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Living With Depression And A Career And Jobs


tekgrl

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Hi Guys,

Just wondering how you guys deal with depression in terms of employment, jobs, careers etc. med changes, ups and downs etc. How's your work with you? Coping techniques? Arrangements? or do you need someone that can support you financially? (I'm the breadwinner at the moment)

I am a web developer / software programmer so pretty highly skilled. I've managed to keep my jobs, but have had nightmare situations with employers in private sector and 'the law' isn't what really happens when it comes to illness, depression, time off, discrimination etc. I once had a sick note for Anxiety and Depression thrown back at me and was told 'this was not public sector' and I had to work - that was my first day on citalopram.

I work at a university now so I'm lucky I'm finally in a place where I can take time off sick, not feel guilty and not have a boss pestering me to come back to work.

I prob need to change meds, but don't know how I could work through the change over. I'm only on a temp contract till June atm so long term sick leave isn't an option and I don't want to go down that route anyway - makes me feel worse.

Hope that makes sense - fuzzy head upping meds today - but can re-edit.

Cheers

Anton

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(((Anton)))

I can totally understand your concern with switching it up and working full time. I myself am a technician and have to work on belt systems and 480v electricity all day. Needless to say I was pretty worried about starting up on Zoloft (after a year off) this December. Thankfull though I managed to work through it. I just made sure to stay extra cautious at work and my boss is very understanding so I let him know about it as well. Most people here at my job know me personally since I've been here 10 years now. They know about my mental health and they are very understanding which is a HUGE plus to me. So far I've started up Zoloft twice now, and worked through it both times. For me it actually helps to keep the routine of work going because other wise I sit at home and feel worse. You just have to find a way to keep yourself motivated through the side effects and usually they fade after a couple weeks, as I'm sure you know.

Do you think you could take any time off at all? If you feel like you won't be able to make it without any time off, then maybe you could use sick days during the days where you feel the worst. Sometimes just taking a mental health "vacation" day can help, getting lots of rest and eating a few good meals, etc. I understand what you mean about not wanting to take a long term sick leave. That would drive me bananas as well.

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darcness,

it's really good to hear someone else's experience, I'm finally lucky to work at a University and have a really understanding manager who is currently seeking more info from other dept such as occupational health on what to do - she's not dealt with depression with her staff before.

Perhaps more homeworking might be an option I could explore if I'm tearful - you want to keep busy, but bring your entire team down by being down and upset. I'm loud and lively and people know when I'm not right and worry. This is the first time I've more than 2 days off for depression ever and really suffered. This time I've been off all week and have a sick note till a week on thu. Doc again in a week's time.

Any more suggestions? Or just hearing how others who have managed to keep adsense from work at a minimum whist changing meds.

I've seen people on long term sick and I don't ever want to get to that state. Only on a contract till early June so I'm not permanent - but I'm working on it.

Apologies if I start ranting or repeating myself - 1st day on upped dosage of citalopram.

tekgrl

Edited by tekgrl
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No worries Anton, most of us have been there so we understand. Just hang in there and do the best you can.

You could always do something that takes you out of your own mind for a bit. Maybe play some video games, watch your favorite show online, or just read a good book. Anything that can get you off the thought of how bad you feel is a good distraction for a while.

You could also set up some kind of goal/reward system. Give yourself some tasks each day to accomplish. They don't have to be really hard to do, just something to keep you feeling productive. Then, treat yourself with your favorite meal after, your favorite snack, or nice hot bath (one of my favorites).

Just some suggestions, hope they help!

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I have been lucky to have worked for an understanding company during my worst episodes. However with the workload and the fact it was a small company, it made it extremely difficult to take the time off I have needed.

The job was quite a senior one, with a lot of responsibility. I had a very strong career path and always received strongly positive feedback.

However the constant stress and pressure has just been too much for me and I have chosen to take a pay cut and a demotion with another company. I am hoping this will allow me to focus on my recovery and get that last final 20 per cent of myself back from depression that I have lost.

It was a big decision, as I could have pursued an upward trajectory within my old company. But I can't bear the thought of nev getting well, so I put my health before my career and money.

