Mental health at work: Thinking about returning to work after stress, anxiety or depression?

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rpeters13

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#1
Mental health at work: Thinking about returning to work after stress, anxiety or depression?

Approved to be on the forum

Want to get back to work but don’t know where to start?

Sadly, you are not alone. Stress, anxiety and depression are one of most frequent causes of absence from work, with 1 in 3 fit notes citing mental health. From those I have spoken to, I know many find talking to their employer about their mental health challenging – they don’t know what to do or what to say and often don't want to disclose their mental health condition.

There is a new free-to-access toolkit which helps to support employees and employers through the return to work process following a mental health sickness absence. The toolkit offers step by step advice about how to get back to work, with easy to use templates, checklists and suggestions. If you are currently off work and would like to use the toolkit as you start thinking about returning to work, please get in touch with me: Rebecca at [email protected] and I can send you the details.

For those who would like to share, what has your experience been like with your employer? Interested to hear people's positive and negative experiences....

Thanks for reading :)

*Research has been approved by the Mental Health Forum (Ref Mischief)*
 
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rpeters13

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#4
Any examples or experiences of returning to a job that members of the forum would like to share?
 
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Abs85

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#5
I have returned to work twice after long periods of time off. With phased returns occupational health and risk assessments.

Happy to share information via private message.
 
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rpeters13

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#6
I have returned to work twice after long periods of time off. With phased returns occupational health and risk assessments.

Happy to share information via private message.
Hi Abs85,

Thanks for your message and sharing a bit about your journey. It would be great to chat further- my email is [email protected]

Speak soon.
 
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AprNiNiNiChao90

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#7
Hi folks. I'll share my experience (I don't work yet). When I’m involved in any kind of environment I can’t avoid looking at other people, then they realize and I’m rejected (!) to the point of having quit my internship. The same happened when I attempted a few first courses of university degrees. Good times, birthdays, Christmas and more. I have asked for transfers during my last internships, quit the last and now I should be looking for a job.

I may have mild gambling issues because I use cash from wallet for unnecessary expenses. That’s what money is for yet it’s frustrating. Trying to abstract from problems some huw helps: Playing puzzle bubble (sounds silly but I believe it helps), tv, not voting and so on.

I don’t get on with my parents (nothing wrong with me), I don’t have a girlfriend (another problem more). I wish I could afford to live somewhere else, I will truly start working soon, I say to.myself as a motivation. You think that some drug will solve this shitty situation? Drugs and needles are a bit creepy to me, maybe some vitamin? Not fish oil, because I'm already a fish fan.

I have gone to the doctor, but I end up being told I have dementia, I can’t believe it, that’s crazy. Sometimes I leave the door of the garage opened when leaving my belongings there, for the`record’, petards hahahahahaha, and some how, don’t realize. I’ve also forgotten to add condiments in meals since many years, not going to bed very late helps. But that’s far from what I was diagnosed.

Other things that help a little are outings, new landscapes, new images in general. But one was cancelled because of the weather (friends didn’t dare to go). Some how, I prepare for situations but it ends up being no use (not sure what happens). I believe that hoovering and daily hot showers help (vapour allows me to clear my throat), water is not for free though. As a detail, hunting animals could have been helpful, mostly birds with a carbine as a way of abstraction, which I find very challenging hahahahahaha.
 
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baumere

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Sep 12, 2018
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#8
Lost Work

I just joined a few minutes ago. I was let go from my last job 9 months ago because my doctor stated I needed to take a week off work due to stress, and anxiety issues. I started an online course from a college that provides that service. I had two medications added to my daily regime which has helped some. I believe that my lithium is causing me to get tremors, but when we lowered my dosage I went off the rails so to speak, so we brought it back up. Thanks for listening.
 
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ljohnson6032

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#9
I just posted on here last night the situation that I’ve been dealing with over and over again for the last two years. The problem is that even if your immediate supervisor understands your situation, chances are there’s someone at the top who has narcissistic qualities that will see depression and anxiety as a weakness. They do this because they lack the ability to feel empathy for anyone and the power that they feel as a result of taking away some else’s job reinforces their own self fulfilling prophecy. Too many narcissists hold positions of authority in the job market.
 
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ljohnson6032

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#10
I’ve found that once I stopped caring so much about others’ opinion of me my anxiety decreased significantly. There’s always going to be that one person who goes out of their way to make your life a living hell. As long as you know your own worth, it gets easier when dealing with shitty people.
 
