Peter’s Story – Part 41

Work as a cleaner began for Peter. He attended his first day which served as an induction. It was designed to show Peter what had to be done and how to do what was required.

The number of hours per week was 16. The hours were flexible in that he could work whenever he liked within the week to complete the 16 hours.

Normally you would expect someone would thrive in this position, however once again the Depression made things very difficult. Because the hours were flexible, instead of doing a small shift five days a week, Peter had intentions of doing this but when the morning came around, the motivation required to go to work just wasn’t there. He knew that he could defer the day’s work to another day. Consequently, by the end of the week he was doing two eight hour shifts. While the rest of the week was totally unproductive.

Peter would procrastinate about doing things, whether it be work at the sheds, around home or just getting up. It was far easier to just lol around doing nothing.

The problem was, this time spent wasting his life away was becoming very detrimental. If Peter laid around for most of the day his physical health and mental health were both being affected. Physically he was doing no exercise and didn’t even venture outside. While mentally he was isolating himself from everyone and everything that he previously had something to do with.

Just lying around all day being non productive had a profound effect on Peter’s mood. Even though he’d lie around wasting his life, at the same time he would feel guilty for doing so. This guilt was in addition to that he was experiencing as a result of the damage he’d caused to his marriage and the relationship with his children, while he was Manic.

Peter had experienced the guilt previously. It can have very detrimental effects towards recovery. Despite being Manic when he did all those damaging things, things he wouldn’t do if he was well, he still had to cope with the guilt from what he did. Peter found this extremely difficult, as what he did when Manic was one of the worst possible things that could be done. He walked out on his wife and family and spent time with another woman. Worse still, this was the second time.

Peter was conscious of the feelings of love, loyalty and understanding that his wife and family must have had for him. For them to tolerate this behavior not once but twice, Peter realized just how special his wife and family were. He only wished he could snap out of this unbearable feeling of restraint, He desperately wanted to show his family how much he appreciated not only their support, but also those qualities of love, loyalty and understanding.

The cleaning job was beginning to be a good outlet for Peter. He was trying really hard to do the shorter shifts more often. He found by doing that, it gave him something to look forward to each day. However, his bad days were still there. Try as he might, some days he just couldn’t get out of bed to go. Later in the day on those days, Peter would feel guilty for not going to work. There was that guilt, again. The work was quite physical and since Peter had not been doing much in that way for some time, he recognized it as being good for him.

At the same time though, even while on the job, he experienced overwhelming tiredness. Peter worked out this was what was happening when he spent his days at home. He would give in to the tiredness and lie down. If you succumb to it, it’s just so hard to get up again.

By working through this tiredness while on the job, Peter was teaching himself strategies of coping with Depression. He had created a diversion, being work, that helped to take his mind off the tiredness factor. He was also using his work as something to look forward to so he could get himself going of a morning and continue to function during the day.

By this stage, Peter had been discharged for the public system totally. The Psychiatrist he had been seeing was now not available to Peter, along with his Case Manager. Peter was still in contact with his PHAMs worker and gaining benefit from that experience.

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