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Anxiety over returning to work

(44 Posts)
Nogodsnomasters Sun 24-May-20 17:59:33

I've been off work for 10 weeks now and have been quite strict with following government guidelines because I was germ-phobic and have health anxiety before all this even started.

Tomorrow I have to return to work and I honestly feel like crying. I do not have a choice in this, I am not vunerable, I don't live with anyone vunerable and my work have put all the health and safety precautions that they can into place.

I am just going to be so paranoid about bringing this virus home to my husband and son (or getting it myself) and I know my hands are going to be raw. At home I don't need to wash them as much except after touching post/parcel etc because I know everything in my house is safe as we don't leave, but at work I am going to be washing my hands a ridiculous amount due to my anxiety and I suffer dermatitis on them.

I know this all probably sounds ridiculous and I'm not even sure why I'm posting, I don't have a question to be answered, I just wanted to write this down somewhere.

OP’s posts: |
SymbollocksInteractionism Sun 24-May-20 18:32:57

You will be fine.
Me and my husband have been working as normal all the way through this. Also shopping and collecting prescriptions for work, parents and elderly friends of family. We have 3 DC and have been stringent with our hygiene.

You are low risk so even if you did catch it somehow, you would almost certainly be ok.

loveyoutothemoon Sun 24-May-20 18:41:22

You're bound to be anxious after so long. But try not to worry, none of you are vulnerable, just be sensible, keep your distance and wash your hands plenty.

When we were first on lockdown I panicked quite a bit as I'm vulnerable and work in the community. I continued to do so throughout and I've not caught it. The panic wore off pretty quickly as I did everything possible to keep myself safe and I kind of forgot about it.

You're low risk. What line of work are you? Will they be able to distance you adequately?

SavoyCabbage Sun 24-May-20 19:09:34

I really think that the people who have been staying at home properly throughout this will find it harder than those who have been 'out'.

Once you start going out again and seeing things returning to normal you will feel better.

Ilikewinter Sun 24-May-20 19:19:15

I work in retail and weve been given some training on recognising 'customers emotions..... im quite glad ive been working throughout, its enabled me to adjust slowly to all the changes, i would feel totally lost if i hadnt been out in several weeks.

Realitea Sun 24-May-20 20:02:14

After a week of going to work I’m sure you’ll feel better about it, it’s just a big step after staying in so long. I’ve only just started going to shops again and although I have anxiety too (before this all started) I felt a lot happier. I was feeling quite groggy before not going anywhere!

Toilenstripes Sun 24-May-20 20:07:04

I honestly think you will be fine but maybe also talk to your GP and HR to get a record of your struggles. It’s a big step and one that your colleagues might be feeling as well. Can you take a cake in on your first day as a way to encourage those who are returning?

Nogodsnomasters Sun 24-May-20 20:58:19

Thank you all for your replies. I have of course been out for food shopping and dog walking, prescriptions but I'm the "type" who wipes everything with Dettol wipes when I get home, all the food packaging etc, even my handbag straps, my phone, purse anything I've handled - it's getting out of control but those are 1-2hr trips maximum depending on queues etc this is going to be 9hrs a day with other staff and customers.

I work in homeware retail, our HR department hasn't even given us a set amount of people who can come in the shop, just "use your best judgement". I just don't cope well with change and this is all seeming a bit overwhelming now. I'm sure you're all right and after a week or so I might feel a bit more normal.

It's just when you've been trying desperately to avoid other people for the best part of 3 months and then you're thrown back in with the public again, I feel like I'm walking into a germ-fest.

OP’s posts: |
Twinklelittlestar1 Sun 24-May-20 21:01:51

I totally understand. Your feelings are completely normal and shared by many. After weeks we've been being told 'stay home! It's not safe!' Very hard to just switch that off and feel safe we'd going out!

Patch23042 Sun 24-May-20 22:20:09

It’ll probably be a bit like going back after maternity leave ...ie the anticipation will be worse than the reality. Perhaps focus on the positives such as seeing colleagues again. It’s hard, I know, and i wish you well.

covetingthepreciousthings Sun 24-May-20 22:20:24

Good luck for tomorrow thanks

I work in retail, but not got a return date yet, I'm feeling very anxious about it like you, I also know my hands will be red raw as they were just before lockdown sad

I hope you get more guidance from H/O regarding numbers in store etc.

