Call the LionHeart Helpline

UK: 0800 009 2960 or +44 (0)121 289 3300

Request a callback


"I had no idea stress could cause a real physical pain"

Derek Quote

Ironically, it was one Friday 13th that I ended up in hospital with a suspected heart attack after experiencing chest pains and pins and needles that had gradually got worse all day.

I'd never been the kind of man to visit the doctors really but they were symptoms I'd always associated with the heart so - most uncharacteristically - I turned up at the accident and emergency department at about 11pm.

Within minutes I had been whisked off for tests. I was kept in hospital overnight and told that, while it wasn't a heart attack, I did have high blood pressure and they needed to find out what was causing my symptoms. 

Fast forward a few weeks and I had gone back to work although I still didn't feel quite right and got sent home again. More tests had followed and we were still no further forward.

Then my GP asked, do you think you're stressed?

It was like the dam bursting.

I mean, I knew I had a stressful job and so on, and I could see how feeling stressed could stop you from sleeping, or wake you up at night.

But I just couldn't put two and two together and see how stress could cause a very real physical pain.

"The stress had built up, like a drip drip drip effect you don't notice."

I was signed off work for a couple of weeks, but the stress didn't seem to stop. That was when I phoned LionHeart - I just couldn't think of who else to talk to.

Over the next weeks, I ended up parting ways with my employer. Eventually it would turn out to be the best thing for me - but it certainly didn't feel like that at the time. It put me into a financial hole and made me feel even more stressed about what the future would hold.

Again, LionHeart helped, and so in the space of a few weeks I used a number of the services - financial and legal support - practical help that did alleviate some of that immediate stress. It just helped me to have that clarity of where I stood and knowing I was supported.

Through LionHeart, I also started a course of counselling which would give me the techniques I needed to recognise my stress and how to manage it. I found, personally, talking therapy was a better way than medication to get me on the road to feeling more like myself again.

For me, work was the only trigger for my stress, otherwise I was quite a relaxed and positive person. But the stress had just built up over time, like a drip drip drip effect that you don't really notice. There would be the emails that got your heart racing or hands shaking, the sleepless nights where you would replay things that had happened, or lie awake imagining the worst case scenarios of everything. You never felt really rested.

At the time it did take me by surprise, but this was eight or nine years ago and there wasn't so much about mental health and stress around in the public eye. I was a man who didn't really go to the doctors let alone envisage having counselling and, to tell the truth, if it hadn't been for ending up in hospital I probably wouldn't have done anything at all! I would have just carried on, thinking I could bear it and that was just the way it was.

Counselling was the key to helping me to re-establish myself in my career and I am now in a much better position. That is not to say the problems have gone away - you don't cure stress, you learn to manage it and it does need continual management.

"You don't cure it; you learn to manage it."

I am always guilty of thinking about work too much and property is or can be a stressful environment to work in. But, these days, I have better ways of coping with it and better ways of relaxing.

Not only do I check in on myself more these days but I try to keep an eye on others. Sometimes it is easier to spot the signs of stress in other people than it is in yourself so I make sure it is something I talk about and am open about. It's one of the reasons I decided to become a mental health ambassador for LionHeart - knowing how difficult it can be to seek support, I just want to help make other people aware of how it can help.

Talking about what you're facing is the very first step. 

Derek Carter MRICS has extensive UK, international and pan-European real estate experience working within property companies and private equity as well as banking. He is one of LionHeart's mental health ambassadors.

Find out more:

The earlier symptoms of stress are tackled, the better. There are many ways LionHeart can support this.

We also run a number of webinars that can help with stress management. Check out what's coming up here or see what else is available in our webinar library 

