Feeling like a fraud

Yesterday I was working from home because I felt so down. I couldn’t stop crying and was just generally a bit depressed.  As the day went on I thought that I needed to take a few days out and so I emailed my team coordinator and asked if it was an option to take a few days unpaid leave or to work from home a few more days.

About 3 hours went by without an answer. Eventually the phone rang and it was work.  In a nutshell they said that if my mental health was that bad, I shouldn’t be working from home at all and that going forwards, the agreement we had that I could do this now and again when I couldn’t face being at work – was no longer an option.

She then said that I had been using my annual leave for days like this too and that I would not be allowed to do this either… apparently annual leave should be used for fun and not for depression…

I’m not sure when exactly but I ended up crying so much that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk at all and was more or less hyperventilating! It was pretty embarassing because she kept saying “hello?” “are you there?”… aghgh cringe.

She told me that I should go to the doctors, get signed off work for a while and get antidepressants if I wanted to take them. I said I didn’t.

I went to the doctors, I got signed off work for 2 weeks, was given a prescription for antidepressants, sleeping pills and a form to get a blood test.  Apparently the blood test was for lots of things but one of them was to check my thyroid… he said depression can be a sign of thyroid problems.

Then my actual line manager called… he didn’t have much to say. I told him what the doctor had said and he was pretty quiet the other end of the phone… he didn’t feel particularly supportive.

I then sent T an email telling her what was going on and I said that it felt as though this pain and the tears would never stop. That it felt never-ending.  She replied and we said we would talk tonight at my session…

Turning to today, the feelings have vanished. I feel like it all happened to someone else. I am aware that this probably means I have dissociated and I know there is a high chance it will all come flooding back at T’s tonight… maybe? but it’s left me feeling like a fraud. I feel like I’ve made some big song and dance … like I’ve made a load of drama …. I thought to myself maybe I am just a lazy (insert word of choice) who will do anything for a few days off work…… T says not to attack myself which I guess I am doing when I think those thoughts.

Oh meh. I don’t know where this blog is going or what the point is exactly in me writing it. I was hoping I was going to uncover something unconscious but that doesn’t feel as though it’s happening.

The problem is that no two days are the same in my head at the moment. I am glad for some time off but I don’t want to feel like a fraud. I am worried about all the drama I have caused and I’m not sure whether any of this was really necessary or not… the doctor said I was mild to moderately depressed but not severely because I hadn’t thought about ending my life. I know that many people have it much worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Feeling like a fraud

  1. You may well find you feel a bit lighter today because the pressure is off with work.

    I absolutely get what you mean, that feeling of fraud. Which totally isnt helped when people can’t express empathy and support, but that says something about them, not you.

    I think it would be great to talk to T about what you do with these 2 weeks, not exactly a plan, but a purpose. I think that would help you to accept this time as important and needed, and not just sorta float around for 2 weeks. I don’t mean to redecorate the whole house or anything 😉 it could just be something really simple, like journaling each day and doing one thing that would make you smile xxxx

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    1. I’m so glad you understand that feeling of being a fraud. Have you felt like that before?

      Oh yeah I’m certain some of it is work pressure being off but it just feels like all the feelings have just gone – vanished!! And I know better than that, they can’t just vanish like that.

      I’m actually going away on holiday next week so it’s just the remainder of this week really but I agree, I need to think about how to help myself. I feel like I’m just on holiday today…. yet maybe tomorrow I could be back to not being able to stop crying. It’s so weird. Xxx

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      1. Dammit I hit send!

        … Id go for a 30 walk and my back would seize up so bad I could barely walk back home. I used to dance but still can’t manage it yet, if I wear high heels for literally 10 minutes, my back is awful for days afterwards. But then I carry around a baby and a toddler, I get the pram in and out of the car etc and it makes me feel like a fraud because it feels like I should be able to do all of it or none of it? Some days I can walk and be fine, others not.

