What's it like to be signed off with stress?

I have had a number of people come to see me recently asking for help, as they are off work after being signed off with stress.

These are capable, competent people. Heads of department with years of experience. In the past they’ve handled responsibility, conflict, high pressure deadlines and complex issues. They might have been through a learning curve here & there, but they’ve mostly felt confident and able to cope.

But something’s changed.

A health issue that has made them feel vulnerable.

Increased responsibilities at home – perhaps caring for an elderly parent, or worrying over a spouse with declining health.

A situation that has undermined their confidence.

And all of a sudden, the job that they used to feel secure in, that they did so well, now feels overwhelming.

It’s all too much.

And they wonder if they’ll ever be able to cope with it again.

That’s a whole lot more than “stress”

Because where do you go with stress? If a situation has made you feel stressed, and that situation isn’t changing any time soon, how will you go back into that situation and cope again?

That’s why, when I first meet a new patient, I’ll spend an hour and a half with you, talking to you about all the things that are going on in your life. I help you to unravel some of your complex anxieties, separating out the factors that are causing the most impact.

This is a part of the healing. When you are overwhelmed, it is hard to find clarity in your emotions.

Often you will begin to feel better just from that.

And then, after taking your remedies, we can see which of the factors are still causing anxiety, and work through those too.

Because ultimately, you want to feel like yourself again, and get back to doing what you do best.