Terrified to return to work because of Covid — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Terrified to return to work because of Covid

LadyL
LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
edited June 29 in Work and employment
Hi,

I suffer with anxiety and OCD, which has been made so much worse by the pandemic. 😥 Especially after shielding for so long due to having Rheumatoid Arthritis and Asthma, the idea of mixing with so many people just terrifies me. 😢 I also live in one of the variant hotspots. With restrictions soon fo be eased and people beginning to travel, I fear people will become complacent.

As a result, I am currently at risk of being dismissed or sacked, if I don't agree with my manager to return  to work with her constantly quoting that the government said I should return if I can't work from home as working from home is no longer possible. 

Has anyone else been struggling with this...?
Tagged:

Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,603 Disability Gamechanger
    @LadyL I'm sure you're not the only one and your OCD and anxiety must make it worse.
    But with so many people having had one or both jabs it's starting to get easier for people to get back to work, although my daughter who works for an American bank in the UK has been told they will work from home until the new year, making it 22 months since she will have been near the office.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,763 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there 

    I think a lot of people will struggle and quitse a few fortunately will still be home working 

    I do feel though we have to get back to some sort of normality and lots have returned to work for quite a while now even those not yet vaccinated including all school kids 

    It will be hard for you with your condition but you can try and protect yourself by keeping distance and wearing mask etc 
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,695 Disability Gamechanger
    I felt like that for a whilst  bit  I have had corona virus  I started work 5 weeks ago I do feel nervous becsuse of corona  virus  I work nights on my own in a petrol station so it's not so bad  

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,414

    Scope community team

    Hi @LadyL

    I'm sorry you are feeling anxious because of the covid-19 risk  :(  I can see on another thread, you mentioned having previously accessed CBT and online counselling before but this hadn't helped.  Would it be useful to speak with your GP again about what treatment options are available?  Also, how did it go speaking to UNISON?  Are you still looking for other jobs?  Sorry, I've bombarded you a tad with questions there.  

    One thing to consider might be having a phased return where you slowly increase your hours and see how you get on.  It may be that the fear of going back is worse than doing it, but this is absolutely a personal choice and one you would need to speak with your manager about.  

    Please let us know how you get on and know we are here for support anytime you need us.  Best wishes.
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    Thank you everyone for all the replies and for being so understanding. Also, so sorry for my late response. 😥
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    @woodbine and @janer1967 Yes, I think my conditions do make it harder to adjust but my employer doesn't understand or doesn't want to. I understand they have to think about the needs of the service. I just needed a bit more time while everything is uncertain. I even suggested reducing my contracted hours from 9 to 6 and was happy to be reassigned to a role in a smaller library, which is closer to me to give me time to adjust. All my suggestions were shut down. 

    @janer1967 As for social distancing it Is difficult in a library especially as it is a high touch area. Plus, my OCD's context is a fear of germs/contamination which results in over-washing when I am stressed making my skin really sore. Also, they are expecting me to clean areas when customers have finished using the computers, which will only name my OCD and anxiety worse. Also, when restrictions ease it will be even harder to socially distancd from others.

    As for wearing a mask, I am currently suffering from acid reflux and nausea causing me to have a chronic cough which in turn makes my asthma worse. This makes it difficult to wear one for long periods. I had an appointment in March 2020, but it was cancelled due to lockdown. I now have one in June in a few weeks.

    @lisathomas50 Thank you for sharing your experience. 

    I think maybe I need to try to find a job where I am not around too many people at once. Hopefully that will make it easier for me to get used to going out to a workplace again.
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    @bekindalways Thank you for your message and the hugs. xx

    I have now had both vaccinations, but due to my OCD (fear of germs/contamination) my anxiety is also so much worse.

    Pre-Covid I was able to manage my OCD by coming home and showering after work. I worked 9 hours over 2 days at weekends. Even then my colleagues would joke about how dirty the library was which I tried to ignore. I also wore gloves for my own peace of mind. However, since Covid the mere idea of mixing with so many people seems impossible for me right now.