        I have also felt like that with work but I’ve been making babies and working for myself so I don’t have such a fresh memory like what you’re experiencing now. But I’ve had it with looking after my boys, I’ve talked about how much of a struggle I find it. Well just recently the last few times I’ve dropped my youngest to my mum whilst toddler is at nursery I have literally felt like the worst person on the planet. I was feeling so excited and relieved about having the time to myself, that I felt terrible for not spending it with my boys, like I was dumping and running. It’s a weird feeling of conflict, like, ‘oh I feel fine now, and I look fine, how can I still ask mum to babysit when I’m fine? “. BUT I was only able to feel that way BECAUSE I knew I was about to have that childfree time I so desperately need at the minute, and my mind went aaaahhhhhhhh.

        Yeah so not some big fix, but if right now is a really low point, what would the next step up look like? And how can T help you get there xx

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  2. Sometimes the sense that you are doing something about where you are at, can be enough to lift your attention out of where you felt stuck. You’re right that it may be temporary, these things usually don’t get resolved overnight, and you may be able to revisit the issues when you see T. However, you are certainly not a fraud. What you are going through is as real and debilitating as a broken leg. It’s just that people can see a broken leg and therefore they can empathise with that more easily than they can with what’s in your head.

    You’re welcome to read my blog, although I suggest you get T to check it out first, as some parts of it may be triggering for you. It’s a public blog, so they should be able to access it.

    You take care now :0)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for validating me so well. I said exactly that last night to my boyfriend – if I had a broken arms people who have sympathy and no more meetings and reports etc would be necessary. It’s a shame that when it’s mental health you get treated so badly. It certainly doesn’t help!

      I’ve just started to follow you – thank you x

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  3. You’re not a fraud. As you said, no two days are the same. Maybe you feel lighter because you have got it out… for now but there is likely to be more.
    I think you have done the right thing by getting signed off for a couple of weeks because it takes some pressure off you.
    I’m a little dismayed by the attitude of some of your colleagues though. xx

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    1. Yes perhaps there is a relief in getting it out… there was clearly a lot to get out. That would make sense. It’s so unpredictable when it comes and when it comes it totally destabilises me.

      Me too! Honestly I know that everyone knows there’s a stigma attached to mental health but I’m experiencing it first hand and I’m honestly shocked. Xx

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      1. I liken it to the flu. You think you’re better and it comes back again. It’s a sign that therapy is working but totally misunderstood by most people. Your doctor giving you anti depressants doesn’t surprise me either. Typical NHS!
        It’s a shame that your employer couldn’t let you work from home for the rest of the week if you’re on leave next week anyway. I think that most employers are useless with mental health issues! Especially assuming that it’s depression when it is more complicated than that. It’s probably strange to have to give in and take time off when you have been able to dissociate and stuff down the emotions. I’m not surprised you were upset by their attitude. xx

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      2. Yes very true! I agree that it’s a sign it’s working. I’ve just got home from T’s and she agrees with us too. She was very angry with my employers lol!! She said I am not depressed, I’m healing and said that actually I’m waking up FROM depression which is why these feelings coming are so shocking for me. I get what she means.

        exactly, that’s what I had asked for. Just a couple of days working from home – or holiday but now look! It’s as though I’ve ruined it for myself in a way but they don’t deal with things properly. I can’t see why I couldn’t continue working from home every now and again on days like yesterday, I was productive and got loads of work done.

        Will post tomorrow what T said but at least you guys and she understand xx

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  4. Self-care is really important, especially when doing this kind of work. I think things were exacerbated by how your work responded. The first supervisor sounds like her heart is in the right place, if you’re ill (mentally or physicially) then you shouldn’t have to use your holidays. You are allowed sick time. However what annoys me is the lack of flexibility with employers surrounding ill health. If you felt fit to work from home then that should be a good option. It’s not so black and white that either you’re “fit to work or not” Working from home gives you breathing space, a safe space where you feel comfortble being whilst still being able to be productive and get a job done.
    The guy who called you sounded like a typical boss.
    Also… why do the Dr’s immediately jump to depression? I don’t know, do you think it’s depression? Or are you suffering from PTSD type stuff? I think your reaction is very normal considering the level of work you are doing in therapy? What would be abnormal is to be able to stuff it all away all the time and never feel it. You are feeling, properly for the first time in your life and you are overwhelmed- because it’s overwhelming stuff. So maybe a break is a good idea but don’t let people lead you down the ” you must be depressed” road. You are traumatised and hurting, not depressed (most likely) and that rarely requires pills. Saying that, you will know best if there’s some depression there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Funnily enough I agree. The word depression is a vague word in my terms. I don’t feel “depressed” in the common sense of the word in that sometimes I feel totally fine and I’m still able to do things I enjoy, get up and dressed etc – other days I guess I fit the symptoms but I also think that’s about processing this therapy work and possibly symptoms of having complex ptsd. I couldn’t be bothered to argue this with the doctor though because he didn’t seem to be listening. He made me complete a questionnaire which he printed off google – it’s all minimised and the way they hand out antidepressants in my opinion is too easy…

