Im at a crossroads

Dont know which way to turn.

I have my depression under control ...........I think.

1. Should I go back to work. I have no job at the moment. The depression might get worse but I can earn money and feel good about myself again.

2. Should I continue being off work. Ive been off for five months. I can continue with the voluntary work that I do. I help at a community centre. I could also continue with the routine of visiting the gym and walking.

One of the deciding factors choosing which option to go for is financial.

I do not get paid doing voluntary work. Im on a small amount of benefit but until the DWP sort themselves out I am not getting anymore.

We have savings which we can dip into, and as we have kept it for a 'rainy day' it is the right time to use it as we are in a down pour!

Can I have some opinions please.



15 Replies

  • Hi David, such good news regarding your control of your depression, I'm really pleased for you. I feel that, in a way, you have answered your own question by a) asking it in the first place and b)the main reason to return to work is for financial reasons. Don't misunderstand me, that is a HUGE consideration that has to be taken into account. Perhaps, at the moment, the best way healthwise,is for you to continue with your voluntary work and exercise, but I am in no way suggesting that is the ideal for you. I sincerely hope that you make the decision that is right for YOU. Whatever you decide, you will be supported all the way by this forum. Good luck and wishing you all the very best xx

  • Thanks for this. I think I know which way to go but I just need confirmation.

  • Just do what's best for you and everything else will fall into place.

  • Glad you are feeling more comfortable, would part time work help to get you back into feeling comfortable in the work environment? Maybe supply teaching, or a job share post

  • Hi David I am sorry you are still feeling so down. If you can afford it I would stay off as long as possible but I am glad you are doing voluntary work as this will help you to return to paid work in the future.

    Are you waiting to get your ESA payments sorted out? Or PIP? Or something else?

    Lots of hugs Bev xx

  • Thanks for your reply. Im on basic ESA and hoping that will be increased and also waiting for PIP.

    It takes so long!

  • Hi have you been for the medical yet? After that if you are successful then your ESA payments will increase. Good luck with that, it does take a long time.

  • It's a tough one because I know that the job you do will sap every inch of energy you have within ten minutes of waking through the door. If it was me, I'd look at perhaps a bit more time off until I was completely ready x

  • Hi David,

    It is lovely to hear from you. You went back to work too early last time and so I would be concerned you were going back again before you were really ready. It has also taken you some time to get yourself into a comfortable routine which is allowing you to manage the depression. That is commendable as I haven't managed that. I've said before David that your worth is measured in more than financial terms. You contribute to your family, friends, the local community through volunteering, church etc. I'll need to start dipping into my savings soon but I need to allow myself the time to heal and I think you do too.

    When the benefits do start hopefully you will be able to replace some of the savings.

    Sarah xx

  • David

    Why not see whether you are able to find any work that you would find reasonably ok to think of doing? If you find something you can manage to do without being too stressed then I think you might take it. Five months is a fair amount of time, you have managed to find and create some structure in your life, if you get work you do not have to give that all up, perhaps just re-arrange when and how you do it - gym and walking at the weekends, maybe for an hour after work mid-week too. You could talk with the community centre about the possibility of dipping in now and then, take the odd days holiday off work and go to the centre then, keep in touch while you settle back into working.

    If you can't find any suitable work the decision will make itself.

    The financial side of working IS important no matter what anyone says. It's not just about earning, but also about contributing towards your future pension, being able to apply for credit if you need it, and other side effects of being an earner. However it's not the only benefit of working, the social side can be important too and the sense of fulfilment and identity from doing work we enjoy is beneficial for our mental health.

    I don't know what you did when you were working - was it something you enjoyed? And did it pay reasonably well? If you didn't enjoy it you might think laterally - about perhaps re-training for something you WOULD enjoy and find fulfilling. You are currently doing voluntary work - would a job in a similar field of work suit you? If your previous work didn't pay well could you train for something that would pay better?

    We only have one working life, when it ends (when we become too old to employ or manage working) it is good to be able to look back and feel we used the time wisely and in a reasonably satisfying way. So many people settle for whatever presents itself in their circumstances, whereas in reality there is a lot of choice for most people - even in a time when jobs are fairly scarce.

    Do think more widely about the issue of work. Think about what you would like to be doing if you did work, about what you would enjoy, because enjoyment will enable you to overcome your depression even more.


  • Thanks Sue. My last job was a teaching assistant in a primary school. I am a trained teacher. However, I am looking at all areas of employment at the moment.

    I worked in a ferry ticket office for nearly 17 years then took voluntary redundancy.

    I have a pension with the company I worked for.

    The voluntary work provides social fulfillment and gives me purpose and challenge which a job would. The only difference is money!


  • Teaching is Soooo stressful David, no wonder you needed to give up work - I think teachers nowadays deserve a medal! I used to teach in FE and think it was immoral, the kind of hours and levels of stress we all were under. Talk about survival of the fittest!!

    I wonder whether you can use your teaching qualification/experience to do some kind of training work? It is very different teaching adults, as they generally want to learn and also there isn't the discipline issue. I am thinking of things outside mainstream colleges and schools, maybe Open University if you have a degree, or training to teach lifestyle changes within one of the organisations that have a contract with the NHS, or something like that. Just thoughts.


  • Yes Sue I have been thinking along those lines of training adults. Especially in the mental health area as I have experience of that. I have been talking to a lady on the Isle Of Wight who runs a charity called Seeds4Change and she has offered me some work. All voluntary though.

    I had a letter today to say my PIP claim is being looked into. So that is progress.

    David x

  • Hi there. I think you should get a hug for doing what you do. Really happy to hear you are considering being ready to return to work, but I would absolutely recommend taking things slowly. I was left waiting too long for the ESA increase, so I wrote to them reminding them I was still waiting and not being helped at all by the lack of support. Next thing I knew I had a call apologising and a meeting within a few weeks. Might be worth a try. The help financially can take an additional pressure off and allow you the real time you actually may still need to determine whether you are well enough to manage work now.

  • Just don't go to a high pressured job because it will be too much of an undertaking. I just had a guy round from Work Solutions, I've actually managed to find 2 p/t jobs off my own back but feel a lack of confidence as I've come back from a breakdown and depression, not having a full-time perm job for almost 3 years. Don't jump into the deep end and feel under pressure and don't accept some menial rubbish that'll make you feel worthless. Both things will set you back further. If you go p/t you could do under 16 hours to start with and still get some housing benefit.

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