Mental Health Support

Help with getting back to work

I gave my notice in at work due to anxiety, it was a particularly busy and stressful role,it was a last resort to give notice. I think I now need help getting back into the workplace in a less pressured role. I have to work and now I'm afraid without some help I may not be able to do it. I have been off work 2 weeks now and have no motivation, and feeling lower by the day.

17 Replies

Wow! That must have taken tremendous guts! Two weeks is not that long particularly. Can you afford to stay off any longer? X


I can afford a little longer yes, I'm fortunate that my outgoings are minimal, I'm more worried I'm going to lose my confidence and my anxieties will get worse, thank you for your response x


It did take a lot of guts yes, thought about it long and hard, I've worked all my life,and have never given a job up, it was quite a high profile role regrets about doing it,just anxieties about the future xx


Depending on where you are based there are some services available to help people get back into work who are suffering anxiety and depression. Your GP or local health centre should know about these services. I am desperate to get back to work myself but I am unable to do so. I find it so frustrating that anxiety and depression can be so crippling in this way, my advice would be to try and get back into work as soon as you can. I can relate to wanting a less demanding job too I feel the same way, when I am able to get back to work I will be looking for a job that involves the minimal amount of stress for me. Good luck in your search.



Last year I lost my job and it affected me very badly, I had been there for 20 years.when i got my head around it I started looking around our small community and did some volunteer work. This really restores your confidence and gives you a reason to get uo in the morning. And whoever you volunteer for will really appreciate you. I now have a little paid part time job which I love and couldn't have done it without first being a volunteer. Just anidea. Good luck.xx


Been out of work for a year. I might try this. Thanks for sharing.


Thank you guys. Only joined this site yesterday and I'm finding it real helpful.

I decided when I gave notice that once I left my job I would take at least a couple of weeks out to think. I was exhausted and need that time to feel better. The reaction of colleagues to my leaving a good job with pension etc etc (without another job to go to)was most strange and not anticipated. A couple of them came to me and said they totally understood, some I could tell, where uncomfortable. The whole thing was an episode in itself.

I have been a strong person all my life and had bouts of depression all my life although fought it in one way or another and come out the other side sometimes a lot stronger. My anxieties in this role were becoming too strong and I have always been efficient and very good at what I do, I made the decision to leave, it did take a lot of guts and I didn't do it easily, . Part of me is excited as yes life is short and that was what made my decision for me.

Voluntary work is a definite consideration for me for the short term I have lots of skills and I'm sure they can be used somewhere. I do need a job and perhaps through the voluntary work I could find my niche. My plan is that when I have rested/ which should be soon. I will actively seek some voluntary work. If anyone reading this has any good tips on places to approach for this please do let me know.

Thank you once again for your responses.



It depends a lot on what kind of work you were in and what kind you would like to be in. Can you give an idea then I'll give some thought to your situation.

Well done for ensuring your needs are met!



Hi Sue

I have been in managerial roles and have been a Board member. I have strong secretarial skills, Excellent references, and have a positive enhanced CRB check. Does that help.? I guess some kind of administration work or actually willing to try anything out.

Thank you so much for your thoughts on this, it is truly appreciated

Sue x


I'd like to give you my take on this, Sleepless, but I'm not sure of the best way to phrase it.

I'll try and write something a little later in the day.


Ok unidentifiedbones

Appreciate the input

Kindest regards

Sue x



I've been thinking about how best to reply to this post for a good proportion of the day.

I think it is very important to remember that we are all dealing with different issues, and at differing degrees, so one person's experience may not be entirely appropriate to another's question.

With that caveat in place, I'd like to give you my tuppence worth of experience – which may or may not be of help to you.

I hope it is.

It has been made apparent to me in the last couple of years that I have seemingly suffered depression for a large proportion of my adult life.

I, personally, was not aware of this fact, until a series of non- work related traumas caused me to crash and burn in a fairly spectacular fashion.

The details are not important.

Like yourself, I had worked for many years, at a high pressure, high profile position.

I'd like to think that I achieved more than a little success.

Events outside of the work environment led to my being sectioned for my own safety.

Upon my release from hospital, I immediately tendered my resignation.

It was refused.

I went back to work, even though I felt that it was hard going.

