when you have a choice, and both choices are causing anxiety

I posted my first blog on here, and deleted It because it turned in to a story, although I kept it as it might help me. I am now sitting here after nearly a bottle of wine, 2mg of diazepam and 2 kalms, but it isn't that bad a place for me (although I know it isn't really the right thing to be doing).

Anyway after being signed off for a week after a panic attack at work and another one after a visit to the nurse before the Doctors appointment (with a recorded blood pressure of 220/100 during the second attack) I am faced with going back to work on the 27th of December, or going back to the Doctor to get another sick note. Being petrified of both options, it is leading me to wonder if I really should have got my act together and faced work without bothering seeking help from the Doctor (who I found unsympathetic and didn't seem to understand what I was going through). 21 x 2mg of Diazepam and 1 week signed off work for anxiety is not really why I went to the Doctor. Not really that helpful.

Work is a hard place at the moment, and it is hard becase I have to listen to other people's problems and deal increasingly more with their complaints, while feeling the pressure of getting it all done right, and in good time. Of course the biggest fear is facing going back after what other people saw when I lost it at work. What if it happens again? Considering I have been managing my own head on my own since I went to the Docs 15 years ago (for punching my own head in my fits of anxiety and anger), It is all new territory. I have never had to face this kind of dilemma, and although some say that exposure and facing things is the best way, what if it all kicks in again?

Will my employer understand? They consider absences in number of periods, not number of days, so maybe it will be worth my while having longer off, going back to the Doctor, and pleading for more help (CBT for example) to tackle my inability to deal with my fear of facing up to the stresses of my work.

It isn't easy...

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4 Replies

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  • Dear Axegrinder

    I really think you should go back to your GP and demand (politely!) - not "plead" - for more help - you have a right to it! I don't think for a single second that a box of diazepam and a week's sick note is an appropriate reaction to the huge stress symptoms you were showing, including a meltdown at work and, if I remember, in the nurse's surgery! It can sometimes take time to get to know a new GP, but it is also true that some GPs just don't have a clue about MH issues, so you might have to see a different one in the same practice - you can do that, you don't have to go to the same one, so if you try him again and he's still unhelpful, try one of his colleagues.

    Will your employers understand? They've no choice - stress is a KNOWN and common reason for work absence, and no different to a broken leg or a bad back! In fact, from what I remember of your original blog, a lot of your stress is being caused by your work, and your employers have a "duty of care" to ensure that your work pressures DO NOT make you ill!

    Do go back to the GP - either the same or another one - tell them you desperately need help dealing with your stress, and want to see a counsellor/therapist - many surgeries have their own counsellors nowadays. I know that it's when we're at our lowest we sometimes have to fight the hardest for help, but do not be put off - try the "broken record" technique - if he tries to put you off, just keep saying "Yes I understand that, but i'd like to see a counsellor." If nothing else, he'll probably arrange it just to shut you up ;) - joke!!!

    You might find this site helpful - it is an NHS one about work stress - maybe read it before you see your GP?

    Good luck, and do try to enjoy the break WITHOUT worrying about what will happen when it's over.

    So glad you reposted - had me worried for a while there! ;)

    Love

    Rose

    xxx

  • Might help if I gave you the link I mentioned :( doh! Sorry,it's late - or do i mean early? Anyway, it's

    nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-an...

    Cheers

    Rose x

  • Good Advice from BriarRose, hope you read it again....memories for me when you say managing your head for 15yrs, I was to proud (big big mistake) to admit my illness and go to doctor...after "giving in (stupid statement but thats how I felt) I was put on antidepressants that helped me realise life was not as bad and I had stupidly delayed all those years because of EGO (can be an enemy)....don,t waste time like I did......and yes it is your life so you take all the time you need to get better.........be well....

  • Thanks for the replies, it is reassuring that there are others who are there and have been there whom I can learn from to help get through it...

    I have always thought that I have a problem but most of the time it has been a case of just getting on with it. I have been dealing with the symptoms of IBS for 20 years without getting to the cause, and although I am getting to the age where IBS should naturally subside, at least having a diagnosis of anxiety may help with tackling it further.

    I think it has made it worse by realising that I have lost control of my coping mechanism, although considering my way of coping has been drowning out the anxiety of knowing I have to return to work after my days off, by drinking alcohol and keeping my mind active rather than trying to relax, I am not surprised. Relaxing is something I am not good at.

    One thing I am wondering is the difference between stress and anxiety. I have heard of people being signed off with stress for months at a time, although I am hoping this is not going to be the case with me, but on my sicknote (which is the first sicknote I have ever had in my life!) he used one word 'anxiety' without noting any causes, even though I explained to him the stress I am having at work. A lot of my anxiety is something that is happening when I am not working, and the stress is something that I am coping with while I am at work, although I do feel it when I am waiting for that next call, as it could be a huge difficult complaint. Is this why the doctor thought I should get back to work as soon as possible? He was also adamant that stress is something that should be dealt with between me and my employers, although I have aired a lot of concerns to my bosses, it is not always that easy to be assertive enough to present the full extent of my concerns. The biggest concern at the moment is fear of not having the capacity to prevent another episode.

    When I had the attack at work it happened before I logged on to my phone and put my headset on for the pending shift, so it was in anticipation of not being able to cope with the stress. I think what people may not understand is that I rarely stop in the middle of a shift and say 'right I can't cope anymore', so why do I get so anxious in the run up to my shift? Although sometimes I am so stressed at the end that I have to take ten minutes before I drive home, to prevent doing things such as running red lights (which I have done before because of the end of shift stress). The worst times are after time off, weekends, holidays etc, as I have more time to ponder about my return to work.

    Anyway, I am still very worried about next thursday, although before I went to bed (around 3am!) last night I had decided that I will follow this up with the doctor in order to try to get some counselling, but I am also pondering the idea of returning to work, as it seemed so difficult to get the doctor to sign me off for any length of time. What if he doesn't sign me off even if I feel I can't return to work just yet? My argument to him has to be, if is the case, "you signed me off for a week and I am no better so why do you think I am fit to return?" But if I have to go in work, and not having the right treatment, it could all happen again, and then my employers will begin tightening the 'absence management' belt even harder.

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