Surviving Work

I have anxiety and depression and work a full time job. I've been taking medication for about 4 months now and things were improving but I had a massive crash in mood and overall health about a month ago.

My Dr signed me off work for 2 weeks - but I didn't really want to do that as I think the perception at work would not be great and I had things planned that needed to be done at those particular times - so I worked most days at home and did a couple of days properly at work.

I felt a bit better by the end of those 2 weeks but was very anxious about an important day with my boss and his boss on Monday. Needless to say it went horribly. I had to walk away and cry in the toilets loads of times during the day as it was just overwhelming.

The feedback at the end of the day was horrible. I thought by saying I couldn't do that day would give a perception that I couldn't do my job - but now I've actually demonstrated to them that I can't.

I've been torturing myself about this all week, I finally called my boss today to talk about it and just cried all through the conversation. We are meeting next week to discuss what to do next.

From the conversation today I think he now thinks I'm not capable at doing my job. I think he may want to talk about being demoted into a different role - not something I want or actually can afford - but my head can't think clearly about what I should be saying as all the my negative thoughts are bombarding my head saying that I must be useless etc

I want so much just to be able to function as normal, but this has been going on all year so should I just accept my capabilities? Or try and fight my corner.

I really just want to curl up under my duvet and hide from the world.

12 Replies

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  • Hi I emphasise with you as it can be very difficult to hold down a job when you are suffering from depression, especially if it is a demanding one. The thing to remember is it is not your fault - ask yourself if you had a physical illness instead would you still be feeling like this? And wouldn't your employer be more understanding?

    Have you been at your job at least 2 years and are employed on a full time basis? If so your employer has a duty of care towards you under the Health and Safety at Work Act. If they are aware of your illness then to avoid falling foul of the law they have to make some 'reasonable adjustments' for you. These could include extra sick leave, extra breaks, some work being taken away from you, or a change of job. Bear in mind though that these are all subject to 'business needs' and this take priority unfortunately.

    Another thing you can do if you can afford it and they agree is if you can cut your hours down to more part time, or flexi time working. You said you worked from home for a few days - could you negotiate these on a more regular basis?

    Are you in a union? Is there an HR department there?

    I hope this has helped a bit. x

  • I absolutely relate on everything you just said...but I think you habe more strength and fight in you than you think. I quit working due to my severe depression and anxiety and its getting worse. I feel like I let it beat me. Pls dont stop pushing through...keep going if you hide from the world like I do its a horrible prison and gets worse. Hope you feel better. Victoria

  • I just lost my job due to depression related misconduct.Not asking for sympathy, but the root cause was depression. It has ruined my life.

  • Smartbob I know you are not asking for sympathy but you're getting it. I'm so sorry, that stinks. Your life may seem ruined now but I'm sure you can get through it somehow. Things tend to work out eventually and I sure hope they do for you.

  • Thank you for your kindness xxxxxxxxx

  • Now listen.....your health is far more important than some job!

    Go and buy a book called ..self help for my nerves..by Claire Weeks and read it and use it as a support ..it will help you.

    If your current work cannot support you when you are ill maybe they are not worth working for them.

    I know you willy worry about money etc but it is more important to get your health,get piece of mind ...which money can't buy.

    Then get a job you feel comfortable with and one that does not make you ill!

    All the very best and stay positive ..buy the book today,and read it , it will help you !!!

    All the very best

  • You are so kind xxxxxxxx

  • I'm just coming off 5 weeks out of work because of panic and depression. I'm on half days for 2 weeks now and I'm glad I am because otherwise I couldn't handle it. I told them right off the bat I would not be checking emails or doing work during my time off like I usually do. If you have an off work slip you should really stay off work. My boss does not like that I took all that time but I earned the time off and I'm in the US so the Family Medical Leave Act means they can't fire me for that. Now coming back hopefully I can be a better employee after taking time to rest. I need my job desperately however I can't do it when I'm sick and for once I'm refusing to feel guilty about missing work. Maybe you need another off work slip as long as you have a job protection act and turn in all the paperwork. You sound like a dedicated employee and I know it's hard but please take care of yourself.

  • Thanks for your kind comments, but I have been fired.I have an appeal hearing on Monday, but I am not hopeful xxxxxxxxx

  • Smartbob my first reply about the off work slip was ditected toward the original poster kez1983, but I'm glad to hear you have an appeal hearing. it's better than nothing and you never know. Good luck!

  • I hope you are not going to the appealing hearing on your own,take some one with you to the hearing and if possible ask your doctor for a letter explaining your health problems ,take a copy and at your interview give them the copy ,don't make it easy from them .if you are unsuccessful make sure they give you in writing on what grounds they have terminated your contract .

    Then you can decide if you want to take them to an industrial tribunal,what have you to lose......don't make it easy for them, beleive me they will not want a fuss....If they offer you a termination payment to get rid of you make sure you don't accept their first offer....threaten them with industrial tribunal, even if you don't feel up to it,they don't know that you will not take them to the tribunal . Beleive me they will just want rid of you without any fuss...don't make it easy for them...stay strong ,even if you don't feel it.

    Best of luck and beleive this ...it is not your fault that you are ill!

    You stay positive as you can ....their will be better days for you , all this horrible stuff will make you stronger in the future,you may not beleive it ,you will survive and have much better times.

  • Thank you for all of your replies. I know I am my own worst enemy at times - my GP said to my "if you had a broken leg would you still be trying to go to work?" - stupidly the answer is actually still yes. I just want things to be normal.

    I think I am just going to go in and be honest - say I feel like I have ruined everything by my recent performance and ask if I have, lay everything on the table and see what he suggests. I've gone through every viable option in my head and I can't see a good solution.

    I get on ok with our HR business partner so going to see how this goes and maybe speak to her - however as with most HR depts - she works for the side of the business, protecting their interests so I'm not entirely convinced it would help but may be worth a shot.

    I manage a large team of people in my job and have for many years and have been down the illness capability and performance management route with many people in the past - I just never thought I would be the person at this side of it :(

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