Sacked because I can’t stop sleeping

(301 Posts)
desperateexhausted Fri 16-Apr-21 19:38:10

Posting here for traffic and NC because I’m ashamed and furious with myself.

So I haven’t been sacked but if I don’t get a handle on the problem I’m heading that way. I have a job with regular daytime hours (no horrible shift patterns, no very early starts or late finishes) and I can’t manage it.

A week of regular 9-6 work absolutely exhausts me to the point that I have in the past fallen asleep in my clothes the moment I got home, not eaten any dinner and slept through til the next morning several times a week. Some weekends I sleep for almost the entire 48 hours, emerging only to use the toilet or microwave a ready meal. I’ve had countless sick days (probably over 20) in the last year because I’m sometimes so tired that I can’t see straight, I feel nauseous and dizzy when I sit up and the fatigue is so overwhelming I feel like I’m being crushed.

I also sometimes (often) sleep through the morning and simply don’t turn up at work. I have two alarm clocks going off right next to my head and they don’t wake me, particularly if I’ve had a night of insomnia (which I also, somewhat ironically) suffer from. This has been going on since my teenage years (I’m now in my 30s) and affected every single job I’ve had - I’ve had probations extended, been sacked from freelance contracts, and now I’m on very thin ice at work. I’m outwardly a professional and successful person but I can barely hold down a job because I cannot stop sleeping and I’m at my wits end. Chronic fatigue has been mentioned by a previous doctor but wasn’t followed up for reasons beyond my control.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to live like this. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s ruining my life and will ruin it even more if I lose my job (which, frankly, I deserve to). I don’t want special treatment from work, I know how ridiculous it sounds as a grown adult to say ‘sorry I slept through my alarm) 20 odd times a year. I would chop off a limb for an official diagnosis but every blood test I’ve had for the obvious possible reasons comes back completely clear (and I’ve had a lot of blood tests for this over the years).

Has anyone experienced similar and found a solution? It’s getting to the point that I’m terrified every time I go to bed on a weeknight that I won’t wake up when I need to, which in turn keeps me awake worrying, which then disrupts my sleep even further. Any advice would be very, very gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
turnthebiglightoff Fri 16-Apr-21 19:41:04

Have you spoken to your GP? I'd start there; you're very lucky your work haven't let you go with that much absence; as an adult you need to manage your health as much as you physically can. I sympathise but if it's been going on for this long without any medical intervention your work can't be expected to support you, without a diagnosis or treatment plan.

OverTheRubicon Fri 16-Apr-21 19:42:03

You need to call your GP first thing Monday, get an appointment and tell them you are about to lose your job. There has to be some underlying disability here - whether physical or mental health - and that should give you some protection, if you can get a diagnosis sorted asap and be clear on how you are taking steps to.address and can outline any reasonable adjustments. This must be so hard, good luck

turnthebiglightoff Fri 16-Apr-21 19:42:03

I didn't mean to sound quite so sanctimonious there - essentially I just mean you may get more sympathy / support at work if you're actively helping yourself by speaking to a Dr.

YellowGlasses Fri 16-Apr-21 19:44:06

I think you need to insist your GP refers you so that a full diagnostic and investigation can take place. In the meantime, tell your employer that you are unwell and it is being looked into. Do you have Occ Health? Speak to them and explain it’s possible the Equality Act could apply to give you a bit more protection from dismissal.

LividLiving Fri 16-Apr-21 19:46:31

Check your thyroid.

Something going on here.

SwanShaped Fri 16-Apr-21 19:47:48

Could you follow up the ME diagnosis? Have you heard of PoTS? Which can go hand in hand with ME.

StopCryingYourHeartOut Fri 16-Apr-21 19:47:53

You need to go back to the GP on Monday and be very firm and insist on something being done.
As obviously this is nowhere near normal for someone in their thirties.

dropthedeadhorse Fri 16-Apr-21 19:47:56

Sounds like ME/CFS- can’t be diagnosed via a blood test. Have a google and see if the symptoms fit.

ColdandFrosty1 Fri 16-Apr-21 19:48:28

I would definitely see your GP you may have an Iron deficiency which can cause all those symptoms! I work 2/3 12 hour shifts a week at work and I honestly feel exactly the same as you when I get home but unfortunately have a 3 year old so the weekebd sleeping is a no go grin. Maybe you need some more motivation to do things when you are off aswell. I know its hard with covid but schedule something you really enjoy for the days you are off so your motivated enough to get up and stick to it. Xx

NoSquirrels Fri 16-Apr-21 19:48:43

I think you need a period off work, signed off by the GP, to a) stabilise b) overcome your anxiety and c) show to work that you are accessing treatment and a diagnosis.

It sounds debilitating and you clearly need adjustments for your condition, but without a condition no one is required to make adjustment for you.

So you need time to pursue a diagnosis - and if that is ME/CFS (i.e. the wrapper put on ‘it doesn’t fit any blood test markers but it’s a real thing’) then you’ll need to then work out how to manage work and your health. That’s almost certainly going to need to be less than full time.