It'll be ok, you may not even get that many customers through the door tomorrow.

StrawberryBlondeStar Sun 24-May-20 22:36:30

I’ve still been out for work this entire time. Honestly, the first week of going out (when everyone else was in lockdown was the scariest), but now it’s fine. You just get use to it.

SpiritEssence Mon 25-May-20 05:59:50

I have had anxiety but work in retail and have been right through this and with no time off. You start to feel stronger and its not that bad I've found. If customers come close to you ask them to step back and sanitize your hands regularly

BillywilliamV Mon 25-May-20 06:08:07

You need to educate yourself on the real risks involved for a healthy family. They are tiny!
Obey any rules your workplace sets, wash your hands and remember that the biggest threat to your health here, is anxiety!

Oblomov20 Mon 25-May-20 06:28:19

I completely disagree with Twinkle. Your feelings are NOT normal and are NOT shared by many.

Please speak to your GP and HR about this before returning to work.

Nogodsnomasters Mon 25-May-20 07:28:02

Well I woke at 4.50am from bad dreams and lay there for a further 2hrs unable to fall back to sleep despite putting relaxing music on YouTube. So now I'm going to be exhausted later which doesn't help my anxiety at all. Thank you all for your supportive replies, I really appreciate it, it's nice to know that other people feel the same way or at least understand why I'm feeling this way even if they don't themselves.

I feel like starting back slowly might have helped instead of straight back in to 40hrs a week but I know that's not an option because I'm management so I just have to suck it up and hope for the best.

OP’s posts: |
Realitea Mon 25-May-20 08:07:16

Have a good day Nogodsnomasters flowers

DiaryofWimpyMumm Mon 25-May-20 08:12:02

I hope today goes okay for you!

lemonjam Mon 25-May-20 08:13:28

Good luck smile
I’m feeling similar, I’m back at work (in care) after maternity leave, and on top of worrying about leaving the baby it is going to feel very strange being out and about after weeks of only leaving the house for walks in the woods.

KnobChops Mon 25-May-20 08:33:01

I think you probably need to speak to your GP and get some help for your pre existing health anxiety.

I work in a hospital and of course we’ve been working this whole time. One of my colleagues has health anxiety and despite facing her fears every shift her anxiety hasn’t reduced at all, quite the opposite. She’s losing a lot of weight as well and noticeably it’s a lack of control that seems to be the problem. You need help to unpick the underlying issue as working during a virus pandemic will likely be very difficult for you.

revelsandrose Mon 25-May-20 09:11:14

@Ngodsnomasters hope your day at work isn't as bad as you anticipate.
I have to return to work tomorrow after being off for 8 weeks. I am very anxious and also very concerned about my Dc returning to childcare, and being judged by other parents for doing so, I have no choice.

loveyoutothemoon Mon 25-May-20 09:41:05

I don't think it will be as bad as you are expecting. I generally find people to be very good in shops, they keep their distance and some actually walk away from you!

KnobChops Mon 25-May-20 09:46:38

I hope Op does find it easier then expected, and that her fears are lowered. However health anxiety (which pre existed this pandemic for Op) is a disorder that doesn’t necessarily respond to ‘face your fear’ type approaches. See how the return goes but I would look at getting some external help for the disorder.

TweeterandtheMonkeyman Mon 25-May-20 10:18:15

I hope your day goes ok OP .
Just to say I had awful anxiety about this back in January (have read The Stand too many times !!) , plus some unrelated stresses at home and work. I was prescribed beta blockers which really helped get my anxiety under control, I’d recommend them to anyone.
Also to reassure you, I have worked throughout and have been absolutely fine - just taking sensible precautions.

Nosurveysneeded Mon 25-May-20 10:24:33

Nice to see that you have been going out already for shopping and walking which is goo.

It must be difficult for you, but try to remember that you are not vulnberable and your employer has made changes to make it extra safe. Try not to focus on the negatives but on the positives that your life can start returning to normal routines quikcer than many others will be able to .

Good luck, I'm sure you will come out of the first day feeling really proud of yourself for starting to get back out there again

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