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  • Mental Health

    So.....how do you cope? I mean how can you tell if you are not right or starting down the road to depression.....what help is there? Where can you get help while you are away? Who do you turn too?......

    Or is it all just be mannly and man up sort of thing?

  • #2
    It's a difficult one. There has to be some self awareness, there is a little bit of everyone looking out for each other and there is a bit of manning up and getting on with it.

    People are slightly more aware of mental health issues than they used to be and if the captain is aware that there is a problem then he can ask for professional support from ashore.
    Go out, do stuff

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    • #3
      Mental Health

      I have said from day one you have to be mental to work at sea.

      Yeh I have got a bit depressed at sea the problem is you can't leave your work and go home and have a chat with the wife/girlfriend so you just have to get on with it take it on the chin and think of the money ha

      If this happens a lot then your in the wrong job I do what I so because I love doing it

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      • #4
        It gets a bit lonely and fatigue can run you down but yea, manning up is a requirement. It's more pronounced within some of the crew who are working NINE month contracts... that's a tough one!! I always find it best to avoid relationships on board too, as they really screw with your mental health, although i've never had any personal dealings with mental health issues, I know it happens!

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        • #5
          Depression and feeling isolated is a really serious issue within our industry and is one, I feel, is not looked at or treated seriously enough.

          As Clanky as said, that has to be a certain set of self-awareness and you do have to sort of keep an eye on each other and if you do have some concerns about one of the others on board that it is flagged up and dealt with appropriately (I believe it's one of the goals of the "Mission to Seafarer's" to combat depression).

          It's something that can affect all of us (even me) and is something to definitely keep an eye out for both in college and at sea....
          I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

          All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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          • #6
            I think the problem comes in when you are working with foreign crews and you don't really have anything in common with other people on board.

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            • #7
              I am fortunate that my wife is a Counselor and Psychotherapist and therefore has given me tons of advice over the years about looking for signs and symptoms and helping people to cope.

              From my own experience I think that greater self awareness really only comes with age and that also means the ability and maturity to cope. More so for us blokes...

              There is far less stigma to it these days, and you would all be surprised to know how many people actually do suffer from some form of depression and need support in some way. I can honestly say that I believe that at least half of my staff are having some support or another, and my wife has helped a fair few as well.

              I think there are big differences between men and women. I think women suffer more but are more open about it and discuss it openly. Men think it is not manly, therefore do not discuss it and set themselves up for a crash. I had a spell a couple of months ago where I turned around and told people I was struggling, kids falling out, staff problems, parents having major surgery and all that jazz and I needed a bit of space. I was amazed at how supportive people were.

              If you feel that you are not right then sit down and talk it through, a close friend may spot signs and symptoms and be able to help, or even someone who does not know you, who can listen to you. Blokes are not the best at that - we want to fix it, not listen and be understanding!

              For a guy to think something is wrong then it probably is already happening to them - the last thing you should do is try to "man up", that just leads to a fall. On advice from the better half try to find a counselor who is "person centered" and not CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), but she does say that sometimes men want it fixing and so CBT works - but is only a sticking plaster.

              Three years ago I had a bad fall that led to bleeds in the brain, cysts forming in the middle of my brain and some big problems with vision and cognitive thinking with a couple of months in and out of hospital and off work. It has left me a changed man, but much more self aware of my shortcomings. I am far more emotional now - probably because a Neuro Psychologist said "Do you know how lucky you really are? Many people die with that sort of injury and most of the rest need teaching to walk and talk again." I became a blubbering wreck about 10 seconds later and could probably cry whilst watching "The Sound of Music" or "Bambi" now. My wife used to get embarrassed for me when I got tearful over the simplest of things, but once I told her it does not embarrass me if I get upset in front of anyone she is far more relaxed now.

              Talk about it...... and then talk some more........

              Ian
              "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
              "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

              "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Martyboy View Post
                I think the problem comes in when you are working with foreign crews and you don't really have anything in common with other people on board.
                I disagree with that. I've had minor issues with mild depression in the past, but it was never when I was at sea (and I was the only Brit on board most ships), it was when I was in college.

                No idea why....
                I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I always found that even though you make friends and get on well with people from other nationalities, your social references are different from theirs, so it can make communication a challenge, and when you stressed/depressed etc as it is, it becomes more difficult to open up to people. I am talking purely on ship, people can get depressed for a million reasons, but when you need to sit and talk it out with someone...... it can be a lot more difficult with foreign crews, and this then seems to amplify the problem.

