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when its time to take medical leave


trouper
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hi all,

i have been with my company for over 6 years doing a job i love. i am so incredibly grateful that i have the most understanding boss. he has helped me avoid stressors at work and has given me a lot of slack while i try to heal, but after a year of dealing with withdrawals with not much improvement, he finally suggested i talk to HR and consider taking a medical leave. he told me to take the rest of the week off to think things over. i am devastated.

i admit it would help me with some stress, which i hope would help me heal quicker but i feel i gained more by being there than not. i realized i've been in denial thinking "i can't be that bad, i can still hold my job!" which has helped keep me afloat but if i don't work, i fear i will just obsess about my health and spiral. being at work gave me a reason to get ready in the morning, a project to keep me distracted, and a place where i could socialize with my peers and a time to feel normal. i do have therapy, acupuncture and a yoga class to help fill my days but aside from that i would be home alone until my husband gets home. my therapist also thinks its best for me to keep my job as long as i can, but i fear i ran out of luck. i'm trying to look at this as a temporary thing until i feel better, but in our situation, who knows how long it would be? and would i go back when i finally get a window and take off again in a wave? i fear an innocent "taking a few weeks off" could turn into much longer or eventually losing my job.

 

does anyone have stories to share? how do you know when its time to take a medical leave from work? and with dealing with the waves of withdrawal, what kind of length of time do you ask for? have you come back to your job after a medical leave?

 

thank you all... be well. :)

 

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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It's a difficult decision, but if you can't do your job, taking a leave is the only thing you can do. Some companies will hold your job open for you for a specified length of time.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Trouper

I have taken medical leave on 2 occasions and there is usually a process associated with that kind of leave. I had 6 weeks leave both times and came back to work through Health and Safety department in conjunction with my immediate boss. I was on a "back to work" programme that had me come back slowly and working my way back to my old hours over about a month. It was a time that I was unable to do my job and needed to have time away from stress so i could get better. Once i got back to work I reduced my work hours as I also wanted to go to work to give my life a focus and a sense of achievement etc.. The extra time at home went by pretty fast for me, i did sleep a huge amount of that 6 weeks though!! I guess there's two things about taking leave...1. Are you actually struggling and not admitting it so a break to rejuvenate would actually be good and ...2. If you go through the right channels, follow the process (presuming there is one) your job should be safe for at least some agreed time?? I won't lie it was scary going off work and even scarier returning, I was sure I would never be "ready"..had it in my head I needed to be super ready!! For me it was the right thing to do, better than messing up at work and then trying to pick up the pieces.

Hope this helps, making decisions about these things is tricky but you probably know what's right for you. Good luck  :)

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thank you alto. it is a tough decision but i think the answer is obvious. its just a harder decision to make when one is in denial. :)

 

annabel, thanks for sharing your story and insight. it really helps :)

you are correct on number 1. also my job should be safe for awhile. i will need to talk to HR next week and see what my options are and how to go about this. 

it is a very scary decision to make as holding on to my job made me think things weren't that bad. i need to decide what a good goal for me would be to feel i would be ready to go back. thats really hard when healing is in windows and waves and when there is no way of knowing how long it takes. thank you again for sharing. :)

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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I would definitely talk to HR and maybe somebody who knows the laws about employment and medical leave too, like a lawyer. Policies regarding medical leave and coming back to work might be different in New Zealand than in the US. New Zealand is renowned for its robust social safety net and being a good place for workers. That's not the case in the US, we tend to lag behind most of the "developed world" in that regard.

 

Then again if you have some slack financially that might be less of a concern.

 

I can understand your concerns about not wanting to just be home all the time. Is there any possibility of being able to cut back your hours for a while, so you're still working, just fewer hours? Is there a position you can fill at work that is less demanding than your current job? Can you talk to your boss about his concerns and figure out what it is that you're doing or not doing that's causing your employers the most trouble, so maybe there are ways you can compensate or work around those things?

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

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May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I think Rhi has some great suggestions. Depending on the company, they may be able to offer modified or light duty, reduced hours or even projects you could do from home at times you are feeling better.

 

Your doctor might help by writing that you can work 4 hours/day (for example). Then your employer /HR can take it from there. If they cannot or choose not to accomodate, it's a bit more on their shoulders, so to speak. This is IF you feel a reduced schedule would benefit you, of course.