It swiftly became clear to me that I was not performing at anywhere near the level of effectiveness I had routinely achieved prior to my spending time in hospital.

I struggled on for a couple of months, getting very little sleep due to anxiety, and absolutely dreading the dawn of each working day.

I had started making serious errors.

My judgement was not sound.

I would forget important issues and forget I had made or received important telephone calls and emails.

In essence, I was not doing my job.

I knew this, but determined to grit my teeth and 'get on with it' in the hope that I could overcome the issues by sheer willpower.

Eventually I had a bad day – a day that would have been stressful for anyone.

I went home and attempted suicide.

I haven't worked since.

After a lengthy period of time, and after taking medical advice ( with my permission ), the company I worked for was forced to terminate my employment on grounds of ill health.

This was over a year ago.

I have good days and bad days.

On the bad days, there isn't the slightest possibility that I would be remotely capable of even turning up at a place of work, never mind actually contributing in any way.

On such days I feel embarrassed at my feelings of fear and ashamed at my uselessness.

On the good days, I'm struggling with the feeling I ought not be sitting at home reading my Kindle and playing video games and that I ought to be 'pulling my socks up' and getting back to work.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by the director of a company specialising in the same field in which I had previously worked.

He was aware of my work history and aware of the reason I had been unable to continue with my previous company – the industry is a small one.

He paid me an enormous compliment and asked that I consider working for his company when I felt I was ready to return to work.

This was an huge morale booster, as you can no doubt well imagine.

I haven't accepted his offer.

As far as my own situation is concerned – and I am not you – I have to face the reality that I simply cannot cope with the stress involved in returning to work at this time, nor at any time in the foreseeable future and, as such, I cannot contribute to the success of any business.

Attempting to do so would not be good for my health.

You write in your post that you only tendered your resignation two weeks ago.

I'd suggest the time you have spent away from the stress of the work environment is only about the same time one would ordinarily spend taking a summer holiday.

You write that you have no motivation and that you are feeling worse with each day.

At risk of being misinterpreted, I'd suggest to you that the hardest thing about suffering from a mental illness is accepting that one is, in fact, ill.

Once one accepts the fact ( or, as in my case, has the fact rather forcibly pressed upon one ) that one is not well, the priority must be to take the necessary to reach a stage where the illness is treated.

I would strongly caution you against attempting to return to a work environment before the root causes of your anxieties have been addressed, or at least treated.

You've had a little break and I'd suggest that your mind and body are adjusting to the lack of pressure that a career demands.

In essence, you're feeling relief – I think – but you may not have recognised it as such.

Please, please, give yourself some time.

We are so trained by society to be useful, to be productive, to acquire the trappings of success that we can forget – or are forced to ignore - how damaging to one's personal health and happiness the rat race can be.

My advice to you, based on my personal experience, would be to take a rest, for as long as you need it, until you are well.

After all, ask yourself whether you would be considering a return to work if you had been involved in a serious car accident, or had broken your hip, or any other physical injury of that scale after only two week's rest?

Especially if the injury had not been treated by a medical professional.

Rest for as long as your GP suggests to be long enough for you to have recovered your health.

It sounds to me as if you have earned the break.

As far as returning to work is concerned, don't try to run before you can walk – some of the other people posting have suggested some form of voluntary work and perhaps that wouldn't be a bad idea – but for goodness' sake don't bite off more than you can chew tempting as it may be.

I wish I'd had the self knowledge to have followed my own advice.

It would have saved a lot of trouble.

I apologise for the Proustian length of this post and hope my thoughts are of some value to you.

Kindest regards and best wishes for the future,


1 like

Apologies for the odd punctuation and grammatical errata in my previous post, there appears not to be an 'edit' button.



Thank you so much for taking the time to write and such meaningful words to me. I totally understand. I was nearly there were you were, I could feel my usually efficient self slipping away it was terrifying, I got out before it got to the stage you reached, although it wasn't easy. I hear what you say about taking time and truly believe you are right, it's so hard when you have achieved so much at work and been so well respected for what you do and how you do it, and very sad that the rat race got to us in some ways. They lost a great pair !! I am lucky in some ways as my fears are making me take time, and your reply reiterates what I'm thinking, I too have been offered roles now I have given up my recent job, I have decided definitely to decline, I am slowly realising I have a sickness that I need to take care of, I feel that if I take time and possibly do some voluntary work that is better for all concerned...this is not going to be easy but necessary all the same.

