Back to work following anxiety: Hi, I... - Anxiety Support

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Back to work following anxiety

Kitkaz profile image


I suffered my first panic attack 2 weeks ago whilst getting ready for work. I spoke with my GP who signed me off for 2 weeks due to stress at work. I'm a social worker and fairly new to my role. So as you can imagine I have been worried about being off as there's nothing physically wrong with me, if that makes sense. Anyway, I started taking a low dose of sertraline medication, which I was also worried about taking. I have felt sick and headaches but GP states this can be normal. This dose was increased to 50mg last Friday and the GP recommended that I take another week off for meds to settle. Anyway, sicknote ran out yesterday and I returned to work today. This morning I felt awful this morning, got myself to work and when speaking with my manager was emotional, anxious, insides trembling and just felt drained. He's been understanding and I came home and have rang the GP surgery to request the rest of the week off. I'm just worried that this will repeat itself again on my return on Monday.

Work is stressful and there have been a lot of changes but I have worked so hard to get here and can't help but feel like a failure. Whilst being off I have had time to reflect on things and do believe that I can do the job and that although work at present appears to be a trigger it may not be the cause. Which is annoying because I am so confused why I feel this way and had this burst of anxiety.

Sorry this is longwinded, just seeking some comfort and advice.


14 Replies


We seem to be going through the same thing, I've been signed off for three weeks now and the last week was because of anxiety. I thought I was having another asthma attack until the hospital put it down to anxiety.

I also really want to go back to work because like you said nothing really physically wrong with me but I think you have got to give it time.

Just wanted to say that your not alone. Xx

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Hello :-)

I would imagine been a Social worker comes with a lot of responsibility at the same time as been a very rewarding job and I also would imagine you are more than capable of doing your job to :-)

I think you have to give things a lot more time before you could access if the job was making you anxious and wonder while you adjust to these meds because your Boss seems so good if they could reduce your hours slightly or give you less stressful cases etc just short term ? not sure if you feel you would want or could discuss this with them :-)

I know someone that had dreadful agoraphobia could not even get to their front gate and for a long while they resisted medication , then eventually they went on the same one as you are on , but they started on a very small dose , in fact they started so small they would half the tablet but they wanted to avoid side effects and they did get them but only slightly not enough to bother them very much and when they felt settled on what ever dose they were taking they then upped the strength until they were on a dose where they felt that the meds were keeping their anxiety at bay and they have never looked back , in fact they are out that gate and enjoying life again , so I do know they can work for some and you could maybe think of increasing them slowly , sometimes Doctors want to work by the book but we are all different so just because it says we should be on a certain dose and increase at a certain time does not always work for everyone , I think it can sometimes be best to listen to our bodies :-)

Keep us updated how you get on :-)

Take Care x

Wow! It's like I wrote this! Mine happened 3 weeks ago after I got home from work, I had 2 panic attacks back to back. I didn't know what a panic attack was, I've experienced anxiety attacks and I thought they were the same thing but after reading about them both they're two different things, I was shocked and scared at the sametime, I couldn't focus, my memory was awful and I would only sleep 2 hrs a night and when I'd wake up I was sweaty and uncomfortable, constantly checking Google for my symptoms requesting every test on known to man by my doctor and two other doctors because I honestly thought something was wrong with me, even at one point I was experiencing numbness and head pressure I almost felt like I was Unreal my vision was blurry I couldn't hold a conversation because I was so anxious I didn't know what was going on with me so I would stay up in the middle of the night and throughout the whole day typing my symptoms trying to figure out what was going on in my body or my mind and of course when you Google your symptoms the worst shows up so then that makes your brain go hundred miles an hour trying to figure out is this what I have? Sorry for the long response I just wanted to let you know that I'm here for you and I know exactly how you feel.

Thanks for the kind comments, it makes me feel a little better.

Uniquediamond- I'm terrible for googling things but I just feel like I need answers! This site has helped though as I know I'm not alone.

I just feel ridiculous and silly really as this seems to have come out of nowhere and I have suffered a lot more stress in the past and not reacted this way.

The majority of the time I like my job and when I have a good day it is so rewarding, I care so much and just want to do the best job possible although with all the cuts and high demands this is difficult. My boss assures me I will be fine and they will support me, which is great. I'm just hoping I can get back to work feeling normal to do so xx

Hi Kitkaz

Not to much to add to the great comments below. Not a social worker but going through a similar thing myself, very scary.

I'm sure with support we will be back doing what we love soon (hard to see I know).

