to quit a well-paid school hours job due to panic attacks?

(19 Posts)
PanickyPixie Tue 22-Sep-15 12:37:37

I don't know what to do. DH will go spare if I quit!

I was a SAHM (to 4DC) for almost 7 years until 4 months ago. DC4 started school last September and I started applying for jobs again in May this year. I got offered a job on the spot at the first interview I went to. I was shocked as I presumed with the big gap on my CV, it would take me months to get back into work and I imagined just getting some experience at attending interviews first! The job is within school hours (very flexible too), paid well (think full time wage for part time hours), offers private medical insurance, really good pension and good opportunities for me to move up if I want.

Problem is I was diagnosed with PTSD a few years ago after suffering from extreme anxiety and panic attacks since my DC2 died at birth 14 years ago. I was able to work fulltime until 7 years ago when I had to resign after suffering months of dizziness and palpations (also had a bullying colleague who did not like me it seems). I have had DC4(or 5 actually) since then and my anxiety around my DC's health/safety has increased exponentially.

A large part of my work in this job is attending very high level meetings 3/4 times a week and minuting them. Since I started here my anxiety has centered on me peeing myself. farting loudly and smellily or having sudden explosive diarrhoea whilst in these meetings. I have done everything - wear Tena ladys, go to the loo directly before I go in, wear 2 pairs of armour plated knickers etc and my anxiety during the meetings is so bad that I feel like I am going to faint any minute and cannot concentrate on what's being said.

HR know as I explained my mental health issues to them when I did actually leave a meeting, walk out of the office and resign. They reinstated me when I explained about the panic attacks (not the form they take of course!) and have been lovely telling me not to worry but I feel like an utter prick and so unprofessional.

I have never peed or pooped myself in public (as an adult, pissed myself at school when I was a shy 10 year old too afraid to put my hand in class to ask to go) and I know this is ridiculous but I simply cannot cope with the fear and dread anymore.

Any ideas on what to say to an (very unsupportive DH). I will have to accept that I will probably never work again, won't I? I feel like I am resigning my family to live in poverty as I need to work financially and we have suffered over the last few years as I used to always be the highest earner.

puddingisgood Tue 22-Sep-15 12:42:46

I have problems with anxiety myself Pixie, and my first thought was that even if you leave this job there is a good chance that the issues will recur in some other area of your life. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. I think going to your GP and getting some help for it would be a better option long term, even though it may seem impossibly hard right now. I do know that it's very difficult though. flowers

airforsharon Tue 22-Sep-15 12:42:56

Ok first things first, are you currently seeing your GP for support with your panic attacks? Are you on any medication? Have you been offered CBT? CBT helped me enormously when I was practically housebound for a year with panic attacks and agoraphobia.

This CAN be overcome, you will work again. But firstly you need to get well.

Secondtimeround75 Tue 22-Sep-15 12:43:15

Have you had any cognitive therapy.

This is too big to handle alone.

You have done so well to date.
You deserve a better quality of life than living in fear. Talk to your GP

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 22-Sep-15 12:44:04

Can you get some help? Anxiety can be treated with hypnotherapy/CBT. Have you tried that? Is it possible to keep on going each day as each time you come home having not had any 'accidents' it will become something of the past and something you barely think about over time. flowers

MabelSideswipe Tue 22-Sep-15 12:49:53

Have you considered Hypnotherapy? I know of someone with a similar level of anxiety over wetting herself who found hypnosis very helpful. Her anxiety stemmed from wetting herself at school which she didn't even consciously remember.

Lenuccia Tue 22-Sep-15 12:49:55

How horrendous for you. I'm sure you have already seen a GP many times about this - but how about going back and trying again. There are lots of anti anxiety medications you can try and the GP could refer you for CBT. Your workplace may also offer some free counselling sessions. I was surprised to find I could have 10 paid for by my employer.

You must be seriously impressive to have bagged such a great job straight off so please do not doubt yourself. You could look at changing jobs to one that does not put you in the sort of situations where you become panicky about losing control - I'm a cop out and now mostly work from home.

PanickyPixie Tue 22-Sep-15 13:00:32

Over the last 5 years, I have had 12 sessions of CBT on the NHS, about 18 months of counselling with a private therapist and 6 sessions of EMDR. I also paid a private hypnotherapist £500 for 3 sessions in which he 'guaranteed' that he would cure my panic attacks. I never bothered to ask for my money back as I don't do confrontation unfortunately!

