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Coping with depression and my job

I’m currently going through a med change for my depression and dealing with my depression symptoms. My depression came back earlier this year when the pandemic began and after working on the COVID unit. Now most of my stress is from working so much overtime that is mandatory. My therapist offered to write an excuse/note to send to my manager saying that it’s not good for my mental health to be working this much. I declined when she offered because I didn’t want my manager to know I have depression and didn’t want my coworkers to feel like I’m not pulling my weight. But now I’ve reconsidered her offer of writing a note for my manager because I’m struggling with my depression. But I’m scared of what will happen when she gets the letter. I don’t want to change jobs because I like my job, but working all this overtime is too much. Changing jobs would only cause me more stress. Just scared of the unknown, I don’t want to let my coworkers down but I also hate coming to work. I hate being there. I see no end to it all.

Edited by Katniss88

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

You are entitled to take FMLA for this and your management is not entitled to your medical details. FMLA can be taken in increments or in longer spells of time. You don't have to take it all at once. I suggest you talk to your HR department (or look it up on your company's employee intranet) to find out their policies. You do not have to disclose depression. Only that you have a qualifying event that a physician is willing to validate.

4 hours ago, Nurse SMS said:

You are entitled to take FMLA for this and your management is not entitled to your medical details. FMLA can be taken in increments or in longer spells of time. You don't have to take it all at once. I suggest you talk to your HR department (or look it up on your company's employee intranet) to find out their policies. You do not have to disclose depression. Only that you have a qualifying event that a physician is willing to validate.

I never thought about taking FMLA. In the hospital policy it states mandatory OT is required of employees during times of disaster, so I'm not sure how it would play out. My vacation is coming soon so I'll be off for some time to recharge. I have good and bad days of course, yesterday was not good and being at work made it worse, but as the night when on I started to feel better(probably from all that walking). I should be doing some type of exercising but when I'm home I feel like doing nothing. I decided this morning that I didn't want the letter sent.

BButterfly1993, ADN, BSN

Specializes in ICU, Cath lab, Interventional Radiology.

Maybe you can split a shift with another nurse or a per diem nurse? Sometimes if I wanted a few extra hours I would team up with another nurse and plan on splitting the shift with them. It could help burnout as well.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for decades. I understand completely where you are coming from that your job is making your mental health issues worse.

For sooooo many years I ignored that fact in my own career which caused me to either embrace the "suck it up buttercup" attitude or reach a point of despondency that I job hopped.. I have lost count in the past 10 yrs how many times I have changed jobs. What I didn't realize was part of the job hopping was based on the depression/anxiety/low self esteem that I brushed off or wasn't willing to address for various reasons.

I wanted so much to be like other nurses, those that knew what unit they wanted to work on, to have that dedication/drive/passion and to be one of those nurses that stayed with an employer for years on end.

Unfortunately, my lack of taking care of my mental health struggles early on created more issues for me then were necessary. There will always be a reason  employers want employees to work over time, changes shifts etc. (pandemic, short staffing, higher than normal census and so on) You truly can't let that be your problem. If you need time off, take it if you can. Guilt is part of depression and often times those of us with chronic mental health issues try hard to live as though we don't have them..that only makes things worse.

My point is, your mental health needs to be priority one. A lesson I wish I had understood a long time ago.

 

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

On 8/18/2020 at 6:31 PM, Katniss88 said:

I never thought about taking FMLA. In the hospital policy it states mandatory OT is required of employees during times of disaster, so I'm not sure how it would play out. My vacation is coming soon so I'll be off for some time to recharge. I have good and bad days of course, yesterday was not good and being at work made it worse, but as the night when on I started to feel better(probably from all that walking). I should be doing some type of exercising but when I'm home I feel like doing nothing. I decided this morning that I didn't want the letter sent.

You could try intermittent FMLA. Then you could just take off during your bad days where you don’t feel like you could function at your job.

Even though I have been off from work for a week on vacation, my doctor advised that I be off for another week. He wanted to give me time to adjust to the change in my medication and to allow for more rest. I spoke to my manager about it and I decided to use FMLA for last week and this week. I also expressed that I felt the increase in overtime and not enough rest in between shifts stressed me out too much, I also brought up the fact that in weeks prior I told her I was starting to feel burned out and asked when the overtime was going to end. I am thankful that I have a manager that is understanding with my situation, she took me off the extra days on the schedule. I'm worried that my coworkers will be upset when they see that I'm not working the overtime like they are and won't treat me the same. I normally do not ask for help while at work because I like to do it all myself, but it's nice when a coworker is team player and helps you out when they see you are drowning. I like all of my coworkers, but I do not like tension or feeling like people mad at me because I'm not pulling my weight by working the OT like they are. Even if I told my coworkers the reason why, not everyone will be understanding so I see no point in telling my personal problems, also I do not want everyone to know that about me.

Edited by Katniss88

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

2 minutes ago, Katniss88 said:

Even though I have been off from work for a week on vacation, my doctor advised that I be off for another week. He wanted to give me time to adjust to the change in my medication and to allow for more rest. I spoke to my manager about it and I decided to use FMLA for last week and this week. I also expressed that I felt the increase in overtime and not enough rest in between shifts stressed me out too much, I also brought up the fact that in weeks prior I told her I was starting to feel burned out and asked when the overtime was going to end. I am thankful that I have a manager that is understanding with my situation, she took me off the extra days on the schedule. I'm worried that my coworkers will be upset when they see that I'm not working the overtime like they are and won't treat me the same. I normally do not ask for help while at work because I like to do it all myself, but it's nice when a coworker is team player and helps you out when they see you are drowning. I like all of my coworkers, but I do not like tension or feeling like people mad at me because I'm not pulling my weight by working the OT like they are. Even if I told my coworkers the reason why, not everyone will be understanding so I see no point in telling my personal problems, also I do not want everyone to know that about me.

They aren't entitled to know. Would you feel guilty if you were undergoing chemotherapy? If you had a broken foot? If your mother or father were ill and needed you?

Those people don't get a vote and whatever their issues may be with the situation, those are theirs to own and work through. Stop worrying about what they might or might not be saying. Take care of yourself. Nobody else is going to.

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