Thinking of you, Matt

Kitkaz profile image
Kitkaz in reply to MattBuckland

Thanks Matt, fingers crossed we will be...wishing you all the best and thanks for the well wishes again 😊

Gosh I totally know what you mean! I had an anxiety attack 7 or 8 years ago and I don't ever remember it being like this.. that's what made me read about all mental disorders because I was so confused why this time I couldn't even walk into my work place because it honestly felt so unreal like I was in a dream and when I had my first anxiety attack like I said 7 or 8 years ago it was nothing like this so I couldn't help but to get on dr. Google and try to diagnose my own symptoms or at least write them down so I could take them to my doctor's appointment I swear people look at me like I'm going psychotic I hate being like this I really do :-(

Kitkaz profile image
Kitkaz in reply to uniquediamond

I think it's only natural for us to be curious. How did it go at the doctors? Are you feeling a bit better? Xx

uniquediamond profile image
uniquediamond in reply to Kitkaz

It's weird some days I feel fine and other days I don't.. it hits me like that, I still get alil nervous going to work but I try and tell myself it's ok and having this site has really helped me in so many ways. How have you been feeling?

Kitkaz profile image
Kitkaz in reply to uniquediamond

Yeah snap! I'm happy I went into work today even if only for a few hours as it showed I'm not quite ready. I'm hoping I'll feel better soon and meds will kick in better.

Good on you for getting back to work and wishing you well xx

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to Kitkaz

Kitkaz, I'm happy you got back to work today even for a few hours. As the meds kick in and you are able to use your skills in dealing with anxiety, those hours will grow into days. Take care. I wish you well xx

Kitkaz profile image
Kitkaz in reply to Agora1

Thanks Agora1, I'm hoping a few more days rest will help to start a fresh next week. Thanks again for the well wishes xx

I can completely relate Kitkaz.

I am going to share what I am experiencing with you and the other members in the hope that you will feel less alone and I will clarify my own ideas. But I have to warn you that it will be long and rambling, as that is my general style😄 and it is worsened by my nerves!🤣

I am worrying about whether I should return to work or not after being on 3 weeks leave due to anxiety. The professionals say I need another 1-2 months but I am afraid I will lose my job and also afraid that this bout of anxiety, (caused actually by work, and what I preceive to be some amount of bullying from my superior) will cause me to relapse into the deeper depression I have only emerged from in the last 8 months. I know I have underlying issues I need to work on and I believe I have been doing that and making great progress over the last few years and, hence, I have recovered greatly from the rather deep depression I suffered previously.

I am in Spain where the labour laws leave employees very unprotected and I know I have a relatively ‘good’ job in comparison to what is out there (in terms of pay and the fact that it’s permanent) and this causes me feelings of great fear when it comes to considering the option of continuing on leave. I am afraid to lose what I have worked so hard for all these years - a stable, relatively well paid job in a country where almost no one in my field is made permanent, nor receives a salary all year around, only 8/9 months of the year. A part of me wants to do what I (and many others here, from what I have read) believe to be part of learning to recover from anxiety which is to accept that I cannot control everything, and therefore accept the possibility of my fears becoming a reality and eventually stop being so afraid of them. I mean, if the company fires me because I continue on leave (it would of course be unfair dismissal which I could then fight but well, that doesn’t sound like much fun either) I would definately get another job in my field and probably very quicky, However it is almost certain that I would earn about 40% less (which would leave me on a very tight budget) and the conditions of my contract would most likely be a lot worse. I worked so hard to get where I am and a part of me is very afraid to lose this job. However at the same time I am petrified at the idea of getting really ill again and at times I am convinced I need the extra time off, and at others convinced I should return to work in a week and just get on with it. I have made changes to my work situation through voluntary demotion from a post of high responsability to one of lesser responsability which also means I will have less contact with the boss who is the one who I feel has been bullying me a little and trying to scare me into submission...

I just don’t know, and I keep going back and forth on any tentaive decision I make, which I am sure you have realized just from reading this post. They are pressuring me at work to give and answer (this is illegal, I know, as officially I am on leave and it is a doctor who must decide if I can be signed on again, not myself or the bl***y boss) and so the pressure increases, which doesn’t help my recovery.

I am leaning strongly toward saying f**k it, I am going take as long as I need and what will be will be and just letting go but some of my loved ones think I should go back and do my best not to lose my job. As I said before, the psychiatrist and the psychologist think I need the time.

I am all doubts right now.

Thanks a million for reading.


Thoughts of strength form a fellow social worker. Little steps at a time. Thank you for what you do.

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