Excerpts from an article by Markie Robson-Scott
Published in: Elle magazine, November 2000
Hypnotherapist Deborah Marshall-Warren has several young female clients, many of whom work late every night, feel they have no time for a relationship and are unsatisfied by their achievements. 'No wonder they're stressed and angry', she says. 'They're aware that at work they're dispensable and only as good as the last job they did. Anger can be the response to a perception of what they lack, and that anger then fuels the depression.'
CASE HISTORY: 'I changed my life'
Rebecca Davies, 31, television producer
'I began to feel depressed just when I should have been my most self-assured and happy: in my late 20s when my career took off. I had the job I'd always dreamed of, a great life and a loving relationship with my husband. But I started feeling lost and dissatisfied. The only thing that cheered me up was shopping, so I started buying clothes and things for the house, spending like there was no tomorrow.
'For a while it kept the worst feelings at bay, but after about a year not even shopping made me feel better. I had started to feel really angry, too. I couldn't bear queues, hassle and crowds. If someone was unhelpful or rude, I felt like screaming.
'Work was also driving me crazy. I felt incredibly pressured in my job and increasingly had less time to do what I wanted. My husband and I still had fun when we were together but our time was being squeezed by the hours I put in at work..
'Work defined who I was. I was totally committed to it, 24-seven. I was doing well, but it also made me anxious and resentful. I became critical of everything I did, paranoid that I wouldn't be able to live up to work I'd already done or improve on work I'd done the day before. I was angry and resentful at how it marginalised other aspects of my life.
'I wanted my leisure time back, time to fill my life with something other than work. But much as I wanted change, I was also scared of losing the status that came with my job.
'One day I had a horrific time at work and I couldn't think of anything positive. Instead of feeling happy for a colleague who'd announced she was going part-time, I felt hugely jealous and resentful and went home in a rage.
'There I burst into tears and couldn't stop crying. It was then I realised that I'd allowed myself to spiral out of control -- I had to do something to "fix" my anger and depression.
'I didn't want to take Prozac and I didn't want to spend my life in therapy. I wanted something that was chemical-free and would work quickly. Of all the alternative therapies I read about, I liked the sound of interactive hypnotherapy the most.
'During my first session, the hypnotherapist, Deborah, explained the treatment is all about tuning in to your feelings and verbalising them under hypnosis. I was also encouraged to think of my emotions as shapes, so that I could visualise them. I was quite sceptical, but the results were amazing.
'I started to understand what was making me feel the way I did -- I realised that my whole life was about trying to win gold stars. I did things for recognition, not because they made me happy. And that meant that, while my work CV was brilliant, my "emotional CV" was really empty. I'd managed to make time for a relationship, but there was very little else in my life except work: I barely had a social life, no real friendships and no relaxation.
'Once I'd realised what the problem was, I threw myself into doing things that I enjoyed. I started meeting friends after work instead of working late. I stopped being so competitive, and began to delegate rather than wrestling with things for hours on my own. I learned how to be a more flexible, rounded person, rather than a driven, angry one.
'Out of the office, I've learned how to tune in to my own feelings. When I feel life getting to me and my anger returning, I throw myself into something I enjoy: I read, potter about in the garden, just do something I want to do, rather than getting stressed.
'Today, I feel happier that I have for a long time. I know that there'll be moments when I get stressed again, but at least now I know how to deal with it.'