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Signed off with stress, how do you know you're ready to return?

7 replies

Chartreuser · 19/06/2019 08:34

I've been off sick for two weeks with stress after a horrific few weeks at work. I am due to return tomorrow, and whilst I feel ok being off I am getting more and more anxious and have not slept the past two nights worrying about returning.

I have had a hideous past two years, DH and I both lost our mums, DD had an op which she suffered life threatening complications to (I did her pre op on the phone in the car on way to MIL funeral), DFIL broken his shoulder, DF broke ribs, DF diagnosed with heart failure, DSM had knee replaced, had to change DS secondary school due to unsafe environment (two knives in class within a week, one kid was sat next to him carving up the desk til he told a teacher, Police called and school locked down), week before DMIL funeral DH fell and broke his hip. In the year before my mum died she was admitted to hospital at deaths door 9 times with sepsis, she lived 3 hours away so that's 9 times I had to drop everything and get coach to 'say goodbye'.

I'm sure there's been other stuff too. I just feel like now I've stopped (due to horrific work stress), it's all catching up with me. I'm going to see the GP today but other than cry I don't know what to say? I just feel like bad stuff is going to happen again, DH is also having a crap time at work so is a state at home (sad not horrid) and that's stressing me too, I think he needs to take time out for himself but he won't.

Sorry for spiel, question is if you've been signed off for stress do you feel ready to return or is it usual to still be v anxious and you just have to grit your teeth and crack on? I think doing the latter is what has brought me here

OP posts:
SingingLily · 19/06/2019 08:49

I'm so sorry. You really have been through the mill. I did the latter and it did eventually work out but I'm not suggesting that what worked for me would also work for you.

The first thing you need to do is tell your GP when you see them today. If you are too anxious about this, you could just try reading out your post to them because it explains things very clearly. See what your GP advises.

If you have an approachable line manager, or if your workplace allows, you could ask about coming in for a coffee and a chat in advance of your return to work. In my case, my stress was entirely work-related (it was a hazardous environment) and in my mind, the front entrance of my workplace just got bigger and bigger until it seemed like an insurmountable barrier. Going in for just a pre-return chat helped me overcome that fear and I was able to work out a supportive return plan that meant I was back to full duties fairly quickly.

Either way, OP, the most unexpected people in your workplace - including the highly confident ones - will have experienced stress and understand how hard it is. You will find support in the most unexpected places.

Good luck.

Desmondo2016 · 19/06/2019 08:54

I'm not sure you're ready to go back. Take another 2 weeks and see how you feel then. Go back on a reduced hours recuperative pattern if you can agree one. When I was off with stress I was off for yonks and knew when I finally was ready. The fact you're questioning it means you're probably not. Having said that tho, I wasn't happy with my role when I went off and managed to achieve a completely different role while I was off (same company) so going back was aided by that and it's hard to say how much my work unhappiness contributed to me going off in the first place.

juneau · 19/06/2019 08:59

What a lot you've had to deal with this past two years OP - no wonder you're feeling anxious and vulnerable and unable to function properly. Are you on any medication for your anxiety? Do you feel depressed? Do you think counselling might help you to come to terms with your grief and the stress that you are left with? You don't have to reply to any of those questions here, but they're things you should consider and discuss with your GP and if you're not ready to go back, then get signed off again for longer Flowers

happypotamus · 19/06/2019 09:13

I've not been signed off with stress (it has been recommended to me but I refused and struggled on, so take my advice while I'm not using it!!), but it doesn't sound like you are ready to go back. Does your GP know about the reasons you are stressed? Is s/he suggesting any support other than time off work, like counselling/ talking therapy? When I went to my GP about work-related stress stuff she suggested time off and gave me a phone number to self-refer to some sort of counselling type service. How helpful will your manager/ workplace be with support when you return? That might make a difference to whether you are able to manage going back if they are supportive.

Chartreuser · 19/06/2019 10:22

I'm just back from the GP who wanted to sign me off for a further two weeks but I've asked for a week in first instance.

My immediate via will be lovely and supportive but the management above him are all hideously toxic and awful, the culture is horrific. I think this had made me see it's time for another job.

Thanks for your replies, they gave me the courage to go to the Dr rather than trying to crack on, I doubt I'd have made it to lunchtime if I had tried to return.

Sorry that others have/are experiencing this though

OP posts:
SingingLily · 19/06/2019 12:27

Glad you spoke to your GP. It was the right thing to do. And I hope that you will find all the support you need from family, friends, colleagues - I'm sure you will. My very best wishes to you.

Kiwiinkits · 19/06/2019 17:41
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