November 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 7 
Special Features

Restoring hope

EAP can help people get through tough times

Restoring hopeSometimes people find themselves facing multiple issues at home and/or at work. We might be able to handle one or two of these events. But when problems start piling up, day-today life can become difficult, and we should seek help.

Michelle McIntire, a 43-year-old scheduler at the Delta II field site at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., found the help she needed through Boeing's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). She volunteered to share her story to inspire others to get help when they need it.

Multiple issues can overwhelm

McIntire faced a series of difficult events in a two-year period, including the death of a family member, her boyfriend's move, her own chronic illness, and the loss of her cat. In addition, the activity level at her work site was high, and she found herself working long hours with the Delta Mission Checkout Team to get flight hardware delivered to the launch pad.

All this stress in a relatively short time left her with a jumble of powerful emotions that began interfering with her ability to function normally. "I found myself feeling almost uncontrollably sad," she said. "I also felt angry, and I started venting my anger on people at work. I wasn't the same person I had been, and my coworkers didn't know what to expect from one minute to the next.

"It's embarrassing to think about the way I was behaving, but at the time I couldn't see myself or my behavior objectively," McIntire added. "I think my best friend captured the way I was feeling when she said, 'It's hard to tell which way the wind is blowing when you're in the eye of the hurricane.'"

Taking advantage of resources

These types of events and emotions are a lot for any person to handle alone. Fortunately, McIntire chose to seek help—from a therapist outside of Boeing as well as from a Boeing EAP counselor.

"In retrospect," McIntire said, "I do not believe I would have survived if I had not received the help I needed and used the resources available through Boeing.

"The EAP counselor I saw was great," McIntire said. "She was non-judgmental, and she just listened to me and made suggestions about things I could consider doing. I felt comfortable that my conversations with her were confidential, that I was safe telling her what was going on in my life. It turned out we had a lot in common. I came to really trust her and did not feel like anything we spoke about was not held in confidence."

After a lot of effort in therapy, McIntire said she's beginning to feel like her old self again.

"I don't go skipping through life, whistling a happy tune 24/7. Life is life, and that means it's a mixture of good and bad, of course. But I have hope again, and I feel like I have the tools to deal with whatever comes my way," she said.

'Wouldn't hesitate'

McIntire's message to anyone who's feeling chronically stressed out? Get help.

"I wouldn't hesitate to go to a doctor if I got sick, and I wouldn't hesitate to go to a dentist if I had a toothache," she said. "And now, I wouldn't hesitate to see a professional therapist if life ever felt overwhelming again."

Interestingly, McIntire said, "Having things fall apart on you can actually be a good thing, believe it or not. Everything that happened to me turned out to be a catalyst for growth and change. We all grow and change whether we want to or not, due to the life experiences that come our way."

EAP is available any time

Boeing Employee Assistance Program services are available to all employees worldwide, regardless of their location. Whether your personal issues are minor or very serious, you are encouraged to seek assistance from an EAP counselor.

"We receive very positive feedback about employees' experiences with the EAP," said Ellen Walsh, program manager of Boeing's National/International EAP.

EAP counselors have assisted with a range of issues, including

  • Marital or couples concerns.
  • Parenting matters.
  • Workplace changes.
  • Bereavement.
  • Stress management.
  • Legal or financial consultations.
  • Mild depression or anxiety.

"Sometimes it is helpful to simply 'think out loud' about your life situation with an experienced professional," Walsh said.

To learn how to connect with services in your area, visit http://www.boeing. com/empinfo/eap



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