Workplace stress – you are not alone! 1 in 6 people in your workplace will experience depression, anxiety or stress

Workplace stress – you are not alone! 1 in 6 people in your workplace will experience depression, anxiety or stress

It’s time to break the silence. Diane’s story

Diane Woolrich is a successful counsellor and hypnotherapist based in Cheshire, and it was her own personal experience of stress and having counselling to help combat it which made her become a counsellor herself.

I was 16 when I had my first brush with stress. I was sitting my O-Levels (yes – I am that age), my sister was ill, and I had no idea of what I wanted to do when I left school. I cried most days and soon a palm sized piece of my hair was missing due to alopecia.

This pattern continued whenever I faced a challenging life situation – ending a relationship, stress at work, and the death of my mum. I would lose my hair and I felt like I’d been dragged along a road.

In my 20s I began working within an NHS hospital, which meant long hours and often there would be staff shortages. I felt good saying ‘yes I can help’.  I would volunteer for extra work; I liked the extra money and I liked being reliable.

However, taking sick leave was also common. I didn’t recognise my triggers or early warning signs of stress, and neither did my manager. I was off sick a lot with frequent colds, chest infections and digestive problems. All the creams and ointments my GP prescribed did nothing.

My stress wasn’t all due to work, and most people have several sources of stress in their lives. At the time I was in a relationship which was both violent and controlling. Often my boyfriend at that time would keep calling me at work if I ended up working late to check where I was.

One day I was taken into the office at work and ‘spoke to’ about my ‘irritability’ and poor attitude. I was told I’d let my manager down, and it was made clear my sickness leave was considered excessive. This still upsets me now, because at that time my manager was aware of the relationship problems I was having because at one stage I had to involve the police.

He never asked me how I was, and that day I left work and cried. I cried for 3 months and couldn’t work.

My GP was helpful and referred me for counselling, and I gained so much from those sessions that it sowed the seed in me to become a counsellor myself. It was a turning point in my life because I realised I always put others first, “because if I don’t, I’m this”. That was the start of my journey to become a counsellor and I am so grateful for that.

When I returned to work at the hospital there was a new manager in place, and when I shared my desire to train as a counsellor they supported me to become qualified and allowed me to run practice sessions for other NHS staff.

Now I’ve made it my mission to help others live a life that is true to themselves and free from negative thoughts and behaviours. We need to be kind to ourselves in order to fulfil our true potential.”

Remember, if you are struggling, you are not alone. There is always someone available to help you. If you or someone you know needs support, Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123.

Anyone looking for support either for themselves or someone else on workplace stress, discrimination, or other challenges such as bullying, homophobia or mental health issues anywhere in the UK can find the resources they need here at

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