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Signed off work with anxiety - what am I meant to do?

(9 Posts)
NotMeNoNo Mon 16-Jan-17 09:42:25

This may be a stupid question!

I had a number of panic attacks a few weeks ago triggered by a combination of overload at work and some family crises. Never had anything like that before although things have been getting difficult on both fronts for several months.

GP has signed me off for 5 weeks but I need to see work this week about going back. I've had friendly messages from work about "make sure you look after yourself/get well" etc but I'm not sure if I'm doing anything about that? I'm just pottering around the house and MNing/watching daytime TV. Should I be getting counselling or something? I suppose I need to get my workload reduced or it will be just as bad when I get back, which the GP has asked about. I really don't know where next.

Previo Mon 16-Jan-17 09:53:50

Has your GP not made a referral for counselling? There's a number of different ways counselling can help but you'd need to be assessed to determine how you reached this point so you can develop helpful strategies to deal with the anxiety you are suffering from. Does your employer have any employee support options?

Some examples - I had issues many years ago & was referred to group counselling, specifically assertiveness focused, then later had a group course on stress management. I found sharing with others with similar issues helpful, but I'm guessing individual counselling rather than group sessions are also a 'thing' even though I didn't experience that. Much later on, I had CBT which of the 3 types of help/support I think I gained the most from.

In terms of what you need to do now I think my employer was ok as long as I was demonstrating that I was actively seeking help/support for the symptoms of anxiety I was suffering - the onus was equally on them to look at how my work contributed to causing the stress/anxiety issues & how that could be looked at/adjusted to ensure no repeat build up etc.

Hope that helps.

NotMeNoNo Mon 16-Jan-17 10:01:25

Thanks. I'm going to contact the Employee Assistance programme today (external provider), possibly that's why the GP didn't refer.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Mon 16-Jan-17 12:16:35

Is the Employee Assistance program provided by your employer. If so be aware they are not necessarily looking after you but the company.

That apart, get lots of rest.

NotMeNoNo Mon 16-Jan-17 12:22:45

The EAP is a company funded benefit from Workplace Options. I think they just refer you to a local counsellor. It would be a first step I guess.
The more I hang about at home the more it seems a huge step to be up and out of the house to go back.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Mon 16-Jan-17 16:49:26

Know the feeling. I was initially signed off for a month, then the OH said another two months ,then two more after that. I went back to work but in the interim had decided I could no longer work with people who could drive someone into a mental breakdown. It cost me a local government gold plated pension... but I have my health and the love of a very good woman to support me.

From that low point in 2007 we are now setting up a new business and looking to the future. What I mean is that a breakdown is not the end of your life. It can be an opening to do something better that you never realised you can do.

AnxiousCarer Mon 16-Jan-17 18:41:13

I've just gone back to work after 3 months off with PTSD that caused anxiety (it was not work related so somewhat different) My GP put me on antidepressants but did not refer me for any therapy as my work occupational health department has a much shorter waiting list. I was able to self refer to councelling through work and then the councellor refered to a psychologist. I was advised not to even consider going back to work until my anxiety was 3/10 or lower 70% of the time by occupational health. Whilst I was off sick I went to the gym regularly as this is one of my stress management strategies. I also gradually built up my contact with work, meeting up with collegues one to one, going in to meet with my manager and working towards going into work for a chat. My manager suggested going in for an hour at a time just to check emails etc rather than to work and having lunch with my team. Once I was doing that several times a week I started a phased return with reduced hours and reduced duties. If your manager is not initially kedn you can ask your GP to give you a fit note with these specifications on. I have also discussed coping strategies with my manager and have permission to leave work and go for a walk, or take breaks as I feel I need to.

I am lucky to have a very supportive manager and team so that helps enormously. I've worked there a long time and have a good sickness record and they know I won't take the piss, so I think that helps a lot too!

NotMeNoNo Mon 16-Jan-17 21:46:37

Thanks, that is very helpful as to the sort of things that might help. Ultimately I do have to question whether I'm in the right job but would hope in the medium term to get back to work whilst we look at options.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Tue 17-Jan-17 08:10:00

OP, you mention family crisis as well as overload at work.
The employer can't do a ything about your family situation axcept be understanding. But the workload is in their remit to manage.

But that is for later. For now forget about eveything and rest. Look after family. Tell DP you love them.

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