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Crippling anxiety(6 Posts)
This has been creeping up on me for a while, but I've been hit this weekend with crippling levels of anxiety.
I'm a married mum of two, work full time in an increasingly stressful public sector role. I've always been able to manage the juggle, and deal with stress in the workplace and at home. I'm pragmatic and rational, so people also come to me with their problems
Just over a year ago I had to have a termination for medical reasons. This was an unplanned pregnancy, but the whole experience was incredibly difficult. I felt I couldn't take any time off, I needed to schedule it to fit in work priorities. Basically I didn't cut myself any slack. On the surface I was fine, but I think the whole experience has traumatised me.
In top of this, my DH took some time off from work with his own stress (he has sorted this by stepping down a role). We've had berevements, family members with covid, half my family are business owners who have suffered the brunt of covid lockdown. On top of this, my DS has had a traumatic relationship breakdown (DA involved) and I have spent the last 6 months worrying about this and trying to support my DP's as well as her.
Work has always been stressful but I have usually used it as a form of solace. During covid I was redeployed to help with the response, this was stressful but I could cope with it.
I returned to my job, which has changed slightly.
I took today off as I have lots of TOIL accrued , but I can barely move. I feel guilty I'm not in work, but feel sheer dread and terror about being in work. I've been underperforming (by my standards), but I just cant seem to carry the pressure at the moment. I am WFH.
I've self referred to a counciling service today. But I don't know what to do. I don't feel like I can call in sick as it will screw everything up and people are relying on me. I'm not really sure why I'm posting here. I think I just need a handhold.
You do sound exhausted op and no wonder its caught up with you from everything you have been through. Do you have an employee assistance programme? They have trained counsellors you can talk to. They can also check in with you.
Today just try and relax, do as little as possible- a bath, a movie if you feel up to it, sleep, flick through a cookbook, do a jigsaw etc.
Be kind to yourself
See if the little rest helps you feel better. And don't bloody well feel guilty!!! You are unwell and need to rest to see if that makes you better. Everyone and everything can look after themselves for a bit.
If a few days of holing up in bed doesn't sort your anxiety, call your GP. Mine was so so good with quickly medicating me (I needed it badly as my physical symptoms were severe), sorting out the right balance and advice on a low dose AD, beta blockers, diazapam for emergencies (never used but he trusted me to have them and not use them unless completely needed) and then sleeping tablets when horrific and sudden insomnia made it impossible for me to improve. Then online CBT (really surprisingly helpful and instantly available) while I waited for my CBT referral once the physical symptoms were under control. None of the above things other than the initial 4-5 days where I was utterly non-functioning and in a very bad place, have been a hassle or taken anything from me. I wish everyone's mental health breakdown could be fixed as text book as mine but what made the difference was my immediate realisation I needed help, a very reactive and supportive GP, and a little space to rest and recover.
Get some support.
I feel like I could have written a lot of your post myself (minus the difficult wider family things you’ve been going through which sound very tough) and I am really struggling with anxiety at the moment.
I’m working full time WFH, DH has been made redundant and this job is fairly new, I started it straight back from maternity leave. The anxiety started with palpitations early on during lockdown and lots of worries and over-working to compensate for all the uncertainty at work ( I too was redeployed to work on Covid related things and I’m public/voluntary sector). But things have spiralled and I’m almost constantly anxious, agitated, quick to temper and my resilience is rock bottom. Cooking a simple dinner or doing a quick nappy change can feel like the most stressful experience - which sounds ridiculous - but I think it’s just a sign of how poorly I’m able cope.
I’ve started with some talking therapies this week and have practised Wim Hof breathing when the palpitations become unbearable, mainly as a distraction.
I think next step for me is GP but for some reason I’m finding it hard to make that leap.
The service I run is getting a lot of referrals for people with high levels of anxiety at the moment so I’m recognising that I’m not alone and this is happening to many, many people.
I hope you feel better soon and thank you for posting. It helped reading about someone in a similar position to me.
Thanks everyone. I went to the doctor today and he has put me on anti-anxiety medication and also referred me for blood tests to check my iron, magnesium levels. I have also self referred for CBT but will also look at EA.
Good advice I got from my Counsellor's was to imagine what you would say to a friend or colleague in the same situation. Would you expect them to work? Would you judge them for taking time off to protect their health? Or would you urge them to take the time they need to recover?
Be kind to yourself OP. It is one of the hardest things to learn for high performers. And as I write this I know I often don't follow my own advice. Good luck sounds like you've been super proactive.
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