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Medication Please post any experiences, questions or advice on medication here.
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  #1  
Old 23-08-08, 15:53
marylou marylou is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5
Being signed off work by your doctor

Hi everyone

I'm quite a new member and really hoping that someone can offer me some words of wisdom!!!

I've recently been prescribed Mirtazapine by my GP and am really struggling with the usual side effects of drowziness.
I was at work at the start of my treatment but found it increasingly difficult to get through the days and really struggling to deal with being a "weak link" at work and how much this must be annoying my colleagues in my very small team...
I asked my GP if I could try different medication but he was reluctant to do this and said that I should try Mirtazapine for a bit longer (I was previously on citalopram which had the reverse effect - in other words I couldn't sleep at all!)..
I had an occupational health assesment on the same day prior to seeing my GP and they suggested that I would benefit from a period of time off work and I got the impression that the occ. health nurse meant a few weeks/month.
My GP offered to sign me off for 2 weeks which I willingly accepted but I am now really really anxious about what happens after the 2 weeks as I really can't see how, even if the physical side effects of my medication abate, that I will be able to get through a full day of work again!!
My job is in quite a pressurised environment and whilst work have been doing all the right things in terms of attempting to reduce my workload, I feel that unless I am bursting in to tears every few minutes, people think that I am coping...
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  #2  
Old 23-08-08, 15:59
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kendo59 kendo59 is offline
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Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

I've been on Mirtazapine, Propranolol, & Diazepam, for 6 months, and my GP signs me off for a month at a time, and I have to go back to see him every 3-4 weeks. My GP has indicated that I should stay off work until the end of the year (which is doing my head in - but that's another story).

If you explain to your GP how you feel and that you cannot work whilst on those meds, he should give you a certificate. Ask your GP how long he thinks you will need to stay on medication for, to give you an idea of how long you might be off work for altogether (will also give your employer a better idea of how to cover your absence).
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  #3  
Old 23-08-08, 16:21
marylou marylou is offline
 
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Posts: 5
Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

Thanks for the reply

My GP seems to think that I will be on meds for 6/9 months..
I think part of the problem is that I have had differing opinions from different GPs at the GP practice that I attend including the senior partner who seems to feel that people are better off at work where possible..
Perhaps this is applicable if you work in a low stress role - I don't know - but I'm certainly not able to cope at the moment but dreading having to tell anyone this at work...
The occupational health nurse has also told me that if I have to be referred to them again then I will have to see a doctor rather than a nurse and it is all getting very serious at work...
I'd really just like to resign but then also angry with work as I believe they have caused me to be ill...
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  #4  
Old 23-08-08, 16:30
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kendo59 kendo59 is offline
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Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

Don't resign. You should be able to get signed off work on full pay for a period of time (up to 6 months on full pay, then another 6 months on half pay, in some places). Believe me, if you are off work for months, that money and peace-of-mind of a steady wage coming in is very useful. You can always choose to NOT return to work after that time is up, if you should feel it necessary.

Are you a member of any union? If not, I would advise joining if you can. Your union rep will be able to give you much better advice about the legalities & work obligations/benefits.

Try to ask for an appointment with the GP that you think is most sympathetic & understanding.

I think you may find that if you are honest with your HR dept at work, they will be sympathetic. You are legally permitted to be off work if you are ill (your sick-pay benefits may vary). It may be that if you are going to be signed off work for 6-9 months, your work may have to hire a temp to cover your absence, but be legally obliged to keep your job open for when you return (if you choose to).
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The opinions stated above are the personal opinions of the writer, and not intended to offend or denigrate any opinions held by anyone else.

I think it's kinda funny, I think it's kinda sad,
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.


Last edited by kendo59; 23-08-08 at 16:38.
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  #5  
Old 23-08-08, 16:40
marylou marylou is offline
 
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Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

Thanks - Union is not an option but I see why you suggested it...

I work in a regional satellite office (v small team of 6) which is part of a major UK institution so have really been struggling with the fact that all central functions such as HR are in London so most communication is through my line manager who is also, unfortunately, the person having to deal with the problems left by my absence. I've worked for the company for 9 years so would expect them to be as supportive as they can but people being off for periods of time like 6 months and then coming back to their old job just does not happen where I am...
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  #6  
Old 23-08-08, 16:49
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kendo59 kendo59 is offline
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Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

If you feel your line manager is not sympathetic, there is nothing to stop you contacting HR directly to ask for information. It may also be worth you checking your 'terms of employment' or employment contract, to see what the sick-pay benefits actually are.
The fact you've been there 9 years shows that you are able & capable of doing the job - so that's not necessarily an issue.
After all, if someone can take a year off for maternity leave and have their job held for them, then I would hope some support would be given for illness. What if you had a broken leg and needed 3 months off work?
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The opinions stated above are the personal opinions of the writer, and not intended to offend or denigrate any opinions held by anyone else.

I think it's kinda funny, I think it's kinda sad,
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.

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  #7  
Old 23-08-08, 17:03
marylou marylou is offline
 
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Posts: 5
Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

Yes i guess you're right - the broken leg analogy is a good one...

Maybe I'm showing my own prejudices relating to mental illness but I honestly feel that in my industry - Media - I will forever now be seen as "weak" and "unable to cope" and will never fully be trusted in the future...
as I say - I'm quite bitter and angry about this as I was allegedly a star performer until very recently...
I feel I would be better just trying to make a clean break, unfortunately, the money side of things is an issue and I can't afford to be out of work for a long period of time..
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  #8  
Old 23-08-08, 17:55
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decca decca is offline
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Re: Being signed off work by your doctor

Hi Marylou,
I so recognise your story, It's very much what I went through a year ago,
I also worked in a high pressure environment ( Benefits office ) where I was co-ordinator of team of six. I already had a pre-existing heart condition which was worsened by the pressure I was getting at work from all sides,I started getting PA's at work and all sorts of health problems, in the end I litterally ran screaming from the place. My docs increased my heart meds and put me on low dose Diazepam 2to3 mg per day and signed me off for 6 months.
My employers arranged for me to see the OH doc and arranged a course of CBT. The CBT helped a fantastically in dealing with my PA's etc. but the OH doc thought that I ought to consider whether it was in my best interest to return to the same job.
I was in a lucky position that I was over 60 so had an option to take early retirement but on a greatly reduced pension, given my health problems this is what I chose to do but I am still extremely angry that I was put in such a vulnerable and pressured postion by my employers and have suffered financial loss through early retirement.
I'm afraid I can't offer you any practical advice other than your employer has a duty of care and should be doing everything they can to help you back to work , it might be a good thing if you have to see the OH doc as he can arrange for you to go back slowly on a part time basis to suit you.Your health is the most important thing to consider and don't forget unless you cure your illness or come to terms with it you will be taking it with you if you decide to leave.

God bless and good luck.
Decca

Last edited by decca; 23-08-08 at 18:01.
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