Mental Health Information

Stress in the workplace

Work-related stress results when the demands of work exceed resources for managing those demands.

Most jobs will involve some level of stress, and this level will fluctuate over time as a result of various factors. However, when occupational stress becomes excessive or chronic, it can cause significant problems for an individual’s physical health, and increase the risk of anxiety and mood related problems.

People experience stress in a variety of different ways.

Physical: New physical ailments or an exacerbation of existing issues, headaches, muscular aches and pains, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, fatigue, sleep difficulties, or stomach upsets.

Psychological: Irritability, mood swings, worrying, helplessness, a sense of disconnection from colleagues and others, concentration / memory difficulties, or issues with decision-making.


  • taking frequent sick leave from work (absenteeism),
  • attending for work but producing a low output (presenteeism)
  • procrastination
  • making avoidable errors at work, or performing below the usual standard
  • ruminating about the job outside the workplace
  • avoiding family/social engagements
  • having a short temper
  • eating too much or too little
  • drinking more alcohol than usual or smoking more than usual
  • using prescription or non-prescription drugs to ‘wind down’ after work.

Some issues that might contribute to stress at work include:

  • Factors specific to the job, such as poor physical conditions, safety issues, unrealistic deadlines, long hours, or an unmanageable workload
  • Factors specific to the individual’s role in the organisation, such as confusion about responsibilities, poor job-person fit, poor time management, difficulties in managing separate or conflicting roles within an organisation (for example, that of supervisor and colleague), or uncertainty about the future of the organisation
  • Career development issues, such as being passed up for a promotion, or lack of job security
  • Relationship issues, such as poor support from supervisors, conflict with co-workers, harassment, discrimination or bullying
  • Problems with organisational structure / climate, such as low levels of perceived control over work tasks, over-supervision, lack of consultation on important issues, office politics, or budget problems, pressure to complete work tasks or check emails outside of normal work hours
  • External stressors, such as a long commute to work, lack of sleep, grief/loss, separation / divorce, mental / physical illness or caring responsibilities.


Everyone can feel sad, particularly when faced with loss or grief. Depression, however, is more than low mood and sadness at a loss. It is a serious medical illness. It is the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. The sufferer feels extremely sad, dejected and unmotivated.

One in four women and one in six men suffer from depression at some time in their life. Only about 20 per cent of people are correctly diagnosed.

Depression can mask itself as a physical illness. Chronic pain, sleeplessness or fatigue can all be signs.

Some of the symptoms of depression can include:

  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • A loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Inability to get to sleep or waking up early
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Feeling restless, agitated, worthless or guilty
  • Feeling that life isn’t worth living
  • A combination of factors

Depression results from a combination of physical and psychological factors. These cause chemical imbalances in the brain. Diagnosis in every case needs a careful analysis of causes.

Physical causes include:

  • Mental illness and treatment
  • Inherited traits
  • Chemical changes
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Psychological causes include:

  • Life stress
  • Negative experiences and loss
  • High anxiety
  • Seek help if you experience symptoms of depression

If you experience some or most of the symptoms of depression, it is important to seek advice from a doctor or Brisbane depression counsellor.

Careful medical and psychological evaluation is needed to determine the best treatment.

This may include:

  • Drug therapy with antidepressants
  • Psychological therapies
  • Education and counselling
  • Avoiding situations which may contribute to the depression

There are many options for getting help.

  • Depression is a constant feeling of dejection and loss, which stops you doing your normal activities.
  • Depression can be mistaken for a physical illness, such as fatigue.
  • Antidepressants can help most depressed people, but they must be accompanied by psychological therapy and education.
  • Help is at hand. Talk to our Brisbane depression counsellors today. Get in touch now.

Other Issues

Gaslighting IS always about self-preservation and the maintenance of power and control – i.e., the power and control to construct a narrative that keeps the gaslighter in the right and their partner in the wrong.

When you second guess your reality to the point where you feel like you are losing it – this is a major sign of gaslighting. It makes it difficult to trust yourself or unsure if what you are feeling is invalid.

