A ‘second go’

IDPD: Luke’s treatment for psychosis means he can now move on positively

Thursday 3 December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), an annual celebration of people with disabilities.

Throughout this week, as part of our IDPD coverage, our Disability steering group will be bringing you personal stories from colleagues who either have a disability themselves – both visible and otherwise – or they have experience of looking after someone with a disability.

Today’s story is from international account manager, Luke Bowles, who suffered from depression, suicidal ideation and lost control of his thoughts, which resulted in hospitalisation.

‘After my second psychotic episode, in April 2015, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder,’ said Luke. ‘I have experienced both manic depression and psychosis, in equally devastating measures.

‘In the spirit of being open, so that disabilities such as this do not remain hidden, I would like to share this webpage where (second from top) you can watch an account of my journey, from pre-diagnosis to treatment and beyond. The Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) service put together this video series to encourage people to use their service, but also to help people understand what psychosis is.

‘It serves as a useful means for me to share more about my hidden disability. Hopefully, this will encourage people to be more open, if they, like me, have a hidden disability. I also hope that, to an extent, people will be surprised by my story. If so, it might stay longer in their memory as a reminder that we don’t always know the full story of what is or has gone on in someone’s life.

‘I would like to stress how grateful I am for the culture that exists within Royal Mail. I have always felt that I can be myself, even if that involves being the joker one day, and silent the next. The strength of the Royal Mail culture is attributed to its people. Thus, on a day when you might ask yourself “what can I do better?” I’d like people to take a chance to realise what they already do is great.’

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a treatable mental health condition that results in people seeing the world around them in a distorted way.

Psychosis can cause people to lose contact with reality and, during their periods of illness, they may perceive things differently from people around them. Unsurprisingly, it can be an alienating experience and scary for sufferers, as well as for their families and close friends.

Psychosis can erode your sense of who you are and your sense of belonging and sufferers may feel very confused about what is real and what isn’t.

EIP services are multidisciplinary community mental health teams that assess and treat people with a first episode of psychosis.

Supporting our people

As one of the UK’s biggest employers, we are committed to putting equality and diversity at the heart of our business. Call our internal disability helpline on 0800 028 6142 for advice if you are a disabled colleague or manager looking for support with organising reasonable adjustments.

If you have any questions you would like to raise directly with the network, or you would like information on how to obtain support or advice on managing someone with a disability, please email Disabilitysteeringgroup@royalmail.com.

Don’t forget, if you’re interested in joining the Disability conversation, the group has a Facebook page. Please email Disabilitysteeringgroup@royalmail.com and let them know the email address you normally use to sign into Facebook and your payroll number. You’ll then be sent an invitation to join.

1 Dec 2020