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                  • #10
                    I don’t think depression has anything to do with having friends or lack thereof. The most important thing if you are on board is to see a doctor pronto, inform the Mate or the Old Man and request to see a doctor ashore. You don’t have to tell them what its for, stick to your guns of "personal reasons" etc, it’s a complete fallacy that they have to know the ins and outs of it. If you are going to be signed off for medical reasons the Old Man will see the report from the Doctor and it will get sent to the company.

                    Depression and Mental Health in general no longer have stigma attached as it really can happen to us all, just some more than others. I cant make this clear enough though; you have to ask for help rather than suffering in silence, having that type of illness whilst already isolated it is not a good idea.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Martyboy View Post
                      I always found that even though you make friends and get on well with people from other nationalities, your social references are different from theirs, so it can make communication a challenge, and when you stressed/depressed etc as it is, it becomes more difficult to open up to people. I am talking purely on ship, people can get depressed for a million reasons, but when you need to sit and talk it out with someone...... it can be a lot more difficult with foreign crews, and this then seems to amplify the problem.
                      I kinda agree with both yourself and GM over this, college was certainly depressing at times!

                      I don't think it's as much an issue when you have a truly international crew with a good mix but more so when you have high numbers of one, two or three nationalities other than your own, the environment becomes very 'us' and 'them' and if you're the only one outwith you're stuck in the middle very much unable to truly integrate into either onboard which is further exacerbated by language problems. I think it really depends on the personalities involved as well as the senior officers. I've been on some boats that have been utter hell and then had fantastic crews of the same mix of nationalities. But if you have a bad boat, it can be very very isolating.

                      IFHP has a point, depression is an illness, but then loneliness and feeling down are important to deal with too. I guess it depends on how we're defining it in this discussion, clinical depression or being depressed because of loneliness, work pressure/ stress.

                      Hatchorder is also right, men are far more likely to do nothing (or something very drastic when push comes to shove) while women are more likely to ask for help. However saying that, I wonder if that applies to women at sea as much. I certainly feel under a lot of pressure to not let my guard down and keep up appearances especially around certain nationalities. I do think guys in general have a tougher time of it though.
                      Last edited by alistairuk; 11 November 2013, 03:26 PM. Reason: fix bb tags

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                      • #12
                        I don't know if any others have felt the same way, but I always feel like I'm just dumping my problems onto others when I 'let it all out'. I tend to keep myself to myself, because you never know the million and one problems they might be having privately!

                        I don't believe that fixing things is always the best way to go about things either, unless you're sure you have it absolutely right. I tried to fix things in a series of events over summer, and ended up making things worse and feeling less and less like my usual self over the following months.

                        So as Clanky said, it's a little bit of everything I guess, and different methods of coping work for different people and different mind sets.

                        Hope everything works out alright for you anyhow!

                        Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk

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                        • #13
                          I think the college phases can be extra tough because of money issues too, I know before I got my student loan and was eating cheap noodles for dinner every night, I was pretty down...... not depressed, but just fed up in general

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                          • #14
                            Having been there myself its tricky, self awareness isn't all its cracked up to be....in fact I was the last to know....

                            Men do seem to think we can fix it a la Bob The Builder when in fact there isnt actually a fix it just needs time and stability. People at sea font seem to like change much...most navigators arent sure motor ships are here to stay

                            Having tried CBT once it made me worse, hated it so much, poor councillor I think she nearly lost it with me! All I could hear was the ticking of the clock in the room which just served to make me worse....sorted that yhen all I ciuld hear was her wrist watch....oh dear!

                            In my own case I find beign on ship the easiest....stuff breaks...we fix stuff or get men in to feck it up properly....on leave was where I had the biggest issue's you cant fix relationships and the likes in the same way, there are no set points to twiddle, things to firkle and the like.

                            This life style can be the best but also the worse.

                            Maybe some degree student should look at mental health for thier disertation instead of life boats or power sources....maybe we need more soft skills and teaching how to be self aware...and maybe some sort of confidential email type support...not for bad food or acts of a shady naturw but for getting the head fixed or at least settled a we bitty
                            Trust me I'm a Chief.

                            Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                            Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                            No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                            Twitter:- @DeeChief

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                            • #15
                              I personally am very mild emotionally, I don't get overly excited, upset, happy, angry or sad. I've never suffered from depression and don't believe in my character that I could because I am just not emotional enough. This worries me, because I also find it hard to relate to people who do suffer from depression. When I was at college, my landlord (who was also my housemate) decided to try and commit suicide in the house. Up until that point, I never realised or noticed how bad everything was affecting him.
                              Everyone is different.

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