I start the new job in a week. Fingers crossed.

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Thanks for all your input so far. My current job is far less stressful than my other, still skilled and interesting just not as hardcore. Love public sector. Small companies and working in digital media can be stressful. - especially when working with difficult people. I'm lucky that although I've taken a demotion, I can get paid more as I'm in a large university and not a small company.

CSH - it sounds like a good plan. Less responsibility and stress whilst still in a job I enjoy certainly makes me feel a lot better.

Good luck hope you find a good team you can rely on :)

Thanks for all your experiences so far - good to hear how everyone has coped with this!

TekGrl

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Anyone else got experiences to share on this topic?

Anyone managed to change meds and keep it together at work? I know how bad I was after dropping doses from 10mg to 5mg.

Thanks everyone for your input! x

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I'm trying to work full time while trying a new drug for me - Celexa. Started Jan 1st, cut pill in half so 10 mg, still had major nausea - fortunately a flu was going around so I told people I had that - they left me alone and understood why I was running to the bathroom & looking like hell.

Got up to 20, now slowly trying to ramp up to the 40 my dr wants me on - took first dose of 30 today, so far okay.

Biggest problem re: work is that I am needing more sleep than before, it's getting harder to get out of bed in the morning. I sort of expected this, as the last SSRI I was on Paxil, did the same thing. Managing to get in just past 9am, which work is okay with if I stay late, but can't let it slip any further! Plus Daylight savings in a month, so trying to wake up 15 mins earlier each week so that isn't such a shock when it comes.

At work, its hard as I'm pretty much left to get things done on my own, I have to be a self starter. I tend to be lazy & procrastinate even without the new drug, now the added fatigue is not helping. I have good days and bad. Today isn't going so well so far - I have projects laid out on my desk but haven't managed to really start on any of them. Feel guilty, also it will catch up to me eventually when results are expected, I'll be scrambling to catch up on the work I've let lag. But trying to have faith, I usually manage to kick my butt into gear after a really lazy day, and accomplish enough to catch up for lost time.

Sort of wish I were in a more routine job, with less brain power required, could force myself to perform easier repetitive tasks even in my lazy fatigued, drug hazed mode. But I'm mostly assigned work requiring my best initiative & creativity and that requires energy! Alas that is why they are paying me the big $ I need to survive right now.

The Celexa does seem to be helping my overall mood which is why I'm willing to put up with the side effects so far. Even the excessive sleeping is better than where i was before - horrid insomnia & anxiety laying awake nights, that really s*cked. So I'm trying to go on while allowing myself the 10-12 hrs sound sleep I seem to need on Celexa - at least I can sleep, that is a relief.

Good luck with your new meds too!

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I'm actually on Citalopram which I believe is the same as celexa. I started on 20mg and worked the same day so I really sympathise with you, the first day of nausea was awful. If you ever get nausea again I used these domperidone OTC tablets to help.

Hope you don't mind me asking questions, does anyone at your work know what you're going through or is it a bit hush?

My manager and only one colleague of mine knows at the moment. But yeh, sometimes you can blame it on another illness that keeps it fine. I'm wondering if I just tell everyone when I get back.

When I first started and had to work I always found a walk (or sit) alone somewhere nice at lunch time helped the side effects. I even remember grabbing a quick snooze on the grass in the park for 20mins (but it was May). My boss at the time was one of the most evil men alive so getting out of work was a must then!

Good luck with it, just out of interest...my doc mentioned paxil, did you have as much probs starting paxil as you did changing to celexa? Did your doc make you come off everything for a week?

Cheers

T.

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In this environment, no one admits to personal problems :( We are supposed to be "super people", totally on top of our lives (roll eyes). They are more accepting of time off for "fun" family things, we are all supposed to be super successful with exciting lives (haha). I use that culture to take the time off I need on occasion, making up "fun, exciting" activities I need time off for. Sigh. No, I don't think admitting I'm depressed & treated for it would go down well here - I call them the "immaculate people" - they dress exquisitely, drive Benz's, live in McMansions, have a nice spouse & 2 kids a girl and a boy. Yes it is an extra challenge working along side such "perfect people" but I soothe myself by realizing they can't all be as perfect as they outwardly seem, I'm sure there are a few skeletons in the closets here & there.

