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Old 10.11.2019, 15:01
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Work and mental health

Hi everyone.

Since 3/4 months, I've been suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks. I've been visited by a couple of doctors recently (a general one and a cardiologyst) that excluded any problems related to physical conditions.

Until now, I just tried to stick in at work, but lately this is becoming quite difficult to do, as I can feel the situation getting a bit worse - a couple of times I had to leave the office with an excuse. Anybody have been in the same or similar conditions? Any advise to give?

I've been thinking lately to try and get a sick leave, does anybody know for how long doctor give it usually for these kind of issues?
I'm also worried on how this will play out in short-mid term workwise - for example, what happens after the sick leave if I get one? or how this will affect future employement etc.

I work in software engineering for a large organization.

Thanks to all that will reply.
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Old 10.11.2019, 15:17
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Re: Work and mental health

Can you take some holidays? I would advise you take at least 2 weeks, go somewhere abroad and see if it helps to see things clearer.

I have spent a few years in a large organisation when one day, out of the sudden, everything started to look surrealistic. I was just silently laughing at those pumped up emails about nothing, meetings about unimportant stuff and so on. I certainly couldn't find understanding, so I immediately asked for vacation. I just told my boss that I won fantastic holidays which I have to use this month. When I came back, I still couldn't believe why people are so nasty to each other. Why they would nearly fight for silly things. Well, that was the moment I decided to leave which I did six months later. Well, I didn't say anything about it at the exit interview, just a standard excuse that I am looking for more challenges which I can't find here.
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Old 10.11.2019, 15:19
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Re: Work and mental health

First of all



Second talk to your doctor. Was there anything specific that triggered off your panic attacks? You may simply be suffering from stress/burn out. Discuss with your doctor about being signed of work. You might ask him if it's worth having a brain MRI to rule out that as physical causes. He might recommend you see a psychiatrist.

Thirdly, your health is far more important than your employment status. Focus on the former.

Fourthly, if all else fails, try exorcism.
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Old 10.11.2019, 15:57
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Re: Work and mental health

Eheh, exorcism could be an option!

I don't think a 2 weeks Holiday will make things better, in the sense that I'm fighting with this condition both at home and at work. The problem at work is that I get triggered by chest pain or shortage of breath and constantly leave my desk, ending in me being basically being unproductive all day which even increase my worry when I have to report to my supervisors.
After these moment, is Always difficult to be 100% focused again, and this is happening almost daily now.

As I said, I'm having this from few months now and I don't see things improving.

The cause of all this? I'm not completely sure but an illness that affected a member of my family is certainly something adding up plus I have to say, I dont really love my job so to speak, but I Always could cope with it.
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Old 10.11.2019, 16:09
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Re: Work and mental health

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Eheh, exorcism could be an option!

I don't think a 2 weeks Holiday will make things better, in the sense that I'm fighting with this condition both at home and at work. The problem at work is that I get triggered by chest pain or shortage of breath and constantly leave my desk, ending in me being basically being unproductive all day which even increase my worry when I have to report to my supervisors.
After these moment, is Always difficult to be 100% focused again, and this is happening almost daily now.

As I said, I'm having this from few months now and I don't see things improving.

The cause of all this? I'm not completely sure but an illness that affected a member of my family is certainly something adding up plus I have to say, I dont really love my job so to speak, but I Always could cope with it.
See a psychiatrist, get to the source of it.
A psychiatrist is also the only one who can sign you off work when it's not a medical (physical) case.
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Old 10.11.2019, 16:19
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Re: Work and mental health

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Hi everyone.

Since 3/4 months, I've been suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks. I've been visited by a couple of doctors recently (a general one and a cardiologyst) that excluded any problems related to physical conditions.

Until now, I just tried to stick in at work, but lately this is becoming quite difficult to do, as I can feel the situation getting a bit worse - a couple of times I had to leave the office with an excuse. Anybody have been in the same or similar conditions? Any advise to give?

I've been thinking lately to try and get a sick leave, does anybody know for how long doctor give it usually for these kind of issues?
I'm also worried on how this will play out in short-mid term workwise - for example, what happens after the sick leave if I get one? or how this will affect future employement etc.

I work in software engineering for a large organization.

Thanks to all that will reply.
Take 6 months off and go and travel.
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Old 10.11.2019, 16:50
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Re: Work and mental health

Go and see your Doctor tomorrow. They will know what to do and give you a sick note if necessary while it is sorted. If you need further referral to a specialist they will also do it.

That gives you time out to asses the situation and discuss with your doctor the next steps.

Once that is calm and clear you can address the work/life situation.
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Old 10.11.2019, 16:55
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Re: Work and mental health

I'm sorry to hear that. They say "you don't land in a psychiatrist because of big misfortunes but because of trivialities like a shoelace crack when you're overwhelmed with problems". Try to change what you can control and stop worrying, i.e. visit a doctor, take sick off if you need, life will go on.

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Eheh, exorcism could be an option!

I don't think a 2 weeks Holiday will make things better, in the sense that I'm fighting with this condition both at home and at work. The problem at work is that I get triggered by chest pain or shortage of breath and constantly leave my desk, ending in me being basically being unproductive all day which even increase my worry when I have to report to my supervisors.
After these moment, is Always difficult to be 100% focused again, and this is happening almost daily now.

