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When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

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Old 01-08-2007, 06:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 72
scotianprincess HB User
When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

Hi all,

I have major anxiety now - it's affecting me every day, giving me panic attacks, etc. It started back in April, got really bad in July and I ended up missing 2 weeks of work b/c I was just so out of it. It let up a bit for a while (has never gone away), and it started getting bad again in October, and now is back to the really instrusive stage where I don't even want to go out. I am now in counselling b/c of it, but it doesn't change the fact that it is happening right now and I cannot take this b.s. anymore. I have to take the subway to work, and it ALWAYS starts as soon as I walk into the station. Well, today it started when I was waiting for the bus to take me there. So by the time I get to work I am already a mess, almost got off the subway about 10 times, and I spend my entire work day in shambles and not myself at all. I spend most of the day trying to regulate my breathing, heart rate, and trying not to have a full blown panic attack. This happens when I go out to socialize as well, I mean if I end up going out at all b/c most of the time I don't b/c I am afraid I will be too panicky and anxious.

I want to know when is it reasonable for me to TELL someone that I need time off? Last time this happened I had to ASK my doctor, she didn't even suggest it at all. I had to suggest how long I needed off as well. I was thinking this problem was bad enough that it is affecting every aspect of my life, is this not an illness? I really need advice about this. I have benefits at work for long term and short term disability, but does this count? If people were in my shoes I think they would say it does. For sure.
The counsellor I am seeing is thru work and they cannot act as an advocate for me and request time off from work for me. So who can?

Advice would be great - thank you very much!

Last edited by scotianprincess; 01-08-2007 at 06:58 AM.

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Old 01-08-2007, 07:31 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Boston, MA
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j2006 HB User
Re: When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

When the anxiety and panic is interfering with your daily activites it is hard to funtion with any of life's other duties.

I went through this during the summer. Initially I took 1 month which then ran into 2 months. I think 2 months was too long. Being out didn't keep my mind busy.

Make sure that during your time off you have a plan in place. Seeking doctor's care and maybe trying a medication.

Old 01-08-2007, 03:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 25
Elaine1946 HB User
Smile Re: When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

Hi - Just over a year ago...well, about 15 months ago, I had a massive panic attack at work. There was absolutely no way I could return to work because that is where it happened...I just felt `safe` in our home. I ended up being off work for 5 months and gradually returned. I live in UK and was covered by `sick pay`, but this added to the anxiety as it gave me guilt trips on getting paid for being off sick...I had never been off sick before. It didnt help that because I was going to be 60 within a few months that I was advised maybe just to retire. I am pleased that I didnt. I now work 3 days a week. Have had a bad day today but was at work. Lets all hope for good days in 2007. Take care - Elaine

Old 01-08-2007, 05:43 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 786
ocdengineer HB User
Re: When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

My suggestion would be to keep forcing youself to go to work at all costs. The more you keep busy the better you will feel. I know it is horrible right now, but it will pass. I think you also need to do some more reasearch on what doctors to go to. You need a therapist who deals with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to teach you to deal with panic and anxiety as well as an anti-anxiety drug either temporarily or permanently to get you through the rough times. Benzodiazapenes would help you a lot and have very little side effects. You do have to watch your dosage so you don't become dependent on it, but usually you can find a dose that is relatively low that will almost relieve all of your anxiety.

Please look into a therapist who deals with CBT and a doctor who knows about anxiety dissorders in particular. Your GP will not give you Xanax. You need to find a specialist, and don't give up on work. Honestly, work and getting out of the house is the absolute best thing in the world for panic dissorder with agoraphobia. If you go home, then what will you do? Sit an rhuminate about all the panic and anxiety you have. Read as much as you can on panic dissorder, because it sounds like that is what you have.

Good luck and keep moving forward. The minute you step back the dissorder will pounce.

Take care,

Old 01-09-2007, 07:14 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 54
jennymar HB User
Re: When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

I think as long as you are taking time off because the anxiety is so bad that it's difficult to function, you should take it. It sounds like you are suffering with it every day. If you are taking the time off because you are avoiding something you fear at work, you may be doing yourself more harm than good ( for example because you are afraid to drive to work ). I had to take a couple of months off last year because my anxiety in general was so bad and I could barely do my job. It had nothing to do with getting to or being at work, the anxiety was just about a 24/7 thing that was not triggered by any specific fear. The only true phobia I had was health anxiety. (Imagine working at a hotel/ casino and almost having to ask a guest if you can sit down in a chair in their room because you feel like you are going to pass out or drop dead!). My doctors advised against it but I still think it was the right thing to do. It wasn't like I was avoiding something I feared. Can you apply for FMLA? That's what I did.

Old 01-10-2007, 06:15 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 72
scotianprincess HB User
Re: When is it reasonable to request time off from work?

Thanks for all the replies - I have spoken with HR and they advised me to speak with my doctor about the issue and my questions. I am not sure what will happen, as HR said in orer to get Short-term disability I would have to be completely disabled from doing my job. Which I am not - but, we shall see.

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