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Returning to Work

(5 Posts)
Rockhopper81 Mon 17-Apr-17 12:14:23


I've been off work since January with depression and anxiety - I thought I'd be better within a couple of weeks, but it didn't happen. I still feel immensely guilty that I'm not at work (my employer is being very understanding - I work in education - so it's my guilt rather than any pressure they're applying, if that makes sense).

I'm starting to feel a little better now - is it normal to take this long? - and am beginning to think about returning to work. Not for another few weeks, but the thought of going back doesn't induce a panic attack like it did.

Work are being helpful and I will have a phased return, so that's promising.

Has anybody with mental health issues considered or gone back to work part-time permanently after a long period of absence?

I could financially make it work on 4 days per week instead of 5 - I'd need to be careful with money, but it's doable - and part of me wonders if the extra day 'off' would help (I have Aspergers and continual anxiety of some level or another - it's exhausting when I'm well, let alone when I'm not).

Just looking for thoughts really, before I even think about broaching it with my employer. Or disregarding it if it's a daft idea!

Thanks in advance.


Joto369 Mon 17-Apr-17 13:21:19

Hi Rockhopper. It sounds like you have fantastic employers and I would approach them. It's not a daft idea at all. My employers idea of phased return following a car accident where I ended up upside down and understandably had a stress reaction was over 3 days starting an hour later! I'm now suffering chronic stress. I'd put it all down in writing and then speak to them. I think they will consider it. Xx

NolongerAnxiousCarer Mon 17-Apr-17 14:07:50

I would definately discuss it with your employer and possibly occupational health. It certainly sounds like a posibility. I started a phased return in January this year after 3 months off sick. I'm still on short days and reduced duties. I'm lucky my employers have slowed down my return rather than pushing me. Ultimately its in their interest for your return to work to be sucessful and not have you off sick again. Also the disability discrimination act requires your employer to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to continue working.

I would have an honest discussion about hours, and what aspects of work you feel that you can manage, then meet regularly to discuss how its going and what the next steps are. Don't underestimatte how tiring and challenging it will be, start slowly.

Also if you need it your Dr can right a fit note recommending adjustments to your hours or duties initially. My employer was happy to do a phased return without this, but if employers are less willing this is an option.

Rockhopper81 Mon 17-Apr-17 17:14:34

Thanks for your replies. I'm not sure how feasible it would be (for my employer) for me to do 4 days instead of 5, I guess I'd only find out by asking. I suspect part of me appreciates how lucky I am to have an understanding employer and doesn't want to risk 'rocking the boat' by suggesting part-time (although they would save 1/5 of my salary if it happened).

I keep thinking though that I don't want to feel like this again, I don't want this to happen again, and whilst I don't think work was the sole cause of this period of illness, it was a contributory factor. I have worked full time for years though, so it's not like I haven't managed before...maybe a frank and open discussion is the way forward?

NolongerAnxiousCarer Mon 17-Apr-17 21:23:56

I definately think with an understanding boss honest and open discussion is the best way forward. They will have supported people through this before so might be able to offer ideas you hadn't thought of. You don't want to get ill again and they don't want you to go off sick again so suitable solution is in both of your interests.

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