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Finding it hard to leave the house

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jamesrobert9699, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. jamesrobert9699

    jamesrobert9699 New commenter

    Off with work related stress and anxiety caused by bullying and threats at work. I’ve always been quite a confident person but I do care what people think and worry! I’m finding it hard to leave the house at the moment, I hate being cramped up inside and try to go for walks but feel utter panic at the thought of seeing someone from work which result in me hiding inside and sleeping most of the day.

    I went to the occupational health and the doctor was kind and helpful. He felt it was unwise to even consider thinking about returning to that school in the near future and he told me in his words to have a fresh start. The report is quite harsh in a way on the school which is worrying me however I have got a union rep dealing with it. He also said to get out, socialise, go to the gym! All the things I used to like. I live about 20 minutes drive from the school but I’m still scared! The school might think I’m lying if they see me out socialising ?

    Anyone got good advice on how to get over the fear? I’ve cut myself off from everyone this past year apart from parents due to stress at work and being quite young I feel like completely isolated as I live alone. Now I don’t have work I don’t know what to do with my time ?
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    You are seriously depressed - get professional help before it gets any worse.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    ...and if you haven't already done it then negotiate a leaving settlement with the school and the union and start thinking about what comes next in your life.

    Your current situation is neither healthy or sustainable.
  4. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    Yes, if you go out people will see you, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve known people who were off ill being seen out at the shops or going for a run. Carry on living and look after yourself. People may notice you, so what?
  5. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Sorry to hear you're having a horrible time. As @peakster says, speak to a professional about what you've posted here. They may say that being cooped up isn't good for your health and to get out more, which may help eleviate some of that anxiety you have about going out.

    If someone from your school does see you out, then consider why should you care? They are the reason you are ill in the first place, and so their opinions have no merit at this time. Bringing signed off ill doesn't mean you have to stay in bed/the house, and people who think that, thankfully, are not medical professionals.
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Sorry to hear about this - you're very unwell and should keep talking to your GP. Ask about CBT; I know there's quite a wait in some areas, but talking to a skilled professional might be a great support to help you see things clearly and decide on the way forward. I'm glad OH were useful, their advice is sound. Sometimes a school will be very supportive and a leaving settlement can be relatively easily negotiated, but do discuss this with your union (at regional level if needed). Good luck and keep posting to let us know how you're getting on.
  7. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Please do feel free to PM me. I can help with this. It does get better, honestly.
  8. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    Absolutely agree that it doesn't matter if you are seen out and about: it is easily justified, (not that it would need to be), as you taking responsibility for looking after yourself so that you can recover from your illness.

    This happened to me over 10 years ago and I distinctly remember being terribly fearful of even going to the shop for basics. I made the mistake of avoiding going out and basically holed myself up inside for months. This amplified my stress and depression as I had nothing else to think about apart from the situation I was in. It also meant my diet was shocking because I found the local takeaway would knock and leave the food outside, so I didn't even have to interact with the delivery man. I didn't dress or wash because no one would see me, didn't have my hair cut and so on and so on.

    Some of the practical steps I took to finally get my confidence back were:

    • Open the curtains and windows every morning
    • Dress nicely every day regardless of plans
    • Walk with headphones on - the music steadied me and I could pretend I wasn't there
    • Prioritise diet and exercise / self care
    • Get out to the coast or countryside
    • Therapy - for me it was hypnotherapy and eft but there are loads of options
    • Meditation - there are loads of guided ones on youtube
    • Short trips locally / where I might be seen - I was lucky to have a friend who took charge of practical aspects so all I had to do was be there and learn to feel ok with that again.
    • Colouring books, puzzles and blowing bubbles helped - I still have a little box with fun things in that I use after a tough day.
    I know you probably don't believe this now but things will improve and you will feel better in time. Hopefully this is of some use. If you were hobbling down the street with a plaster cast on or recovering from an operation you would not be worried about being seen. You are ill and looking after yourself is the fastest route to recovery.

