Chrissie Diesel from Ruthin came to our In Work Support Service for help when she found she was struggling to adjust to the demands of life as a vet after graduating from Liverpool University.
Feelings of anxiety appeared on her first day at the busy Wern veterinary practice in Ruthin, although she didn’t recognize what they were at the time. Chrissie initially continued to work through her concerns and soon became a popular vet with clients and colleagues. But her nausea continued, and she started to get ‘nagging doubts’ about whether she was up to the job.
“I am a good vet and my performance was not suffering but it was a huge transition,” Chrissie explained. “Part of me was saying ‘hey, come on you have only just started’, but something else was telling me that perhaps I was not good enough.”
Over time, Chrissie started to feel her resilience and confidence was being whittled away by her rising levels of anxiety. Chrissie eventually went to see her GP, who told her about RCS’s In Work Support Service.
“It was so easy and really professional,” said Chrissie, “I sat with Hayley and we talked about my situation and worked out which therapist would be best for me. I was given six free sessions – it was wonderful and what I had been waiting for.”
Working with her therapist, Chrissie was able to identify her anxieties and how she could deal with them. The difference the scheme has made to her working life, Chrissie says, is remarkable.
“I would have never given up being a vet, but I think I would have become a very unhappy person if I hadn’t had some help.
“I am the same person I was before, but I can now take a step back from a situation and deal with it non-reactively. When it comes to my job, I really enjoy the challenges that used to freak me out and I now have a career as a vet that excites me rather than stresses me, which is fantastic.”
The twenty five-year-old and her fiancé Huw Bill have asked for donations to RCS instead of wedding gifts when they marry in July. She hopes that money raised for her wedding will enable more people to get the support they need to stay in work.
Today I am a Unicorn
“The help from the In Work Support team at RCS made me make different life choices”
“Less than 2 years ago, I was so low and am forever grateful to the GP for handing me the number for RCS. The support is free and it really did change my life. The job is a bonus.
My name is Lesley and I want to share with you how RCS helped me turn my life around. I was having difficulties in my job as an office manager, following spinal surgery and changes in management. In a nutshell my stress levels built up, I was suffering from migraines and developed asthma and was in a lot of pain. The situation at work became untenable and I went off sick, after developing major anxiety, panic attacks and a quickly found myself sliding into depression. I felt a failure for not having been able to juggle my job and my health; I blamed myself. My GP was very supportive and listened to me all through my tearful appointments. It was one of these appointments when I found myself at my lowest point he gave me details for RCS ….I left his room with the RCS telephone number in one hand, and prescription for anti-depressants in the other. It took me a couple of days to pluck up the energy and courage to call RCS but I’m so glad I did. I never took the prescription to the chemist, with the help I got from RCS I never needed the anti-depressants.
I was in a position where I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t see a way out but from the very first phone call to RCS, I could see that there was someone who would listen, who knew what they were talking about and who could see that there were options for me; they were able to reassure me that none of this was my fault. I was advised I could have 6 free sessions and after a meeting with a case coordinator, she helped me formulate a plan to move forward. 5 free counselling sessions, later which gave me time to put myself together again and decide a new direction for myself. I never realised how bad it was until I was out of it. Talking out in the open helps give you clarity.
In Work Support boosted my confidence, helped me think on a different level and to process the whole thing; they also recognised when I was ready to get back into work and suggested I applied for the support officer role which just happened to be with them, RCS. I’m so glad I applied and got the job. I love working in an environment where I can make a difference to people’s lives. I’m so passionate about the work RCS do, I’ll talk about them ‘til the cows come home.”
I found my ‘happy’ place
“The very first time I went for a run after my physiotherapy ended, made me realise I CAN DO THIS. Not only has my physical health improved, and I have also lost 3 stone in weight, and my mental health has improved immensely. I have found my ‘happy’ place. Calling RCS that day, set me on this path, which really has, changed my life!”
Mandy now works for RCS as delivery team leader. She is inspiring and we thank her for sharing her videos and updates as she uses her running to promote awareness of mental health issues together with the charity MIND and RCS. Here is her story:
How did you first get in touch with RCS?
When I was working for the Royal British Legion, I decided that I was going to try to help my physical health and run a marathon to raise funds and awareness. However, for about 6 months, I had been experiencing sever hip and knee pain and knew that I needed to sort that out before I could start my training. An old friend of mine suggested I call RCS to see if they could help
What happened next?
I was referred to the In Work Support service and saw Steve, a case co-ordinator, who took my details, completed the eligibility checks, and offered my an array of physios. I chose a sports physiotherapist in Conwy. The 6 sessions and follow on self-help sheets, really worked for me. I managed to start to train, using the techniques I was taught, and completed the London Marathon, albeit slowly! I raised £7000 for the Royal British Legion. This would not have been possible had I not had the physio, which was impeding on my work life, not being able to drive for long distances and causing me pain.
