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    Thread: Signed off work with stress - worried

    1. #1
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      Default Signed off work with stress - worried

      Hi there,

      I have been having a hard time at work since starting a new (contract) job late last year. Yesterday i just lost it completely, had to leave a meeting in tears and then couldn't stop crying so one of my colleagues told me to go home.

      I felt so bad that I went to the doctor who has signed me off for two weeks due to work related stress. I'm really worried about this as I was talking to some colleagues the day before saying I was just going to try and do as much as I could and joked saying that if I was really not bothered about my job I could resign and have myself signed off sick. I didn't mean it but worried how this looks and whether they will say something to my manager. Perhaps it was just something in my subconscious telling me that things were really bad but I know how awful that will sound and worried it is enough to get me sacked.

      My manager called me late yesterday, before I had actually had my appointment at the doctor, but was asking about me coming into work later this week. I said that the doctor had already told me on the phone that she wanted to sign me off but that that also made me anxious as I was worried about getting further behind.

      Had I spoken to my manager while in work yesterday I know I would have ended up resigning. I have been feeling stressed and overwhelmed for quite some time. Initially it was due to feeling unclear about my role and responsibilities which I communicated to my manager. I don't feel he was particularly helpful and I feel he is often contradictory about what is expected of me. I've also had a few difficulties with him as he is sometimes very moody - if he isn't happy with my work or something I have said he often becomes very short with me and I can find him quite rude.

      I work for a large company so when he called yesterday he mentioned I could meet with our HR team which I would like to do. But he was also quick to remind me that I have an obligation to the company as well as to myself and my own health.

      I didn't declare having bipolar when I joined as I felt I just wouldn't have been offered the job so this really worries me. My GP has said it is unimportant and that the stress being work related is a separate issue regardless.

      I'm not sure what I'm really asking here, but suppose would be grateful to know anyone else's experience in this situation.

      I am terrified I'll lose my job. I have been so behind on lots of things and feel almost paralysed by stress now so even when I have been working flat out and doing extra hours have not been keeping up with work. I worry that being off now 'exposes' my inability to keep on top, even though I have already spoken to my manager about feeling overwhelmed and behind.

      Ever since being really ill I have felt that my ability to cope with work and a stressful environment has diminished considerably. Unfortunately though I am saddled with the debts from credit card sprees while ill and I need to earn a decent salary to cover this.

      I just don't know where to turn and I feel unable to even speak to anyone today. I have tried to call my manager a few times this morning to arrange a meeting with him and HR to try and talk things through and do something practical and useful but he hasn't returned my calls which is now causing me even more stress as I am worried about what is going on behind the scenes.

      I really just don't know where to turn and I feel as though I am letting everyone down by not being able to do a good job. I wonder if I will ever be able to cope with a job again as I left my last job due to inability to cope with an excessive workload (early/late every day and working weekends) plus an aggressive manager.

      I really don't know what to do and I feel so scared about everything. I don't want this to make me ill again either.

    2. #2
      Senior Member bobshocker's Avatar
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      I'm a manager, for a large company.
      It's difficult managing staff and operations, and of course being a manager I have to make sure all our work gets completed in a highly stressful environment. Managing staff and absences is difficult, as of course when your short it puts pressure on the other guys, and adds to the stress.

      However, there is nothing more important that your health, whether it's mental or physical, as a manager I care more about the well being of my people than the work, at the end of a day a job is just a job, as a manager and a representative of my company I have to ensure that you are being looked after. The work will still be there when you get back, your manager will manage somehow cos thats his job. Please do not worry about work, worry about getting youself better.

      Take him up on seeing HR as if they are a big company they will have a big support network, and they will also adress whether you have too much work, or unrealistic objectives. it's not about trying to get you back to work, or fire you, it's about the legal obligation to take care of your well fare.

      Don't worry about work, stress is an illness, I know, I suffer with it. You need help on learning how to deal with it.
      Last edited by bobshocker; 06-04-11 at 14:04.

    3. #3
      Senior Member angrydad's Avatar
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      Similar thing happened to me when I worked for Sainsbury's. I was put under a lot of pressure to come back to work. They knew about my BP though which made a difference to me because I knew that there was no deception and they knew the full story.

      I agree that the stress thing is really a seperate issue to your BP, look at the stress a something that is with you now but will go with rest and relaxation and the BP as something you have to deal with for ever.

      Look after yourself and try not to worry about things you can't control (What people at work are thinking)
      best wishes

      Angry Dad
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    4. #4
      Senior Member Fluffymum's Avatar
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      I saw an occ health lady (or whatever the nhs like to call them now) and she said having Bipolar puts you in the Equality act (used to be disability) so they have to make reasonable adjustments for you, not sure if it helps but you must be covered, I'd go ahead and see HR if I was you, then it's official and you have some protection from them too.
      Try to get yourself rested and forget about what you said to your colleagues, at worst they think you probably were struggling so joked about it, you havent resigned so it's not like you did what you joked about, managers can come across like that sometimes but they're busy people and can come across a bit off when they aren't, try to not worry too much about it and get yourself better, just accept that you are going to worry and try to forget it as best that you can, also remember that people with Bipolar are very good employees to have in the sense that they can be very focused and work really hard with plenty of good ideas, there see there is a positive there too!x
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      Administrator calypso's Avatar
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      Hey

      They cannot sack you without a full discipinary procedure, and being off sick is not sufficient for any disciplinary procedure. What is he going to say, "My staff member went off sick and it was inconvenient, so sack her"? I don't think so. I completely agree with not telling your condition to HR, it is something that should be evaluated according to the circumstance.

