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When would you go off work with depression

(15 Posts)
myotherface Wed 07-Oct-20 12:08:35

Hi all,

Just hoping to pick other peoples brains since mine doesn't seem to be working. I work in mental health. I also suffer from recurrent depression. I had a severe episode last year that landed me in hospital. I recovered but only partially and started with a private therapist instead of continuing withmy 18month + wait to get therapy via NHS.

I've been doing okayish but in the past couple of months have noticed my mood dipping. I'm managing okay I think.I'm still playing with the kids and keeping them clean and fed. I'm seeing patients and managing to stay my normal empatheticans cheerful self with the patients. Between the appointments I can't get anything done. I just sit by my desk and stare at my laptop. I can't get tasks started and I feel like I have barely got the energy to get up or even move my hand. I feel there is no point in life and that thereiis nothing to look forward to even beyond covid. I see my life as a series of failures and bad choices.I can see that nothing will ever change and I'm destined to live in an unhappy marriage with no meaningful friendships, having a career where I'm not actually helping anyone due to a poorly working and underfunded system. My kids will probably develop mental health problems, eldest one is already showing signs of it. It just all looks pretty grey.

I've not called my gp. She'd refer me back to cmht and I know there are a lot of people out there needing their help a lot more than me. I don't want to take up that valuable place on their caseload. What I can't decide is though when to take time off work. I'm managing to see patients and manage not to cry at work. However I don't think I can see the situation clearly myself.

OP’s posts: |
Pickypolly Wed 07-Oct-20 12:13:53

This is where I am too myother, I’m trying to work up to phoning my GP but for some reason can’t.
I don’t want to waste their time, take up an appointment, I know that they will roll their dues at yet another person with MH.
I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do.

MuckyPlucky Wed 07-Oct-20 12:20:45

Can I join you both in feeling in the exact same boat. I work in MH, have recurrent major depressive disorder (with a bit of hypomania thrown in sometimes for good measure).
The past 2 years I’ve been in survival mode: stressful job, divorce, losing a partner to suicide, and yesterday broke up with my new partner of a year. I was clinging on before, keeping head above water, but was feeling increasingly like my life is a series of disastrous choices & fuck-ups. Convinced my eldest is also experiencing MH issues and will be destined for the poor mental health me and his father have suffered over the years. Was keeping it all just about ticking over & putting a front on at work and to friends/family for the sake of my job & kids but today I woke up newly-single, feeling bereft and like I just can’t keep plodding on. I saw a patient this morning which went well, but in between times I don’t have the energy to write my notes up, do any planning or anything at all. Just been sat staring into space for past couple of days between appts.
I grew up with a “roll your sleeves up and get on with things” mantra, so I find it very difficult to recognise when I’m not okay enough to be expected to keep on being strong.

In short, OP, you and I are basically in the same life right now. I wish I had advice for us but I don’t. Sending you some flowers though to try to brighten your day.

zippityzip Wed 07-Oct-20 12:27:48

Can I just say - speaking from someone who has previously sat in their car with enough amitriptyline to kill a horse, considering ending it all at the lowest possible point of my life. Recovery is possible.

Now everything feels utterly relentless, especially due to COVID. But you're not wasting anyone's time making that call to MH services. You're really not. You're a person. Human being. Who deserves to be here just as much as anyone else.

So fuck work - take the time off for your recovery. Put yourself first for a change. Reach out for help. Find meaning in every day. Eat delicious food. Make time for exercise. Read the book you never had time for. Hug your children. Focus on YOU.

You're not alone in this. You're not "just another person".

MuckyPlucky Wed 07-Oct-20 12:34:22

I too have made suicide attempts in the past when younger, and have battled suicidal thoughts for the past couple of years. A couple of weekends ago I felt very at risk of it but made plans to go away with my then-partner so that I wouldn’t be as much at risk (I didn’t tell him that tho).
It’s like there’s a schism between the depressed quietly suicidal me and the ‘functioning health professional and mother’ me, if that makes sense? Whilst I’m ok enough to continue working/parenting I don’t want the fuss & hassle of involving my GP or MH services. Working in the service I know that I’d probably not meet threshold for support anyway, as it’s so criminally stretched at mo, so there’s little point in exploring it.

