Stress, AF, & keeping a boss happy

Hi all,

I could do with some advice please.

How important is avoiding stress with this condition?

As well as working in music, I also work part-time in sales. When I had my first of a series of AF attacks last September, my boss was really sympathetic and understanding. He has now become a nightmare.

Sadly, I had to take some time off in December with this lousy virus that's been going round, and of course I was off for a few days after my first DC Cardioversion in November, last year.

Following my recent hospital visit at the weekend, my Cardiologist, (who performed my DCCV) told me I was not to drive today due to the drugs they used to sedate me. When I told my boss I was back in hospital on Sunday, he wished me well and hoped I'd be fit for two sales appointments today.

Obviously I told him I couldn't work today and apart from one text saying he was 'busy', he's totally ignored me.

His pattern is that if I am off work through illness, he will 'punish' me by keeping me off a few more days, making excuses such as them being quiet. As this happens nearly every time now, I don't believe him.

Just wondered what people thought of this wonderful management technique and what would you do to handle this to reduce the stress. My partner is very worried about the stress this is causing, as when I'm well I need to be working. Life feels like a time bomb at the moment.



20 Replies

  • I'm not a Dr but for me stress was the biggest and most aggravating factor in the onset of my AF. I underwent several stressful situations simultaneously and although I handled it mentally, physically it took its toll.

    Hospitalised twice with fast AF and 1 chemical cardioversion.

    I would get some legal advice from an employment specialist BEFORE you need it. You need to know your contract and your rights. Perhaps a union could help?

  • Thanks Japaholic, my partner thinks the same and we're onto it. The sad thing is he's meant to be a friend. We'll see what happens in the next few days. I just feel so disappointed. It's one thing living with this thing, and I hate letting him and the company down when I slip into AF but it's almost as if he thinks it's deliberate.

    As you know, our absolute priority when this thing happens is to play safe and get back into sinus rhythm as quickly as possible.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your thoughts.


  • I think stress is an issue, a major issue actually,....I am in Real Estate and almost all our transactions have some degree of stress some a lot of stress as people navigate through their hopes and might try this product called Peaceful Spirit from Jing Herbs it is great for stress or also Stress Away roll on from Young Living Essential oils. Maybe get some for the boss as it must be stressful for him too ............. Just for the record I don't think I can even get into sinus rhythm anymore. I never asked how many other people have this but anyway I just did a heart moniter and will be surprised if ever in sinus . Good luck with everything

  • Sorry to hear you are in full time afib. You should probably look into ablation sooner than later. It did the trick for my fulltime afib that had begun to include flutter. Cardioversion did nothing.

  • I am sorry to hear how you are being treated. Stress, I feel is a big factor and, working in a sales environment with a Dickensian boss like yours, will only be making things much worse. I have been in a similar situation, when I thought my working relationship with my boss was on a friendly footing. Unfortunately, in sales, it seems that all that matters is earning the next commission, and this can make the environment ruthless and uncaring. It will not be doing your AF any good. I obviously don't know your situation but my advice would be to get out and move on to a job with a boss with a little more integrety, which may mean you move out of sales. It is only a job, your health and happiness are far more important.

  • Stress increases the heart rate of anyone, AF or normal sinus rhythm. Unchecked, AF is a very fast rhythm, so stress would not be very helpful! You don`t say how long your AF bouts last. If it`s days, rather than hours, then correct management should be very helpful. A beta blocker should bring your AF down to a more acceptable level. In my case, I find that the longer I`m in AF, the less symptomatic it gets. I suffer from various other periodic arrhythmias when I`m in NSR, which are very troublesome. But when in AF, with correct rate control medication (Bisoprolol in my case), I`m virtually symptom free. So I`ve chosen to stay permanently in AF, which gives me an almost normal lifestyle. And this choice has been endorsed by two cardiologists. I`m not suggesting that you take this route, but it does show that AF isn't the `monster` that many people believe it is. Carefully managed, and with marginal lifestyle changes, things can be pretty near normal with AF.

    Your boss doesn`t seem to be very helpful, and his attitude won`t get any better with time. I`d keep a sharp eye on the "sits. Vac" columns in your local press if I were you! Good luck with it all.

  • I'm in no doubt that stress , be it good or bad stress, is my number 1 trigger! Your boss seems a bit of a nightmare but I can understand the conflict you find yourself in, between caring for your own wellbeing and loyalty to the company you work for. Might it be helpful if you were to give him some written info about the nature of AF so that he has a better understanding of it?

