Case Histories – Gary’s story

Padesky’s Model tells us that stress typically affects five key factors: Environment / Thoughts / MoodBiology / Behaviour. So how do these different elements translate themselves into actual real life scenarios? We asked Beaumont Hospital’s Dr Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh to give us some insight.

Gary’s Story

environmentthoughtsmoodbiologybehaviour

1) HOW A NEW PROBLEM CAN IMPACT ON THE SYSTEM

Gary was a hardworking builder with a partner and three kids. He worked for Niall, his boss, and things were going well (ENVIRONMENT). Gary found his job demanding but also good craic (MOOD) and he believed he was well able for whatever came along (THOUGHTS). After a hard day’s work he slept well and felt good (BIOLOGY). He enjoyed his work but also loved meeting up with his friends and family (BEHAVIOUR).

Unfortunately, Gary had an injury at work and had to take some time off (BEHAVIOUR). This meant he didn’t see his colleagues (ENVIRONMENT) and began to think of himself as a bit useless (THOUGHTS). Because of his back pain (BIOLOGY), Gary gave up on his exercise (BEHAVIOUR) and spent a lot of time resting. All the rest during the day meant he didn’t sleep well at night (BIOLOGY) and left him cranky and frustrated (MOOD). Gary started to wonder if he would ever get back to normal (THOUGHTS) and began to feel a bit hopeless (MOOD).

2) HOW A SMALL CHANGE CAN IMPROVE THE SYSTEM

Gary’s boss, Niall, called in and had a hard time connecting with Gary. No matter what he said, Gary seemed frustrated and sad. Through persuasion and encouragement, Niall convinced Gary to come out with a few guys from work (BEHAVIOUR). When they were out (ENVIRONMENT), Gary relaxed a bit and had some fun (MOOD).

He realised that he missed work and that they missed him (THOUGHTS). That night, Gary slept a bit better (BIOLOGY) and was able to talk to his partner the next day about how he was feeling
(BEHAVIOUR). Together, they started walking in the evenings (BEHAVIOUR) and that increased Gary’s fitness (BIOLOGY) and improved his irritability (MOOD).

Even though everything wasn’t back to normal, Gary was able to make a few key changes in the five factors that had a knock on effect on his whole system. Certainly Gary was continuing to experience stress with regard to his injury and the changes in his lifestyle, but he was also working to support his own resilience.

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