Latest Posts

5th - How youth counselling helped us
22nd - Living with an invisible illness
9th - What makes a good trustee?
1st - Things you must do as a final year surveying student!
4th - Dyslexia in surveying
28th - Reflecting on 12 years at LionHeart
13th - New beginnings and how to embrace them
5th - Losing a sibling to suicide
5th - Celebrating one year alcohol-free
25th - Caring for someone with MS
20th - How to set boundaries at work
17th - 'Calling LionHeart was like being thrown a life jacket'
6th - Spotlight on winter fundraising
3rd - Facing cancer
14th - Identifying and dealing with workplace bullying
13th - Why make a will?
12th - Living with OCD
3rd - Autism and my road of discovery
22nd - Frequently asked questions about LionHeart
25th - 25 years of LionHeart
11th - 'Stress caused me permanent disability'
18th - Diversifying our board, and why
18th - Coaching to unlock a new future
12th - How to help your lonely teen
9th - Asking for help - as the helper
28th - Why talking about dying is so important
7th - 9 simple ways to cut stress
23rd - Living & succeeding with ADHD
16th - 'I came to see how much of my life was run on adrenaline'
10th - "My daughter didn't want to be here any more"
4th - My life-changing cancer diagnosis
13th - Reassessing how you drink
4th - Looking to the future
19th - How alcohol almost cost me everything
18th - Children's grief and how to help
16th - Alcohol, anxiety and how secrets keep you sick
4th - "I had no idea stress could cause a real physical pain"
22nd - 5 ways to get your teen talking
18th - The Positives of Menopause
13th - Baby loss and depression
12th - The pandemic's impact on children's mental health (and what we can do about it)
8th - Don't judge a book - a story of depression and change
5th - LionHeart Back to Work support
29th - Post APC submission
16th - How families feel youth mental health
24th - 6 top tips if you've been referred
20th - Coaching for change
12th - "I'd hit absolute bottom - but it was the catalyst to seek help”
22nd - Spring into action by fundraising for LionHeart
4th - Reflecting on university mental health
15th - My experiences of counselling
20th - Worry Time - and how it helps
18th - My furlough & redundancy journey
13th - Volunteering and LionHeart
30th - A road to change
2nd - Trusteeship through lockdown and uncertainty
12th - The importance of legacies
10th - Overwhelm - and overcoming it
8th - Lockdown and my mental health
28th - Creativity at Work
20th - Video
24th - 'If I can do it, so can you'
22nd - How to ace your APC interview online
8th - Help! I've been referred... what now?
3rd - Your coronavirus concerns, and how we're helping
12th - Managing health anxiety through Covid-19 - and how we helped Mike
12th - How coronavirus might be affecting your mental health
31st - Rising to the coronavirus challenge
24th - Keep connecting - in a different way
13th - Demonstrating our impact
4th - The Big C and grabbing life
4th - "Cancer wasn't meant to happen to us"
30th - My journey as a charity trustee
7th - Top 10 tips for CVs and interviews
9th - Grief and loss at Christmas
7th - Charity trusteeship
6th - How counselling can help manage stress
9th - Living with anxiety and depression
10th - How coaching can help
16th - Changing attitudes to mental health
15th - The vicious circle of body image & mental health
14th - Social Anxiety & how we can help
11th - Life with Parkinson's
29th - The one about the Bipolar surveyor...
29th - What is Bipolar?
12th - Memory tips from the training front line
22nd - Losing a parent
7th - LionHeart's support was a game-changer when I failed APC
16th - When the reality of motherhood doesn't quite go to plan
10th - The story behind surveying's Sisterhood Summit
2nd - The rollercoaster of being a first-time dad
22nd - My father's suicide and what I've learnt
14th - Tips for your RICS APC final assessment interview
7th - Trust in the charity sector
21st - Is it really okay to not be okay?
17th - Building resilience through your APC
8th - 7 ways to get more active this year
4th - Coping with loss and grief at Christmas
5th - "I was told I might not be cut out to be a surveyor"
26th - Resilience, and why we need it
21st - APC Revision Top Ten Tips
12th - LionHeart on new fundraising code of practice
19th - Living with 'invisible' illness
14th - How LionHeart helped us live life
13th - Men's Health Week 2017
22nd - Living with panic attacks
18th - Why we must care about work life balance
11th - The chicken-and-egg of mental health and shame
2nd - What I learnt from Dry January
31st - "My 19-year journey to MRICS is what made me"
5th - Ways to be kind to yourself in 2017
7th - Suicide prevention
1st - Coping with APC stress
13th - "I constantly watch my husband for suicidal signs"
26th - Dealing with referral at APC Final Assessment
19th - How mindfulness can help your relationships
18th - "I live, and thrive, with depression"
17th - Men and mental health
16th - Mental health and your relationship
26th - Starting out in surveying
11th - A happy retirement
1st - My Dry(ish) January
21st - Spring clean your finances
6th - When to consider couples counselling
4th - Having a (financially) healthier Christmas
18th - How to help a loved one with an addiction
15th - Reflections on the Lionheart Surveyors' Football League season
12th - Carers
10th - How LionHeart can support carers
9th - Desktop Relaxation techniques
29th - Techniques to help combat anxiety
20th - Helping a family member with depression
18th - Achievements that make a difference
16th - Five things that may indicate your colleague needs help
11th - Helping during a panic attack