      I agree with you about the lack of flexibility. I worked from home yesterday and I got loads of work done – way more than if I had been in the office with people asking me what was wrong constantly! It was a saving grace from having to pretend you know?

      I do feel overwhelmed for sure. At times I am sure it’s going to last forever and sometimes in the moment it feels as though my heart my physically break, that I’ll be sick and die but obviously I know I won’t. That’s where the embarrassment comes from. Xx

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      1. maybe when you go back to work, you can plead your case for staying home on days you feel bad. You can prove the level of productivity. And tell them that just because you don’t feel up to the journey to work or being around people, doesn’t mean you’re not fit to work. Might persuade them?
        I think you probably are doing a lot of dissociation, you probably have all your life and it’s just now that you’re getting in touch with your emotions and that’s why one minute you’re a crying wreck and the next you’re fine.

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  5. Regarding you work situation. I’ve copied this passage from one of the chapters in my memoir:

    “I was given jobs that were considered to be less demanding and which I could get on with quietly in a corner at my own pace. While I realised this was done out of sensitivity and compassion, looking back on it now I feel that it wasn’t always the best response. Much of the time I think what would have been more helpful would have been for me to be given work that was more challenging, interesting and mentally demanding. The odd occasions when I was given a more responsible task, or had to work as part of a team with a definite goal or deadline, seemed to be those when I could more readily shelve everything I was going through.”

    I realise everyone’s work situation is different but it can be the case that having a task which is more interesting or challenging, can have the effect of switching ones attention away from being preoccupied with their current distressful state.

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  6. In NO WAY are you a fraud, that’s just your inner critic giving you a serve in the face of massive invalidation and lack of compassion from your work crew. Fuck them!!! Sorry but they are not showing you necessary compassion. I get so incensed by this fucking shut down society that leaves true sufferers out in the cold. I am genuinely angry for you. I left a job where they told me to get on antidepressants. I leave anyone who tells me that. I don’t need them and I wont take them I need to feel my pain, there is no easier softer way. You do what you need to do if the includes taking drugs, take them, but this shit really makes me angry. You have been emotionally abused and your pain was not validated. Pure and simple. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this. I also feel angry with work now and after seeing T last night and seeing how angry she is with them, it’s made me realise how unfair they are being. She also told me off for attacking myself so I think my inner critic was at play like you suggest. She’s actually offered to speak to them on the phone and explain to them what I do and don’t need and how they can and should help!! I don’t think she will be very nice to them mind haha! I liked how fiery she got, made me feel looked after.

      I also refuse to take them for the same reason and I said that to the doctor who claimed it wouldn’t affect my feelings for therapy (lies!). Xx

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  7. I think that your supervisor is WAY out of line for suggesting antidepressants, and to a lesser extent your doctor is too, for fobbing you off without a proper discussion – it’s a big deal, and in the sort of depression you get as a result of not coping with adult life because of an abusive childhood, they may not even do much good. Definitely something that needs a lot of thought and discussion between you, doctors and therapist as to what you are trying to achieve in taking them before going down that road. As others have said, not feeling up to physically being at work shouldn’t be a bar to working from home if you are productive doing that. It sounds really positive that your therapist is going to help you negotiate with work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I do too and I’ve spoken this through with T now and she is also disgusted at my work and the GP. It was so easy. It’s no wonder young teens can so easily end up on antidepressants. T is a strong believer that I just need to access the feelings and get them out and I trust her. Xx

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  8. this is so hard! 1 your not a fraud, its not causing a drama, 2 isnt annual leave to do what you want with it? can they really dictate what you use it for? not sure what to say well except i am angry for you. x

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