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Crossroads

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Thumbelina

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Sep 15, 2008
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Hi everyone
I stopped my work in early August as I was suffering from extreme stress and overwhelm. I just couldn't go in one morning even though I had driven to work intending to go in as normal. I just couldn't bear it any longer.
It was a new job which I had started 8 weeks previously and there was a lot to deal with and get sorted as so many things were needing attention and systems weren't in place. I set myself the goal of making 3 changes for the better every day and I was making good progress- or so I thought- but it all just got too much and I couldn't continue.

I also had a very difficult divorce situation which lasted 3 years just prior to starting this job.

I felt dreadful at first about letting down my boss, the staff and all my clients but that faded as I knew there was no way that I could do a good job in my state of mind.
I was prescribed 20mg citalopram and propanolol but i took neither. I have been through the cycle of taking antidepressants many times in my life and I have always fantasised about facing things without drugs and having time off from my responsibilities to do this. To let things surface without having to shut it down to get the work face on.

I have very good support from a therapist who is doing inner child work with me and I feel that the wee child in me has come forward and has really needed this space and time to be heard. I have body memories of terrible fear and have had numerous episodes of depression and low self esteem throughout the years.
I also have contact with a very good psychotherapist and have good understanding friends.

I have been using the time off to have therapy sessions, journal and really look after myself but I cannot do this ALL the time and it is hard now to fill my days constructively - I feel sick as I have arranged to meet with my boss tomorrow- at the workplace ( my suggestion) so that I can get a sense of how I feel when I am back in that enviroment.
I have no idea what I am going to say to him- and he has been very good about me being off and hasn't intruded but will obviously need to know a time frame for me returning...or not.

I am fortunate that financially I can afford to have a good few months off work yet but I am so concerned that I am fooling myself- that I have become far too introspective and self indulgent and am using this an excuse not to get out and do a day's work.
I have worked in the same profession for 24 years and have been succesful.
It is an enormous mental battle for me now to make the decision as to whether I bite the bullet and go back with the risk of sinking back into overwhelm or whether I opt out of that position and do more inner work and hopefully I will be rewarded with a clearer outlook. Should I just take the tablets so that I get a day's work done and engage with "normality" again?Or should I not give in to outside pressures to be out working and keep progressing with my own inner journey?

I feel sick thinking about this decision.
I would really welcome feedback from anyone who has the time or inclination.

Thank you

Thumbelina :(
 
blackdog

blackdog

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Sorry, Thumbelina, I can't offer any advice really, but I can empathise. Over the past 15 years I have had periods of sick leave due to depressive illness and each time my priority has been to return to work ASAP. I am off sick again at present but this time it's a little different because although I still have the overwhelming driver to return to work ASAP, I have started to question whether returning to work should be my main priority or whether I should concentrate on getting well. Good luck Thumbelina.
 
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Thumbelina

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Sep 15, 2008
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34
Hi Blackdog
Thanks for empathising - it helps even to know that someone else has experienced this conflict.
My stomach is churning at the prospect of making this decision and I know that it is my decision to make. I have so many ways of feeling in such a short time frame that its difficult to know which mood will be the most reliable one to trust and go with.
My therapist would ask me to check in with my body and see how it feels- that has always been quite hard for me to do but I am aware that my stomach is telling me something.
I have also been very prone in the past to all or nothing thinking- black or white. I have been learning recently that there are grey options- in between areas and I have resources that may make a compromise possible.
Perhaps my intellect and ego could come to an amicable agreement with my inner child on this one?
I'll see if I can get them to get round the negotiating table! :unsure:
Thumbelina
 
Libra1

Libra1

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Hi Thumbelina,
just wanted to wish you good luck for tomorrow at the meeting (y)

I was in your situation this time last year so do understand how you feel, you have not been off work very long is there any chance you could return doing less hours to see how you manage? Are you in Uk?

Let us know how you get on, try not to be pressured into returning to work too soon.