    Take the very best of care and prioritise yourself.
  9. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    The OH report was harsh on the school and YOU are worrying? Don't. The school probably deserves all that he said and more. Not your problem. Your problem is getting yourself better and this will take time. Staying in the house will help, but only so far. There are lots of good ideas above to help you, but take your time. It will improve, but it won't do so overnight.
  10. clarefrankie

    clarefrankie Occasional commenter

    i felt exactly like you not too long ago. i was signed off and scared to leave the house. i went for a coffee with a friend (to a retirement village) and had a massive panic attack, i did not foresee ever being able to leave the house again.

    I read up and starting taking Vitamin B12 supplements from Holland & Barrat and they stopped the cyclical nature of my panic attacks. I still felt very shocked about being signed off and so I re-decorated my bedroom, that way i didn't leave the house but i was slowly making a positive change. i then used to drive to my favourite area in a local forest and sit and eat some lunch there, sometimes i read and just listened and breathed in the fresh air.

    I started to practise self-care..bought some luxury bath items and had baths every-night. I cut out drinking alcohol altogether. gradually (after a month or so) i began to feel better but i did not ever feel that i would.

    you will get better and it is okay to feel the way you do, it is ok to have a blip once in a while. I am feeling better now but i try not to take it for granted, i taught myself to knit which is relaxing for any panicky times i have.

    i sincerely wish you all the best x
  11. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    See your GP as soon as you can and explain the situation.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  12. jamesrobert9699

    jamesrobert9699 New commenter

    Thank you for your replies , gives me faith !
  13. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Sorry to hear of your situation, many been there before you.

    From what you've written both the OH doctor and your union rep have suggested that you get out of the house, exercise and try to socialise. Nobody is going to challenge you on this, and if by some remote chance they do, you simply tell them that you are following doctor's orders. Repeat as necessary. Your worry is part of your illness, though it is difficult to see it whilst in it.

    I agree with taking vitamin B supplements and also vitamin D. Sit in your garden for at least 15 minutes, walk to the corner of your street and back. Getting outside helps enormously.

    There are some great podcasts around, I've just started listening to Happy Place on the official Fearne Cotton website. There are great interviews with people such as Stephen Fry and Dawn French.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  15. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Good advice above.
    See if you can invite friends round to you rather than you having to go out.
    Is it possible to stay with family or out of town friends for a few days to get you away from your school?
    Find what ever sorts of economical pampering make you feel better, whether posh tea, perfumed baths or box set marathons.
    Do take account of your diet and eat as well as you can, those vitamins and minerals can make a big difference.

    Find things to do rather than just being passive. Get out all your broken things and mend them.
    Have faith that you will get better, but be patient.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You have been officially INSTRUCTED to get out and about.

    Do so immediately and, if anyone challenges you at any point, refer any nay-sayers to the OH advice.

    Haughty stare. Practise it.

    "I think you'll find that you are NOT the absenteeism police in any given situation. Moreover, not that it is any of your business, but I am acting on medical orders. Farewell."
    tonymars and mothorchid like this.
  17. Jenkibubble

    Jenkibubble Occasional commenter

  18. Jenkibubble

    Jenkibubble Occasional commenter

    As hard as it is , Sun , fresh air and exercise will help and your mind will wander to other things . Put on sunglasses (less easy to be recognised if you are worried about this ) and listen to music in headphones . Borrow a friend's dog or there are websites you can do this on I think !
    Take care
    tonymars and frangipani123 like this.
  19. Lazycat

    Lazycat Senior commenter

    I’m off work with stress (not school related) and have had the same anxiety about being seen out and about by colleagues. Both OH and deputy head have been very clear - it’s well known that socialising and exercise are very helpful in these situations and this exactly what I (and you) should be doing. Bear in mind that there’s a world of difference between going for a walk or meeting a friend for a coffee and going out on the town, drinking 10 pints and then rolling home in the wee hours! People will understand why you’re doing the former but there will be raised eyebrows if you’re spotted doing the latter
    phlogiston and grumpydogwoman like this.
  20. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Join a gym
    8sycamore likes this.

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