As I said, I'm having this from few months now and I don't see things improving.

The cause of all this? I'm not completely sure but an illness that affected a member of my family is certainly something adding up plus I have to say, I dont really love my job so to speak, but I Always could cope with it.
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Old 10.11.2019, 17:12
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Re: Work and mental health

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Hi everyone.

Since 3/4 months, I've been suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks. I've been visited by a couple of doctors recently (a general one and a cardiologyst) that excluded any problems related to physical conditions.

Until now, I just tried to stick in at work, but lately this is becoming quite difficult to do, as I can feel the situation getting a bit worse - a couple of times I had to leave the office with an excuse. Anybody have been in the same or similar conditions? Any advise to give?

I've been thinking lately to try and get a sick leave, does anybody know for how long doctor give it usually for these kind of issues?
I'm also worried on how this will play out in short-mid term workwise - for example, what happens after the sick leave if I get one? or how this will affect future employement etc.

I work in software engineering for a large organization.

Thanks to all that will reply.
I know exactly the feeling .. I did all the checks with a cardio etc too.. I had no explanations, no stress, no worries, calm and laid back person.. But I would get that weird chest feeling, physical symptoms which bring on worry about what it is, which makes it worse.. Vicious circle.
My doc sent me to a psyc, which i found pretty pointless. Also gave me tablets (which i didn't take) in case things got bad..

Long story short, in my opinion it was more the worry about getting that feeling than the feeling itself.. I found that being stubborn and ignoring the first symptom did the trick, snapping out of it if you like.. Plus knowing you have a magic tablet in case it helps. I still occasionally get those first vibes but very rarely it goes much further now.

Exercise also helps a lot, i find it's like a reset switch to physically knock myself out.

It's easy said but if you've had that physical check, try to find your reset switch, be stubborn, ignore it. Get somebody to help with that maybe.

Good luck
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Old 10.11.2019, 17:43
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Re: Work and mental health

Hey, John_H,
That's quite an achievement, to have dealt with such symptoms more or less with your own inner strength.

I think that's quite unusual, and am glad to read such a positive report. Well done, and thanks for reminding us that it can be done.

OP seems to have been trying for many months now, and sounds like he/she's feeling miserable. So I'm about to add to the "see a doctor" line.
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Old 10.11.2019, 17:44
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Re: Work and mental health

@OP,
do not do nothing, hoping it'll go away by itself. Whatever you've tried over the past months hasn't helped yet, so I'd like to add my encouragement to get yourself back to a doctor as soon as possible.

Before the appointment, write up a brief chronology of what's happened in the past year, including which medical tests you had when and by whom.

If your case is already being coordinated by a G.P., that's very good. Make sure he/she has that chronology, and all the results of the tests.

If you don't have such a central doctor who knows you, try to find one, but in the meantime make sure that YOU hold all the reports and results.

I don't agree with advice to travel, unless it is on a short vacation to visit a very safe "home" or good friends. It would be no fun having a frightening medical condition while you're far away from the local, insured infrastructure.

Even though you don't like your job, don't resign yet. If this turns out to be a condition that takes a while, then you may need the insurance cover of sick-leave.

The idea of sick-leave is:
a) to certify you too ill to work, (so the employer's salary-continuation insurance kicks in)
and
b) to give you time to put into practice what a doctor has told you to do (even if that is just "rest").

A doctor's certificate may be for just a week or a fortnight. A good doctor will want to see you again within that time, to discuss the developments. And then, depending on those, he/she may give you a new certificate for another week or two. In any case, the doctor should help you to access further possible treatments.

There's quite a lot of talk, unfortunately, about conveniently getting oneself written off sick just for feeling unhappy at work or as a means to clout one's employer. That's not right, and not legal.

Since I don't know you and so cannot know, I'm not at all suggesting that that is your plan. I set it out here as an appeal to you (and to anyone else in a similar situation) to do the the emotional work of clearly distinguishing between one's various motivations and needs (and wants). That process can often be best done with some professional help, from a psychotherapist (who could be a psychiatrist or a pschologist).

Please, see a doctor this week.
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Old 10.11.2019, 17:51
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Re: Work and mental health

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See a psychiatrist, get to the source of it.
A psychiatrist is also the only one who can sign you off work when it's not a medical (physical) case.
Nope. I got signed of for three weeks for stress. That wasn't physical.
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:12
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Re: Work and mental health

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Since 3/4 months, I've been suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks. I've been visited by a couple of doctors recently (a general one and a cardiologyst) that excluded any problems related to physical conditions.
I mentioned this on another thread once but my sister-in-law here had been complaining of high anxiety and suffering from panic attacks for many years. Friends and family though she was just a bit delicate. Doctors, during numerous visits over many years, thought the same.

It turns out she has a very serious heart defect and needs an operation (she should have had it by now but one of the nursing staff made a decision well above their pay grade which meant the operation was cancelled with just hours to go so she's back to waiting for the next free slot).

