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I have bipolar disorder, I won't even try to tell you how horrendous it can be to deal with. I started work for my company 5 years ago and was truthful at my interview. However, for the last 3 years I have had a bad episode each year. When it happens I get agoraphobia and am unable to leave the house, I can spend weeks/months in bed as I am even too scared to go downstairs. Sometimes I can't even see my own children. So work is definitely out of the question. The problem is I get paid sick pay. A lot of people have no understanding, one colleague stopped speaking to me as I was getting paid for being 'fed up' whilst she was doing her work and helping the team to do mine. This is my 3rd episode I am just coming out of (my worst so far). The time is coming when I should go back to work but I don't think I can face it.

I've spoke to work but they have to pay me if I'm off sick. I would rather they didn't so no one could think I'm trying it on. I don't know if this will happen again.

I could try to claim PIP but have been told my chances are slim as although it is a permanent disability, it doesn't prevent me working all the time.

I've thought about changing jobs but a) who on earth is going to employ me and b) If it does happen again, I have just given another company the same problem.

I know sick pay is an important benefit to receive from a company but I do wish there could be some discretion in certain circumstances.

What are your thoughts? Don't worry I've gone way passed the stage of being offended, lol. I would just like to hear some other perspectives or if anyone else has the same type of problem.

Janhrrs
1 month ago
What do you think of this?
gerrykelly25
gerrykelly251 month ago

I am sorry to hear about your health issues Janhrrs and how debilitating it can be. You are entitled to claim sick pay when you are unwell, please do not feel guilty about it - particularly as you were open with your employer when you applied for the position. With regards to comments made by your colleagues, ignore them! They obviously have no understanding of mental health issues. They were being judgemental and insensitive. If you experience any further negativity when you return to work, inform your manager. Don’t let ignorant people force you out of your job. I wish you all the best.

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

Thank you so much gerrykelly25, that's what my friends and family say but I just have so much guilt about it. It helps to have other opinions that have no bias.

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Dani1
Dani11 month ago

Hi Janhrrs I'm truly sorry that you are suffering at the moment. Gerrykelly25 has offered some wonderful advice. My best friend suffers too and like you it can hit her once a year and last weeks or months. I hope you are able to get help to help you through this time. With regards to your colleague some people have no empathy or understanding. I hope you can just ignore them and realise they are not worth a second of your time or worry. They are ignorant and that's putting it politely. gerrykelly25 was right about talking to your manager if there are any problems when you return. You are getting help with sick pay as you cannot work at the moment and please don't feel guilty about that. When you are able a friend or family member could call whilst with you with regards to pip. I found a little information about it. I wish you well and it's lovely to hear you are coming out of this episode. Please do not feel pressured to return to work when you cannnot face it just yet. Sending best wishes x https://www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

Thank you Dani1. It means a lot to know that there are people out there who understand and it's not just my family and friends just trying to be kind to me. Thank you so much also for taking the time to find a link to PIP. x

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Dani1
Dani11 month ago

Hi Janhrrs good evening, there's honestly no need to thank me. I hope you are feeling more comfortable about receiving sick pay whilst you are needing it. It's great that you are coming out of the episode and I hope you are feeling better very soon. Sending best wishes x

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MichelleKe42857
MichelleKe428571 month ago

You're unwell and entitled to pay for it. If your colleague became unwell would they happily receive their sick pay? Would they appreciate others putting their nose into their business? Your pay is no one elses business, if that colleague continues to discuss it or moan i would definitely speak to someone who can perhaps highlight their ignorance to them. Hope you're better soon.

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

MichelleKe42857 Thank you so much, it really helps to have reassurance from people who are detached from the situation.

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MichelleKe42857
MichelleKe428571 month ago

Janhrrs glad to have helped. I really think it's ridiculous. I work with a lady with complex mental health issues and have never questioned her sick pay, it's ignorant and rude and frankly i'm not interested in her pay. I'm on my high horse over this πŸ™ˆ

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davidstockport
davidstockport1 month ago

The colleague who says she helps the team with your work should be thanked and told that if she is ever off with a recognised illness (or maternity leave) you will reciprocate by helping the team do her work.

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

davidstockport thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Everyone's comments have been very reassuring. Now when the times right I hope I can pluck up the courage to go back.

