Should I be off sick?

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi I am new to this site.

I had a baby who suffered brain damage at birth last year which has broken my world and my heart. I returned to work 4 months after the birth and due to the nature of my baby's complex needs I was getting no sleep (and I mean 2 hours max on a good day) and the emotional impact of my child's disability was immense.

I started to find work increasingly difficult and have gradually lost all of my confidence in my career aswell as a mother. I was working long hours just to meet my work demands and it has all got too much for me to bear on top of coping with my child needs. I was having so many panic attacks that one night my husband phoned an ambulance thinking I was having a heart attack.

My behaviour has changed since my child has been born but more so over the last 6 months. I am either running on adrenaline doing a thousand things a day, can't sleep and agitated, constant worrying thoughts racing through my mind and me constantly doing endless jobs to distract myself - ----to not being able to eat, smile, think,net out of bed, totally numb. No normality, just UP or DOWN.

However I seem to have sunk into a very deep dark place and feel that this depression has taken hold of me. I just can't cope anymore. My physical health is suffering as a consequence and I have had lots of minor physical symptoms.

I have been off work for 6 weeks and still feel completely depressed (although I did start some antidepressants yesterday so I hold out hope for that). I am worried that i have been absent from work for too long and feel incredibly guilty. I feel that I should be in work instead of getting better as I thought that with this amount of time off I would be feeling so much better by now. No such luck. How long do people need to recover from episodes like this or will I feel like this forever now?

I don't know whether I should be just returning to work regardless off my mental health-sometimes i don't even feel human anymore. My heart is just aching with sadness for my baby that sometimes I feel like I can't breathe anymore. Please help.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    You needhelp from two sources - your GP and the hospital team who provide guidance to those suffering post natal depression. As your case is complex and difficult you cannot be expected to manage as you are. There are experts who can help you so I suggest, strongly, that you seek their help. If you have difficulty with either your GP or the hospital clinics there are voluntary bodies who can help. Some of those may be local so a visit to your local council will give you the details.

    Above all do not return to work in your present condition; that will only add to the stress you are under now and make matters worse. With the right help you will be able to manage in time but there is no quick answer.

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  • Posted

    Yes absolutely as jaguar said, do not return to work until you are well, you have no reason to feel guilty for being absent from work when you have an illness, depression is an illness! You need time to recover and there is no limit on the amount of time it may take you to recover.
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  • Posted

    Totally agree with Jaguar & Sunset17, you need to rest till you feel ready. I am currently off work with stress anxiety and depression. I have been in same job for 20 years and I literally put my life on hold for that place, missed out on life changing opportunities (like moving abroad with my partner at the time, settling down, have a family & now its too late). When I became ill to the point of couldn't get out of bed, stop crying wondering whats the point of it all? my boss didnt give a shit about me just when u coming back??? & only gave me SSP required by law, which led to the repossession of my home & driving me right to the bottom, sorry for going on - I just want you to know that you and yr family are more important and take as long as is needed, you've been through so much, no job is more important than your health and life.
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  • Posted

    I was exactly the same. I had started a new job and to me the job was everything. Then 5 months into the Job my back went. I had slipped 2 disk and torn another. It just went one day for no reason while I was at work, I just bent down and couldnt get back up. I ended up in A&E as the pain was unbearable. To cut a long story short I was off work and constantly worried and felt guilty about it. When my back went I thought I would be back at work within a week, and when a week turned to weeks and then months I had become so Depressed and stressed and was constantly angry at myself and feeling guilty. I kept asking the doctor "when is my back going to get better, I need to go back to work" and he would reply "How long is a piece of string" That was helpful!!

    My Physio at the time said because I was so stressed about my job it was stopping my back from getting better because the stressors in the brain were so busy constantly worrying about work that they werent sending messages to my back that it was getting better.

    I was off in total for nearly 2 years having NHS treatment for my back, taking 30+ tablets a day and paying for private treatment also. In August last year I was dismissed from my work due to long term ill health.

    If what the Physio told me was true...constantly worrying about my job and losing it ultimately stopped me from getting better and I lost it.

    I know how you feel but you need to focus on yourself right now. I completely agree with the replies above you need to see your GP. I felt during that time and even now that I had not only let my family down but let myself down and I`m still angry at myself for that and at the time I was totally frustrated but there comes a point where you have to realise if your not well/right for whatever reason nothing else in your life will be either.

    I think we as women juggle so much but you need to realise you have been through so much in such a short period of time and I think your being very hard on yourself. Youve been on Auto Pilot and now your body and mind is burnt out. I`m glad youve started taking your anti depressants thats a great step forward, but please give yourself the time to recover.

    We feel selfish when we concentrate on ourselves but thats exactly what you need to do right now. When you start to feel better other things will start to feel better and your a mummy too.

    With regards to work...youve been off 6 weeks now, your manager should be reassuring you at this time, maybe you could ring work and talk to your manager? I was off for 2 years before having my final meeting. If I could re write history I would of tried to not worry so much as I know I could of put all that effort into getting better.

    I really hope you see your GP again and they can offer you some support or maybe some counselling if that would help. Your employer should also be offering you counselling as its there duty of care. I accepted that at the time and the lady rang me at home. It may be something you could mention?

    Take Care

    Rose x

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your supportive comments! I would like to think that my experience may enable me to help others one day like you have helped me. Xx
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  • Posted


    I am so sorry to hear of the problems you are having, firstly any new mum returning to work is the hardest thing to do but for you it's nigh on impossible, how would you be able to concentrate on any sort of work if you have so much going on at home having a new baby is tiring enough but a baby that has special needs would drain you emotionally, it would break my heart also I don't know how I would have coped you sound to me that you are doing a great job you just have to realise that you can't do everything, work will have a long wait and they should be supporting you so don't feel at all guilty you need this time to come to terms with everything that has happened, the best thing you have done is going to your doctor, but don't forget to tell them exactly how bad you are feeling there's no shame in feeling this way it happens to a lot of people I'm glad you have started some medication but it will take time for you to start to feel a little better if you don't go back to the doctor don't just leave it, I have been in some dark places many times your not alone you really do need some support do you have any family or friends nearby that you could talk to, it's not always easy to ask for help as we think we should be able to do everything but we can't so accept that and just take each day as it comes. I think you have been extremely brave trying to carry on with everything that has come your way the panic attacks will cease in time just try to be kind to yourself and try not to be the perfect mum there's no such thing.

    Kindest regards


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