What surprised you about the In Work Support service?
I couldn’t actually believe how fast the service was, how quickly I saw the physiotherapist and the support I had afterwards, not only that, it was FREE
What you would tell a friend if they were thinking about contacting RCS In Work Support?
The hardest part is actually picking up the phone and making the first contact, I can honestly say from that first encounter with the admin team, the case coordinator, the therapist and the after care, I felt at ease, I received personal service and no judgement, I would say to anyone, just pick up that phone, after that, it’s plain sailing
What impact has taking up running had on you?
4 years ago I thought I would never run. The very first time I went for a run after my physiotherapy ended, made me realise I CAN DO THIS. Not only has my physical health improved, and I have also lost 3 stone in weight, and my mental health has improved immensely. I have found my ‘happy’ place, aside from running RED January for the 4th year this year, I have also signed up to run the Wales Coastal Path Challenge, which will (hopefully) see me running/walking virtually the Wales path, which is 870 miles this year, wish me luck, calling RCS that day, set me on this path, which really has, changed my life!
Stephen Thomas had been working as a truck driver before an agonising condition left him unable to get out of bed and out of work for three months.
Stephen registered with the In Work Support Service and was quickly referred for a physiotherapy assessment. Within a month of starting treatment, Stephen was back behind the wheel of his truck.
“I started to get back pain at the end of January 2017 but being a man I just left it. I thought I’d be alright so put off seeing the doctor. Then in June I knew enough was enough. I couldn’t work anymore and I felt sick from the pain.
I’d never been off from work in my life and my employers couldn’t believe it when I said I couldn’t come in.
My employers were very understanding and I was paid my sick pay entitlement but I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t even bend over to put my socks on. I was admitted to hospital and underwent lots of scans – these tests went on for weeks and weeks.
That’s when they recommended I speak to RCS. I had an interview and they said we can help you. Their therapist did six treatment sessions on my muscles and by September I was back in work.
I’ve changed the way I do a lot of things now including the way I lift things at work. I do different stretches at home as well as exercise at the weekend and making sure I have a long soak in the bath to help my muscles.”
I would 100% urge anyone in a similar situation to me to get in touch with RCS. I probably wouldn’t be back in work now if it hadn’t been for their help.”
6 free physio sessions = 80% improvement and ability to take on more work
Deirdre was experiencing pain in her hip and knee, which was affecting her work, so she contacted RCS for support.
Deirdre’s work requires her to sit at her desk for long periods of time. She was finding it uncomfortable and it got to the point where she was having to self-limit work, which affected her income. The discomfort was also affecting her sleep.
Deirdre works from home, so it was important for her to be able to go for walks to help maintain good mental health. Her inability to do this left her feeling low.
RCS quickly set up a course of 6 physiotherapy sessions which included: magnetotherapy, soft tissue mobilisations, postural advice, joint mobilisations, self-management and home exercises.
Following her final session her therapist noted an 80% improvement and so did Deirdre. Her improved in mobility has given her a lot more confidence and left her feeling a lot more positive. She is also taking on more work.
Impact of Pandemic on Work-Life Balance Triggers Anxiety
“Being able to get to the issue so quickly and nipping it in the bud felt like a lifeline to me. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, it was fantastic. Being able to access the support so quickly proved to be far more beneficial than having to wait for weeks and weeks. The therapy was started within one week. I would whole-heartedly recommend the service”
Diana was working in a coaching role and reported increasing levels of anxiety negatively impacting on her mental health. Her role had altered significantly due to working from home throughout the pandemic. The increased workload and reliance on technology in her home-office set up became overwhelming. Diana was also struggling with isolation, low mood and difficulty sleeping. She was signed off work to allow time for self-care and engagement in her usual coping mechanisms, such as spending time outside.
“My therapist was extremely engaging, and as the sessions went on they seemed to go quicker and quicker. I felt very relaxed with her and really able to open up. I felt really listened to”
Counselling through the In Work Support service allowed Diana time to explore the root of her anxiety, learn how to recognise the signs of anxiety, and establish healthy coping mechanisms. She noted an improvement in her outlook on life and general mood, and therefore an improvement in her overall well-being
RCS’s In Work Support service can provide FREE, rapid, confidential support for those with mental or physical health needs. You can self-refer to the service, and participation is entirely voluntary. The service provides up to 6 free sessions of counselling or physiotherapy sessions. The service is available to employed and self-employed people who live or work in Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Ynys Môn, Cardiff, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan, Monmouthshire.