I should get an oscar, I have to be such a good actress each work day haha.

But thanks for reminding me of the walk break - I used to do that and I remember how it did help. I'll have to bring in some comfortable shoes and add that back in to my routine.

I started Paxil about 12 yrs ago and was on it for over a decade - too long! It did help at first but then I became lulled into apathy, and started sleeping way too much - basically threw away 2 good jobs that way. Plus I think the anti-depressant effect had "pooped out" as they say. But not blaming the drug, just the fact that I stayed on it so long without consulting any dr's, that was where I went wrong I think. I finally decided I had to "wake up" (I called it the "Paxil Haze" - not unpleasant, but just impossible to make myself care about get anything done! - even very important things) and asked my dr. to help me wean off it. She gave me a 3 month ramp down plan. It took me 3 times that long! But finally the brain zaps stopped and I was happy to be drug free for about 6 months. But then I realized my mood was sinking into a bad place, and had to ask about trying another drug.

Anyway I don't think Paxil is a bad drug, just that I guess you have to monitor these things, watch that you don't get more bad effects than good ones!

Hoping the Celexa good effect lasts the 5 years I need to keep working like this! after I pay off the house I can slow down, maybe not need the drugs...

back to your original question, I guess it totally depends on the work environment/culture whether telling them about your condition is a good idea or not. Here I know it isn't, but I can be open with my family & friends at least.

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Sanda,

It's really inspiring to see you managed it so well.

My new place of work is understanding, it's a university so it's got all the right regulations, hr etc. And my team is lovely even if I don't announce it to all 27 people in the office. I'm lucky I have an understanding manager who is seeking advice from the right departments and she's genuinely good at her job and lovely.

I've never taken time off sick being in private sector where illness was frowned upon generally.

But I can say this time off has been a blessing, lovely, but I'm feeling better and feel I should be back at work.

I really admire you being to keep it together at work - makes me feel better that it can be done. Must be hard being perfect, I assume you have your own reasons for sticking with this job.

I've been on celexa for 3 years, from 20mg to 60mg then back down to 5mg until it all went a bit ropey again Apparently they aren't allowing 60mg in the UK anymore for some reason. I tried to go down as felt happy but only made it to 5mg once.

I can honestly say a less stressful yet still highly skilled position, a bit less responsibility, and the my colleagues I mentioned further up has made my life and latest depresive episode much much easier.

Hope you don't mind me saying but you must be very strong. Well done.

T. x

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Hi tekgrl

I have a chronic illness called Lupus and I am on some very, very strong meds (they are on the strength level of cancer meds), which cause me at times not to be able to function. I have two kids and a full time job, which is pretty stressful and I just have to find a way. Some days I don't want to get out of bed. My meds cause me extreme exhaustion, among many other things.

I have taken note of patterns with side effects and then try and schedule everything around those patterns and adjust the timing of when I take my meds till I get the schedule right.

By that I mean. If I take my night meds too late, I wake up with extreme nausea and acid reflux and spend a good ten minutes in the bathroom when I wake up. I still get it anyway, but if I take the meds at the correct time, it does not seem to be as extreme. I give myself an extra half an hour in the morning just for this, so that I am ok sitting in the traffic. I am ok at work until I take meds at around 10am, 2 hours later, I get hit with a non functioning, brain switching off exhaustion wave, with nausea. It normally hits me at around lunch time, so I try to get as much work as possible done before that time. Then I get up and try and walk around a little to try and get some sort of energy.

I have now had the dosage of one of my meds decreased, so instead of taking it twice a day, I now take it at night only, so that the nausea and exhaustion can hit me while I am sleeping. If I take it in the morning, I am finished for the day. I can't even cook and I used to be a chef, let alone do my job properly.

There are ways to cope, you just have to try and figure out some patterns and make small adjustments to your routine. I know it is not always that easy.

