Bubbles under water

how I discovered I suffer from stress


Colin has become a passionate mental health advocate, and is a volunteer for SHOUT, the national mental health support service.
In his role as both trainer and business owner, Colin’s mental health support skills are often used to help people with their anxieties and stress.

“Pull your socks up, man up and grow a pair.”


That’s what I believed when somebody mentioned stress.


How can you be stressed when you work in an office? It’s not like you’re Police Officer, NHS worker, Fire Fighter or Military personnel.


Then, as they say, karma bit me squarely on the bum.


I got stressed.


How could this be and what does that mean to me?


I am a person who is not rude, I want to make that clear. I would say my manners and politeness is up there with the best of them, but I am nobody’s fool either and will speak my mind if required.


I was always bought up to believe right is right, and to fight your corner until you’re proven wrong. If you’re proved wrong then stop fighting, admit defeat and apologise if required. I live my life by that code.

The cause of my stress

On that fateful day, I was working away, happily minding my own business and my phone rang. I was offered the chance of an interview for a position that was going to pay me nearly 50% more than my current salary at the time.


It was a no brainer, so I went off to Newcastle for the interview, I got the job and now I had to hand my notice in.


Those of you who know me know that I’ve done this once, twice or 15 times before, so it wasn’t an issue. I told my colleagues I was leaving, and they all said that my manager “Fred” (name changed for obvious reasons) would go mad and treat me like dirt.


I replied: “Not to worry, you know what I’m like….”


I was advised not to burn my bridges – “You never know when you might want to come back.”


So I handed my notice in and Fred did indeed treat me like dirt as was promised. I took the advice of my colleagues and swallowed my anger. Fred would swear at me, be derogatory towards my work and generally looking for me to rise to his bait.


How I never bit my tongue, I will never know. But I didn’t respond, I was a good boy and kept it all in. This went on for two weeks. Then it happened. The back of my knees started itching, I couldn’t stop it.


My god the itching was so bad! I looked in the mirror and there were red blotches all over the backs of my legs. I thought “What’s this?”

Accepting I suffer from stress

I went to the doctor, who diagnosed psoriasis. My immediate thoughts were “How, when, why? I’ve never had this before.”


Then he said those words. “Are you suffering from stress?”


As quick as a flash I said “No, I’m just going through a rough patch.”


He asked what was going on and I told him.


“So, you are stressed then?”


Again I replied “No I’m just going through a rough time, but I’m OK.“


He said “You’re not OK. This is your body reacting to the stress that you are facing.”


I cannot tell you how long it has taken me to accept that I suffer with stress.


I’m now 12 years down the line from that incident, but even now, if I get stressed, I will start scratching the back of my legs.


If I’m stressed, my impulsive need to check everything in the house is locked goes through the roof.


I will blog again this month about the stress container and Simon will tell us all about coping strategies.


This maybe an abrupt ending to the blog but we will carry this on throughout the month.


If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or even happy then please talk to us and the Hub community.


That’s what we are here for.

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