I so appreciate your comments sometimes things you see or hear are life changing and tonight you helped that process in my life...I thank you for that...

I will be around on here and will post and hope to hear from you how you are doing.

With all good wishes to you

Sue x


SleeplessinBerkshire and Unidentifiedbones

Thank you for sharing your stories.

Wouldn't have ever really described myself as having a high-powered job and it is also something that I would probably have avoided on one level because I've always been very aware of the fact that I can get very stressed.

I have been through the experience of losing a job through stress - government restructure and a couple of years of not really knowing what was happening combined with marriage breaking down - got to the point where I couldn't stand being anywhere near the place - good sick leave so the organisation allowed that to run out rather than pushing things. They even allowed me to do some voluntary work with a charity that I had worked for before to allow me to get back into the routine of attending work.

About the time the sick-pay ran out a job opportunity came up in another organisation - applied for it and was quite open that I wouldn't be able to start full time and there was a high probability that I wouldn't be able to get to full time but they felt I was the right person for the job. I started on 20/36 hours and have managed to make it to 30/36 hours spread over 4 days - which gives me a break in the middle of the week. I'm not going to claim it has been easy and there have been times when it has all felt pretty dire, which brings me to the excellent comments Unidentifiedbones made on being ill.

In December I had a bad fall at home and broke my ankle. Rather than taking it easy and accepting that another solution would have to be found for putting the organisation budgets together I struggled on from home doing as much as I could (but far more than I should). The result was that when it was time to go back to work in the office I couldn't face it and had to be signed off and I'm still struggling with getting back and the idea of working through another year end.

If you are a really self-driven person with high personal standards then letting go of those standards is really difficult. It takes a lot to admit to yourself that you can't cope and it can be really more than you can do when you do get into problems and everyone is telling you that they need you to take the lead in deciding what you can and cannot do. If you have people around you that you can talk to in that situation it would be really useful to get them there to help you do all the reality checks and take some of the pressure off. Not being very coherent - but the expectation can be that you need to take the lead on what you can do and what you can't and when your confidence has been knocked back and you know that you are winging it that can be really daunting. I'm still feeling my way through answers to that one.

In Oxfordshire there is a charity called restore

That specialises in helping people with mental illness get back into a work environment. There may be a similar organisation in Berkshire. They do a lot of things that aren't necessarily about the sort of work you might have been doing - Restore runs several gardening projects.

Hope this helps - and thanks for helping me reflect back on some of my more recent experiences


Thank you Gambit. I will certainly look at this link, and thank you for sharing your experiences...I was in denial for a short while and thought after a couple of weeks off work I would be right as rain.....unfortunately it takes a little longer,

Sue xx


Some other thoughts - apologies but I guess problem solving is one of my coping strategies :)

It may be that what you are feeling at the moment is the absense of the structure that work provides. there are lots of other ways of getting that structure without having to put yourself through the pressures of work. I know a lot of people who go for daily walks (lucky to be in an area very close to open country). You could also think about education - though I'd suggest starting with something small like an evening class.

Meditation can be quite helpful but there are lots of different types of meditation and you may need to find one that is right for you - I find outward focusing helpful - something as simple as just sitting and focusing on a bird singing or listening to the noises around me as sounds rather than noises (that's one that might not make any sense :)). It is also a way of being around people without necessarily having the anxiety of having to interact with them.

I found lectures at the local history association good as a way of getting back into just being being around people without having to immediately interact with them which at the time would have been quite an anxiety area for me - and sometimes still is :)

Are there any things from your childhood that you enjoyed and might like the opportunity to do a bit on. If you like butterflies then butterfly conservation are always looking for people who can help them with recording or walking transects - something that you might not have the time for whilst you are working. Sure other conservation groups have similar needs.

UB is spot on when saying that 2 weeks isn't really more than a short holiday break and quite likely to be much to early to be thinking about looking for work. Take the time to explore things that you may have forgotten about that you enjoyed and may be learn a new skill. Lots of people come out of depression and anxiety doing something completely different from what they were doing before ... and a few have been known to have very high-powered careers afterwards. Think they are mad but it takes all sorts to make the world go round :)


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