Eric Joyce MP has been charged with assault after losing it in the Strangers Bar of the Commons. Like bankers, traders, doctors, sales reps and lawyers there’s very little mental health or pastoral support for MP’s – the Chaplaincy role in Parliament seems more ceremonial than anything else – and it would seem that Joyce was left to get on with it after his previous arrest, driving ban and loss of his Shadow Cabinet job in 2010.
Many people thrive in high-pressure jobs, it looks as if Joyce did too until the day that he didn’t. Like Joyce, Nick Leeson and Kweku Adoboli were left to get on with things after a number of actions that suggested they might not be managing. Part of the reward for this kind of lifestyle is high wages, high status, tolerance of illegal behaviours like drug use and driving convictions, and lots of perks to offset the ludicrous hours, non-negotiable deadlines, high workloads, often tedious processes and sustained adrenalin drenching. Of course, all the research shows that high pressure jobs can double the risk of anxiety and depression, as well amplifying any vulnerability to eating disorders, drug and alcohol dependence. Perhaps counter-intuitively, people who’re attracted to this kind of work can have real problems with self-esteem, shame and self-loathing.
Psychopathic personalities thrive in this toxic arena. A great many of us have some psychopathic traits but an environment that rewards pure greed or encourages you to ignore the human consequences of a deal or an ideological policy positively nurtures madness.
Alastair Campbell is not known for his lack of robustness and he remains open about his own mental health problems.
One in 4 of us will experience it. Clients who come to me from prestigious backgrounds experience it and leave feeling less like a miserable failure on the verge of collapse. They don’t make videos about it but neither are they ashamed or afraid of asking for confidential, professional help.
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