Trace

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Hi Trace,

thanks for your experiences, I know you're on here a lot as an admin and you've responded to quite a few of my posts.

I definitely don't have side effects as bad as yours but I have tried moving taking my meds at different times so I can remember them and minimise some side effects.

Thanks again for giving us your thoughts. It really helps now I've accepted my illness, told most people and am looking for best way to 'learn to live with it'.

Cheers.

T.

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Aww, Tekgrl, thanks for saying you think I am strong. That chirked me up this dreary rainy morning in NJ. Yes I have my reasons - with the Ch 13, I have to come up with 2 mortgage pmts basically, plus all other expenses, on my own, so I need the high salary - besides the job market being as it is, my concern is that if I looked for another job with a new company, they could understandably want to run a background/credit check on me, and with the Ch13 bankruptcy they would have every reason to say no way! Who wants a sr. Accountant who went bankrupt in charge of their finances? sigh. I've known the owners of the company I'm with for 2 decades, so it didn't occur to them to run a back ground check. They knew me when I was very successful in my first decade of employment, it wouldn't occur to them in their wildest dreams that I had severe financial difficulties.

So I'm clinging to this job for dear life as it were. I'm not out of the woods until I make that last payment, as besides the mortgage I owe back taxes - the IRS will just happily take my house and sell it for whatever is left to be owed, leaving me with nothing. :(

Funny but one thing that keeps me going is I have half a dozen cats and four dogs - I fight for them, to keep a roof over their heads! Myself, I could manage - I'd find a cheap job on a racetrack & live in a trailer there - but can't bring 6 cats & 4 dogs with me! Can't imagine finding good homes for all of them either. So even though it seems rather twisted, they are what I'm fighting for, to keep the fur-family under a good roof, fed & basic medical care is my goal.

Anyway wanted to say thanks for starting this thread, I've enjoyed it. True to form, after a very lazy unproductive day yesterday, today I woke up feeling guilty, which has inspired me to hit the floor running, already got some good work done - off to keep up the momentum.

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Hi tekgrl,

Work is very difficult for me sometimes- my job requires me to be motivated and self directed, and quite honestly, there are many days when I am just not up to it. I work in the high tech field doing troubleshooting and repair. I am actually pretty good in my job, but there are times when I have no confidence in myself. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming, and I may have a sense of panic that paralyzes me, or a deep sense of hopelessness. Either way, in that condition, I don't get much of anything done. I have to be mentally sharp to be effective, so when I am unable to focus on the task at hand, and remember things, I have serious trouble.

I never gave much thought to taking time off from work before, and I am not sure it would be such a good idea anyway. I live alone, and I have found that too much time spent alone is very bad for me... besides, I never know how long my depressive episodes will last. Could be days, could be weeks.

Through it all, I pretend to be enthusiastic, interested, etc. Sometimes I wonder if I am fooling only myself though.

Edited by trustinginHimalone
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I'm struggling with work. I'm in sales and my days are very unstructured, which doesn't really help me. I'm realizing that, in order to help me manage my depression, I need structure and routine, and this job isn't providing me that. Throw in the fact that I think my boss' boss doesn't much like me, I'm not doing so well. I constantly have this fear that I'm going to be fired, that I'll be found out for a fraud and lose my job

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Hi guys,

several individual replies in this single post - trying to help out where I can - and offer support back.... hope it's some use!

I'm struggling with work. I'm in sales and my days are very unstructured, which doesn't really help me. I'm realizing that, in order to help me manage my depression, I need structure and routine, and this job isn't providing me that. Throw in the fact that I think my boss' boss doesn't much like me, I'm not doing so well. I constantly have this fear that I'm going to be fired, that I'll be found out for a fraud and lose my job

UMustang, I've been there it's not nice especially when you're scared of loosing your job. The only advice I can give having been in that situation is to try and take time out of the office when you can, try to find another job if possible - although that's easier said than done I know! Having gone from a horrible workplace to a good one (public sector) it's amazing how much easier this is. But stay strong, know how to make yourself feel better and take a walk or a sit down outside and away from the people (like your boss) that make you stress. I managed with a bad boss for 3 years and things did get better if slower. Lots of best of luck - it's doable I promise. Your boss needs to know your situation, there's rules and regulations (although sometimes lacking in small companies). The law's on your side even though it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

Hope that helps in some way and thank you for sharing your experiences - you are certainly not alone!