      As for your colleagues, they will almost certainly have forgotten your conversation by now. Most people don't pay attention to others much, and have their own problems to deal with. Whilst I understand Fluffy, managers can be short because of their stress, I am sorry, being rude and abrasive is bad management. I was a Senior Sister, and it was stressful, but if I took it out on my staff I would have been disciplined before my feet touched the ground. Occasionally I was a little snappy, but always apologised quickly because I recognised it was not acceptable. If I was stressed, then it was my responsibility to address it and deal with it. So if you go to HR and he is a pain there, just remind him that it is not your job to be concerned about his stress levels!!

      Well maybe not that blunt, but you catch my drift. Take care xxx
      "I am She who e're the world was formed, was Rhea, Binah Ge. I am the soundless, boundless bitter sea from whom life welled eternally. Isis in heaven, on Earth Persephone, Levanah of the waves and Hecate. All these am I and all these are seen in me." Dion Fortune.

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      Hey Bluebell,

      Just wanted to say:

      1) nothing is more important than your health, not any of the job baggage that's weighing you down. Take these 2 weeks to let it go and wind down.

      2) your employers have a duty of care for your wellbeing, if your job is making you ill they can (and should) find ways to make it better (reduce your workload, move you to another role etc.), and absolutely can't manage you out of the job or outright sack you.

      I was in a similar situation recently, where the long-term stress of my particular role triggered a manic phase for the best part of a year and lead to my diagnosis of BP2. When I was finally diagnosed I told my boss initially in confidence then later made it official, and they've been incredibly supportive and moved me to a less stressful role (at the same level) in a different area of the company.

      There are also organisations that will advocate on your behalf with work-related stuf and mental health, if you're really worried it may be worth hooking up with one of them (your GP surgery or Psych clinic should have some leaflets or details)

    7. #7
      Senior Member bobshocker's Avatar
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      they are all right. As a manager I care more for my people (even if they have only just joined), people are the most valuable commodity that we have, what I don't want to do, is load my people up with additional pressure and worry, as it's counter productive, and will lead to more stress, more sickness, and finally someone leaving.
      Want my people happy, I had people work for me, who at times were, depressed, stressed etc, but we worked through it, i helped them, got them the support they needed, and they just respect you more for it, and as a manager its bloody brilliant seeing people get better, get happy, and get back to the job they enjoy doing, or another job, style, shift etc that is beneficial to their health, where they feel productive and happy.

      they gotta do what they gotta do to get better, it's my job to help and support, the work is my problem, not theirs (when they are ill), thats why im the goddam manager.

      If I cant support my people when they need it the most, I aint the manager I wanna be.

      It's not your fault bluebell. Dont worry, get well, but get the support.

    8. #8
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      Thanks everyone for your advice and support, I really, really appreciate it.

      Bobshocker, your views on people management are a breath of fresh air to me! I am not a manager in my current job but have been in the past and felt very much the same way you do.

      My manager called earlier and it sounds as though he has been given a brief from HR. Not a bad thing as when I finally spoke to him yesterday he seemed rather frosty and made me feel really awful (whether he intended to or not). Today he said I should take as much time as I needed and that the first step would be to go in and meet with him and HR when I feel comfortable to do so. Unfortunately as soon as I got off the phone to him I started to feel really panicky and anxious again! I suppose that's my body/mind telling me I'm not ready to do that just yet.

      Early days I guess, but I am very lucky - as well as your support my husband is also being amazing. He's helping me work through the reasons for the problem at work but at my own pace. He's also separately looking at our finances to explore what the options are if I did go back to work and find it's too much again so that I can have a choice. I have been feeling so trapped at work that that has compounded everything.

      I'm just going to try and relax and to think clearly again and explore options with my GP too to understand if there's any immediate help I can get too.

      Thanks everyone!

    9. #9
      Senior Member bobshocker's Avatar
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      it's my proffesion, and about the only thing i take passionately and seriously.

      your manager probably sounded frosty cos he was probably a bit out of his depth, he needs support from hr as well, cos he'll have a boss on his ass too.

      sounds like he got the right guidance, and when he spoke to you again, my guess is that he was comfortable in himself.

      you got aaabbbbbbbsolooootely nothin to worry about work girl trust me on this, you just
      worry about getting yourself better. that's all we want to see.

    10. #10

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      Hi Bluebell, I am new to this site and having seen my doctor on Friday and being given a 2 week note for stress I started to google for some advice and your story came up. What you describe above is exactly how I am feeling at the moment and I was wondering how you got through this.
      My job has also triggered my stress and my manager has made things a lot worse and I'm now facing a performance action plan which is making me stress out even more! I am not sure that my company understand how bad I am feeling. I am even worried about telling them about the sick note.
      Any advice would be gratefully received.
      Thanks in advance

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