Your partner is dismissive of your feelings – When you bring up a concern or share feelings with your partner, the partner may convince you that you are mistaken or that you are over thinking. Some partners will even deny the event happened.

They never let you talk during a conflict – They are constantly cutting you off and not letting you explain your point of view. If you find yourself recording your conversations or writing long emails to get your point across because you can never get a word in when you speak in person, then you are probably experiencing gaslighting.

Your partner never apologises when you express hurt- If you share with your partner that you are hurt and they lack empathy, that is a red flag. If a partner is never willing to take accountability for their actions and you you are trying to justify your feelings in order for your partner to determine whether or not they are valid, you are being gaslit by your partner.

If you notice that your partner often blames you when conflict arises or blames their actions on outside factors – gaslighting

The gaslight partner often changes the topic to something you have done rather than addressing what they have done.

Some partners may take to belittling you, calling you too sensitive as a way of taking accountability for themselves.

You start to believe that you are not working hard enough in your relationship – At some point you may believe that you are not doing enough. Your partner has denied, minimised, or placed blame on you when you have tried to voice your concerns.

Both partners will make mistakes and both partners should apologise when they are in the wrong, in healthy relationships.

If this is one sided then it is an indication that the relationship dynamic is organised around themes of power and control.

Using your voice brings about feelings of guilt – Your relationship may get to the point where sharing any of your feelings becomes incredibly difficult to do. Bring up a concern or sharing your true feelings starts to make you feel guilty.

This is a sign that there is control at the center of your relationship, which is a key marker of gaslighting

Pay attention if you are feeling suppressed or if you are feeling voiceless in your relationship.

You will notice in every situation of gaslighting there is an avoidance of taking responsibility for that person’s role in the relationship.


As soon as a relationship starts, it becomes increasingly hard for Jennifer to bring up her concerns to Steve about spending enough time together. When they are out together, Steve would treat Jennifer as if they were still platonic friends and flirt with other people. This made Jennifer confused and prompted her to initiate a conversation about their developing relationship.

When Jennifer brings up her concerns about flirting with other people and asks if Steve to spend more quality time together, he gets upset.

The reaction is “You are acting like I don’t care about you at all” or “Am I bad person for trying to make new friends?” Steve deflects his behaviour and makes Jennifer feel she was in the wrong for trying to gain clarity around their relationship.

Why do people gaslight?

A person who gaslights may not have the capacity to sit with their emotions or self-reflect and may even have feeling of low self-worth that they are uncomfortable dealing with. In some cases, gaslighting is used by someone psychologists would identify as a narcissist, where the person has no sense of remorse for their actions or empathy with their partner.

Gaslighting can be done either consciously or unconsciously. Some people consistently use gaslighting as a tactic to maintain control in relationships, so they may not realise how harmful it is.

How to stop gaslighting in a relationship:

  • Seek support to affirm your experience – Seeking support from trusted people outside of the relationship is crucial to helping you feel validated and affirmed in your experience.
  • You can choose to confront your partner – There is a chance that your partner does not realise they are gaslighting you. Therefore it may be worthwhile explaining to them what gaslighting is, how they are enacting it, and how it makes you feel.
  • If you are dealing with a narcissist, confronting them is futile – It is unlikely that a toxic person will admit to manipulating the relationship in order to have a sense of control.
  • If you are experiencing gaslighting in the moment – Do not engage; End the conversation.
Gaslighters are not interested in your perspective or feelings.

Leave the relationship if gaslighting persists – If gaslighting is pervasive and confronting your partner is not an option, consider leaving the relationship.

If your partner becomes enraged while they are gaslighting you, it is even more imperative that you consider ending your relationship altogether.

Notice the patterns – Regardless of whether we choose to go or stay, develop an understanding of your own attachment patterns.

Sometimes we legitimately cannot see the behaviour but often when we look back on a bad relationship we can recognise the red flags and gut instincts we overrode in the hopes of receiving love and connection.

Recognise that it is not up to you to stop the gaslighting – Gaslighting is never your fault.

In a healthy relationship, both partners are accountable for their own behaviours and when it comes to gaslighting the person doing it must have a willingness to change.

Source: Jayda Shuavarnnasri, M.A., mbg.

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