Darrell struggled with depression after giving up his job as a recovery truck driver to care for his son who wasn’t receiving the specialist support he needed at school. With a legal battle about his son’s education looming, no financial stability and two other sons with care needs, Darrell began to feel overwhelmed…
My 11-year-old son has special needs and autism, and caring for him has been at the centre of mine and my wife Stephanie’s lives. We sent him to a school that we were told could look after children with special requirements, but soon found that the school and the council were not providing any form of care or support to him. Once we discovered the lack of support, we decided he was better off at home.
At the time I was a recovery vehicle driver working full-time and on 24-hour callouts. I loved my work, but caring for my son and working at the same time was too much for me. I was feeling constantly stressed and anxious at home and then I would have to go out on-call at any time of the day or night for work. It wasn’t long before I realised I couldn’t do both and decided to leave my job to care for my son.
The reduction in income gave me a new set of worries as I was struggling to provide for my family. I felt so low as I couldn’t see things improving, and I became depressed and anxious. Steph also suffered because of the situation we found ourselves in. My other two sons also have specialist needs – my middle child has ADHD and dyspraxia, and my eldest has dyslexia. There were times I felt I couldn’t cope with it all.
We decided to take our council and our son’s school to court over their failure to provide the support my son needed. The court case was drawn out over a number of years which hung over us and was a constant worry, causing my depression and anxiety to continue. In order to pay household bills and the ongoing court costs I had to sell everything we owned that was of value to raise some money. All of us in the family suffered from this drawn-out situation and it was such a continuous and stressful period that left its mark on all of us. It left me feeling broken.
Reaching out for help
As our financial situation became worse, we started looking for help. I knew I also needed some emotional support too – I had been to my GP to ask for counselling but there was a 12 to 14-week wait. Then, one night, Steph was looking online for anyone that could help or provide advice… and she discovered Ben.
When I called, the advisor was brilliant. From the first phone call, they did everything possible to help us. Steph and I were offered counselling for depression and anxiety, and a family holiday was organised for us, which came just at the right time. It gave us a break and the lift that we needed, helped us relax and get back to a normal life. Ben also arranged for me to take a course to achieve a CPC driving licence so I could get back to work, which will benefit myself and the family so much.
A few months after contacting Ben, we finally won the court case against the school and council. The weight off my shoulders was unreal. We have also found my son a school which can cater for children with specialist needs, so once he is settled in I can go back to work.
After years of fighting a battle and feeling so down and depressed, I can now look to the future. The support and help from Ben has meant a lot, and played a huge part in getting us through this. There are no words I can use to express our sincere thanks for everything that Ben has done for us.
Talk to us…
If you’re suffering from depression and you work, or have worked, in the automotive industry, please get in touch. You don’t have to suffer in silence, we are here for you.
You can call us, chat with us online or send us an email. And, you can find out more about depression, including tips to cope with it, by returning to our Depression or Top searches pages.