Take care :flowers:
x
 
blackdog

blackdog

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When I am feeling very depressed and confused I can't and shouldn't make any big decisions, but I know that these decisions have to be made. Sometimes I have been able, with other peoples help, to buy myself time and try to let go of things and put my efforts into me and my "wellness", and make big decisions when I'm better able to. I know how easy this sounds but I also know how difficult it can be to do when you are really, really down to defer or "let go" of worries etc. I think that even with the medication and group therapy I am always depressed but sometimes the blackness has lighter shades, if you know what I mean. Good luck Thumbelina.

P.S. It sounds as if you overthink and overanalyse everything, I do, it's not an easy habit to break. I haven't managed it yet.
 
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jamesdean

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Gosh this is a difficult one its such a fine line between your decision, its good that you are finding the inner self, I understand your discription of finding the path to your future and thats because I've been offered a small course but in the perspective offers things that preced this which I need to discuss, I have written down the saying "I need to walk before I can run" and that I must practise caution, I'm not sure if this helps, jd
 
blackdog

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I must say that I agree with jamesdean, I have to keep reminding myself to walk before I can run. I think that this is a very important thing to remember and come back to.
 
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Thumbelina

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Thanks everyone for responding.
Blackdog You're right about not making big decisions when not in a positive place- the decision then comes from a place of panic and pressure and "should" -not from a genuine enlivening place. judgement is skewed.
I am walking but don't feel ready to break into a run.
I am in the UK.
I have considered part time work and that may well be a possibility for me.
It is filling my time if I decide not to return just now. I am hoping that another door will open if I decide to close this one- something constructive and enlivening that I can handle to keep me busy.
If I don't go back then I will probably let that job go-I can't have my boss hanging on waiting endlessly for my return. I am ok with that as it is a pressure having to keep reviewing how I am with him and I do respect that he has to know for the smooth running of his business.
I am fortunate in that there are plenty of opportunities around for my line of work- possibly even on a locum basis which I did for 2 years before comitting to this permanent position.
Reading back over this it sounds like I am leaning on the side of not returning yet, if at all, to that job!
But hey- in an hour I'lll be desperate to get back and sprint into that work routine Aaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggghhh!
Yes I analyse and over think things till I have murdered them! Well observed!
Again thank you for responses- they have helped to ease the sense of aloneness with this dilemna.
I'll post after the meeting and tell you what transpired- but until then I haven't a clue what words will come out of my mouth! :eek:

Thumbelina :scared::unsure:
 
T

Thumbelina

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Hi
I was a nervous wreck going to my meeting.
I couldn't think straight and had no idea what I was going to say.
My boss made us a coffee and started talking about work. It transpires that he has quite big plans for developing other businesses too and I started to feel much less of a big issue to him if you know what I mean. It didn't all revolve around me- here was me thinking that I was the centre of his business empire and the linch pin in his survival! :redface:

It really reassured me- took the pressure off. He is the kind of guy that rolls with the punches- he seems to take ups and downs all in his stride. What a great way to be- opposite of me at work!
I'm still not sure if I will go back there as a lot of the things that stressed me are still there.

He has suggested that I start back part time and see how it goes. I didn't commit to anything-said I wanted to take home some paperwork and mail and see how I felt dealing with that. I'm pleased that I gave myself some more time. I collected workwear that I had left there and found myself grabbing my work shoes too at the last minute- to me that was in case I don't go back at all!
He mentioned a couple of things about the way that I work and suggested alternative ways that would be more profitable!- that put me off

Anyway I'm not further forward in that I haven't decided what to do but I have more information and a different perspective.

If I am going on left brain logic I go back part time and review how it goes,
If I am going on my gut instinct- I let this job go and try a new path- that's a huge step for me

Thumbelina :flowers:
 
blackdog

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Tough decision to make. Sometimes I like to play the "millionaire game", if I woke up tomorrow a millionaire what would I like to do with my life, with that sort of freedom, what switches my light on and makes me enthuse.
 