 

Please let us know how it's going.

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thanks for the suggestions barbara and rhi. :) this is incredibly helpful :)

even though i've been in withdrawal for a year now, this year have been the worst for me yet. i had the worst anxiety and stress early january which really did a number on me and my nerves, then on top of that i had a paradoxical effect to some supplements. this episode resurfaced symptoms i thought were gone, added new ones and greatly amplified all of them. I've been waiting for my body to straighten out but it hasn't yet. :/ i'm working with a psychiatrist who is trying to get me back on track with lamotrigine and its really helping, but unfortunately I'm dealing with side effects so we are trying to work out the dosage. one of the side effects make me very sensitive to sound so sitting quietly at home has been the best relief so far. when I'm around constant sounds for awhile, my nerves react causing anxiety and glutamate head ickiness. i work in an open environment with 20 people so i can't really hide nor can i avoid stimulation. earplugs help.

perhaps i am still in denial but i'm thinking of staying home for another week and hope to get my nerves and body stabilized some. if i feel stable enough, i can talk to my boss about trying to go back again (limited hours or working from home or both.) until the sensitivity goes away, i really can't think about going into work. i will evaluate where i am in a week. if still not better, i will consider medical leave. wish me luck. :)

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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  • 2 weeks later...

just wanted to update and say i realized i was in denial and am now on medical leave and i admit i will probably be on it for awhile. :/ now the challenge to stay positive, active and productive when i can, rest when i need to, and try not to get bored, depressed and ruminate about my condition :/ some days are harder than others.

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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Be sure to get regular daily exercise, not too strenuous. Walking is good.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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thank you :) i do my morning walks daily and sometimes in the afternoon i will do another. i just discovered there are gentle yoga classes 3 times a week down the street. yippie :) there is this whole world of things that happen between 9-5 which i never knew about :)

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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Trouper

 

Last night I wrote a draft of a letter to TJMaxx where I work on weekends.  It was supposed to be just Sundays and they piled on Saturdays.  Their new policy is you have to give (21) days notice to change your schedule or take time off.

 

So for three weeks you have to work until they acknowledge your need to change the schedule.  They re keeping people locked in.

 

I have worked myself into a tizzy by working my business M-F and then TJMaxx on Saturday and Sunday.

 

I knew if I went in this weekend I would have been in very bad shape.  Dizzy from fatigue and overall ill feeling with worsening anxiety and depression. 

 

It took every ounce of courage including call to my mother and BFF to muster up the courage to call in and say I would not be in for the weekend.  I was lucky enough to get a nice manager.  There is a manager who actually yells at the employees.

 

I asked my BFF why it is so hard for me to make the call and she said I am a people pleaser.  I believe i have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and a fear of financial insecurity which is exacerbated by drugs.

 

I have to leave this job because I am unwell at the moment from exhaustion and psych drugs.

 

Wishing you the best......

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hi nikki,

so sorry to hear you were feeling so bad but i hope taking the day off gave you a nice break and let you relax some. hopefully the 3 week rule doesn't mean sick time but only taking a vacation? i admire you for being able to work so much! i understand monetarily you may not have a choice, but I'm not sure keeping so active and busy 7 days a week is good for central nervous system healing, but i'm sure you know your limits.

right now I'm trying to figure out what is too much on the system myself. i guess i just have to find the balance but when I'm out for a while, talking to people or in an active environment it will eventually wear on my nerves and i become agitated and uncomfortable. i figure being social and doing things is good for my mental health but not sure if its damaging or hindering CNS healing when i start to feel bad. since going on medical leave i seem to have slowed down a lot and i'm not sure if its good or bad. i pamper myself more and i don't exercise as hard as i used to (not that i was doing anything too strenuous - this is basically taking gentle and hatha yoga instead of vinyasa, and not walking the super steep hills on my morning walk.) i think i am becoming paranoid about doing anything that may hurt my healing but not sure if I'm going too far as i really don't know how resilient i am or how much i should push myself.

i too am a people pleaser but going though this is slowly teaching me when i need to say no and care for myself. I'm trying so hard not to be a pain in the butt or high maintenance but you know, i need to do what is best for myself. like when people talk about negative things, i physically and mentally feel agitated so i need to ask them to change the subject. hope you are feeling better. :)

on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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