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PBC Foundation
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Stress and PBC

Hi everyone, I thought I'd ask the question as to how stressed we are feeling with PBC? I've been battling with work stress for a year now. I'm wondering if the PBC makes the stress worse? I find I'm very emotional and find even little stressor send me into a state of panic and anxiety. I've been doing my job for a few years now but I'm really struggling to keep up. I like to do a good job but am finding the email traffic just too much...I get about 30 emails a day. My boss tells me I should just try and ignore it and 'focus on what's important'...but that's easier said than done...you've got to read it to identify what's important. I've tried telling my bosses that my excessive workload is causing me stress and this is worsening my pbc symptoms, but I just don't think they're listening.

I had my annual review the other day and was told I'm not performing as well as I should be. I was totally distraught as I've worked my are off and battled through my condition, hardly taking any time off sick (unlike my boss!). They are fully aware of my condition and I've repeatedly asked for support with the stress...so felt their assessment was unfair. I'm challenging it now as other colleagues reckon I do more than most at my grade. I get support from colleagues just not my boss...who is too busy to give me support. I've also asked to be referred to occupational health, and their report stated my workload was causing stress.

Sorry, went off on one there...I just feel so angry that they're not taking my condition into account. My real question is about stress. Does anyone else find normal stuff much more emotionally difficult since pbc diagnosis? I seem to have been an emotional wreck since I was diagnosed and I just want to get back to the 'happy and carefree' me again. I don't know whether it is work or whether it's the pbc making me feel so rotten.

I'm hoping a course of cognitive behaviour therapy will help me.

Thanks for listening

Hils x

5 Replies

Hi Hils67

Sorry to hear you are feeling stressed out at work. It sounds like you are conscientious and have made every effort to keep up with the demands of your job. The fact that you have advised your bosses that you are overwhelmed and they appear to have done little about this would concern me. Particularly as the outcome of your annual review on performance was not positive. Did the occupational health report identify any measures to reduce the stress they identified, eg reviewing your workload, altered hours or anything else relevant?

Do you have a trade union workplace representative, or are you in a union? As it sounds like your employers are not listening to you, I am wondering whether they could advice and assist. There is a Government website 'Fit for work' that contains lots of guidance and information on occupational health. I contacted them for advice and they suggested completing a stress risk assessment -they have versions of this on their site. I wonder whether that might also be of use to you.

I was diagnosed July 2016, although I had been quite unwell before. Initially my Gp had diagnosed inflamed gall bladder so I had had an operation to remove it and as a consequence of that they discovered pbc. As I had already been recovering from an operation, and had been feeling generally unwell the diagnosis hit me quite hard. I also struggled to tolerate the urso so ended taking time off from work. Prior to becoming unwell last year I had been like you working very hard to keep up in a stressful role.

I returned to work but on reduced hours in November. However on returning I realised that to look after my health and well-being the best thing for me was to leave. There were a number of reasons behind my decision that would be in appropriate for me to outline here, but in my case it was the right one.

I think to answer your original question, I do think that I have felt more emotional since diagnosis. There is a certain level of uncertainty with the condition, which I guess is always in the back of my mind. In terms of anxiety and stress I think I now factor in that periods of sustained stress will have an impact on my health. So although I cannot avoid stress completely I try to reduce it where I can, minimise it when I can't and re-balance by doing things I enjoy.

I think cognitive behaviour therapy could help. It might help you to accept the things you can't change and to think about things differently.

I am now looking for other work, not really sure of what that will be. So I guess my anxiety is now around that. I am trying to use this time to really look after myself, because at the end of the day that is the most important thing to do to manage this condition.

Good luck with your employers I hope you can resolve the stress issues with them. Be kind to yourself and take care. ☺

1 like

Hi Hils67

I agree with jemlola.

I have been fortunate to be retired since my diagnosis (although I believe that I had the PBC at least 10 years prior) so work is not an issue however I do find situations stressful and become much more upset about things than I used to, and usually it is something really quite silly for me. :-)

I have been able to take advantage of the webinars hosted by Robert of the PBC Foundation and have started using You Tube for guided meditation and visualization I find this 30-45 practice very relaxing and helpful.

Hope you manage to sort out your unhelpful boss, I am guessing you work in a larger company that has an HR department. Unfair treatment is always stressful and disheartening. Keep us updated on how you get on.

best wishes


Sounds a very stressful situation and I agree with the other comments - you have to take this further and get some advice. There should be some form of support available in work. I have found it difficult to concentrate and lose track of things since I was diagnosed. I know its just because its probably at the back of my mind all the time but its not something that's easy to control. Be kind to yourself and do something that makes you feel good...a bit of time out if you can.

Hope you find a solution soon


Hi Hils67

Depression has grabbed ahold of me and am trying to pull myself up. That's how I feel. Just can't stop crying. I wake up crying. I would think I would run out of tears but no worries they keep coming. I have been told I have PBC and PSC with it. PBC was over a year ago and nothing done yet as the GI wasn't 100% sure and needed more tests. MRI said I also have PSC. The GI was going to send me to a hepatolagist who's office said to busy and over year wait list find another hepatolagist. My GI dr has been away on holidays so he doesn't even know this yet. It will be a Month now Went to family Dr to ask for Hepatolagist but she is new and said don't know one.

Anyways I could go on. But just reading from everyone else stress is a biggie! I was a go getter before this and never really sat still.

It's hard for me to try to relax cause I use to think those technics were just a pleasure and a place to spend our money. Not therapeutic but have changed my mined I think but have to learn to enjoy these now without the guilt as I don't work anymore and I feel terribly guilty not contributing to our household. I am 59 and work has just naturally slowed down as I just couldn't keep up. Thank goodness I have a husband who is very supportive. I put him thru hell and he is still with me. 42 yrs now!!!

Anyways thanks for sharing as it helps is not feel alone as we tend to do.



I worked in a highly stressful job and my brain fog caused severe anxiety. With support from the union and employee healthcare, i was retired on medical grounds 3 years early. I really loved my job and had cut down hours to try and continue. Sadly i couldnt keep up to the job because of fatigue. Look after yourself and maybe start with cutting down on the hours and dont forget that youre covered by the Equalities Act and can challenge ypur boss. Unfortunately all very stressful.


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