Years later Cartwright explains, things changed – drastically. “I started feeling very anxious about my job, almost on a daily basis. I couldn’t explain it, it was just something that I carried with me at all times.” “Eventually, I sought help for anxiety. It was really hard to admit, but ultimately my humility saved my life – and my profession.”
Though medical-related professions are some of the highest stress (and prone to substance abuse), is it possible other, less stereotypically “stressful” jobs could be high stress too?
Alex Dougan took his first job in general labour when he was eighteen and fresh out of high school. At forty-three, he’s retired, having filed for social assistance under “permanent stress leave.” Dougan says it crept up slowly, a sleeping giant of sorts.
“Who would’ve thought roofing could send me to a shrink!” jokes Dougan. “But seriously, I never thought in a million years that I’d be the kind of person who just couldn’t handle the pressure anymore. People always laugh when I tell them what I used to do – but it’s no laughing matter when you become paralyzed (emotionally) from stress.”
Outside of environmental stress or stress due to a person’s survival being threatened, stress is an internal response – generated and controlled from within. It’s vital that people understand that it’s not simply about what job they “do” but how they handle their workplace stress.
The bottom line? Don’t wait until you just can’t “stand it” any longer – seek help before the breaking point to offset any long term repercussions.
“If my coworkers, friends and family hadn’t been so dismissive about my job, seeing it as something that couldn’t possibly be giving me grief – I may still be working today. Talk to someone before it’s too late.”