservation. I try and keep busy. That, and the support of loved ones (although, it pains me to admit, not all of my close friends and family accept that depression is a real illness..."pull yourself together"...."well we all get upset some days" etc...it gets me into a right old rage being told that there is nothing wrong with me when I know very well that something is up 'in there'. I calm myself down and try not to peep over the yawning chasm that beckons...I push it away and try to be 'somewhere else') helps me a great deal.
Forages I wanted drugs to deal with this but the doctor always refused.Eventually he gave in but at that moment my desire for anti-depressants evaporated - *just like that*.I was worried about becoming addicted.

I try and stay busy and look ahead. Despite the fact that I have not had regular digging work for a while (which for me is what puts bread on the table) I have not a destructive thought for a while, so I guess I'm winning.
Belhaven is your friend
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#36
Quote:My way of dealing with it is, well, my way of dealing with it... I keep telling myself that I don't need doctors or pills and that the situation will change for the better soon (optimistic thinking). Yes, I am also aware (afraid?) that I am burying my head in the sand and that, maybe the problem won't go away. But I live in hope and I still have my pride.

Quote:But are you really dealing with it or simply coping?

To be perfectly honest... I cope (just about). No, I haven't been to a doctor although I have seen a work-related councellor (CBT) last year. I was referred by my then work and then union... apparently I was more tightly wound than a coil and the stress was affecting my work (which in hindsight makes me laugh... I was referred by my employers because my stress was affecting my work, when actually my work situation was one, amongst many, of the contributing factors to the stress). Catch 22... between a rock and a hard place. Other factors conspired to result in what I am today... unemployed, feeling totally unemployable, technically homeless and pennyless. Sometimes I feel I can't move on (forward) but also very definetly unable to go backwards. But I have some plans (concrete ones and some pipe-dreamy ones) and ways of getting out of this situation - of these, only one involves archaeology. Maybe it is time for a fresh start (which will be difficult given my age)... something that isn't money or performance orientated. So long as I just get by, but actually feel happy about what I do, that's all I want at the moment. If anyone recognises me from what I've just said... then so be it. I don't care anymore. Maybe it is time that the profession recognises it's inherent instability... both in the nature of work and, more precisely, the nature of its workforce.

Quote:We have a thread, a forum and plenty of individuals who have shared their thoughts and experiences in as far as they are willing to do so. It's a start. As for the "powers" that be...I'm of two minds about this. I feel personally responsible to do something to address the issue of depression by seeking help (GP, NHS etc) and or changing my circumstances. I mean no disrespect when I say that my own feeling is my mental health is not the responsibility of a union or the IFA.

True, I agree... something I alluded to in an earlier post. However, as boxoffrogs has already said... the problem(s) won't go away. It maybe a small problem in respect to the total archaeological workforce... but if you add up all the other stuff that affects the archaeolgical community (much earlier threads regarding drugs) then maybe it isn't so small. As I've mentioned before, to me (my thoughts... maybe not true, but I can only go by personal experience) the archaeological community has more than its fair share of problems - health problems, addictions, debts to name a few. It's not just a mental health issue (which you are right by the way... it should be the responsibility of the individual). But, if the governing bodies of this community appear to not recognise that there are problems with its workforce or, to some peoples views, even try to shy away from it... where do we go from here? Why is it that the Lawyers (Law Society) recognise the problem has a range of in-house bodies and contracted companies that deal specifically with this (LawyersDefence Group, LawCare) or Teachers (Teacher Support Network) and we don't? (Ok, there are many more lawyers and teachers than there are archaeologists and also maybe they have recognised the problem way before us). I'm not asking the IFA, EH or ALGAO or whoever to set up a helpline, forum or whatever (to be honest it's probably none of their concern)... it's just that we are a relatively small community, yet with a (seemingly) large number of dissafected and disillusioned workers... or non workers as the case maybe. If BAJR can recognise it (and accept it)... what about the others?
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#37
All,
We all need to reconsider where we are and where we are going as opposed to where we want to be. The job market is contracting fast and is likely to tighten still further once the Council budgets kick in next month. It is not just Archaeology that is being held to ransom, other professions are likewise suffering, but in the main their professional bodies (as DA says) have systems in place to help their members. Our 'profession' seems sadly lacking here.

When the National Trust get in excess of 700 applications for one archaeology post I feel that we collectively need to re adjust our sights and think of new careers. Not something I truly want to do, but given that there seems to be little alternative... Do we re-train or take factory jobs/sweep the streets/pick fruit? At the tender age of 55 I have been advised (unofficially and off the record) by DWP to think of my recent redundancy as early retirement..

The depression and stress of my continued unemployment, lack of house sale (I HAVE to sell), the break up of my marriage (in part caused by the stress of the last two years in this profession), the recent death of a very close relative and my continued financial decline is now beginning to tell. I no longer sleep a full night, I can not concentrate on reading or writing, I am irritable to the 'nth degree, I hate TV and loath noise in general. Life seemingly has little to offer in the positive.

If I/we can find solace in being able to let off steam and talk to others in a similar state/position I feel that it can only help.

Having attended a recent 'professional CV seminar' I am happy to share advice, hints and tips on CV's and presentation should anyone so like.

So I sit here throwing raisins at the blackbirds shooing the wood pidgeons after preparing the eveing meal and completeing the house work 15 years post the degree of my choice and now wasted.
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#38
To be fair to the IfA they have recently published (January 2011) an advice document on Disability and Archaeology, authored by a medical doctor connected to Reading University and which does contain a section that deals with mental health. Of course it maybe that document needs expanding, particularly to cover stress and the pressure that the current economic situation is exerting on the mental health of archaeologists.

To that end (and as an IfA member) I would be happy, when this thread has run it's course, to summarise the discussion here and pass it on to the IfA with a suggestion perhaps that it could be appended to their Disability advice document (call it appendix A maybe). Of course I will remove names and any identifying detail.....Perhaps, and of course if David is happy with the idea, this summary could also be made available through BAJR as well....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#39
Kevin

As a MIFA I second that!

BoF
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#40
I dont seem to suffer from depression so I dont know if this is of interest
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault

maybe there should be a subject of archaeology and depression
Reason: your past is my past
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