David felt like he had hit rock bottom this time last year. Building pressure at work and the debilitating symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were key factors in what he feels to be one of the darkest periods of his life.
David had worked for the Ministry of Defence for years before things spiralled out of control. Mounting stress within the workplace was in turn, worsening the symptoms of his illness. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can cause a range of symptoms including severe pain throughout the body and continuous exhaustion.
“I got to a stage where I was desperate. Each time I came back to work after sick leave, I would just make myself even worse and need more time off. It got to a point where I just thought – I can’t do this anymore.”
David felt trapped. He knew he needed to stop working to give his body a chance to recover, but he didn’t know how we was going to pay his bills. Luckily, he discovered the Charity during this difficult time and decided to reach out for help. As he tried to figure out his next move, we were able to pay towards day-to-day living expenses to help keep his family above water.
“I want to highlight how professional and approachable the Charity was. They were so caring and thoughtful about everything. They were there for me when I had nowhere else to turn to.”
Although we were able to relieve some financial pressure, David still felt like he had major challenges ahead of him. As our supportive conversations continued, he opened up about the affect his condition was having on his mental wellbeing. He had suffered from severe depression for years and wanted to find a positive way forward for himself and his family.
“It takes quite a lot of emotional effort to embark on counselling so I didn’t want to go into it lightly. I wanted it to be the right thing for me. I wanted a way forward.”
As David continued to talk to our team, we found that we were able to pay for ten sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy through our partner organisation, Anxiety UK. This type of therapy suited David’s particular needs and provided him with the right coping mechanisms for the future.
“It’s basically accepting that life isn’t always perfect. My body feels exhausted a lot of the time but I can focus on what my values are and what I can do to achieve them. I can get some satisfaction and a sense of self-worth from that. It’s a particularly useful therapy for people with ME.”
When we got back in touch, David told us about the positive impact the therapy has had to his life. After experiencing the benefits himself, he wants to encourage other civil servants to support each other when it comes talking about mental health.
“It’s about recognising where I was a year ago and where I am today. I’m living a valued existence now.”
“I was in a bad way last year before the Charity helped me get back on track. They were there for me when I had nowhere else to turn to. I know there will be plenty of people struggling in these anxious times. If my story gets other people to reach out for help then that's the best thing I can do. Keep smiling.”