I’m sick, or overworked, or both, and need to come up with a plan to deal with it and not lose my job. My doctor hasn’t been able to find what’s wrong or help me get better. I love my work but it’s stressful, and getting worse as I get worse. I may need extended time off but not sure how to do it, or if that is even the best solution.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (23 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve been struggling for a while now with an undiagnosed problem where I’m tired all the time. There are several other symptoms, but the big, problematic complaint is that I’m always sleepy, I’m fatigued after a short amount of physical activity, I have problems with insomnia (but not always hand-in-hand). It’s been going on for a few years, and getting progressively worse, though there are various ups and downs. I’ve worked with my doctor to try and find the cause, and been to a few specialists, but so far no one really knows. Part of it is my fault, I haven’t always followed up with my doctor as well as I should, a) being too tired to follow up b) being frustrated by the lack of progress.
Tired as I may be, I could generally do my job. It might take a lot out of me and I might be useless after work, but since my job is sitting and using my mental facilities, I have been able to do it. However, the last several months I’ve felt like my ability to think clearly and concentrate has gone down the tubes, and it’s really affecting my ability to get my work done. I either make really obvious mistakes, or it takes me significantly longer to figure things out. I just feel like there is a fog over my thoughts. And because of this, I’ve been taking work home, trying to get more time to do what I need to do. Of course, this creates a vicious cycle where I’m more stressed and more foggy and then in a bit of a panic.
It really hit me last week how bad it had gotten, when I sat at my desk trying to focus and figure something out, and I sat there, basically unable to do anything for the last 3 hours of the day. I just couldn’t focus and couldn’t think clearly. I kept redoing things and getting nowhere.
So far, no one has really noticed, or at least said anything about my performance, or lack there of, but I’m not sure how much longer I can hide this. My boss knows I’m going to the doctor for some vague medical reason (I needed to tell him so he knew why I was leaving work to go to the doctor so frequently). I really like my job, but I don’t know how much more I can keep it up before it starts to negatively impact me.
On top of that, my job has a busy season that is very stressful. Fun, in its own way, because everyone really comes together to work hard, but it’s difficult. And this year there was a lot of additional stress, we had a big project launch that required everyone to be working a lot more than normal, and didn’t get a break from that project to the busy season. On top of that, I recently got a promotion I’ve been wanting, which is wonderful, but now I’m afraid I’m letting people down. I don’t know how much stress is playing into everything that is going on with me, but I’m sure it can’t be helping.
I’ve considering looking for a new job, but fundamentally, I like my employer and I love the job I’m doing, when I can do it well. I’m also not sure jumping into a new job is going to help with whatever *IS* wrong with me. And I’ve started to think that maybe I just don’t want to work anymore, anywhere, which is a really unusual thought for me, I love what I do professionally.
I’ve taken two vacations this past summer, hoping the time away from the office would help me clear my head and feel better. They didn’t. I don’t want to say I felt worse, but there was no rejuvenation or refreshed feeling.
Even though I’m currently working closely with my doctor to figure out what’s wrong, I’m afraid I’ll keep declining at work and lose my job. I’ve been starting to think that maybe I need to take a month or two off to clear my head of anything related to being stressed out and to focus on figuring out what’s wrong with me. But how does one take FMLA if they don’t have a diagnosis? I’ve considered talking to my boss to see if I can just take a leave of absence, and I think he’s the type of person to be understanding about it, however I know how easily minds can change once you’re not around every day, hence my interest in FMLA. And what if after 2 months, I still don't know what's wrong and I still feel terrible?
Two things I should mention because they seem relevant:
One, I don’t think its depression, I see that mentioned in a lot of threads with people feeling tired. But in general, I’m pretty happy and have as rich of a life outside of work as my energy levels allow, I just peter out quickly.
And two, most of the problems I’ve noticed with my ability to focus started before the big stressors at work started. It’s gotten worse, perhaps exacerbated by it, but it wasn’t the start of it.
I don’t know what the next steps are, and I’m turning to the hive mind for advice. Time off seems to be the most logical thing I can think of right now, but I’m not sure I’m in a state to see clearly or make good decisions about this.
Anonymous because my online identity is tied closely to work. If you need to get in touch, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org