T.

Hi tekgrl,

Work is very difficult for me sometimes- my job requires me to be motivated and self directed, and quite honestly, there are many days when I am just not up to it. I work in the high tech field doing troubleshooting and repair. I am actually pretty good in my job, but there are times when I have no confidence in myself. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming, and I may have a sense of panic that paralyzes me, or a deep sense of hopelessness. Either way, in that condition, I don't get much of anything done. I have to be mentally sharp to be effective, so when I am unable to focus on the task at hand, and remember things, I have serious trouble.

I never gave much thought to taking time off from work before, and I am not sure it would be such a good idea anyway. I live alone, and I have found that too much time spent alone is very bad for me... besides, I never know how long my depressive episodes will last. Could be days, could be weeks.

Through it all, I pretend to be enthusiastic, interested, etc. Sometimes I wonder if I am fooling only myself though.

Hi trustinginHimalone,

Nice to know you're managing to work through it - this is the first time I have actually taken time off - but only because I know I'm in a position to do so and I have docs and occupational health telling me it's a good idea.

I've managed to get friends to visit every day otherwise I would be lonely too and sticking with a routine is usually a good idea.

Taking time off is strange though when you are used to working through it. I know what you mean about how long it lasts... it's really hard to know sometimes. Have you gone through med changes and kept it together at work? Are you on any ADs if you don't mind me asking?

Cheers for your input! It really helps to get others views on the subject.

T.

Aww, Tekgrl, thanks for saying you think I am strong. That chirked me up this dreary rainy morning in NJ. Yes I have my reasons - with the Ch 13, I have to come up with 2 mortgage pmts basically, plus all other expenses, on my own, so I need the high salary - besides the job market being as it is, my concern is that if I looked for another job with a new company, they could understandably want to run a background/credit check on me, and with the Ch13 bankruptcy they would have every reason to say no way! Who wants a sr. Accountant who went bankrupt in charge of their finances? sigh. I've known the owners of the company I'm with for 2 decades, so it didn't occur to them to run a back ground check. They knew me when I was very successful in my first decade of employment, it wouldn't occur to them in their wildest dreams that I had severe financial difficulties.

So I'm clinging to this job for dear life as it were. I'm not out of the woods until I make that last payment, as besides the mortgage I owe back taxes - the IRS will just happily take my house and sell it for whatever is left to be owed, leaving me with nothing. :(

Funny but one thing that keeps me going is I have half a dozen cats and four dogs - I fight for them, to keep a roof over their heads! Myself, I could manage - I'd find a cheap job on a racetrack & live in a trailer there - but can't bring 6 cats & 4 dogs with me! Can't imagine finding good homes for all of them either. So even though it seems rather twisted, they are what I'm fighting for, to keep the fur-family under a good roof, fed & basic medical care is my goal.

Anyway wanted to say thanks for starting this thread, I've enjoyed it. True to form, after a very lazy unproductive day yesterday, today I woke up feeling guilty, which has inspired me to hit the floor running, already got some good work done - off to keep up the momentum.

Hi Sanda,

last but not least - thanks for sharing your experiences. I have 2 male cats and a partner who I partly support financially. My 2 kitties are my boys, I love them, they make me smile everyday and always make me feel better when I'm sad. You've inspired me to keep things going - but having a bad day today. Yesterday I felt much better... but lovely to hear how things are going and please keep in touch. You sound like you have had some right issues but at least you're keeping it together and working through things!

Keep strong,

T.

Edited by tekgrl
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Hi tekgrl, sounds like you've got a good set-up there. I've just started back to work after not working for 5 years and I can see some strong parallels with some of the other folks here. I am finding it helpful to have structure in my days again, but as it's full-time I'm finding it exhausting - it's a small company and so there's nowhere to hide if you need to slow down for a wee while!

