Peter’s Story – Part 39

Returning to work in a Pharmacist role was the furtherest thing from his mind. He had lost his desire to do any form of work at all. The Centrelink payments he was receiving were unemployment benefits, hardly enough to keep the family afloat.

Peter had to make a visit to his GP to get a renewal prescription for all his medications. This was a tough enough task in itself. Firstly ringing for an appointment, driving to the appointment, sitting in the waiting room, then seeing the GP. All tough things when you are amidst the throes of Depression. Scared of leaving the house, scared of being around familiar people for fear they may recognize you from before and you believe you’re not the same person. All things contributing to that horrible, dark void of Depression.

Peter asked his GP if she could fill out the application for the Disability Pension Form for him. He had heard that this was a more secure means of income. Still, it was going to be interesting to see how this could help their financial situation.

Being successful with the Disablility Pension application, Peter’s whole attitude changed. He no longer had the desire to work and felt it was his right not to. He didn’t seem to realize that this would probably not be a possibility. The family could not survive simply on the part time wage of his wife. Despite this, Peter thought he could exchange roles and be the home maker. He quite enjoyed cooking dinner for the family. Maybe, he thought, at least he was contributing to the family in some way.

Having nothing to really look forward to each day, Peter fast began to lack motivation and lose interest in most things. Getting out of bed in the morning was becoming impossible, again. Even if he did manage to get up, often he would hop back in very soon after. He lay there in a zombie like state, not really sleeping but just wasting his life away, no real thoughts entering his head, just an empty vessel.

Miraculously, as the day progressed, he began to feel a little better. He was to learn that this was a common variation experienced by people with Depression. This boost in mood by the end of the day helped to give him the energy to cook for the family. The rest of the day was spent either in bed or on the lounge, not daring to answer the phone if it rang or leave the house, even to get the mail.

This pattern was becoming to be all too familiar. Peter wasn’t contributing to the family. How could he expect his wife to accept him back? Why should she be left to pick up the pieces for a second time after the damage Peter had caused to the marriage, yet again?

You didn’t have to be Einstein to realize there was trouble brewing. Peter’s wife’s patience was being sorely tested. Why should she be putting up with this? Peter was aware of the disruption he was causing to the marriage and family unit, but if only it was that easy to remedy the situation. If he could get up and get going, he would!

To try and help the situation, Peter thought about some possible solutions. He had always dealt with Psychiatrists in the private system before this, but the family couldn’t afford private fees at this time. This got Peter thinking, would he be able to access the public system where he was hospitalized just recently? He remembered on his discharge he had been given the phone number of the ward and his allotted Case Manager. Everyone discharged from the public mental health ward is assigned a Case Manager. Peter decided to give him a call. He had to try something or he was going to lose his family. He had to get his mojo back.

As luck would have it, Peter rang his Case Manager, and was greeted with the news that if had let it go another day he would have been exited from the discharge plan, because he had taken so long to activate it. Apparently, the plan including Case Manager is only available for a certain time period. If the patient doesn’t take up the offer, the offer expires.

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