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TheRedStar

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#11
I just posted on here last night the situation that I’ve been dealing with over and over again for the last two years. The problem is that even if your immediate supervisor understands your situation, chances are there’s someone at the top who has narcissistic qualities that will see depression and anxiety as a weakness. They do this because they lack the ability to feel empathy for anyone and the power that they feel as a result of taking away some else’s job reinforces their own self fulfilling prophecy. Too many narcissists hold positions of authority in the job market.
What I've highlighted in bold touches on my own experiences of mental health problems in the workplace. Where I currently work, I had several months off at the end of last year due to my mental health, but the store manager at that time was actually very considerate about my situation, which made it easier for me to come back. However, when I had some more time off (a fortnight) several months later, the new store manager said nothing to my face, but I got discretely advised by a team leader to 'watch my back' as this manager had been 'discussing me'.

And now I've got yet another new store manager... unfortunately, I'm working in a sector (retail) which, in my experience, has a very high turnover of managers.

Also, the sick leave rules have been revised at my workplace so that instead of phoning in twice - once to say you're going sick, and once to inform them that you're ready to return - you now have to phone in every day that you're off. I have anxiety about making telephone calls anyway (especially when I know the person I'm calling won't like what I've got to say), and - because the sickline is a mobile phone carried around by team leaders - I really don't like having to discuss my mental health with whoever's in charge of a department that I don't even work in.

Too many other people knowing about your shit is how gossip starts.

Something I found in a previous job is how support can be arbitrarily temporary, which - again - revolved around management changes in that line of work. The job (train driver) involved shifts, but I quickly realised that late shifts often made me very depressed, and this became unbearable when I broke up with my ex. Consequently, I was 'accommodated' in that it was arranged for me to only do early and middle shifts, with no time limit put on this arrangement. However, every time the depot manager (the boss immediately above my direct line manager) changed, 2-3 weeks later (i.e. when the new depot manager had settled in) I'd get leaned on to return to a full rota, because a simple way for new depot managers to impress their bosses was by reducing the amount of accommodated drivers under their charge. And someone like me was easier to 'work on' than drivers who were accommodated on the grounds of parental duties.

In the end I got leaned on one too many times (I was told that the agreement 'couldn't go on forever', without any union or occupational health consultation), agreed to 'compromise' even though I didn't want to, quickly began to find the job unbearable, and left the role soon afterwards.
 
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ljohnson6032

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#12
What I've highlighted in bold touches on my own experiences of mental health problems in the workplace. Where I currently work, I had several months off at the end of last year due to my mental health, but the store manager at that time was actually very considerate about my situation, which made it easier for me to come back. However, when I had some more time off (a fortnight) several months later, the new store manager said nothing to my face, but I got discretely advised by a team leader to 'watch my back' as this manager had been 'discussing me'.

And now I've got yet another new store manager... unfortunately, I'm working in a sector (retail) which, in my experience, has a very high turnover of managers.

Also, the sick leave rules have been revised at my workplace so that instead of phoning in twice - once to say you're going sick, and once to inform them that you're ready to return - you now have to phone in every day that you're off. I have anxiety about making telephone calls anyway (especially when I know the person I'm calling won't like what I've got to say), and - because the sickline is a mobile phone carried around by team leaders - I really don't like having to discuss my mental health with whoever's in charge of a department that I don't even work in.

Too many other people knowing about your shit is how gossip starts.

Something I found in a previous job is how support can be arbitrarily temporary, which - again - revolved around management changes in that line of work. The job (train driver) involved shifts, but I quickly realised that late shifts often made me very depressed, and this became unbearable when I broke up with my ex. Consequently, I was 'accommodated' in that it was arranged for me to only do early and middle shifts, with no time limit put on this arrangement. However, every time the depot manager (the boss immediately above my direct line manager) changed, 2-3 weeks later (i.e. when the new depot manager had settled in) I'd get leaned on to return to a full rota, because a simple way for new depot managers to impress their bosses was by reducing the amount of accommodated drivers under their charge. And someone like me was easier to 'work on' than drivers who were accommodated on the grounds of parental duties.

In the end I got leaned on one too many times (I was told that the agreement 'couldn't go on forever', without any union or occupational health consultation), agreed to 'compromise' even though I didn't want to, quickly began to find the job unbearable, and left the role soon afterwards.
It’s such a frustrating viscious cycle, having to walk on eggshells and keeping your guard up all the time only exacerbates the depression and anxiety. I’ve never understood how managers can live with themselves after treating their employees so horribly. It’s an awful thing to go through, I used to work overnight shifts as well. The human body isn’t designed to function well in the darkness, our brains need the Vitamin D from the sun in order to produce serotonin. Honestly, what helped me overcome the darkest days of my depression was to build my self worth, drag my butt into work when the depression hit so hard keeping my eyes open was a huge challenge. Once you land a job where you’re valued and appreciated it’s amazing how quickly your dark days start diminishing. I’m just praying that my unemployment comes through so I can take my time applying to companies who take the time to properly train their employees instead of throwing them to the wolves from Day 1. I’m really nervous about getting approved for Unemployment and Food Stamps thanks to Trump cutting back funding for those programs. I constantly remind myself that eventually the bad luck will have to run out and something will end up working out.
 
