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Chronic Stress, loss of job, Clinical Depression, and Bereavement


By Al Milledge

When I realised where all of that heavy thinking was coming from, life sort of sprung into place

I had the pleasure of talking to Jonathon. He came to his first ASOH Programme in June 2022. Jonathon had an average childhood experience with two parents and two older stepbrothers and a younger brother. He’d had a well-paid job in the electrical industry in the UK, but was made redundant just as he was supposed to transferred to a job post in Texas USA. It came as a shock after all the plans he had made, but he soon picked himself up and started his own business as an independent electrician.

He worked long hours and took every job that came his way to make it work, he struggled through the extra stress of being self-employed until about 18 years ago. He had a major heart attack in his late 30’s. His consultant told him it was caused by stress and Jonathon shouldn’t go back to work for as long as it took to recover. Jonathon saw all of his choices disappear, he sold his house before it could be taken from him and went to live somewhere he could afford on little to no income.

Not long after his dad passed away, Jonathon’s GP diagnosed him with clinical depression and put him on strong medication. He engaged in some CBT therapy when it first appeared in the UK along with some talking therapy to try to relieve the heaviness of his thoughts, nothing made a difference. The more things he tried that had no effect, the more he convinced himself that there would never be any change, he would just have to live with it. He was constantly tired and washed out from the medication and had no hope of seeing anything worthwhile in his future. His Mum passed in 2022, he had been caring for her. He hit a low and his medication dosage was increased. Eventually his work coach suggested he come along to one of our ASOH Programmes, he decided to give it a go and commit to the whole 8 weeks, even if it turned out to be just like everything else he’d tried.

These are the answers to a few of the direct questions I asked Jonathon.

How did you get on with attending the weekly sessions? I thought they were ok, but I didn’t really get what was being said, it sounded like the same old thing, I was looking for contradictions. I saw other people get it, so I stuck it out. Then, about 7 weeks in, I realised that I was already noticing some of the things you were telling me, my life had just got easier. The message of how I had been misusing thought had found its way in.

Have the ASOH activities that you have taken part in improved your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing/quality of life?
I got an understanding of life that I’ve never had before, it was something that the facilitator said, it sparked a gentle but massive insight. That the end of life is just a change of energy, the energy just moves somewhere else, it gave me so much comfort after all of the loss that I’d experienced. I started to feel love and compassion for other people in class and I wouldn’t have imagined feeling like that for anyone other than a partner or my family. It felt good and it has continued to feel good.

Would you recommend ASOH to others? Absolutely! It’s a simple message but it isn’t easy to get, it is so worth sticking it out until you see what you need to see.

What do you think would have been the outcome had you not taken part in ASOH? I would have been stuck on a high dose of medication and neglecting myself, I was under eating or binging and just generally very low, tired and spaced out, with nothing to look forward to.

I loved my chat with Jonathon, he’s now in a good place after 8 months of coming to ASOH webinars and other events. His busy, ruminating mind is quieter, he is able to listen and connect to people easily which is a big change, that is obvious when I spoke to him. He feels a deep love and appreciation for his family and has reduced his meds to a quarter dose with help from his GP. He is doing volunteer work and has signed up for some professional development. He feels ok most of the time, and has stopped worrying and ruminating when he doesn’t. He is motivated to do something with his time.