You have to take care of yourself - and the best way to do that is to keep your employer onboard which officially being signed off will actually help with, even if it seems scary,

HelpMeh Fri 16-Apr-21 19:48:57

Yeah you really need to go back and harrass your GP. If they aren't forthcoming try and get a second opinion.

FlatToppedTree Fri 16-Apr-21 19:49:16

Have you been tested for sleep apnea? I went to GP complaining I was falling asleep at work and in one day tallied up I had nodded off at my desk 46 times blush. I didn't suspect sleep apnea as I felt I had a good night's sleep. Turned out it was only mild, but was still enough to have a massive knock on effect the next day.

B33Fr33 Fri 16-Apr-21 19:49:22

You absolutely need to push for a diagnosis.

desperateexhausted Fri 16-Apr-21 19:49:39

Thanks everyone. I’ve been to my GP so, so, so many times but it’s never resulted in a referral. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been and tried to express just how debilitating this is, but because the blood tests always come back clear, they tend to default to blaming mental health issues. I really, really don’t think this is the case. If anything, the exhaustion affects my mental health because I become so despondent at being unable to function normally. I honestly cannot remember a single day - a single hour, even - in my entire life that I didn’t feel tired. I don’t know what it’s like to feel well rested. I’ll keep badgering my GP until I get something because at this rate I might as well just give up on life. I know I need to manage it I just need some help with how.

OP’s posts: |
Jolie12345 Fri 16-Apr-21 19:50:08

Definitely need to see a dr. If I was your manager I’d have no sympathy if you weren’t seeking medical advice. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer from one dr see another one.

Thatsmycupoftea Fri 16-Apr-21 19:51:03

Whats your diet like?

My advice would be to look very honestly at your diet and see if your getting enough nutrients.

I felt like you described, although not as severe, and after eventually changing my diet I gave seen a big improvement. In my case it was eating very little and eating quick things, such as a plain ham sandwich, my body simply wasn't getting enough. I was very skinny but even at my heaviest I was eating too much crap anf felt exhausted.

Cocolapew Fri 16-Apr-21 19:51:45

This isn't natural, go back to your GP.
I used to fall asleep as soon as I sat down and struggled with fatigue, I was diagnosed with Lupus and put on medication which helped enormously.

Garman Fri 16-Apr-21 19:52:45

Don't wait for your gp to come up with referrals, go and tell them you want a referral or refer yourself privately if you can to anyone you think could help, neurological consultant, sleep clinic, endocrinologist, etc.

desperateexhausted Fri 16-Apr-21 19:53:32


I would definitely see your GP you may have an Iron deficiency which can cause all those symptoms! I work 2/3 12 hour shifts a week at work and I honestly feel exactly the same as you when I get home but unfortunately have a 3 year old so the weekebd sleeping is a no go grin. Maybe you need some more motivation to do things when you are off aswell. I know its hard with covid but schedule something you really enjoy for the days you are off so your motivated enough to get up and stick to it. Xx

Covid has definitely made that harder. But even before covid id often sleep through social engagements that I really wanted to do. I’ve slept through dates and stood up people I actually really liked. I’ve slept through meeting friends to the point they were calling my parents to check I wasn’t dead. I’ve slept through my favourite band at a music festival. I’d probably sleep through a burglary in my own house. I really need to refuse to be fobbed off by the GP any more. Thanks for your support everyone.

OP’s posts: |
QueenPaw Fri 16-Apr-21 19:53:42

I can empathise. Insomnia and I worry I won't wake up when my alarm goes off. I had 8 alarms set and slept through them all and I've been 2hrs late for work before
Not quite as drastic but I sleep for an hour after work as it's the only way I can function and I'm permanently tired
GP has found nothing except hashimotos and a vitamin d deficiency, both treated and I feel no different

SnackSizeRaisin Fri 16-Apr-21 19:53:46

Insist on referral. You need a diagnosis that will hopefully enable you to get some adjustments at work. Either that or you need to get signed off sick. Would part time hours be better in the short term?

Bobbots Fri 16-Apr-21 19:54:49

At first glance it sounds like you must have a medical condition to account for this - even though the blood tests are all fine and presumably tested all the things that pp have suggested like iron and thyroid - but then you mention insomnia. You need to work out how much of this pattern is actually due to insomnia. I’m tired a LOT of the time but this is because I also really struggle to sleep between 2-5am most nights so it’s no surprise that I sometimes fall asleep at 7pm. How many hours would you estimate you sleep per week?

lockdownalli Fri 16-Apr-21 19:55:54

Is this the same GP you keep going back to or different ones?

Is your employer large enough to be able to offer an Occupational Health referral?

Pantsomime Fri 16-Apr-21 19:56:56

OP can work refer you to occupational health or their private Heath scheme etc? If they want to keep you they may work with you to get to the bottom of it- it can harm to ask

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