    I understand what you mean by most colleagues being understanding, I'm just not too sure about the public. 😓 Especially as many people still need to be vaccinated and restrictions may soon be easing. In turn, social distancing and wearing a mask may no longer be mandatory. Also with people beginning to travel abroad, there is no way to know how many new variants they might bring back. 🙁

    Like many others here already having to deal with health issues, I just don't want to add anymore to my list. 

    Sorry I didn't disclose my workplace in my initial post. I just forgot as I have been quite stressed out about it all. 

    Also, I am really sorry to hear you've been housebound. 🙁
  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,695 Disability Gamechanger
    If your worried you could wear gloves to do your job one of the girls here does because she is scared as she works days we do have plastic screens and plenty of hand sanitiser  and we all work on our own thats why I got a night job it can get busy but they are the other side of the counter and at night we serve through a hatch 

    I still have the odd anxiety attack I have done two extra nightsx
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    Hi @LadyL

    I'm sorry you are feeling anxious because of the covid-19 risk  :( ... Would it be useful to speak with your GP again about what treatment options are available?  Also, how did it go speaking to UNISON?  Are you still looking for other jobs?  Sorry, I've bombarded you a tad with questions there.  

    One thing to consider might be having a phased return where you slowly increase your hours and see how you get on. 
    @Cher_Scope Thank you for your reply and support.

    It all started with OH telephone meeting which I was informed about the evening before by my manager, which did not help my anxiety. At this time I had not even had my second jab. The OH lady spoke to me for 10 minutes and made the decision that I was fit for work and did not need a phased return because I hadn't been off sick and had already had my first jab. 

    After which a report was written and I was told I had two business days to respond: 1. If I was happy for it to be sent to my manager 2. To write a response if there was anything I disagreed with, which would be sent to my manager with the OH report.

    The next step was a meeting to discuss my return to work. Due to having anxiety I requested that a Unison rep be present to support me in case I forgot something or felt overwhelmed. As on occasions when my anxiety has got the best of me when I have been too stressed out, my mum has been my support and advocate. My manager's response was that someone from HR would be present as she also needed support. :(

    The result was, after a wellbeing risk assessment, me literally crying, feeling not listened to, overwhelmed and ambushed with three people watching me and staring back at me. 😢 With the only strength I had left, I told them I couldn't think right now and to put their suggestions in writing so I could think it over. 😢

    The Unison rep spoke to me afterwards and told me I needed to be very careful or they will just sack me because other CEV people have returned. She also said that I should probably be off sick with my current mental state. 😥

    As for speaking to my GP, after such a difficult day, I built up the courage to contact my GP (still in tears). However, after waiting from being 5th in the queue, I was told to ring back at 8am in the morning. 😥

    I have since received an email outlining a phased return with a discussion of maybe allowing me to have amended duties for a few weeks, but then everything needs to get back to normal. 

    After much consideration, I have decided to resign. I am still waiting to hear from my manager, but due to my current mental health I think I need a fresh start. 😞

    I am currently trying to get an appointment with my GP as many of you have suggested. I think I do need my GP's support, and some time to feel stronger. 

    Also, I am hoping to find some admin work on a casual basis to begin with, so I can take it slow and get used to going out to work again. I think it will also allow me to work in an environment with contact with fewer people at any one time, and hopefully with people who are more understanding.
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    edited June 1
    @lisathomas50 Thank you again for sharing your experience with me and for your advice. I really appreciate it. :smile: It does help knowing that I am not the only one suffering with fear and anxiety.

    I am sorry to hear you have had anxiety attacks so recently though.

    I hope you are doing okay otherwise. x
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    @bekindalways Thank you so much again for your kind words and support. It means a lot to know I am not alone. xx

    Thanks also for your advice about considering wearing a face shield too.

    Also, I will keep trying to get an appointment with my GP as soon as possible for support, and I will try to stay strong.

    I know it will take time, but asking for help is the first step, right? :)

    Also, I hope you are well and having a good day. x
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,414

    Scope community team

    @LadyL Aww thank you for taking the time to explain what happened and I'm sorry the meeting with work caused so much upset  :(  Have you submitted your resignation yet?  Don't forget, there's always the option of taking some sick-leave but I fully understand if you feel that this is the right time to move on - ultimately, you know yourself and your needs best.  