    However, the bottom line is that your own wellbeing is of the utmost importance as it affects your whole life, not just your working life.

    I really hope that things work out well for you.....all the very best.

    Marilyn x

  • Stress is definitely a trigger for a lot of people, me included. I'm assuming that your arrangement with your boss is very flexible if he can just not call you in because he's 'not busy'? If you're freelance (as I am) it makes it much more difficult to expect regular hours. But take advice, at least that way you'll be sure where you stand.

    If you have to move on, it might be for the best - sales is a job notorious for its pressure tactics and that can only be adding to your challenges.


  • How awful for you Nigel. I don't find stress to be a trigger personally, but it is essential nonetheless to manage stress in order to keep a healthy BP to

    decrease the risk of stroke. I agree with the comments above re.seeking advice from your union if you are in one..though your boss seems to be quite adept at bullying as his actions are all rather insidious...the true sign of an expert bully. Make sure you keep a record of dates and events now in case things escalate. You should not be discriminated against on the grounds of ill health. I really feel for you. At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing though. I had some trouble returning to work last year but i sought legal advice and once i told them that i felt 'discriminated against' and mentioned 'constructive dismissal' i have had no problems. Re:managing stress, i have been reading a lovely book which is very practical and helpful but also very life's called 'Mindfulness: finding peace in a frantic world' and it has a CD with guided meditations. Maybe your boss could read it too?! All the best with everything and stay well:)

  • I have the same problem of sorts......and i work for the NHS as an administrator!!!

    You would expect more sympathy there, wouldn't you?

  • You certainly would, Wightbaby

  • I agree with Japaholic, join a union. At least you will have good legal back up if anything abusive happens.

    Are you on a zero hour contract basis ?

  • Regarding stress, we all have different requirements and levels of stress. It is basically down to you to manage that part. I find that by going for a brisk 20 minute walk that my stress levels subside quite a bit. Next, get some employment legal advice, your boss is a bully and you need to keep a record of times and dates, so that if push comes to shove, then you have all the ammunition for a tribunal which may be unfair / constructive dismissal. Now look for another job because your current person is so out of touch with people management skills it’s untrue. Is there anyone else you can talk to, HR dep't, another manager your bosses boss. It needs to be highlighted as they may be bullying others. They definitely need a course in people management. Good luck, I am following your post

  • Hi Nige,

    I think you are under a lot of pressure. But then so is your boss as well. he has targets to reach and that means following up on all leads. He has agreed appointments with prospects - a lot of errort goes into getting those in the first place. He may not be able to afford to lose those prospects or the company could go under.

    I'm afraid the stress goes with a job in sales. I would sit down with your boss and work through the issue. You have to be upfront and explain your situation. Then if you can't reach an amicable solution you will need to consider moving to a less stressful job. I was getting very stressed at work a few years ago and I decided to move to a more technical role, setting up my own company where I was in complete control. That was one of the best decisions I made.

    I would suggest that getting all legal and approaching unions is the last thing you want to be doing. You need to improve the relationship with your boss not build walls, then if that doesn't work consider whether sales is an appropriate environment for you and move on with your life.


  • Hi Nige - sorry to hear that you are feeling down about work and your boss, that is very stressful. Could I ask if you know for sure that your boss is ignoring you because of your time off or is this assumption? I don't in any way mean to be rude but have seen the effects of people's thoughts about certain situations which have caused them unecessary stress. If your boss has not written or verbalised what you are thinking then his actions (or lack of) could possibly be unrelated to you. I hope you get a resolution soon. I am in total agreement with Mark. x

  • Thank you all so much for your replies and I'm pleased to report that my boss and I will be sitting down to discuss all this. I agree with what everyone said about sales etc, and yes, prospects are very important, and my boss is one of the Company Directors, so I do understand his stress too.

    I hoping that our friendship is strong enough to get through this, and deep down I'm sure it is. I'll keep you all posted re developments.

    Thanks again,


  • I agree my AF occurred during a bad time in my life and getting on top of those things has been a major factor in no reoccurrence

    Also sorry to hear about your issues at work. You should explore whatever rights you have available

  • Good for you Nigel x Glad you are going to talk to your boss - let us know how you get on. Now chill! :-D x

  • The 'chill' suggestion sounds a great idea and that's exactly what I'll do tonight. Thanks :-)

  • Good news. Had a chat on the phone to my boss today and it's looking good. Mutual stress was the trigger. We're hoping to have a nice face to face chat tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for their comments.


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