What the counselling brought up was an understanding of my very abusive childhood (every type of abuse went on) and my toxic family dynamic on which I confronted my mother and she then proceeded to cut me, DH and my children off. My siblings being loyal to her all followed suit. This devastated me and messed up a lot of the work I had done on my self esteem - if my own family want nothing to do with me, then I must be a completely horrible person etc.

I am not seeing GP as a few years back I saw that on the screen where my notes are, had been written that I was neurotic. Quite pissed off about that actually! Will not use medication at all as scared of side effects and know that my mental behaviour is habitual and due to life experiences rather than chemical.

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 22-Sep-15 13:17:00

Neurosis: : a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (as visceral symptoms, anxieties, or phobias)

Don't be put off by the word neurotic. Drs will use it to describe people with phobias, ocd etc. it is making the difference between psychosis and neurosis.

amarmai Tue 22-Sep-15 14:24:07

the HR dept reinstated you after you resigned and explained why= that is why you should work with them and get assistance to deal with your problems. This is as rare as hen's teeth. Stick to this lifeline and work with professional help to overcome your fears. You will be soo proud of yourself and live a fuller more joyful life. Just do it

marzipancustard Tue 22-Sep-15 14:26:16

OP I know you've already tried it but hypnotherapy made my anxiety manageable - at a point where it had taken over my life and I was unable to leave the house most days. I saw a wonderful lady had 7 sessions and although I'm not magically cured I have coping strategies and am not hindered in my everyday life anymore.

yoshipoppet Tue 22-Sep-15 14:30:56

Merry is right about the word Neurotic. Your doctor will have been using it in a strictly medical sense, not as an insult.
Please do go back to the doctor and get some more help. Maybe there might be some new meds you could try, as it's no life to be living with fear constantly. You must be so exhausted by it all.
I hope you feel you can continue with your job as they sound lovely and supportive smile

Ridingthegravytrain Tue 22-Sep-15 14:38:55

Have you tried any meds? I know it's not getting to the root but I used to have exactly the same toilet based panic attacks and I was the one holding the meetings. It was horrendous. And so bad that the anxiety would cause me to get the diarrhoea I was fearing!!

A propranolol an hour before the meeting and taking prophylactic Imodium the night before worked wonders

HortonWho Tue 22-Sep-15 14:50:11

Actually, under the circumstances HR couldn't legally accept her resignation as OP could've returned a week later and said she resigned while having a severe panic attack, etc. I don't know the legal terminology but similar incident at my work and colleague was signed off for six months while he underwent treatment for his issues and his resignation was accepted only once he was able to come back to work and chose not to.

chootalkinboutWillis Tue 22-Sep-15 14:50:55

Sounds like you've written off medication a bit too readily - it completely changed my life for the better.

Anyway, I don't think you should quit. If you keep running away from your issues and allowing them to interfere with your life then you will never learn to manage them. Your employers very sound generous and understanding - if you can't work with them, then who can you work for?

MyNewBearTotoro Tue 22-Sep-15 15:01:54

I have anxiety and also have panic attacks surrounding the worry I might wet myself in social situations.

I went to my GP and have been prescribed diazepam which really helps to take the edge off. I am awaiting psychological assessment as my GP thinks the repetitive thoughts surrounding wetting myself could be OCD.

A supportive doctor should be able to help you with this - ask for a new GP with a better understanding of MH issues if you can. Then it's about being honest with them, I found I had to write down what I wanted to say in advance after the first time I went I couldn't talk. Push for it to be taken seriously as necessary and highlight that this is impacting on your life and ability to work. Don't give up on yourself yet!

Good luck flowers

Parsley1234 Tue 22-Sep-15 15:08:25

I had chrinic anxiety when my son started school worries about wetting myself, vomiting, fainting, choking etc in the classroom esp when he did school plays. I had one session of EFT and it gave me the tools to manage my stress good luck don't give up your job! They must love you to want to work with you x

Itsmine Tue 22-Sep-15 16:04:30

Can't you apply for a less stressful job? I'm presuming if it's f/t wages for p/t hours it must be demanding.

Meds for anxiety don't tend to have the same side effects as anti d's. Even a low dose beta blocker may be enough to help and get you out of the anxiety cycle.

Osolea Tue 22-Sep-15 16:07:33

I think YWBU to give up your job, especially when it sonds like they are so understanding. What you're going through sounds incredibly difficult, but you can't expect your DH to be supportive of you if you won't be supportive of yourself. And you're not supporting yourself if you refuse to go to the GP.

You need to find a way of either relieving or coping with your problems, you can't reasonably expect your DH to support you and four children alone indefinitely.

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