Scared! (work): I realllllly want to... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum
13,139 members18,746 posts

Scared! (work)

I realllllly want to return to work. It's been so long though I'm scared. It's coming up to 6 years and I feel well enough now to return. I just wish I had the confidence. I've seen lots of jobs that I would love to go for but I just can't bring myself to apply for them. The thought of being responsible for everything again and not relying on the guaranteed benefits I currently get is also to blame. My self esteem is quite low and I just worry about what people will think of me. All the 'what ifs' are annoying too, what if my asthma gets really bad again blah blah blah!

Arghh I just need to get out there!

Why can't I just do it grrrr.


14 Replies

Hi Clare22,

Have you thought of doing some voluntary work to start with? Just for a few hours and build up your confidence slowly.

Good luck!!

Jac xx


Claire have u spoken to a disability adviser at the job centre.... They may be able to offer support and advice within the work place. Also wot voluntary work usy do before ur benefits become affected ...... Hope You get something


Good luck Clare.Your confidence will soon come back as u get to grips with your job.You could ask disability people at job centre to help you get a job and support you xxx


Hi Clare.

I agree with what JF said. You need to start with just a few hours a week to build up your confidence again. Whether it is voluntary or not doesn't matter. Speak to your local Jobcentre about help with interview techniques and explain your fears to them and they will help.

I had a similar problem many years ago after becoming a single parent when my wife left me. It is difficult to get back into the correct mindset, but, believe me, it is most definately worth the effort.

Good luck and take care.



Go for it...I can only echo what others have said start of small and work your way up...get to know what you can and can't do and what you really want from a job. I love my job but can't do full time atm...try to find something with a bit of flexibility over time and hours easier said then done...but well worth it.


Know the feeling, I got back into work by temping and it really boosted my confidence! Even a couple of days a week earned me more than benefits (and was less stressful than claiming!) Volunteering would be good too and both could lead to permanent work at a pace you feel comfortable with.

Like you I was worried what folk would think of me, especially with the way I lost my job a few years ago, but fitted in well everywhere I worked and made new friends and started to love my job again.

Go and have a chat with your disability officer at your local job centre - ours is brilliant and only too glad to help folk back to work.

My asthma hasn't gone away but it longer takes over my life.

Good luck

: )


Hi Clare

Over the past 4 years I've been out of work more than I've been in work. I can imagine how scary it is to be out of work for 6 years and be thinking of going back!

Starting last week, I'm giving work another go. In a way I suppose I'm lucky as I've been employed all this time (by the skin of my teeth granted) but stopped from working by my employers and/or occupational health.

About a year ago I decided to start volunteering. It's been great for my confidence, self esteem and helped me with getting back into the 'real world'. I also found it can be quite hard to meet people when out of work, so it helped there too. I know that different volunteer positions ask for different commitments, so I'm sure you could start with just a few hours and build up to however many hours you feel you can manage.

Now I'm back at work, I'm building up my hours very gradually. I'd definitely advise you to do the same, its amazing how tiring it is to return to work! I don't know if you're looking at jobs which would have occupational health departments, but it would probably be a good idea to get them involved from the start. Also, returning to work makes me feel incredibly stupid, it takes me forever to do anything, I feel uncertain of myself and what I'm doing, but I've been here before and I know it will get easier.

As for you being worried what people will think of you, I think it'd be positive!! You're trying to come off benefits and work, regardless of the fact that it's scary and possibly 'easier' to stay as you are.

And if your asthma gets worse... I can really relate to that as that is what keeps on happening to me. I get poorly, made to stay off work, convince people that I'm okay to work again, manage for a while, deteriorate, get poorly, made to stay off work, and the cycle continues. I'm still at the stage where I refuse to believe that I can't work in some capacity for however many hours, so I feel that I have to keep trying this. I guess the only way you're going to know is if you try it!

Dawn x


Claire, many years ago I was getting ready to return to work after about a hundred years at home with the children. My confidence was as low as it is possible to get and I was terrified of getting out there and taking the risk the I wouldn't be able to get, let alone keep, a decent job. I went to the local job centre and found out about training courses for people returning to work after a long break - you could get refresher courses or learn something completely new to complement skills you already had. I don't know if theses are still available, but I found it invaluable as it combined classroom learning and a work placement that let me ease back into work over several months.

Good luck



I recommend that you make an appointment with the disability advisor at your local job centre. One of the things I note in your post is the worry of transferring from a guaranteed income from benefits to gaining a wage. There is a safety net in place that would help you overcome that difficulty. It is possible to try work for a period of about 1 year and earn a higher amount of money that won't affect your current benefits. After this period is over you must either return to work or your previous state of depending on sickeness benefits. This scheme gives people like yourself some breathing space, and find out which is the best path to take.


Thanks for all the advice guys. I have for the last few months been doing a bit of voluntry work with my local Brownie unit which is so much fun and I am now a registered assistant leader.

I think the job centre is the best place to go from all your replies.

I have been trying to get myself as healthy as possible lately and for the last 3 months have been going to the gym, I feel a bit of a fraud still living on sickness benefits when I feel good. I live alone so have nothing to fall back on if it all goes wrong, I just remember when I first went on benefits how stressful it was to sort them all out, how the job centre wanted to see me so often but now they just kinda forget about you after you have been off sick as long as me!

My consultant has been really supportive and says he will back me up if I don't feel ready yet but I sooo do.

I have been for the last 3 years been studying with the OU so have gained some qualifications through that.

I try and go out as often as possible, going to the gym has certainly boosted my confidence and so has losing a lot of weight! (6 stone).

I know at the mo I'm just putting it off, I have also applied to uni for sept and have a place to do nursing. I'm not sure what I want to do at the mo though. Go back to work and continue with the OU or go to uni. Too many decisions!


wow that's an awful lot of weight to lose and I applaud you for it!!!


wow six stone I am jealous...would love to loose some weight. How was the gym with your asthma? my local council gym has said it won't take responsibilty for me uisng their equipment etc because my asthma so brittle but I really want to give it a go...I think if I felt fitter then the bad days may not feel so bad.

You sound like you have have been thinking about two options work and study through ou or going to uni, I have done both and enjoyed uni very much was tehre for four years doing teacher training...was hard work and I found that they weren't that understanding about my dodgy lungs...will you have to pay tution fees or will you qualify for support. I suppose it really depends on your priorities. Hope you decide what you want to do....Have you thought about work placement training that will gte you to your end goal I have a friend who is an HCA and is working and doing her nurse training whilst she works.


My gym are fab, its more of a health club, they have rehab programmes so know all about asthma etc. All my workout routines are tailored to me and my lungs! I do admit to doing more than I should but because I've gradually built up my exercise my lungs have adapted. I used to use a scooter to get to the shops I can now comfortably walk for a good few miles. My general fitness level is fab and I feel so good! I love spinning at the moment, I wouldn't recommend it to people who have not previosuly done any exercise!!!

I'm still on subcut bricanyl and all other meds but hoping to stop that soon as doing so well!

Fees for nursing are paid by the NHS if you are resident in the uk so thats sorted :) I want to be an HCA if I don't get into uni for any reason.


Congrats on the weight loss, amazing. I just wish I could do the same, chocolate my downfall.


You may also like...