GazingAndGrazing Wed 07-Oct-20 12:35:34

I’m here with you as well just a little bit further down the tunnel.

I’ve told my employer, spoke to my GP and waiting for some pointless talking therapy at the end of the month.

I feel like someone has switched my brain off. Actually, I feel nothing at all. I’m indifferent to everything. I’ve stopped looking after myself and I’m basically just sitting here waiting for nothing, I lose hours at a time a day.

I’ve decided it’s ok to sleep when I need to and as long as I’m managing to keep the kitchen tidy (by living in it all day) putting some food together then I’m getting away with it for now.

OP, I hope sharing helps, you aren’t alone and I think the time when you recognise it’s starting to unravel is the best time to take some time off even if it’s annual leave to start with and be kind to yourself, be selfish.

I believe I’m beyond talking in therapy I’ve done it all, CBT, hospital stays so I’m just holding on to a slither of hope that this won’t be forever.


97876757user Wed 07-Oct-20 12:44:40

Depression is serious and I think sometimes we are so used to keeping going in spite of our bodies crying out for a break, we learn to willfully ignore the signs. Sometimes working helps. Sometimes working can exacerbate it. Sometimes working even causes it. Please take some time off. If I were a patient telling you this then what would you advise me? Professional health and social care workers are the worst for putting their own needs first (my husband is a nurse). Please listen to your body and take at least a week off. To eat, to rest, to sleep, to read a book, to go for a walk. Take some time out - your body is trying to tell you it wants a rest. Prorotise your own needs and not your patient's needs.

Pickypolly Wed 07-Oct-20 12:50:42

What do I even say to the GP receptionist?
I don’t know what to say.
I can’t explain how I feel, I don’t know how I feel, I just didn’t feel well, don’t feel right, numb, palpitations, eating myself to death, can’t cope at work with the simplest of things.

Not me, not me at all.

Seatime Wed 07-Oct-20 12:55:31

Take a break and look after yourself. You deserve it. Your needs are as important as anyone else's. You will be doing your family a favour to have a rested Mum.

GazingAndGrazing Wed 07-Oct-20 13:11:17

You don’t need to say anything to the receptionist. You can choose it’s private or my mental health. Try not to feel a shame about it. You need some rest.

myotherface Wed 07-Oct-20 14:07:44

Thank you so much for replying everyone. I'm so sad to hear you are all in the same boat but it is comforting to know I'm not alone. It's also given me perspective hearing about other people's situations. It's given me a reminder of how many things in my life are going well. I have a very supportive and loving husband. I just don't really feel like I love him. But he is there giving me lots of support and is loving and affectionate. I haven't got financial troubles, I love my job and have a lovely house and a big garden and so don't have to feel too stuck during lockdowns. I have healthy children who adore me. And I do have a lot of friends, just none that I really feel close with or can relate to. My therapist is amazing and thinks I'm making lots of process. So hopefully at some point that'll start having an effect. I'm thinking I might call my gp and see what she thinks. She's super helpful. Maybe there's a medication that could be added. Maybe California Rocket Fuel might do the trick!

@Pickypolly I wouldn't worry about the receptionist. You can ask for an appointment and say it's mental health and that you'd rather not give more details. The gp can then dig it all out of you grin I would definitely recommend you to see your gp. Mine has always been so helpful. I have never regretted going. Also my cmht was amazing for the 18months I was under them. I'm so glad I asked for the help.

