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How to tell colleagues I've returned to work?

(45 Posts)
Settlethewreckage Wed 13-Mar-19 13:21:42

Posting for traffic. I attempted suicide last year, and after a period of recovery I am now ready to return to work (go me! grin). My supervisors and higher ups want to announce my return by sending an email to the unit, and I would like that too. I'm just not sure what to say. I am quite open and would like to be honest about why I was off, but I'm lost as to how to phrase it!

When my supervisor asked me I just said "tried to die, but failed so thought 'might as well return to work'..." Can some of you lovely ladies please come up with something a little more 'appropriate'? blush

Shelley54 Wed 13-Mar-19 13:30:00

Depends how brutally honest you want to be. If you’re going for tact and diplomacy, “as many of you know, last year was tough for me. But I’m back on my feet and excited about rejoining the team” or something similar?

Wixi Wed 13-Mar-19 13:31:11

Not really, but what about "after a difficult period in my life, I now feel able to return to the workplace and look forward to the opportunity of working with you all again"? Positive without going into much detail, as they don't need to know details but can ask if you are happy to explain? Good luck with your return.

Ariela Wed 13-Mar-19 13:31:19

How about :
After battling with mental health demons last year, I'm pleased to say I am recovering well and looking forward to returning to work on (date). The chocolate biscuits are on me!

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Wed 13-Mar-19 13:33:43

Well done you! Great that you are ready to go back. Be as honest as you're comfortable with, but perhaps be wary of the language potentially being a trigger for someone else having MH issues.

How about;

"Delighted to be coming back. Please don't feel the need to tip-toe around me or avoid mentioning what I went through last year; I'm quite happy to talk about my mental health and my experiences."

Hope it helps.

ScatteredMama82 Wed 13-Mar-19 13:34:07

I’m not sure how to word it, but if you’re happy being open about it I would mention mental health/depression. If you’d had cancer you’d say so, so I think you should say what was wrong and not pussyfoot around it by saying ‘a difficult time’. Good luck in getting back into work xxx

EssentialHummus Wed 13-Mar-19 13:36:09

I think any of the above are good options. Please don’t make jokes at your own expense in the circumstances, you deserve better and it will make most people very uncomfortable. flowers

ShinyMe Wed 13-Mar-19 13:37:39

Depending how pushy you feel about destigmatising suicide, you could be very frank. I wouldn't say 'failed' but I might be tempted to say something like 'last year I experienced suicidal thoughts and actions. I'm currently in a much better place, and feel ready to return to work.'

I might be tempted to add something about how you want to be treated, e.g. 'please don't be afraid to ask me about it', or 'please don't feel you have to walk on eggshells around me', or 'I'd rather not discuss it, please treat me the same as before...' depending on how you feel.

Part of the fear and stigma around suicide in society is that people are scared to talk about it, and will beat around the bush, using euphemisms that don't really help, and add to the general fear. If you feel strong enough, I'd be tempted to use the word suicide, and to be upfront about it, without using judgemental language like failed/failure etc.

blockedoffandfuckedoff Wed 13-Mar-19 13:38:40

Please don’t make a joke about it. People will find that more uncomfortable.

Be honest and tell them you’re happy to be back

Glogirl0305 Wed 13-Mar-19 13:40:49

"Delighted to be coming back. Please don't feel the need to tip-toe around me or avoid mentioning what I went through last year; I'm quite happy to talk about my mental health and my experiences."

This. And good work!

Happyhusband Wed 13-Mar-19 13:48:50

"Bad luck world I'm still here!" ??

ginghamtablecloths Wed 13-Mar-19 13:55:32

How about 'I went through some challenging times last year but I'm back and raring to go.'

Pinkbells Wed 13-Mar-19 13:56:26

After a very difficult personal time last year I am in a happier place and ready to embrace the next chapter of my life. I am very much looking forward to returning to work and seeing you all next week.

ILoveBray Wed 13-Mar-19 13:58:53

I wouldn't make any jokes, it just minimises the seriousness of why you were away and appears a bit attention seeking.

I would make it clear you are OK to discuss it (if you are) and that you are pleased to be coming back.

babysharkah Wed 13-Mar-19 13:59:04

After some difficult times with my mental health, I'm back!

That's enough, if they question then it's up to you to answer on an individual basis.

ILoveBray Wed 13-Mar-19 13:59:49

Well done on your recovery BTW. Great that you are well enough to go back.

TheMuminator2 Wed 13-Mar-19 14:00:28

@happy u naughty thing i had a similar naughty line but wont post not making light of it xx glad op is BACK!

Stuckforthefourthtime Wed 13-Mar-19 14:01:50

I'd go with Pinkbells version. You don't know what has gone with other people's mental health and can then be as open as you like in person.

LuckyLou7 Wed 13-Mar-19 14:02:32

Don't talk about attempting suicide in a jokey way, it might be a trigger for other people - you don't know what others are going through at the moment. Lots of people struggle to stay well mentally.
Just say you have been through a bad time, but are recovering well and looking forward to getting back to work. If you want to go into more detail once you're back, go ahead.

NWQM Wed 13-Mar-19 14:03:13

Is to coming from you or your employer?

Either way I think you should think about just being factual about being back, any adjustments for phased return & thanks to the person / people who have covered for you.

I’ve been off work through depression. I am not embarrassed by it but doesn’t mean I want to talk to everyone about it. I pick and choose. Being open may become hard when you are on the 20th conversation that day with someone who thinks they are being kind by being interested but actually telling you about their or their families experience.

Get yourself back into work and decide as you go along how and when to talk to people. It really may not be helpful to lose control of the information.

No-one - expect your manager - has a right to know why you were off. This privacy is important off many people and quite rightly:

After an assult I had a long period off. Well I thought everybody would feel it was long. Most people hadn’t really realised how long it was. They’d been off themselves for holidays etc and life ticks on. One person in particular yes really upset she hadn’t realised. For a few it was obviously glaring - the kind ones were just pleased I was well enough to come back. The horrible ones would have been horrible regardless.

Good luck

Springwalk Wed 13-Mar-19 14:10:43

Thank you for your well wishes and support in the last year, I am very excited to be able to return on xxxx l am very much forward to seeing you all.

I wouldn’t mention more than that, I wouldn’t invite people to discuss MH either. You may not be ready for that, going over it potentially over and over again.
Most people will just be very glad you are okay and back. Well done op!!! 💐💐💐

GBroGal Wed 13-Mar-19 14:11:57

I would avoid joking about it - either in an email or in a conversation. You might be speaking to someone who has had someone close to them who did actually commit suicide.
Well done for getting back to work - I hope it goes well for you.

ReanimatedSGB Wed 13-Mar-19 14:14:10

I also think that neutral language is better than jokes or too much detail. I appreciate that you may want to lessen the stigma around mental health but people wouldn't expect much detail from a colleague who was returning to work after gastric surgery or a breast enlargement, either - or any other physical ailment.

Best of luck.

Boysey45 Wed 13-Mar-19 14:14:56

I'd just say I was unwell and now am better and looking forward to returning to work. Its nobody else's business why you were off apart from the managers.
I certainly wouldn't make a joke about anything to do with mental helath. There will be people there who suffer themselves and who have lost loved ones I bet as well.
Hope it all goes well for you.

Nesssie Wed 13-Mar-19 14:15:48

Definitely don't make jokes about it, not appropriate at all.

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