We all get tired and stressed from work and we all definitely have our bad days and even bad jobs, but I am finding as time goes on I am coping less and less with work.
I have recently moved jobs due to numerous issues at my last place of work, but I am finding that I am constantly run down, fatigued, stressed and just generally feel unwell as a result of working. I am in my early thirties and I know we slow down and get tired with age, but I feel ill - not just tired.
My mental health is strained, I am suffering with anxiety and possibly depression, GI issues, skin complaints, respiratory problems, migraines, fatigue, muscles cramps/pain, joint pain, general illnesses etc etc.
Packing my job in is not an option as I have bills to pay, but I also want to work and like having purpose and responsibility - I just wish it didn't take so much out of me.
I have been looking at career changes, but at the moment I cannot financially afford the risks and even then I am not really sure what I could do that would alleviate these health issues.
Most people seem to breeze through life (ok slightly over dramatic) and get a weeks work done without a hitch and then make the most of the weekend. I spend my weekends and evenings a wreck, just trying to recover to start again. Are other people like this and just hide it better or is it me?
If I have to work until my late 60s until I retire, I am starting to think I won't make it anywhere near retirement at this rate.
As soon as I saw the title of this I just had to reply - it sounds so alarmingly familiar to the situation I found myself in two years ago. I am 27 years old now and I have left work to pursue postgraduate qualifications, and I am much happier. I understand this may not be feasible and/or desirable for you, but I have a few suggestions which might help.
I think you can distill your options down to two: make this job more bearable, or make steps to find one which works better for you. I have compiled a few suggestions of things I did but am happy to suggest more if you need it.
1. As with many on here, I think it is worth telling your employer if you are on the spectrum. You may not have a formal diagnosis, and this may or may not be something you wish to pursue if you haven't. But definitely communicate with them, even if you say that you are self-diagnosed.
2. Ask for a referral to Occupational Health.
3. If you are diagnosed with any conditions, your employer is obliged to help you make reasonable adjustments to your environment of work under the Equality Act of 2010. Now, their understanding of 'reasonable' is based on interpretation, but there might be a few things you could ask for:
- to use headphones to block out noise
- ability to use a different room for complicated tasks (depending on the job, of course, but for instance I used to write my minutes in an isolated room)
- ability to use tinted glasses/ sunglasses to reduce sensory input
- access to a work wellbeing programme, if they have one
- suggestions of a quieter, accessible place to spend your lunch
As far as possible I would suggest making requests in writing and keeping a good paper trail if you can.
I appreciate these things may not get you out of your situation, but perhaps they can reduce some of the anxiety and overload feelings you experience at your workplace.
I am so sorry that you feel this way and you have my sympathy as work very nearly led to me experiencing a breakdown a couple of years ago. I wish you the best and hope you keep us posted as to your progress.
Hi Moggiecat (love the name!)
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am sorry that you have faced these issues as well and have suffered as a result. I had a breakdown in my late teens/early twenties, with the latter breakdown being a result of work and some issues at home. It is not a nice place to be and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I did the same as you and went to university to study and try and look at a career which would support me financially, but also engage me more than what I was doing at the time. It was the right thing to do and I am sure it will be for you as well. At present I suppose I am more disappointed that despite all my hard work and persistence to better myself, I am in a situation where I am on the verge of facing taking a couple of steps back and I am too stubborn to accept that at the moment - and maybe too proud!
My current role means I have my own office, which has been a god send compared to my last job which was open plan - however, I am dealing with more people and having to multitask much more which I am struggling with. The struggles are different in this job and maybe not as severe in some ways as my last role, but my health is not great and that is worrying me. Occupational health did an initial assessment when I started the role, but haven't reviewed my progress since. This is something I will use as a last resort as my experience with occupational health hasn't been great if I am honest.
There is also future business developments where the business could go open plan, so if this gets the go ahead I know my days there will be numbered as this will make me ill and has made me ill in the past.
Keep working hard on your postgraduate studies - it will pay off and there will probably be a few bumps in the road in the future, but it will be worth it. Am I allowed to ask what you are studying?
You need to press the OH team x open plan working and the pressure now of extra responsibilities and that horrible term - flexable working don’t suit us,. It means you’ll be less productive, unhappy and that goes against your needs and those of the business. Xx
That all sounds so tricky and I'm sorry. I know the feeling of work making you ill. When I was in work, I felt like I was constantly telling everyone including my partner how depressed I was, but because I'm not good at expressing my emotions, I felt the need to resort to some pretty outlandish things to get people to notice me and for my partner to wholeheartedly support me handing in my notice.
I would say it might be worth asking OH for a review if you feel able, and do tell them if you think this could be ASD related. Unfortunately in my experience OH and HR are both on the side of the management structure rather than the individual, and I was lucky to find someone really good in a workplace union, but as I say I left because ultimately the cost was too high to my health and happiness. Also OH kept repeatedly and explicitly denying my symptoms (which later turned out to be diagnosed in rheumatology and neurology) and telling me to just 'suck it up' and cope with my colleagues, who truth be told I felt were sucking my soul.
I think open plan would be awful. My partner, Phil, worked in an open plan office for many years and he is very sensitive to that sort of thing. If it comes to it I'm happy to ask him how he managed the situation.
I'm studying English but a sub-field called Medical Humanities. I'm particularly focussing on chronic pain narratives (something I struggle with personally) and finishing my MA right now on a rare rheumatoid arthritis narrative in the 50s. My PhD will hopefully start in September. I'm going to be working in a PhD office which will be interesting because I'm currently finding all the lights and sounds on campus so disorientating, but thankfully my department are very accommodating (and let me talk to them about cats all day).
I hope things start to get better but keep us posted!
So true, and yes I think sometimes you really have to frame it in terms of costs to the business to make them realise. Even with me - and I have worked in higher education, which is still underneath it all a profit machine - I had to say to my manager 'I know you want me to achieve X or to work effectively with XYZ so that we can X, but this is something I struggle with. I have thought long and hard and I think if you would let me put XYZ in place we could all work towards our joint goals'. Oh how I wish I could have just screamed at them to all leave me alone though!
moggiecat said:Unfortunately in my experience OH and HR are both on the side of the management structure rather than the individual
Unfortunately, I have to agree with this. I have noticed the same thing.
You were lucky that you could leave and you have a supportive partner.
I wish so much I could leave. I am only there to keep my budget in balance.