So I did it, I tried to go back to work. I felt I needed to at least try. I couldn’t make any desicions about what may be next until I had tried to return. I felt well, I was good, everything was under control. My hours had changed, my responsibilities had changed I just needed to turn up and do my best. There was little reason for me to think it would not work. I’d been going in once a week to help out, therapeutic duties it was called. That went really well I was fine with the children, seeing my colleagues and doing bits and bobs. So why wouldn’t 3 mornings a week for 2 weeks as a phased return be just the same? I’m ready, I am well, I can do this!
Apparently no I cannot! I managed 3 mornings, and as the week went on the dread got stronger, the exhaustion got more intense, I was slipping down a dangerous path. I slipped so far down the ‘hole’ in a week it was scary. The suicidal thoughts came back, the panic, the feeling unsettled, itchy, fidgety, but worse of all was my inability to function. I spent my afternoons sleeping. I wasn’t talking with my boys, playing or even providing dinner. It was McDonalds, chips and rubbish all the way. They watched telly, I slept, I snapped, I shouted, not good!
As I approached the next Monday I was dreading the return again. Insomnia was being tough, I was panicking in the car on the way, the feeling of wanting to cry, run, dread was back. I got there though but failed to do anything, my line manager called me in as she could see I wasn’t right and I just looked at my hands and cried, sit here a minute I thought and I’ll calm down and be able to get on. It just got worse I saw colleagues and they came and hugged me, I cried more! Nope I couldn’t do it. Go home, have a blanket day and try again tomorrow. Maybe it’s just a one off, maybe I just need sleep and tomorrow I’ll be fine. Well of course I didn’t sleep I was so on edge. The next day I was barely able to leave the house. Mum was here to do the school runs and she could see I was struggling. But I went, I got in the car and I drove about half way before I had to pull over because I was worried I wasn’t paying enough attention to the road, mid panic attack! It took 20 mins or so of breathing and trying other things in my arsenal to come out the other side and continue the drive. I got to school walked in the office door and basically walked straight out again. Just no!
So what now? My first instinct was to email the lady in occupational health she’ll know what to do, and my union rep to keep her in the loop. I email because I cannot make those phone calls having to give details. OH knows this and so told me she was going to call and what time so I was prepared. At this point I just wanted to throw the towel in and resign, sign on and put an end to it. She convinced me however that this wasn’t the best way of doing it but to go back the the GP tell them I tried but I needed to be signed off again. Then my employer will proceed with dismissal proceedings and I may be entitled to some pay possibly. Even though I know this is sensible I just want to cut and run to be honest. I don’t like the feeling that it is all up in the air.
I obviously cannot work in my environment anymore, would another environment suit? I’ve been put forward for redeployment so we’ll see what happens there, I wonder if they will find me another school? Or maybe they will find something in an office ? Who knows! And I don’t like that, waiting, not knowing, not being able to move on sort out money, budgets, anything because I don’t know what it will be. This is the point where I wish that HR departments had a lot more training in mental health and dealing with employees who are struggling. I think if it was me I would certainly be more forthcoming with information. I know they are probably over stretched and underpaid as everyone else is but it just would be nice.
So here I am sat in my garden waiting, waiting for a doctors appointment to get a new sick note, waiting to hear from HR, waiting for a new job, possibly or waiting to be dismissed and get on with life.
From Lala, with love xx