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Returning To Work After Leave: How Did You Do It?


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#1 Guest_k_*

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 09:21 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm not even 2 weeks into my treatment, and I'm already feeling extreme anxiety about having to return to work. My career is stressful and it has been a huge contributing factor to my stress and anxiety for at least 4 years now.

I am nervous about returning because what if I can't reframe my thoughts using CBT or other thinking tools to approach my job from a new mindset? How do I know if this job really is not the one for me? I haven't done this job as a healthy person and now I'll have to go back in a few weeks and work on this during my recovery.

Is there a such thing as people's limits when it comes to work stress? I'm being treated for severe depression/anxiety and right now I just can't imagine going back to a place and a job that has been such a stressful factor in my life. Will this contribute to a potential relapse? Can CBT help me get through this? The only thing I like about it is the salary and benefits.

Please help!

Also, how did you approach your co-workers about why you disappeared and was gone for 3 or 4 weeks?

Thanks everyone...

#2 Areen

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 10:52 PM

Hi k syrah (nice name!)

I'm sorry, I've never had a job before, so I can't give you any advices there but I just wanted to wish you good luck on returning to your job back! Hope everything goes well.
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#3 gentle sun

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:18 AM

Hi K-Syra!

I feel for you. Ive been out of work over 3 years now, the longer it gets the harder it is to go back. I would say give it a certain length of time - 1 month? Keep a journal on how you are feeling. If it looks like you are over-stressed the whole time. might be better to try something else. Your health is most important!!! But when you stay home you lose confidence and get in your comfort zone, and you feel incapable. But that is a false illusion. Usually it is not nearly as bad as it seemed. And you will gain confidence in yourself.

As far as telling people why you were out, I would say there was a family emergency and you were needed to help out. That also can make them understand why you might be nervous and anxious.

Good Luck!!! Go for it, (as long as your doc thinks you can). If it doesnt work, so be it. Try something totally different with low stress.

I am in the same boat only I havent gone back to work. After a layoff I thought I would have some time off a year or two. Well now it is over 3 years and now I feel really really incompetent!! And I would be scared just to go on an interview. I send out resumes I think I can handle and then hope they dont call me -(lol) But whats the worst that can happen. If its too stressful it is probably not good for anyone!!!! AND, it is not your fault!!!

Hugs and Best Wishes to you!!!! :hearts: Gentle Sun

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#4 lambvet

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:43 AM

Hello everyone,
I'm not even 2 weeks into my treatment, and I'm already feeling extreme anxiety about having to return to work. My career is stressful and it has been a huge contributing factor to my stress and anxiety for at least 4 years now.
I am nervous about returning because what if I can't reframe my thoughts using CBT or other thinking tools to approach my job from a new mindset? How do I know if this job really is not the one for me? I haven't done this job as a healthy person and now I'll have to go back in a few weeks and work on this during my recovery.
Is there a such thing as people's limits when it comes to work stress? I'm being treated for severe depression/anxiety and right now I just can't imagine going back to a place and a job that has been such a stressful factor in my life. Will this contribute to a potential relapse? Can CBT help me get through this? The only thing I like about it is the salary and benefits.
Please help!
Also, how did you approach your co-workers about why you disappeared and was gone for 3 or 4 weeks?
Thanks everyone...

Hi K,

First off, you have a bit of time before that happens and will have a few weeks more practice with your CBT. By the time you have to go back, you may already know what to expect. Just the fact that you can process this now is a HUGE step. As time and practice go by, the process of your recovery will become more second nature and if you compare the strides you have made in the last two week to now, rest assured that the next two week will bring about more than twice what you know now. Have patience with yourself and try not do so much future-tripping, all is going to be OK, you are starting to make much better choices for yourself already. Your recovery builds on itself, each new tool fortifies the last and lays foundation for the next.

If you have been able to handle this job as an unhealthy person, I know that already it is going to be better, you are, and so will it be. I have a lot of confidence in your choice making and you've shown a much better ability to recognize what is going on and what to do about it. You will have these and new skills by the time you will be going back to work.

Me? I'd tell them I needed a mental health break and smile and chuckle. Their next statement will probably be "No, really, what did you do while you were gone?" and when they press you... "I just needed some time off, some time to myself." usually will suffice.

Hope all is going well, you don't need to question yourself. Remember, it doesn't really work. You'll be OK. Ask yourself!

BE Peace and BE Love....... w

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#5 Guest_SarahN_*

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 11:49 AM

Hi Ksyrah,

How are you today?
I can relate to your anxiety about going back to work, I was off work for almost 5 months and felt really anxious about going back and having to face my co workers. The first day back was a little awkward, but nobody asked a lot of questions, they all knew I did not have the flu and were really just happy to see me again.
Try not to worry too much about other people's opinion or reaction, you had to take care of you.

Give the job some time and see how you respond, then talk about it with your t., see what you can change to make the job less stressful.

Good luck
SN :hearts:

#6 misscat

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 09:25 PM

I dont really think its anyone's business why you were out. If you feel like you'd like to give them a reason you could say "it was due to personal reasons" and just leave it at that. If you feel like your not ready to go back to work you might ask about applying for FMLA leave. Its unpaid leave up to 12 weeks for medical reasons, might be worth looking into if you really need it. I am job hunting right now, have been out of work for 4 months and it is very difficult getting back into the swing of things again. I left a job I was very unhappy in and wasnt sorry I left since it was a huge trigger for my current episode of depression. I hope things work out well for you.

