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Working with stress and poor mental health - is it burn out?



I'm off sick from work at the moment, I've suffered from mental health problems for half of my life and I've been on/off medication for the whole thing. Over the past 6 months I have had various illnesses such as chest infections, exhaustion, tonsillitis and regular flare up of IBS. After each time I've been ill I've not fully recovered and each time I felt like I was functioning at half capacity. No amount of sleep helped, no diet or exercise has helped either.

I feel guilty about taking myself out of work and I don't know how long it will be for. My doctors can't sign me off until my 7 days are up to self certify. My partner said to me about going back to work next week and I felt immediately sick of the thought. I'm wondering if anybody else has experienced this? I've looked online (which I probably shouldn't have done) and it talked about burn out. I have a high demanding, challenging job which is unpredictable on a day-to-day basis. I don't know whether staying off is the right thing, or really knowing whether I'm coming or going.

Any replies would be so gratefully received. I just feel incredibly alone. I haven't even told my family I'm on sick because I fear the judgement from them.

9 Replies


Sounds like you are run down and need to re-charge your batteries - any possibility of having a few days away with your partner ? Or good friend ?

It maybe you need a multivitamin suppliment ? Like the B COMPLEX VITAMINS ?

It may be worth to get your bloods checked ? Make an appointment with your GP and have a chat with them .. See what they think ?

Try and be gentle with yourself .. calm breathing in times of anxiety and try and distract yourself from what could cause you any anxiety if possible .

Vitamin D Suppliments may help as well as 5 HTP if your feeling 'low in mood'

Do something that you feel you can enjoy ..

Happy to talk


anna91 in reply to Aliska

Thanks Aliska

We're due to go on holiday soon and I really hoped to work right through until then. Unfortunately my mind and body just couldn't cope anymore. I'm trying to do things that I enjoy like swimming, walking or music but I can barely motivate myself to leave my bed at the moment. I will have a look at vitamins to help boost me though.

Aliska in reply to anna91

Awwwee .. sounds like a really rough ride for you .. but please TRY TO GET OUT OF BED .. Try and shower/bath .. and try ever so slowly to start to have a little routine going .. .. after showering try some breakfast and positive affirmations - like "every day I'm getting better and better" write it down and stick it in the bathroom/or on a mirror you can glance at .. even if you don't believe these words try and say them to yourself as often as you remember ..

Louise Hay is a very profound author and recommend her books .

It may help you to see your GP and have your bloods checked .. and tell them how you're feeling . . If you cannot manage to get to see the GP then try phoning and ask a dr to phone you .

Happy to talk


Hi Anna, you need a break,nothing more certain,you have had mental health problems half of your life and to be working is great,

As we age,unfortunately our ability to balance work,health issues, can be awkward.

May be it's time to find a less stressful position,fewer hours or entirely change jobs.

I had a very similar situation,work work work,when I got Ill,kept up working till eventually the stress and load on my body and mind took its toll,I'm certainly paying for it now,none of my workmates are supporting me,they all busy working so if it's a thankless role your in try something else,

The more run down you get the longer it takes to repair and rebuild, to have had to deal with what you have is admirable,

You may just need a break away with time to clear your head and relax, nothing wrong with that.

I hope you find a formula that works for you,life is hard enough as it is and if you can't get a break go and talk to your doctor,don't feel guilty about work,they won't feel guilty replacing you,you can't get your health back if you continue with the fast pace,challenging and unpredictable demands of work,

I work in a similar challenging role with young adults with complex Autistic and mental health issues,I get physically bitten punched kicked scratched, you name it,but to take that in our stride we need to be in top condition or get caught short by not being as aware as perhaps we would be if not soo run down.

Please don't exclude your family or hide this away,you may just find the support you need,this is real, as for burnout,that's exactly where you sound like your headed,

Take some time to rest,talk,relax recover,once you get your mojo back you can get right back to work,

Sounds like you need to have some you time,that's perfectly normal,

I sincerely hope you can get some support,opening up really does help,say it like you have and you might be surprised just how many people do want to help.

You are not alone,we are here for each other,don't over think things,fingers crossed for you,try and seek that balance,might be the best thing for you.

I'm on here frequently,need a chat I'd be happy to chat anytime.

Make your health your number one priority,life will flow.

I hope you keep us posted, ( no pressure)


anna91 in reply to Phillipaussie

Thanks Phil

I'm looking at going part time but we have a few things to do before we get to the point of me dropping at day. I'm not in a suitable line of work but I am good at it and it pays me the money I need to pay rent bills and have a few treats here and there.

My family are lovely but I'm too scared to tell them I'm poorly again. It's not something they see and from all appearances I look fine (though my colleague said I looked awful) and I just can't handle the chance of disappointing them.

But yes gonna try and relax and work on recharging to get back to normal (if there's such a thing aha)

Hi Anna,

It sounds like you need to regroup and take time out to look after yourself, which is very sensible. I would not rush back because of guilt or pressure. You sound like you need some professional medical advice and support from your doctor or a mental health practitioner. Take a look at this information on work and mental health from Mind UK:

Also do you have an occupational health department associated with your employer, as they would be worth contacting now for supported, in addition to your GP?

Occupational Health

ACAS advice:

We are listening and here for you, you are not alone. If your feelings of anxiety are escalating and you feel overwhelmed, keep these crisis support helplines handy:

The Samaritans Tel: 116 123 [24 hours line]

NHS: 999 [Emergencies]

NHS 111 [Non-Emergencies]

MIND UK charity: Helpline Tel: 0300 123 3393


Text: 86463


SANEline Tel: 0300 304 7000 [4.30pm – 10.30pm daily]

Take care,

MAS Nurse

anna91 in reply to MAS_Nurse

Thanks MAS Nurse

I've had contact with OH but they just tell my manager to reassure me that I'm doing a good job. It feels quite patronising even with the best intentions.

Thanks for all the links and advise I will have a route through them today :)

hi anna91, so much good advice from Phil, masnurse 😁 I totally agree with it all. I was similarly running myself ragged, driven by guilt towards colleagues and not feeling I was suffering anything worthy of taking time out.. Trying to do it all in a job where I couldn't switch off for a second, and train as a counsellor. Despite this,I denied what I needed. Now I'm almost 3 years into having myalgic encephalomyelitis, my world is minuscule& I feel like I live with the worst flu daily, unable to work more than 2 hrs a week, aged 39 & desperately wanted children (made bad choices with men & terminated pregnancies due to prior mental illness), watching my hopes & dreams fade into oblivion. Not to bring you down or create anxiety in you, but I say this as I do to so many people now - take care of your health. It's the most important thing, so much more than a job. Your life depends on it, literally. Take the time and space you need to heal, please, while you can. Put yourself first, those who love you will understand. In fact, they would prob be disappointed if they found you felt you couldn't share your needs with them.

I wish so much I'd stopped pushing and flogging myself to do it all... It's possible, but only for so long - not forever. It's unsustainable. Life is about priorities. I hope my experience helps you to put yourself first. Too late for me, tho I cling to hope beyond hope I'll recover, so I hope this message saves others from a life that grinds to a halt. I feel if I cave into the grief I fight every day at the loss of the energetic, life n soul, last one standing, never stop gal I was before, I'd never stop crying.i battle depression again since I realised stopping work wasn't healing me and I can no longer do anything. PLEASE put yourself, your mental and physical well-being, FIRST.

while you still have the choice. I wish you love and the best for you, I can't say it enough... We care for others, forgetting the most important is SELF-CARE.

LOVE, Mani xxx

Hi ann91, have you had a Thyroid profile blood test recently / ever?

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