Libra1

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Hi Thumbelina, well done for going to your meeting today :)

Thanks for letting us know how you got on, your boss sounds a real gentleman - you are very lucky. He also sounds very understanding and compassionate towards you, and was open to you returning part time as I had suggested.
I think you have very good insight about your work/life situation at the moment - if only I had had that clarity and gotten myself completely well before returning to work, which in hindsight was far too soon and I should not have returned to the same job. So many similararities between us!

Thumbelina, try and give yourself more time, do you have any hobbies? Do go to any support groups, or do you have a Cpn?
A good way to stop over analysing is to use distraction, relaxing to music, exercising/swimming and or reading :)

Keep posting, so we can see how you are feeling, and so that support can continue, lots of hugs :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:
take care
:hug:
 
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Thumbelina

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Hi Blackdog,I try to play the millionaire game sometimes but I kinda blank out cos I just don't really know with all those choices- what I would choose! It's almost like going into a shop with too many items to choose from- I just feel stressed- don't know what I suit-who I am,even what I like! I don't feel I know myself. I think I learn alot about how to behave and what to choose from copying other people- to grasp some kind of identity for myself. My sister and me have a shared joke where I ask her if she likes something then I say "No I don't either"- if she said she did like it I'd say "so do I". At least I can see some humour in not knowing who the hell I am at times.

Thanks for your kind words Libra.
I'm not part of a group and don't have a cpn. I have very good friends who I talk to at the right level and be completely honest with- thank goodness!

I think I am going to arrange to meet with my boss again tomorrow-if I can keep taking the brave pills! and tell him that I am not able to return to work and let this job go.
There is no sense in taking this step either intellectually or logically but that's not the part of me that I need to develop!
I think I am going to give the wee girl in me a chance to run the show for a wee while and she doesn't do logical thinking- she is doing what she FEELS.

Let's see if that's how things work out tomorrow
GULP!
Thumbelina :unsure:
 
blackdog

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Good luck, sounds quite exciting, like the start of an adventure. Take care. :)
 
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Thumbelina

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Well I did it!
I rehearsed and rehearsed what I wanted to say to my boss- all day and met with him after work tonight. I got that I couldn't think what I wanted to say- my head becomes full of static and I can't think straight when it's somehting so important.
I thought the staff would have left for the evening but they were there and that took me aback a little but in hindsight I'm glad I've seen them again. They were so accepting and friendly and just... normal. I started wondering why the hell I was considering giving up this job as there was a nice atmosphere in the place!:confused:

However there was no time to start changing my mind and I just stuck to the plan- I told my boss that I had decided that I had to give up the job. I managed to say everything that I wanted to.
I apologised that it had come to this and he just nodded.
I told him i thought he was handling it very well - he said......get this...... that "everything happens for a reason and we don't always understand the reason but everything is meant to be" !!! He said "I think its' Karma or something"....... I think I managed to close my gaping mouth and tell him that I agreed with that outlook and that there seems to be a reason behind me not being able to do my work at the moment that I can't fully explain but it is meant to be.

We then talked about the practicalities and I went through every item on my list and got everything covered.
He even said to approach him if I wanted work in the future!!
We shook hands and agreed to keep in touch.

I was gob smacked and delighted.
I know I will have times ahead where I really question what I have done and will possibly still torture myself over letting go of my 9-5 job.
But.. right here right now -it went so well and I did it! :clap:
What's next?
Who knows?
I get a feeling perhaps some doors may open now that I have closed that one for the moment.
Thanks for your support.

Thumbelina :flowers:
 
Libra1

Libra1

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Hi Thumbelina :)

well done - hey what a brave decision :clap:
I hope you can now find time to rest and pamper yourself a little and give yourself some Tlc. :hug:

Don't forget to pop back now and then and let us know how you are getting on. Take care

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:
 
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