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please help me help my DH with workplace stress

(4 Posts)
brighteyedandbushytailed Mon 22-Oct-12 12:45:56

DH is suffering from extreme workplace stress. There are several causes of this - his anxious personality, hangover from bullying in his previous job, tough time in his company. This has been slow-burning for months (since say June) but has become more acute over the last 4 weeks.

His symptoms include - neck and shoulder pain (he had a massage and the masseuse found 6 muscle knots!) pins and needles, losing sensation in hands or feet or getting patches which are extremely cold, twitches, hyperventilating, extreme avoidance, self medicating with alcohol, using the internet on his phone to distract himself for hours before he gets to sleep and on his way in in the morning. Last week he was floored by the type of cold which would normally be a low level sniffle. He suffers what he describes as "low level panic attacks" (ie symptoms exist for 2-3 hours but he tries to ignore them and carry on with his work. Several times it has culminating in his ringing me from the alleyway behind the office hyperventilating and in floods of tears).

He keeps describing himself as an awful person. Noone, none of his colleagues thinks that. He is on the waiting list for private and NHS CBT, neither yet come throug (private hopefully later this week). In the meantime he is refusing to go onto anti-anxiety medication because of some incidents which happened in the immediate family which have made him scared of the side effects. He is refusing to go off sick, partly because "the stress will still be there when I get back" (I see where he is coming from but think he'd be better able to do deal with it) and also because there is an issue at work which he thinks will become a performance managament/disciplinary issue for him if he doesn't keep on top of it. I don't know what the issue is for definate but I have my suspicions and, knowing the industry and company well, think that at most it is likely to be a slap on the wrist, that it is important he has a record of his psychological state in case it is worse than that and that his current lack of judgement due to stress is more likely to create more serious problems.

He has twice, not for several weeks though, made comments about how he wishes he'd the guts to self harm "mildly" to "let it all out" and "bring everything to a head".

His line manager and line manager's line manager are both very decent people. The LM has an inkling of the situation. DH is refusing to discuss it further with the LM or HR to look at ways of minimising his stress without him going off sick. I am seriously considering ringing the LM myself. DH has made me promise not to though and I don't want to do anything which will make him feel more under attack.

I am seriously worried. Does anybody have any advice?

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Mon 22-Oct-12 13:02:03

Hi brighteyed,

Can I suggest you put a copy of this in Mental Health as well, so you get some advice on that side of things as well as the work side (if you haven't already, of course)?

I'm not an expert on either aspect, but it does sound as though a sensible first step would be to drag him back to the doctor's - ideally you going with him to make sure he doesn't minimise things, if you can somehow get him to agree to that. It would also be good to check whether there are any physical issues, just in case not all symptoms are purely down to the stress.

Hope you get some more help from the more knowledgeable people on here!

brighteyedandbushytailed Mon 22-Oct-12 13:12:00

Hi Inigo

I have posted in AIBU for the MH side (momentarily forgot there is an MH topic)!

I should have tailored this for employment rather than just splurging. What I'm really trying to find out, from an employment perspective, is how employers/HR people would react to DH's going off sick, or having (temporary) reasonable adjustments in the workplace, or just telling his LM!

DH is totally convinced if he goes off sick he will be sacked because all the minor mistakes he has made will come to light. I understand that employers may get annoyed if people go off sick to side-step performance reviews, but if someone was genuinely ill and their mistakes were reflective of that, surely most decent employers would rather that the person rested and came back able to tackle stuff rather than haphazardly trying to continue, making things worse as they go?

Anyway, any advice welcome.

rimad Mon 29-Oct-12 09:10:15

Hey Bright,

Looks like DH is doing everything but lives his own life. What I mean he is living by someone else hierarchy of values and his fear to live by his own set of values is causing all this stress.

Sound like he is not aligned with his set of values so my recommendation is to find good certified coach, preferably NLP, who can coach him to bust through his fears and start to live the life he wants.

Look at it this way, no medications, there is only talking involved and he will get back in control of his life.

Sounds like he wants his "voice" to be heard only he has unconsciously found unresurceful pattern.

With coaching he will find resourceful one. It works believe it or not.

Hope it helps smile


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