Tracy Parker, a Special Educational Needs and Disability Impartial Advice Support Service Caseworker (SEND IASS) from Lincolnshire, returned to work in October after five months absence from work.
Tracy, 47, who works for Liaise, a free, confidential, and impartial SEND information and support service for Lincolnshire County Council, suffered a mental and emotional breakdown. She said;
My role can often be stressful, challenging and quite emotive. Whilst I am passionate about my job, I sometimes put too much effort in to looking after other people and neglect myself.
I got up one morning feeling extremely nauseous. My head felt like it was cracking open, and I was shaking so much I could not pick up my phone. I could not walk to the bathroom my legs were shaking so much and I could not feel them.
I crawled to the bathroom sweating profusely and could not breathe properly. I was fighting to catch my breath and was not sure what was wrong.
I had not experienced anything like it before and just thought I needed a day to rest. But as the day went on my vision kept coming and going, my headache did not ease, and I had no strength to move.
When Tracy’s symptoms had not improved the following day she contacted her GP, who signed her off from work for two weeks, prescribing beta blockers and anti-depressants.
Her employer, Liaise, arranged an occupational health appointment for Tracy who referred her to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service. Tracy also independently accessed counselling through Steps to Change.
Asking for help is completely alien to me, it is not something I find easy to do and always try to convince myself I can deal with things.
However, I was feeling totally overwhelmed and lost. I was scared to leave the house for fear of having panic attacks and I could not be around people. All I wanted was to get well.
I have felt empowered since receiving support from Maximus. They have been exceptional!
I have learnt new skills in mindfulness and meditation and have also shared the information and resources with colleagues that they have found useful.
Learning to adapt and change my way of thinking, responding to situations differently and the importance of respecting it is okay not to be okay has been life altering. This has helped me feel I was being pro-active in my recovery.
I have become a stronger person and my way of thinking has totally changed. I am hugely grateful to Maximus; they have helped me get well.
Sharon Schofield, Senior Liaise Officer at Lincolnshire County Council said;
I have no doubt that the support Tracy received from Maximus has been invaluable.
After a period of sick leave, Tracy returned to work with a much greater understanding of her own mental health.
She has learned strategies that she now uses to support herself moving forwards, and that we can also use in the workplace.
Tracy finds it so much easier to talk to me about her mental health, and more importantly to ask for help when she needs it.