John, 21, came to see me when he was in his first job for 10 months. He described struggling to cope and has been feeling very down the last while. He stated he was also getting into trouble at work for making mistakes and for not being open to feedback from his manager. John has been trying to keep his mind off things by going out with his friends after work for a few drinks. He feels this has gone a bit overboard as on a few occasions he has slept through his alarm and has been late for work, once for an important meeting. His boss was very annoyed about this and John lost out on working on an exciting new project as a result. Since then he has been trying unsuccessfully to limit his drinking to the weekends. He also reported to overthinking and not being able to shut his head off. This has got particularly bad lately, John feels he is much more mellow when he drinks but the next day he can feel very overwhelmed.
How Counselling helped:
Our work firstly looked at what was leading John to drink so often. John explained that he is not from Dublin and shares a house with people he doesn’t know. He is from a large family and isn’t used to spending a lot of time on his own. He finds living in Dublin very lonely at times and craves being around people. Because of this he has fallen into the habit of going to the pub after work. We looked at what else might fill this void for John and how he might like to spend his time. We also looked at the effects of alcohol on a person’s mental wellbeing. John could see clearly that he often felt very low after a particularly big drinking session. He was also able to make the connection between drinking and his relentless negative thoughts. John got quite a shock when he discovered how his drinking was affecting his mood. He made enquiries at work and discovered there is a running club which he signed up for. He also decided to try to get to know the people he lives with in the hope that they might have something in common. One of his housemates told him he was trying to start a 5-aside football team and asked John if he would be interested in joining. John reported he was feeling much better even by undertaking these two small tasks. However, he still felt bad about how things were at work so he arranged a meeting with his manager to see if he could improve their relationship. His manager said she had been concerned about him and agreed to keep him in mind for future new projects if he continues to show he can handle his current responsibilities. John is feeling much more settled and content in his life now and feels he has some good friends he can turn to if he is struggling in any way.