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#7 Guest_k_*

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 09:29 PM

Thanks everyone,

you have all been very helpful! It's conforting to know I'm not the only person in the world struggling with these questions.

Thanks, and please keep the advice coming!!!

#8 Jkm

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 10:08 AM

I went on 6 weeks of Family Medical Leave to get on Lexparo for anxiety and depression. I also took a small dose of ativan as I was having anxiety attacks which were severe and I had to be able to drive back and forth to get there. It felt like a long time, but waiting for the meds to cover the symptoms took it's own time, and I had to be reassured that I wouldn't go back to work and find that it was too stressful. I wanted to know that when I went back, I'd be able to return without taking another leave..... My concentration was gone for the first week of meds and that was so tiring to deal with. I had to get back into a normal sleep pattern as I had lived with broken sleep for about a year prior. My doc and I decided to continue the leave, 2 weeks at a time, and it worked out that the symptoms went down as time went on.

I know the first day I returned, the office was quiet. I felt like people were waiting for me to explain what happened. I know they thought I was suicidal as one woman made a comment, and I just told her that I was too anxious and needed a break. Other people slowly told me they were on antidepressants for depression and that helped me feel better. I really didn't go into any explanation until much later when I was feeling more confident that I could deal with any negative comments. I got lots of support from people who were also on meds. I think it took lots of courage, both ways for us to tell about our mental health issues. Depression isn't all that uncommon and it's just the stigma about it that causes people not to talk about it in the workplace. We all have this fear that if someone finds out we have depression we'll be passed over for better positions, raises, newly created job positions, ect. I guess it happens, but when you find out that your boss is also on meds, it changes your perspective on getting treated.

I'm out of that job now, due to the agency closing down, but it was my experience. All I can say is that you'll know when you're strong enough to return. It's a decision between you and your doc. I know mine was pushing me to return and probably because she didn't want me to get too comfortable not working, lol! Like I wanted to starve........ Yea, right!

I think returning to work lets you know that life goes on with depression. It was an opportunity for me to let this illness know that it wasn't going to take my life over. I'm a fighter!!

Love, Jackie
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#9 Guest_k_*

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 09:28 PM

I went on 6 weeks of Family Medical Leave to get on Lexparo for anxiety and depression. I also took a small dose of ativan as I was having anxiety attacks which were severe and I had to be able to drive back and forth to get there. It felt like a long time, but waiting for the meds to cover the symptoms took it's own time, and I had to be reassured that I wouldn't go back to work and find that it was too stressful. I wanted to know that when I went back, I'd be able to return without taking another leave..... My concentration was gone for the first week of meds and that was so tiring to deal with. I had to get back into a normal sleep pattern as I had lived with broken sleep for about a year prior. My doc and I decided to continue the leave, 2 weeks at a time, and it worked out that the symptoms went down as time went on.

I know the first day I returned, the office was quiet. I felt like people were waiting for me to explain what happened. I know they thought I was suicidal as one woman made a comment, and I just told her that I was too anxious and needed a break. Other people slowly told me they were on antidepressants for depression and that helped me feel better. I really didn't go into any explanation until much later when I was feeling more confident that I could deal with any negative comments. I got lots of support from people who were also on meds. I think it took lots of courage, both ways for us to tell about our mental health issues. Depression isn't all that uncommon and it's just the stigma about it that causes people not to talk about it in the workplace. We all have this fear that if someone finds out we have depression we'll be passed over for better positions, raises, newly created job positions, ect. I guess it happens, but when you find out that your boss is also on meds, it changes your perspective on getting treated.

I'm out of that job now, due to the agency closing down, but it was my experience. All I can say is that you'll know when you're strong enough to return. It's a decision between you and your doc. I know mine was pushing me to return and probably because she didn't want me to get too comfortable not working, lol! Like I wanted to starve........ Yea, right!

I think returning to work lets you know that life goes on with depression. It was an opportunity for me to let this illness know that it wasn't going to take my life over. I'm a fighter!!

Love, Jackie


Hi Jackie,

Thanks for such a candid and open response. I have picked a date to go back, no one has asked me anything...yet...and everyone is being very professional about it. I have no idea what anyone will think or say, and frankly I don't really care...this is the very first time in over 7 years that I have taken any significant time off...and the first time I just disappeared. They know I'm dedicated.

I had a new thread, in that I am really starting to see life, the world, other people, and myself in a totally new light now, it's like I am no longer acting in a decades-long TV drama...I am me, everyone else is themselves, and it's really much better than the TV show!

So, like you had described above, it's like getting used to a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling...and it's just too much to ask a body and a mind to take on too much of this newness all at once.

I'm just amazed that when bodies and minds have that one major breakdown, how fragile we all are, and how much time we need to re-program ourselves...but at the same time, the mind, body, and soul are pretty resilient and it's because of that, we are able to make such dramatic changes in ourselves in such a short amount of time...when compared to how long we lived with our illnesses before getting the help we needed.

Here's to all of us, we are all strong!

:)
K




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