Peter had experienced a significant episode of anxiety and depression. Every time he thought about work, he would become paralysed. When I first met Peter in 2011, he was terrified of walking into his workplace and even of his phone, in case someone was trying to call or email him about work. Peter was 45 years old and had been employed in a highly technical and professional capacity. He is university educated and well respected amongst his peers. Over the preceding 12 months, Peter had noticed a growing sense of unease and directly attributed this to his work.
He had also noticed an overall decline in his mental health. Changes in the workplace resulted in erosion of his self-confidence, leaving him with feelings of failure and an overall sense that he was not good enough. Despite these thoughts and feelings, Peter would continue to work long hours, obsessively checking his phone and continuing to take on board problems that were outside of his delegation.
Purple Co worked with Peter for 4 months after which he was able to enter his workplace, and successfully upgrade to full time employment in his pre-injury professional position.
What did Purple Co do?
- Developed and implemented a staged introduction to the workplace dealing with elevated anxiety levels and anxiety behaviours as they presented.
- Engaged the support of Peter’s management team who kept him accountable to set boundaries for tasks and role responsibilities (as opposed to Peter trying to do everything on his own).
- Engaged Peter’s management team in discussion of the functional expectations of depression and developed a Peter-centred support process.
- Provided education regarding the functional expectations of anxiety and depression.
- Addressed personal boundaries.
- Mapped energy levels and created a plan for energy management.
- Completed the E-DISC Personal Analysis which assisted Peter to understand that he hadn’t changed – rather that the demands of his role had changed and that the person/job fit was no longer as suitable. The E-DISC assessment is an incredible tool for helping people develop insight into their strengths and how to manage their health and productivity in the workplace.
Peter expressed his surprise with how quickly he was able to move from being terrified of attending the workplace and requiring assistance with walking through the front door, to taking on new clients and customers on behalf of his employer.
Peter’s lightbulb moment came when in completing the E-DISC personal analysis he was able to see that he had not failed, rather the personality traits that made him an excellent technician and an excellent problem solver meant that recent changes to his role responsibilities had made some aspects much more difficult for him.
Peter is not symptom free. He does however understand how to function effectively even on “down days”. He is now empowered to have a discussion with his employer regarding his own person/job fit, and is anticipating that he will explore career development potential now that he has a greater understanding of himself.