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angemski
angemski1 month ago

I truly believed that the workplace had a better understanding of depression in general and bipolar disorder. When Stephen Fry, the nation's favourite talker told us he was suffering, although shocked, we all started to learn more about the debilitating effects of being bipolar. Sadly, ignorance is bliss and your colleague's attitude was insulting. The first thing I would do is give your Manager some literature/leaflets explaining bipolar and request that they be discussed at the next staff meeting. I've recently had my doubts about someone I know and their depression - I do my best to talk her through her worst days but I believe it is so much more than it being 'hormonal' and feeling low. It can literally bring her to a standstill where she cannot make a decision. She is self employed so isn't harassed by colleagues but her ability to work during these times is a major worry for her. You have my sympathy.

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davidstockport
davidstockport1 month ago

Agoraphobia is very debilitating - many people who would recognise a broken leg as a reason to be off work can't understand it because they can't imagine what it's like , you might even ask if it would help if when you're off work, you have a plaster cast put on your leg and emailed a picture to her at regular intervals (some people need pictures to understand anything).

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

It totally is and the funny thing is although I have always been like it I had never recognised it as agoraphobia as mainly I went about my day to day life in the outside world if I had to but when I have a bad episode of bipolar, the agoraphobia really gets a grip. It was only when the pyschiatrist explained last year that I also suffered with agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder that things made a bit more sense.

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

Thank you angemski. You would be surprised just how much ignorance there still is. I've met people who thought that bipolar disorder was the same as schizophrenia and it meant I heard voices telling me what to do and so everyone was at risk from me. I didn't know where to start. 2 entirely separate mental illnesses and even worse people with schizophrenia are not automatically a threat to everyone 😒 heartbreaking that attitudes like that still exist. I'm very sorry about your friend. It often goes undiagnosed by GP's. If it helps my daughter found a website called black dog which had a questionnaire on it. I completed it as did my husband and daughter how they saw me and I took all 3 forms to the Dr who referred me to the mental health team, after several visits with the pyschiatrist he explained that I did have bipolar and most likely had been suffering with it for the previous 28 years or so. Maybe your friend would be open to looking on the site or maybe you could complete the questionnaire as you see her and show it to her. It's scary but when the medication is right it makes you feel so different. I hope your friend gets help and thank you for your support and advice.x

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angemski
angemski1 month ago

Thanks Janhrrs I will definitely try to get my friend to take a look at the black dog site. I honestly believe she is worried about getting it officially diagnosed and 'labelled' While she writes it off as hormonal she can deal with it. I think the important thing for you is to keep talking and not feeling isolated - there are many listeners here. x

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

angemski thank you, it really helps knowing that there are people out there without the disorder that can an will understand and offer support. The website I mentioned is an Australian site, initially there are 3 simple questions that will lead you on to a more in depth questionnaire if needed. I feel for your friend, receiving the label is very scary. My pyschiatrist broke it gently to me over a few weeks and even then I said 'but I've only got it mildly haven't I?' lol. A yway the website address is https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-self-test and try to reassure your friend that it is just something she is doing for her own benefit and whether she takes it further or not will be her decision. She's lucky to have such a good friend. X

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angemski
angemski1 month ago

Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to post this. x

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ellenmcmurchie
ellenmcmurchie1 month ago

Janhrrs I know exactly how you feel...I have suffered C-PTSD on and off since I was young.

I have never been in any armed forces ...

Never been trained in warfare or how to shoot a gun ...

Never seen people being killed.

But I have been in many battles....

And I have survived a good few wars ...

Trying to get through life avoiding stress...pain...fear...shame and all other debilitating emotions/feelings leaves me living in a dark bubble...trying to avoid the 'outside world'

I'm starting to a bit better.

Thank you for being brave and courageous and sharing. πŸ’•

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Janhrrs
Janhrrs
Original Poster
1 month ago

ellenmcmurchie bless you. That dark bubble is horrible. It literally is like being in one world watching another. I hope you are well again soon. I've learnt you can't rush it. As for sharing its take me a long time. I didn't know if this site was the right place but I genuinely wanted some non biased opinions of what to do next and I very grateful for each of you that have replied. Another thing I've also learnt is that there is no rhyme or reason for some mental health issues. Sometimes with hindsight you can see a trigger, sometimes there is no trigger. The point is it doesn't matter what causes it being in a war or not, if you are suffering the end result is the same. Take care and be kind to yourself. Xx

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ellenmcmurchie
ellenmcmurchie1 month ago

Janhrrs you be kind also.

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