It's probable that in 99% of cases, it's really a mental/stress issue but if it gets more serious, get a second opinion.
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:17
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Re: Work and mental health

Thanks everybody.
It's great to see this much understanding from many people. (Doropfiz, great advises, thank you)

Just wanna point out that, yes I feel like I'm in a debilitating position at the moment but not feeling miserable and I don't feel any depression. I'm basically scared as hell as panic attacks come and go (increasingly) and for me it's being difficult to work and to normally live as I did till few months ago, as the panic lasts for about 10 to 30 minutes but the nervous arousal after that stays for few hours. It's not easy but I'm willing to get help.

My doctor visited me in the first place, he asked me if I wanted to do a cardio check which I refused at the beginning only to do it few weeks after as the panic didn't stop. He is very helpful and I always told him I could perform my work with some difficulties. I will get an appointment again this week and point out how this is unfortunately not improving.

I agree, the travelling for a while is not going to solve any problem, and honestly didn't even cross my mind.

Thanks again to everybody.
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:19
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Re: Work and mental health

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Hey, John_H,
That's quite an achievement, to have dealt with such symptoms more or less with your own inner strength.

I think that's quite unusual, and am glad to read such a positive report. Well done, and thanks for reminding us that it can be done.

OP seems to have been trying for many months now, and sounds like he/she's feeling miserable. So I'm about to add to the "see a doctor" line.
It's not quite doing it oneself :-) I did go down the doctors route first and satisfied myself that nothing was physically wrong.. From there it's a matter of finding what works for the individual, that might be medication, it might be talking to somebody, it might be finding that inner demon, might just be taking a holiday, whatever..
At the moment it's probably a mix of frustration about what it is and worry about when it's gonna happen next and that vicious circle.

So for sure, you are right, talk to the doc, find that personal switch and take it from there.
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:23
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Re: Work and mental health

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I mentioned this on another thread once but my sister-in-law here had been complaining of high anxiety and suffering from panic attacks for many years. Friends and family though she was just a bit delicate. Doctors, during numerous visits over many years, thought the same.

It turns out she has a very serious heart defect and needs an operation (she should have had it by now but one of the nursing staff made a decision well above their pay grade which meant the operation was cancelled with just hours to go so she's back to waiting for the next free slot).

It's probable that in 99% of cases, it's really a mental/stress issue but if it gets more serious, get a second opinion.
Im sorry to hear about that. Thanks for sharing this. Did she do all the necessary checks at the beginning? I had a blood test, Ecg, cardio stress test, and fortunately they all showed positive results. Funnily enough, after all the heart checks, my symptoms shifted to my throat so I really think the problem is in my head but yes, I agree, can't never be 100% sure.

Hope she's well now.
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:56
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Re: Work and mental health

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Im sorry to hear about that. Thanks for sharing this. Did she do all the necessary checks at the beginning? I had a blood test, Ecg, cardio stress test, and fortunately they all showed positive results. Funnily enough, after all the heart checks, my symptoms shifted to my throat so I really think the problem is in my head but yes, I agree, can't never be 100% sure.

Hope she's well now.
I cannot for the life of me understand why you haven’t been referred by your GP to a good psychiatrist. These are life experiences, which many of us go through. A good GP will refer you to a good point of reference. You can PM me if you would like an English speaker (don‘t worry, not me, am in IT)
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Old 10.11.2019, 18:57
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Re: Work and mental health

Given your symptoms, a brain issue seems unlikely to me, but please ask your doctor about a brain scan. I did have an employee who was suffering from stress, anxiety and panic attacks. Turned out to be a brain tumour. If it hadn't been discovered, he'd have snuffed it within a few months.

(Sadly it was malignant, but he get an extra few years of pretty good life).
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Old 10.11.2019, 19:11
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Re: Work and mental health

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I mentioned this on another thread once but my sister-in-law here had been complaining of high anxiety and suffering from panic attacks for many years. Friends and family though she was just a bit delicate. Doctors, during numerous visits over many years, thought the same.

It turns out she has a very serious heart defect and needs an operation (she should have had it by now but one of the nursing staff made a decision well above their pay grade which meant the operation was cancelled with just hours to go so she's back to waiting for the next free slot).

It's probable that in 99% of cases, it's really a mental/stress issue but if it gets more serious, get a second opinion.
Interestingly for me the cardiologist did discover a defect.. It was nothing to do with my symptoms but they do now see me once per year to monitor it.

Always good to get checked out..
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Old 11.11.2019, 10:54
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Re: Work and mental health

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Just wanna point out that, yes I feel like I'm in a debilitating position at the moment but not feeling miserable and I don't feel any depression. I'm basically scared as hell as panic attacks come and go (increasingly) and for me it's being difficult to work and to normally live as I did till few months ago, as the panic lasts for about 10 to 30 minutes but the nervous arousal after that stays for few hours. It's not easy but I'm willing to get help.
You don't have to be depressed in order to be suffering from the effects of mental health issues. Very often panic attacks come due to unresolved issues and seeing a psychiatrist can help substantially. Your body is signalling that something is wrong and you need to take good care of yourself. Happy to PM with recommendations, all the best.
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