Devilyn

Devilyn

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#13
I’m currently off sick from work with my own mental health problems and considering I work in health with those who have mental health problems and a manager who is a psychiatric nurse - I’ve felt completely judged from the get go. I’m considering just handing in my notice and getting another job due to their inability to understand anything going on with me
 
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Sunshine after the rain

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#14
I’m currently off sick from work with my own mental health problems and considering I work in health with those who have mental health problems and a manager who is a psychiatric nurse - I’ve felt completely judged from the get go. I’m considering just handing in my notice and getting another job due to their inability to understand anything going on with me
I feel the same. I've had people talking behind my back after I broke down lately. I feel like I'm not allowed to have these feelings yet everyone else where I work is? Others have had break downs or go on rants but if I do, I get questioned.

I could barely face being in work at all. Getting out of bed for me at that time was so hard for me, I was exhausted by the time I had showered and sat down to eat because of how much effort it was to get that far. I've stood panicking so badly and fighting the urge to run and can't speak more than a whisper from fear. Yet, I'm expected to be always happy and not show any of my feelings once I walk through the doors. I have been told that it doesn't matter how I feel outside work when I'm there I'm expected to do all my roles like normal and not show any of those feelings because it makes others feel uncomfortable.

Now I'm walking on eggshells, worrying constantly and they stand (it's a small area) in work whispering about my mood and behaviour now. I am having to try to disconnect myself yet needing support and feel I was forced to talk about it when I got pulled in. You can imagine how it must be when you're so anxious and are pulled into the office by two people about my behaviour and asked to explain myself and try to gain understanding which I'm not comfortable doing. So, I'm not allowed to feel how I feel and they don't understand/care but at the same time I'm expected to tell them everything or I could get a warning for my behaviour?

That's just me. In my experiences here and other jobs, people don't care or want to know because they don't have enough information on how to deal with it or can't be bothered. I hope you find a job that is more understanding and helpful.
 
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June90

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#15
I am scared to disclose to work what I am suffering from. I don't want it on my record. I fear discrimination. My work isn't so hospitable to illnesses like these. Sure they say they will support me but you can't change people, in my job you rely on the people above you, If you put a single doubt in their head about your ability to work they will remember this and will hold you back from moving further into the career. I have heard people openly talking negatively about another colleagues depression, like it was a choice. It's sad to see this happen.
 
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indigo6

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#16
I want to work but Im dreading it if its not what I can cope with. I was on my way out of the second to last job when this wave of depression and anxiety hit (actually brought on by 18mths of serious work issues in an office) and no way could I have gone back to that hellhole. The management were untrained and the staff were not accepting of people outside of their circles. Then I took a little shop job everyone was nice but it was so painful being around people. I was almost phobic. Still am. I got used to them it wasnt their fault but felt paranoid and inadequate all the time.I knew it was highly likely behind the smiles there was gossip. After leaving I had a lighbulb moment and realised that I can work just in the right environment. Minimal social contact more about skill. Im quite confident that this strategy will work better than than anything else. Also I wont mention my mh either it has never helped.
 
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Barn Owl

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#17
@indigo6 I relate to your work experiences I have never disclosed to my employers my Bipolar 1 diagnosis and it has never affected my work Anything that happened to me at work was not because I was considered different in any way.I am now retired from work and on lower meds. Good luck with work You are better than you know keep on going.
 
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Ramson bangers

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#18
I went back on reduced hours but they convinced me to sign a new contract so theyre not paying me the full whack. Quite annoyed how everyone found out about it and said it wasnt fair that im off sick and getting paid.
 
daffy

daffy

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#19
I was off work for several years but the American company I worked for had a very good private health insurance scheme so I was paid 75% of my salary. I was going to go back but they said the Job I did was too demanding and wanted to put me into another dept, which was the job that students and 16 years olds did basically scanning new agreements. It would have driven me bonkers. Even tho I would have been kept on at my higher salary. But I also heard that they were outsourcing this dept to India. Which meant they could make me redundant. So I refused and stayed on sick. But they wanted me off there books as a new company had taken over and I’d been off work for almost 10 years. Eventually they did give me the option of redundancy and after a lot of arguing I got a good payout and could pay my mortgage off.
 
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Francislallen

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#20
I’ve found that after i ended caring such a lot regarding others’ opinion of Pine Tree State my anxiety diminished considerably..... There’s perpetually progressing to be that one one who goes out of their thanks to create your life a living hell.
 

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