The winding road of therapy. Work and Burnout. Part 6.

 

Hello dear reader, I am back again for the Thursday-series. Last week I told you that I sought treatment for burnout with an behavioral therapist.

 

At the end of March I made some important decisions. During January and February I went to work to discuss my possible return. I’ll provide you with some context here. I had a breakdown due to burnout in August. When my GP said that he saw symptoms of burnout, I told him I didn’t wish to ever go back to that workplace. Whilst being ill people told me that I wasn’t fit to make big decisions. In my mind nothing was going to change at work, I had no illusions that they would adjust something in the workload, communication or just how things were done there. I was confident in my ability to see that for what it was.

 

I had two ‘bosses’. The first one called during September to inform how I was doing. Not well, I can tell you that much. In October I had a long phone conversation with the other one. She was very understanding and told me that she couldn’t make promises but that we could at least have a conversation about possible adjustments in my job. That was my incentive to see some hope. I worked hard with the therapist and we made a proposition, some things I would like to do at work.

 

jan-kolar-vui-designer-UfIbNZrHOmk-unsplash (1)-min
Shadow people

 

With my hopes up and after a 6 months absence from work , I was eager to hear what my bosses would have to say. Without a doubt they would have some thoughts about the situation no? It is their job to ‘manage’ the place after all. I prepared the meeting with my coach and she advised me to mostly listen. Well, I sat in the conference room and they were staring at me. I didn’t say anything, the advice in mind. After a while it became quite uncomfortable. It became clear to me that they had no plan so I told them my aspirations. The answer: ‘That is not possible‘.

 

Rather I needed to tell them within two weeks if I was going to return to my job as it was or if I chose not to return at all. They wanted to know if they should hire somebody new on a permanent basis or not.

 

My wishes were to have one day per week without shifts but I would work the afternoon and evening in support of my colleague. I wished to have three hours to invest in direct contact with the patients. To be able to speak and listen to them without the interruption of being ‘on call’ all the time. I explained my need to rekindle my enthusiasm for the job and that I had difficulties with stressmanagement.

 

I was upfront telling them that I didn’t see me ‘changing’ in my job when the job stayed exactly the same.

 

I decided not to return. That came as a relief but held also some kind of mourning for the opportunities lost, the dedication to the job not seen. I experienced a small depression. My coach said again that it was perfectly normal for me to feel that way. After a month there was a goodbye party at work and I could move on to the next chapter. My coach said that she thought it was time for me to move on to a job coach. I had the feeling she didn’t know what to do anymore because my recovery was slow. The moment I felt slightly better and some decisions were made, it was time to pass me on.

 

But I did start to feel  better because I closed that chapter of my life and I could see some other future lurking. I didn’t sleep that well and was still tired but not to the point of exhaustion anymore. I was hopeful and happy in a way. A week after my farewell party, the nurse of the health insurance told me that now it was really time to move on and to go out in the world and go job hunting. I tried to explain that I didn’t feel that well overall but she assured me that I could still be ill but just not at the expense of the insurance.

 

I slipped away in something dark. It didn’t get better. I felt like I lost all the happiness I gained during the past months. I started to cry out of the blue, I had no feelings left. What I built up with my coach, the small activities I use to enjoy,  didn’t speak to me anymore. I looked at my paintings and found them ugly. I looked at the yarn and couldn’t be bothered to pick up the knitting needles. I listened to music but it was all noise to me. Watching tv wasn’t fun, I already knew the world wasn’t a happy place. I saw my happiness slip away every day and there wasn’t a thing I could do to stop it.  My GP referred me to a psychiatrist. I just needed to wait a month. I held on to that appointment for dear life.

 

Thank you for reading and following my winding road of therapy. If you are interested in the previous parts, you can click here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. Or you can find ‘my story’ in the menu ‘mental health’ on my site. I hope to see you next week at the psychiatrist. 

 

 

Photo by Jan Kolar / VUI Designer on Unsplash

 

 

Winding road of therapy – Going to the psychiatrist. Medication for burnout and depression? Part 7.

Since being diagnosed with burnout I made the decision not to go back to my old job. I worked out that conclusion with my burnout coach. The insurance lady told me that after being on a sick leave for about 8 months now, it was really about time to go out looking for a job. … Continue reading Winding road of therapy – Going to the psychiatrist. Medication for burnout and depression? Part 7.

 

26 thoughts on “The winding road of therapy. Work and Burnout. Part 6.

  1. I think it’s good you’re recording all of this. One question…are you saying that after six months off the job, then telling them you’re not coming back, they still threw you a goodbye party?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! They did! They actually wanted to throw me two parties, one for the clients/residents to say goodbye (which I enjoyed very much) and then they wanted to go out for a bite or a drink with the whole team (which I declined immediately). I was too tired to do that and I didn’t see the point! It fun too notice those things no? Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s nice they recognized your hard work. I usually just shook someone’s hand and wished them luck, while secretly hoping that they came crawling back to my company. I was not a nice guy back then.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s not all gold that shines. They couldn’t make any adjustments or discuss the situation in a more mature way. No need to have a drink then.
        The director understood and she helped me to clear some things out in terms of resigning and things. The other two: nothing.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. yes, I didn’t want to return bc I saw no change there possible. If they would have been more upfront in the beginning, I would have decided not to return way earlier. And that would have been less stressful for my mental health.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That seems so cool! And it would really be a gift from above if this would be able in my country. I would sign up now, tonight.
      I need to keep my eyes open to all possibilities! Thank you so much for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. I’ll keep an open mind, working from home, be on the look out for programs like that, … See where I can find support. I am now off benefits, so that could impose a problem for that specific one🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I’m still on SS but some of those programs can easily be full time good paying jobs. I just wasn’t ready to give up my benefits yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think ‘the boss’ was willing to impose more of his control, at the start of his new carreer.

      I worked with psychiatric patients of all ages (35+ till death) who covered the whole DSM (except illegal hard drugs) who were supposed to be stable (but were not). And yet he calculated that 1 hour direct contact per week per client would be the max, better would be a half hour.
      To put it mildy: that is not what I am about. Just not.

      Example: when somebody goes in a crisis during the evening and I handle that and talk with them (because morning, evening and nightshift there is 1 person in the building), that means that their ‘hour for the week’ is used up. When ‘their’ nurse comes in the following day, it is on to the next. I had 6 patients to take close care of, I didn’t had 6 nor 3 hours to talk with them. That is also a reason why I asked that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s unfortunate they weren’t willing to at least try adopting your requests. The desire to spend more time working directly with patients is extremely admirable. The patients would have felt better knowing they were heard and you would have felt better knowing you were fully engaged rather than just rushing from call to call.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what crappy bosses. Here in the NHS, if required, we get 6 months off on full pay then 6 months half pay, so at least it gives people time to recover before having to make huge decisions. Even after 12 months, they’re not allowed to give your job away until you leave (one way or the other).

    As for “you can still be sick, but not on insurance!” That’s just awful. Thankfully we have benefit systems in place here, but that’s always open to abuse too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crappy bosses! I agree! As for the system, they are saving where they can because there is a crisis and the politcs now aren’t in favor of people. It’s money that counts. But it’s not right and not good for mental health in any way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. The online connections and support means a lot to me. When you find people who get it a little, it’s easier to deal with all of it. It makes me feel stronger 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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