@MuckyPlucky parts of what you wrote could have been written by me. I feel it very much too that there's two sides to me. Also I probably have a pd too, although my psych has told me she doesn't think giving me that diagnosis would help and has diagnosed me with attachment disorder instead. But the pd part means the moods can at times massively fluctuate and everything goes to pot and ill think "I'll just kill myself then". My therapy is teaching me to deal with the distress tolerance and I pulsivity but it hasn't lifted my mood. But then most people are probably feeling a bit low with all the covid stuff. I'm so sorry to hear about everything that's been going on in your life. It sounds so so incredibly tough. I don't think it's a miracle you're feeling low. Sending you tons of hugs. There will be better days!! I wonder whether you find daily talk about suicide at work a bit triggering too. And the shit service provision. We just can't help people like we'd like to.

@GazingAndGrazing I'm sorry that you're struggling too. I'm so glad you've asked for help though. I don't think there's such thing as past talking therapy. I've had loads of different types of therapies. I didn't benefit from iapt cbt. But I actually think that if it had not been time limited and was done by a really experienced cbt therapist it could have been helpful. My current therapy is feeling really good though. I've had some really useful insights from it, vital emotional support and some practical skills for dealing with difficult emotions. And I do feel helpful that maybe itll help me change things in my life towards a more satisfying, meaningful life. So definitely recommend giving talking therapies a go.

OP’s posts: |
myotherface Wed 07-Oct-20 14:12:20

And thank you so much @97876757user and @Seatime and @zippityzip
I think you're all right. I do need to take time to look after myself. I've been so busy with the kids. They have been hard work with one having behavioural issues and all them constantly fighting. Then work, studies and relationship issues plus covid on top of that and it just all feels too much. There is never time to just rest and enjoy life. I'm going to think about taking time off work if I don't start feeling better. I wouldn't want to get as unwell as last year. Luckily the suicidal thoughts have left me alone so far. Last year I was walking around with a rope in my bag. Now I would not even consider it for a second. Everything just feels utterly pointless and it feels like such a waste when I only have one life!!

OP’s posts: |
Namechanged1122 Wed 07-Oct-20 18:26:56

@myotherface Can I join your thread please? I have started another thread - ('suicidal - is there a way back') in answer to your question absolutely I'd take time off work. I think it's important to nip it in the bud so to speak. I don't know why I'm not listening to my body currently and not taking time off. I'm really in the midst of the worst depression I've had. Like you mentioned about carrying a rope around previously, I've carried boxes of diazepam in my bag to work recently. I've collected 'equipment' that I need to carry out a plan. Some days are ok, others are terrible and I just want to end my life, it's all I can think about. I suppose I'm just here to say you're not the only one. I also just wish I knew how to get out of this situation, because I want to live, deep down but part of me is just screaming at me to end this joke of a life.

ExerciseBeaver Wed 07-Oct-20 19:50:07

Hi op I have been in your shoes. A friend said to me loads of people in your shoes would have taken time off by now. The next day I got signed off for a month. This was a couple of years ago. I rested and re-energised and rediscovered positive things. I should have done more to to plan the return and coping strategies and think about the future, but I sort of fumbled through. Definitely call the GP to discuss options. It will not be a burden to them.

GazingAndGrazing Wed 07-Oct-20 21:10:37

I really can resonate with the suicidality. It’s a taboo subject which would be better if it wasn’t but then the mental health budget would also work in favour.

I’ve tried to finish it, draw a line, let everyone live happier without me, it was shit, awful and I felt such a failure about the way I made everyone else feel, the guilt, the embarrassment, the attention seeker “that one you need to be careful what you say about”...

So, I tucked my feelings and thoughts deeper and resigned myself to being here for others for all of the above reason all for them.

I find it even more depressing than the actual depression and/or attempted suicide can sometimes be viewed as attention seeking, oh the irony - if that first or 2nd desperate attempt had worked we wouldn’t have known the impact it would have had on those around us not suffering but we in turn made them suffer. I don’t wish that on anyone here with me although if I was gone I wouldn’t feel it but I’m not so I do.

It’s the roundabout we wanted to get off but here we are now, hindsight, no help and the added burden of the above.

I won’t feel guilty for carrying my plan with me, well, of course I will, round and round the roundabout goes. I’ll carry it and never carry it out. I do find it funny that the most depressed person in our home feels like they are carrying the most.

Take care

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