Stress - sinking ship requires lifeboat

Ok, just spent ages writing a short history & question - well it was short for me! :-) and just lost the lot! Ok, exceptionally shortened version.....

Love job, well respected internally and externally, always given it all and more. Personal circumstances changed 5 years ago and carried on giving it my all. Redundancies 2 years ago increased the pressure, but carried on. Gave Directors warning of what would happen, have thrown sand, pebbles and rocks at them to get them to listen, to no avail. Told them 1 year ago that I was diagnosed as suffering from stress, still no change. Had a several wobbles in front of them and they have attempted to put a solution in place (not convinced it will work, but it might), but asked them to look at me. A month has gone by, 2 proposal put forward, each time I have to prompt a response, still no conclusion, this is now affecting me badly.

Historically symptoms were all physical and a few private burst of emotion. Now getting more uncontrollable but more importantly affecting my head. Don't want to do drugs but going to call the Doc tomorrow. Surely drugs just mask but don't address the problem, so why would I consider drugs. Can anyone explain?

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13 Replies

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  • Hi MissIcancope,

    I suffer from depression, and anxiety and have been taking citalopram for a while. It helps me, It is not a magic wand, but it helps me.

    There is no one size fits all solution, but going to speak to your GP is a good first step

    Hope you find help soon

    Jonny

  • Cheers Jonny, I will definitely go see the Doc tomorrow, will take my own tissues this time as he had none last time! :-)

  • I hope your Doc is as good as mine, If so I am sure they can help you. If they cant then maybe it is time to change doctor!!!

    Also there is health and safety law regarding stress and mental health. While it is law many employers are not really that sympathetic, so you may have to be careful how you raise this at work. All the legal stuff can be found at hse.gov.uk/stress/

    Hope that helps

    Jonny

  • Hi Jonny, thanks for that, I have not looked at the HSE site, but will do. My concern is that I am trying to find a resolution that fits both sides but this is currently what is sending me spiralling downward as their handling of the matter is disrespectful, unprofessional and unhelpful. I am sure they don't mean it that way, so I keep challenging myself as to whether it is me being unreasonable or them? Hopefully have a meeting on Friday, so shall see where the water lies then, but with yet another stall on their part tonight, it threw me back over the edge, so the Doctor it shall be tomorrow. P.S. I don't have A doctor, I usually see whoever is available, however I think I will ask to see the same one as I first saw when I went in with a list of symptoms the length of your arm thinking I must either be going through early menopause or have an inflammatory disease! He said "interesting potpourri of symptoms, do you think you could be suffering from depression?", I laughed and then burst into tears..... interesting cocktail of responses too! :-) Joking apart, I think it best to develop a relationship with one doctor over this rather than skip around - do you agree?

    Alex

  • Hi Alex,

    If you have a Doctor who you trust and can talk to then I would definitely continue to see the same one. It is an important relationship, and like all relationships you need to find the right person.

    As for work, then I would say you need to put yourself first for once, as it sounds a little like you are putting their needs first. Your Mental health is far more important than a job, maybe it is time to be a little more unreasonable (within limits).

    I know this can be hard, I am off at the moment and I know this puts extra strain on a team of people in a stressful job, and we are a close knit team. But at the end of the day you have to look after yourself first.

    Jonny

  • Hi

    It sounds as though the levels of stress you are experiencing have become out of control and I'm wondering whether you know what it is that is stressing you so much - is it the actual job, the expectations other people place on you, or your own expectations of yourself, or are there other factors that stress you and make doing the job difficult? You don't mention things outside of work, for example whether you have family support or a partner. We all need support at times and coping without can be impossible at times for many people. Do think whether you have sources of support and if not then ask for help to find them.

    Sue

  • Hi Sue, thanks for responding. I think I do know what the causes are at work, firstly overload, secondly poor performance, not overall, but in areas that get sacrificed in order to ensure customer facing roles are maintained. However more recently realised that I feel frustrated and angry towards my immediate boss who is also the MD for not listening or actioning upon these issues, he just relies and trusts me to get on and do my best. He does not need to drive me or chastise me, I do that perfectly well myself! As to my personal life, I have been single now for 5 years, I don't want to be but on the other hand I am quite happy as I am. Financially stable. I have 2 large dogs from my previous relationship which are a commitment but the Ex does help when he can. My boss says they are the problem! Yes they are a commitment but they ensure I get out and that I leave work on time, if I did not have them, I'd probably have got to this point faster! I have friends and some know of my stress and have been helpful and understanding, but I have not fully confided with any as to just how bad this has now got. I have two brothers both know but again, don't have the full story. I can't bring myself to tell them yet.