They are letting me go to 4 days which should help, tho I think 3 would be ideal & may look for something else in a bit, tho I live in a rural area (Cumbria) & there aren't many job opps up here.

If I'm having a bad day or three, it's hard to disguise it & I know the others find me very moody. But then they aren't perfect either....I get a lot of bad migraines and when I'm not feeling good I just blame the migraines, I'd rather do that than tell them the truth.

But it's a very casual environment which helps and they don't mind if I roll in late every so often which is good for those days when getting out of bed is next to impossible.

Cheers

NatureNut.

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Cheers NatureNut,

I assume from your name that you get pleasure in the great things outdoors. Cumbria is a beautiful place - I hope you get to enjoy it a bit. Yes, I'm very lucky with job opps.... and many other things. I know it could be so much worse. Having had nearly 5 weeks off including xmas holidays it feels weird and I think you are right about routine. But I'm so scared of the dreaded inbox!

I've been reading through the 'guide for managers' at work and it's amazing how much they have thought about employees feelings on returning to work - after several bad experiences in small companies, I hope I can stay at a University where depression and other mental health issues are widely accepted.

As I reminded Sanda, when I worked in a small place with the worst boss ever, I found it useful to take my lunch breaks outside from the office in a small park where I knew I could get some peace - watch the birds, even the pigeons could make me laugh.

Hope all goes well and stay strong.

T.

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When I first got sick in 2009, I quit my job, I could not even eat let alone work.

On my second relapse I took some time off. Both times I had relocated, so I guess that was a good enough excuse on my resume. I do worry about my ability to work if things get bad for me. Right now I'm going to school for dental assisting, making a huge effort to make this happen as I also work full time. But it will be a slower pace envinroment compared to an office and I really enjoy it.

Most dentists work 4 days a week, so I am hoping I will find a good balance. I want to have a baby in a couple of years, so I decided to move towards a career that is more family oriented.

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Thanks for your input Nellyzen,

it's hard to keep going especially when you can't look after your self - been there and it was hell trying to keep things together, getting out can help you feel much better quicker. Hope things work out for you - sounds like you have some good plans ahead!

Good luck

T.

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My issue with work has always been when i go onto a high state with my bi polar. my high states aren''t always euphoric like some with bi polar. My high states are marked by high energy increaes but that almost always comes with a lot of anger. I get very easily irritated or frustrated but minor things. This has led me to quit many jobs because i was frustrated with minor things. Lately luckily with my new job I love it so much I haven't really found anything to be irritiated with. Well the long time sitting at home between contracts is irriatating but it hasnt caused me to want to quit. I think a lot of it is really enviroment. Some jobs are just too high stress or dont have the right enviroment to sustain people suffering from depression.

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I completely agree Mezlabor. Finding the right organisation, environment and people has done the world of good for me so far. Stress is far easier to deal with when you're with people who are understanding. And for me stress management was a big thing.

It's taken me years to find the place that's right for me - I just hope I get my contract extended so I can stay there.

T.

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Yes, not easy at all to find a good balance...but what I've learned is that no job is worth getting sick over, and if you can't afford to quit, at least try to take a "i don't care" pill and that helps too.

After 3 years of therapy, I find that I have much better coping skills and even if I do freak out, I can calm myself down fairly easily.

4 more months until my externship and I will be a dental assistant. Fingers crossed I find a job in the field pretty fast.

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Yes, I know the 'I don't care pills' too much.

Sounds like you're doing well though. I haven't been able to access CBT yet, but it sounds like the way forward. I'm on my 3rd run through the NHS to get there - fingers crossed!!

Good luck with the next 4 months and thanks for your post :)

T.

Yes, not easy at all to find a good balance...but what I've learned is that no job is worth getting sick over, and if you can't afford to quit, at least try to take a "i don't care" pill and that helps too.

After 3 years of therapy, I find that I have much better coping skills and even if I do freak out, I can calm myself down fairly easily.

4 more months until my externship and I will be a dental assistant. Fingers crossed I find a job in the field pretty fast.

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