I’ve been signed off work for some time as I battle to get through this particularly persistent episode of depression and anxiety. This one really wants to be pals and won’t leave me the fuck alone!
I was told to expect a phone call today from occupational health which had been arranged via my employer.
I hate phone calls at the best of times, let alone when I’m ill!
I had been working towards the date of returning to work (I teach children with autism) next Thursday. I’ll admit the thought made me anxious but I hadn’t realised just how anxious until I received the call.
The idea of the phone call was to ascertain which steps could be put in place by my employer, in order to help me, upon my return to work.
However, we never even got that far.
Within a few minutes, the lovely lady who had called me asked how I was coping with regular, daily routines. Sometimes you don’t realise how bad you are until you say it out loud to another and your voice shatters as you break down.
She quickly ascertained that there was absolutely no point in discussing strategies for work as I was nowhere near well enough to even begin to think about returning.
I was devastated and thrilled at the same time. Devastated that I can’t just be normal and cope with life like a normal person, yet thrilled that I was not having this pressure dumped on me prematurely when I was not even close to being in the right headspace, no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise.
It was such a relief to be told to stop thinking about work. That work comes second and before anything else, I must just focus on getting myself well again.
We so often face stigma on a daily basis and are expected to “just suck it up and get on with it!”
It was such a relief to have someone who is working for my employer say, “You are not ready. This is a real thing and it’s going to take time to get yourself back to feeling well and that’s ok!”
I doubt my employers will be thrilled but it is what it is. I’m sick of feeling shame and guilt about this illness.
Bring on the wellness…