AT 2 Depression Scenario
Billy is 24 years old. He left school at the age of 15 to pursue a diesel mechanic apprenticeship. School didn’t suit him, so he left early. Moving into a trade so early meant that Billy was ahead of his peers when it came to experience out of school, in a workplace and financially. The apprenticeship was based in a provincial city an hour away from his home town, so he moved and completed his apprenticeship.
Early in his career, Billy was known for his high-level skills and as a result, he had top mechanic jobs offered to him frequently. Billy worked hard, long hours and reaped the rewards. He had a good group of friends that enjoyed motorbike racing, camping and beers together on aregular basis.
Billy decided to return to his home town and commenced work at an agricultural business as a foreman in the mechanic team. He worked harder now than ever. Billy had also met a newgirl when he was camping one weekend. The encounter turned into a long distance relationship. The relationship became serious and his girlfriend Jen moved to town. Billy was in the midst of renovating a house on a property nearby his family farm with the view to calling it home. His hours between his day job and renovating left him little time to spend with Jen.
Billy was racing around trying to meet all the demands and high expectations he had of himself with work, the home and his relationship. During harvest, Billy was caught speeding on country roads from one job to the next. Police officers in the district booked Billy for his driving offence which led to losing his license.
He was devastated. Due to the nature of his work, the impact on Billy’s job was significant and he faced the possibility of losing his top position. Thankfully, his boss was able to create solutions around the loss of his license, as his work ethic and expertise was too good to let go.
At the same time, as a distraction Billy increased his long working hours and Jen broke off the relationship as there was no quality time spent together. She was still staying in town though as she was interested in another man in town. It turned out to be one of Billy’s mates and the beginning of this new relationship had been behind Billy’s back. This turn of events not only crushed Billy but also created a rift between him and some of his mates. Resilient, Billy went about his life and found the positive with all that had occurred in a very short period of time. However, one winter night, Billy arrived home to a glow inside his house.
He raced to get the farm water tanker to put out the flame and in the meantime called the local fire brigade. Despite best efforts, the house burned to the ground.This turn of events led to Billy’s downward mood. His mother noticed his negative thoughts, behaviours and detachment from some of his friends, despite their efforts to help out. Billy’s mum had discussed going to the doctor, but he refused. Her concerns for his wellbeing were so significant, she told Billy that they needed to go to the local GP to discuss his knee that had been playing up. Once in the doctor’s surgery, the GP was versed by Billy’s mother about his mood.
The doctor did not perform a screening test, but prescribed antidepressants and some pamphlets on depression and anxiety. Upon leaving the GP said to Billy “don’t do anything stupid”.
Billy took the medication and started to see a psychologist. The psychologist was amazed that the medication gelled with him straight away. His mood improved gradually, he didn’t drinkand focussed on rebuilding his dream home. After three months of his new habits, Billy woke one morning and decided he didn’t need pills to make him happy – so he took himself off them. His improved mood and thinking skills demonstrated to the psychologist that his choice to finish therapy appeared suitable. At the same time, Billy got his license back.
Following this elevated mood, Billy felt ready to step up to the plate and had his eye on climbing the workforce ladder. With this increase in work focus and increased pressures so soon after his step into recovery, Billy’s mood started to change again. He was angry and negative about people he worked with, he had significant issues with farmers he was working for and complained about his mates’ actions too. Billy was turning up late to work, eventhough he lived 5 minutes down the road. These reactions were again out of character for him and he was getting a reputation for being a ‘hot head’ which led to loss of clients. He began to become frustrated with himself, as the skills and abilities he had before seemed to be diminishing before his eyes. He started to do more reckless activities, he increased his drinking and dangerous driving.
Whilst this was developing, Billy had formed a friendship with one of the older local tradesmen, whose place was known as the place to go for a beer after work and a good laugh and a catch up. There wee often two or three other men there to talk to. Many saw it as therapeutic and most times, left the shed after a couple of beers feeling better. Billy enjoyed the social interaction and looked forward to it each night. After he left though, the demons in Billy’s head would emerge and he would then go home and drink another four beers. On the weekends he was often in brawls in the pub and kicked out by the publican or the police.
Rumours emerged in the farming community that he had fallen off the tracks and that he had turned mad. The behaviour continued.
Based on your knowledge and understanding of depression, using a person first approach, what are the underlying challenges Billy faces? Identify the support and advice you would give to him and those involved in his life over the duration of his road to recovery