How do you know when you need to take time off sick?

I have suffered with depression on and off for about 13 years but normally manage it quite well. I have some pretty major things going on at home at the moment though and work is also not looking very secure. I am feeling completely overwhelmed and exhausted, so I have reached out for support and I'm currently having counselling although the sessions available are limited. I have also been taking holiday to avoid sickness at work because they were getting funny about time off but everyday it's getting harder and harder to convince myself I have to go to work. How do you know when enough is enough and you need to go sick?

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10 Replies

  • Hello Emmie-Lou2,

    Recently I had to make this choice. I can only give my experience and then I would say you search out your on heart on what's best for you. I was ignoring my physical and mental health to try to keep working. I now reflect on all the signs that were happening and wonder why I stayed so long. This last position was a great one in pay, perks, and freedom to work from home. But my health was taking a hit on these things. I wish I could tell you what to do but in being intellectual we all know we can't give you the advice you need. Search your own heart and figure out the pros an cons and even if you can continue working without suffering. I know we all need money to survive. But I have been asking myself what is the worth of money if we don't have our health. Talk to your therapist and let them help you figure it out. I have been in therapy for many years and wish I didn't have to go but I do today for me. Hugs.

  • Hello

    Sadly only YOU can make those decisions, If you are unable to function at this time and you are having Counselling it may be that you can arrange to have these appointments at appointed times that may not affect your work times.

    Some employers will allow time off work to go to your CPN and you can make up your time at a later date, or could the CPN meet at work, although this cause more trouble than what it is worth as your work pals will or could find out about your complaint.

    You need to also consider if the work environment is causing your problem and what conditions would assist you in sorting this out, remember now employers have to show will to change your work environment. Would it be posible to work a restricted period so you could visit the CPN and then return to work.

    One thing you need to understand sessions with a CPN may only go on for about six weeks and that can be over an extended period of time, either weekly/two weekly sometimes a month between appointments. So it may be you can have words with your employer and explain you need appointments at the aforementioned periods.

    You also may need further periods , that have been related to a CPN so that time may be in addition to the initial six weeks So all I can really suggest is work out what you need and negotiate.

    Good Luck


  • Thanks for your advice guys. Work are good and do let me have time for my counselling but it's the daily stuff that I'm not managing. I get up, go to work, muddle through, go home and just want to go to bed. I know I should be exercising and doing stuff that I enjoy but I can't physically work and do all that stuff. I am drained and exhausted and not getting any better xxx

  • Emmie, I just had 4 weeks off on sick. Never done that before. Just realised that I was at breaking point. GP was great and signed a note. I slept most of the first 2 weeks. Turned up for the review and said "I feel like a fraud", so he signed me off for another 2 weeks. By the end of week 3 I started feeling well enough to do housework and even do some exercise.

    I've been back 6 weeks, 4 on phased return. I'm good except the exercise has dropped off again and I am sleeping more again.

    So I will be reviewing my self-care again over the next couple of days.

  • Helen take care of yourself.

  • I suggest you to talk things through with counsellor and with GP.

    Have you had blood tests to rule out anything else like thyroid, anaemia or B12 or ...?

    I struggled through 2012 thinking that it was depression even though there were signs that indicated that my tiredness was different (ie it was worse in the evenings than in the morning, as the depression generally was) and then in December I had a fall which resulted in being hospitalised with a badly broken ankle and picked up a B12 deficiency - so I now have to have regular shots.

    Hope you can manage to get a bit of exercise - one of the cruel things about depression is that it switches the link between motivation so you actually have to start doing something you enjoy before you feel like doing it. I find that routine helps me with the exercise - and sometimes with the other activities - they are something I do at particular times come what may and I think it does help me to feel better.

  • This is an interesting post. I wrestled with this same dilemma last summer. I'd not had time off in twelve years in my current job, but things in my personal life were spiralling out of control. I think I reached a day where I cried from the minute I walked in to the building until the minute I left, and that's when I knew. I went to the doctors the next morning and she signed me off for a couple of weeks. It was the most sensible decision I could have made, because when I returned my boss said that had I not chosen to take time off, she would have made me. And that would have meant she had an influence on when I returned, which I didn't want. I hope you manage to make the right decision for you x

  • Hi Lucy I had an experience a bit like yours a few years ago. I was

    At work and subtly at first everything appeared to be taking me longer

    To do, my concentration was not good and I was really tearful.

    I ended up working my lunch hours to try and catch up and things were

    Getting worse, I just could not hack it, it was like walking through cement . I lost about a stone and was already slim , even thinking about it now

    Is hard. Went to Psychiatrist and had to take about 6 weeks off

    It was the best thing I ever did for me, no phones , no one expecting

    Anything from me. Heed the signs or it will take longer to get


    Looking back now it was Depression plus as a family we were trying

    To keep my parents at home when they were I. Late 80's. We had a woman who came during week and each of us travelled up on

    An allocated weekend and looked after them. Working all week

    And then travelling over 3 hrs to parents was punishing. It really

    Nearly killed me. I was signed off in April and Mum died in May and

    Dad who had dementia, bless him, died Sept.

    I loved them to bits and miss them still. So my advice is don't

    Let illness especially Depression go too far , because you will

    Just get burned out.

    Hannah x

  • That's such sad but warm advice xx

  • Thank you to everyone who sent a reply. I went to the drs and he signed me off for 2 weeks. I feel soo relieved.