Six months ago, Paul was engulfed with feelings of hopelessness and felt like he was heading for a meltdown.
But now the chilli-growing graphic designer from Southport is back to his best and radiating positivity, following a job change, a spicy hobby and support from the Able Futures programme.
Paul managed an in-house graphic design studio for a horticultural firm until October 2021. “I didn’t like my job anymore; I was depressed and worried about workload. I felt isolated, unsupported and really started doubting myself,” he remembered. “I had a lot of anxiety and feelings of hopelessness and despair.”
Paul, who was also grieving the loss of his beloved dog Jack, took redundancy. “It was the best thing that could have happened, such a weight off my shoulders immediately,” said Paul. “And what also turned my life around was the support and guidance from the Able Futures programme.”
Paul was partnered with a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant Helen Wilkinson. VRC's are qualified mental health specialist who is expert in advising on issues with mental health at work.
“I really gel with Helen and she has given me a lot of coping strategies,” said Paul, who highly recommends the Able Futures programme. “It’s been very, very useful, I have gone from feeling terrible to feeling so much better. My wife says that I am radiating happy, positive vibes now.”
Paul is now a freelance graphic designer and work is flooding in. He has a much better work-life balance, makes time to exercise each day, and has altered his diet. He has even been known to put on a favourite playlist and dance like nobody is watching.
Plus he’s got a productive hobby – he’s bought a polytunnel and grows chillies and tomatoes to sell. He produces his own chilli sauces and works with other sauce companies too.