    I'm glad to hear you intend on speaking with your GP and please let us know how it goes.  If you make notes of the things you want to say and try to work your way through them, or show the doctor if it gets tough, that might help alleviate some pressure.

    I hope you can begin to feel some reprieve from your anxiety now you have a decision in mind about work and remember, we are here to virtually support you whenever you need us.  Take care.  
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    @Cher_Scope Thank you for your message. I hope you are well.  :)

    Yes, I have now submitted my resignation. My manager sent an email last night to confirm it is being processed by HR. 

    I have submitted a self-certificate for my sickness absence for this week due to the impact on my mental and physical health. Due to not feeling well enough to cope with going in to work my notice, as I have been working from home since lockdown. However, I will need to ask my GP for a fit note for the rest of the duration of my notice.

    I am just having some trouble getting an appointment. I have been given a telephone appointment for the 15th June and was told if I need it sooner I need to ring at 8am on Monday, and then Tuesday if I don't get one. Ideally, I think I would benefit more from a face-to-face appointment this time. My mum said they have started having them again now, so she will try and arrange one for me. I am also due a review of my medication before I can order any more. I think I am just not assertive enough with reception. 😞

    The uncertainty is a bit scary, as I would have been in my job for 2 years on 9th June. However, I do actually feel better with regards to not having to worry about going back there. So, for now I need to focus on getting a proper appointment with my GP. Hopefully, then I can get the support I currently need.

    Thank you for your advice and support. I really appreciate it. :smile:

    I actually didn't sleep too well last night as I noticed the email just before I went to bed. Then I started worrying about taking sick leave for the duration of my notice. I am in the ESA support group so wasn't sure if being off sick would impact this, and therefore, also scared it would result in them forcing me to move to UC. 😥 However, member @calcotti said it shouldn't affect me as I would not be entitled to SSP as I only earned £90.67 per week. Besides, going off-sick for my notice was actually for my sanity and not about the money. I just wanted to reinforce to my manager that I would not be able to come in during my notice due to the toll recent events have taken on my health and how I have been feeling.  So I hope it will all be okay. :/

    Thank you so much again @Cher_Scope, and to everyone else too, for being supportive and helping me know that I am not alone. 😊
  • LadyL
    LadyL Member Posts: 46 Connected
    Hi @bekindalways, I hope you are well and thank you again for your support. :smile: xx

    Sorry I haven't been in touch sooner. Been trying to sort out my GP appointment, and haven't been feeling very well.
     
    Feeling a lot better now though, and I finally managed to get an appointment with my GP. Had to get up really early and ring on the day, but... it was worth it. My GP was really understanding and said she will give me a fit note stating the stress and anxiety I have been suffering. I spoke to her for 18 minutes. So managed to get quite a few things sorted out including my medication review. Due to no face-to-face appointments though, I have to buy a blood pressure machine for one of my medicines. Plus, I need another blood test, and an Asthma review. Not sure how an Asthma review will work over the phone though.

    I was quite anxious at first as I haven't had a proper appointment for so long. Thanks to your encouragement and support though, I just told her how I felt like you said I had already done on here. :smile: So I'm really glad I was brave enough to share what I was going through, and so grateful to you and everyone else who took the time to listen. It really helped and made it easier to know what to say and explain it to my GP. So, thank you so much again. 😊

    As for getting out in the sunshine, I did manage to go for a walk on the Bank Holiday. Went out for a blood test, then my mum encouraged me to get out of the car for a bit and we walked by the river. It was actually really nice and not too many people about. :smile:

    I also took your advice about trying to relax. So, I made some brownies the other day and today I spent some time trying to learn to play my piano. 😁

    Being kind to myself is something I also need to practise. I can be my worst critic at times. Guess I need to remember things aren't always in our control and they could also be a lot worse. Plus, we are all different, which isn't a bad thing, right...? 😊

    Had to look up what railway sleepers are, lol... Is your husband a carpenter?

    Well, I hope your chairs turned out nice and everything is well with you. God bless you. :smile: xxx
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Member
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

Brightness

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.