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Returning to work with chronic anxiety and depression.

12 replies

whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 13:28

I have always had issues with my MH.However apart from a breakdown in my 20s I've managed to work and not be absent.Im mid 50s now.
4 yrs ago the anxiety returned and I stopped driving,going out or anything.
I gave up drinking and caffeine in lockdown set a routine and thrived.Then boom my anxiety is back and now depression worse than before because I had a break from it.
I'm currently in the system for CBT for anxiety and agoraphobia.
How can I tell my boss who does know I already struggled that I am terrified of going back when they think I am a workaholic?
I've lost my appetite with worry.

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Am I being unreasonable?


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TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams · 15/04/2021 13:35

Assuming it's not the type of company who would manage you out the door in a heartbeat, I would just be honest and say that a year of lockdown has made you very anxious. People who have never had issues before are finding it hard and all sorts of accommodations are being made. You are better off asking rather than stressing yourself into illness.

Most organisations are offering staggered returns as they won't have the space to offer the right density of people. So a week on, week off type arrangement. You could ask to be a later returnee, see how it goes and if there's another outbreak before changing wholesale. Consider the things that would make you more comfortable to return to work ? Is it even an office environment ? Will you need to use public transport? Is cycling an option for example?

Have you been vaccinated?


Robin233 · 15/04/2021 13:40

May be worth checking with your GP about anxiety and menopause.
Menopause triggered anxiety in me.
CBT was brilliant.


whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 13:41

Yes I've been vaccinated. Im zero hours contract so anyone not shaping up is out.ive been there a few yrs though.
I work in hospitality. I'm scared of being off sick long term as I have no experience of sick pay and could see my life savings getting used up.

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whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 13:44

I've been on Hrt for a yr and it was a life saver.I had thought it was behind me and I could resume driving.Told by GP the revoke my licence.Which has knocked me back.!

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NeverDropYourMoonCup · 15/04/2021 13:47

It's always scarier before you do it. And when you do, it'll be fine, because you'll be too busy to think about it anymore.


PleaseValentina · 15/04/2021 13:50

Are you on any medication for your anxiety and/or depression? If not, I would ask the GP for something, if only to bridge the gap between now and CBT. Often antidepressants/antianxielitics can help to take the edge off enough to make everything feel a bit more manageable.

I wasn't quite sure what you meant about there being incompatibility between being a workaholic and being anxious about going back? Did you mean you think your boss won't understand your mental health issues because they won't comprehend how you the workaholic could be anything other than excited to get back, or did you mean you're not really a workaholic and they've misread that part of you?

You do sound in a terrible state and I have real sympathy for you - as long as your boss is a good egg there should be ways to help you through this (I experienced an extremely sudden and traumatic close bereavement a few years ago and despite not being a particularly emotionally intelligent chap my line manager was very supportive and helpful with the practicalities of things, I hope yours will be the same).


whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 13:51

Yes true neverdropyourmooncup my anxiety is massively making me over think.
I did almost faint in the chemist though.There are far too many people everywhere.😁

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whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 13:56

Pleasevalentina I am was a complete workaholic.Known for it and hid my illness behind my image.
I don't want to appear week or wanting special treatment.I did keep working at home cooking and sharing stuff online but the thought of an actual 10,12 hour day is a worry.

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whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 16:41

Yes I was offered sertraline but the therapist said it wasn't a good idea to take them so I hope CBT works for me.

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Hastybird · 15/04/2021 16:56

What's your employer like re MH issues? Many large companies are absolutely on the ball nowadays, MH first aiders, awareness training for line managers, quiet rooms that people can use, on the job support etc. If you don't know have a dig around the company policies etc. If it's a smaller gig but you've got a good relationship with your LM then talk to them, with suggestions from you for the support you need e.g phased return to work, and you might need to explain to your LM what level your impacted by it etc ..if they're dinosaurs re MH then work on getting your external support network sorted and almost an action plan for yourself, including understanding what time off and support your employer is required to give you...good luck


Hastybird · 15/04/2021 16:58

Ps you're very much not alone with feeling anxious about returning to the office, many people I work with feel the same and again most big employers are doing phased return to office spaces for that very reason.


whatisforteamum · 15/04/2021 17:14

Thank you both.I work for a large company and I have an unblemished attendance of pulling 55 hr weeks.
They did know I struggled outside of work.The first lockdown return I did mention my fears but we were all given a few less hrs as we could accept less customers.
I start therapy or at least get a plan Monday.I have been doing my level best to stay active and positive this has just hit me out of the blue.

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