Aaron overcomes anxiety and thrives in work

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Aaron Dakin, from Lowestoft , had worked since leaving university in 2003, however he had experienced anxiety throughout most of his life, and over time developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, together with autistic behaviours and severe depression.

Owing to his prolonged and regular sickness absences, sustaining work became problematic and Aaron, 39, was worried about losing his job and being forced to claim benefits.

His previous employer had provided counselling and therapy, which supplied some useful strategies. However he never felt fully confident in the workplace, and his anxieties created barriers when interacting with work colleagues and engaging in group tasks. His behavioural issues also meant that he struggled to explain his abilities, and he found difficulty in adapting to changing work environments.

Upon referral to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, delivered by Maximus and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, Aaron was introduced to Key Worker Wendie Evison. She quickly earnt his trust, and a visit to Aaron’s workplace was arranged. The subsequent meeting, which included Aaron’s line manager, allowed him to explain, with Wendie’s support, the problems he was facing and to discuss what support was required.

Aaron was equipped with a range of practical coping tools, which he continues to use in his current role at Essex and Suffolk Water. These have proved invaluable; and include a wellness action plan, stress management techniques and useful approaches to help him interact successfully with co-workers.

These coping mechanisms have significantly improved understanding and communication between Aaron, his manager and colleagues, which has helped to build mutual respect and tolerance.

Aaron said: “By being able to explain aspects of my behaviours to colleagues, my relationships with them have improved. They recognise I sometimes need quiet time and space, and I’m able to reciprocate by recognising that not everyone is like me.

“With Maximus’ help and support, I now feel equipped to deal with the challenges my job presents. Although I still have difficult times, I can now navigate my way through them, and don’t feel at risk from long periods of absence.

“What appeared to be permanent barriers have now become challenges I can overcome. So many things have now become possible that I never dreamed would be.”

24 September, 2020