    Saw the doctor today, think I scared him, not sure if he has seen someone crumble in front of him before. He has put me on Citalopram and booked to see me in 2 weeks time. He has also given me a 2 week sick note which I am still undecided as to whether to use. When I am work, I am usually in control and constructive, it is when I leave that my mind takes over and I lose it. That said, I think I need some time to think about what will fix this, so might tie up loose ends and take the time which will be a first for me.

    A

  • Hi

    I certainly think that it's worth looking into the legal and HSE side of stress at work, as your employers should make some allowances for this.

    I'm glad you are contacting your GP ans hope this goes well. Medication may not be the sole solution to your problem, but it can help you cope until your body and mind can heal themselves (possibly with the help of counselling or similar, plus changes in the work situation.) Plaster of Paris does not heal a fracture - but gives support while the bone heals itself. Some people may need long-term medication, rather like someone suffering from diabetes - but most people don't.

    Good luck

    Ann

  • Hi Ann, thanks for your advice. At the moment I am trying my best to find a resolution to the problems at work and have a meeting on Friday evening to discuss further, the problem is that I am not clear in my head, so I might call it off and take the 2 week sick note given to me today to give this some thought. Doctor has put me on Citalopram - not keen on the idea but got to do something. So will have to see how the next few weeks pan out.

    Cheers

    A

  • Hi again

    Yes I agreed medication can be helpful in alleviating the worst reactions to stress but they won't address the problem Is it possible for you to talk with your boss about how you are feeling about him? Obviously you'd hae to be sensitive and careful in how you raised the issue but it sounds as though he's the main source of pressure for you. It sounds as if like me you set yourself very high standards and so become stressed and possibly enraged when someone adds to the pressure you put on yourself. I do think you need to talk things through with him and if he's still unreasonable then consider whether it is realistic to look for a workplace where you'll be more appreciated. Given the recession that might not be easy but at least you would know whether things can change at work and if they can't then you can think what you want to do about it. You don't say whether you enjoy the actual job.

    Sue

  • Hi Sue, it has become more and more apparent to me over the last few months that my boss is a significant trigger. I realised this when I used Moodscope online and wrote down my feelings each day. Moodscope then highlights the words you use the most on good and bad days - I did not realise until then how important exercise is for me as a positive trigger and that 2 work colleagues and certain work issues were very negative triggers.

    Had my meeting on Friday and at first thought it was going ok, but it ended up going pear shaped and the emotions came flooding forward. I walked out handing him my 2 week sick note. In essence, they are trying to find a resolution but really have not got to grips with the fact that it is too late for me! They have ignored me for too long (years) and now that they are trying to act, I find myself feeling that I am effectively now damaged goods.

    I find myself now with 2 weeks to get my head wrapped around this. Hey ho.

    A

  • How are you going Alex?

    I just read your thread. I despise work situations that force you to have to act a certain way when we feel differently. On the one hand it's great to show emotion, but it is this environment where we're supposed to be 'professional' *sigh*...

    How did your two weeks go?

  • Hi Playing1, thanks for asking. I have settled down on the Citalopram which is essentially controlling my emotions. I am now able to discuss where I am now without bursting into tears, in fact I could not even think about it without losing control of my emotions - but that seems under control. I was signed off for 2 weeks and felt great by the end of the first week, but as the second week progressed I did start to tense up again. My brother and some friends all said that I was not ready to go back, they could see me tense up as soon as we started to discuss work. So I went back to the doctor and he has given me another 2 weeks which sees me up to Christmas, so don't go back now until beginning of January.

    My concern is that the longer I stay away the harder it will be to go back, so I took my sick note in personally and chatted with some colleagues and my two Directors. All were very nice and understanding, so that helped break down my fear of going back in. However, the Citalopram is just a crutch, I think I have worked out what the triggers are and now need to find the belief and ability to address them. This is my current stumbling block.

    I still lack some drive to get up and go in my own life and I realise now that it is like a mental block I have to either push past or climb over as it is me that is causing it, not others. So I have set myself some goals to focus on:

    1) Pursue the interests that I have that could also open doors

    2) Find a new career (change is needed)

    3) Get off AD's within 6 months (which I think is the minimum period they want you on them)

    4) Learn to spot the signs and take action to ensure I never get to this point again!

    Thanks, take care and fingers crossed for us all.

    On a lighter note, my sense of humour is coming back. My GP asked me to drop him in a note to confirm if my Health policy would cover 'talking therapy' (it does not). So I was rummaging around my study for a clean pad to write on and found a card that I had. It was of a dog sitting in a car looking a little pensive, underneath it said "Park, not Vet. Park, not Vet" I crossed out the vet and put 'Park, not GP. Park, not GP'. :-)

    Alex x

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