Having panic attacks about returning to work
I started a new job at a dog-boarding facility less than a month ago. It's been good so far and I like it, but I had a hiccup last week. Some things about me/my situation:
-My shifts usually start at 6AM and I live about 20 miles away from work
-I'm still new so the only employee phone number I have is the manager's
-I have severe depression, anxiety, PTSD; I do not handle guilt/shame well at all
Tuesday 3: Got bitten on both hands by a dog at work. The bites swelled up but healed nicely over the next few days.
Monday 9: Woke up and felt awful. Probably had a fever but didn't check. One of my hands was swollen and painful. I was off work today and the next day so I just slept and took it easy.
Tuesday 10: I felt worse; my hand was HUGE and unusable so I went to urgent care and told my manger what was going on (infected wounds and fever). She was cool with everything and told me not to worry because we were slow at the moment anyway. She also said to stay home until I was fever-free for 24 hours. The doctor at urgent care prescribed me antibiotics and gave me a doctor's note.
Wednesday 11-Friday 13: Slowly got better and kept in touch with my manger daily. By Friday morning the fever had gone away and I felt good enough to tell her that I'd return to work Saturday 14.
Saturday 14: I kept waking up throughout the night (like once an hour) with diarrhea. I'd had it the last few days but assumed that it was because I was running a fever. But now I was sure it was the antibiotic causing this. I started thinking about driving 30 minutes to work and having to run back and forth to the bathroom while at work, and then I had a panic attack.
So I texted my boss (it was like 3AM) and told her I'd be staying home and seeing a doctor. I also emailed a co-worker (my boss sends mass emails with the schedule and I found the girl's email) to let her know I wouldn't be coming in, since I don't have anyone else's number. My boss texted back later and basically said "You could have just taken Imodium." I texted back an apology and never heard back, so I assume she was annoyed with me. But I did see a doctor and got another excuse.
I started taking probiotics and the diarrhea went away.
Monday 15: Was off Sunday and supposed to return to work today. Got up, went to the gym, and got home around 4AM. When I got home, my parents were out of bed and had been crying because our 15-year old dog had just passed away while I was gone. They could hardly keep it together and they became the only thing in the world that mattered to me at that moment. So I sat and cried with them and held them until we were ready to discuss how/where/with what objects to bury our dog.
By the time we finished burying her it was around 7AM (my shift started at 6). I was going to text my boss but I kinda had a lot to say (why I missed work, apology, and told her I accept whatever consequences she deems fair) so I sent an email. And yes, I stayed home the rest of the day and mourned. Boss wrote back and said she understands but said it was "unacceptable" for me to wait until after my shift had started to say something. She also said I can go back to work Thursday 19.
Tuesday 16: I'm trying to relax until Thursday but I'm having mini-panic attacks thinking about going back to work. I'd like to think that my actions have been justified but cannot convince myself so. I was off to such a great start at this job an am afraid I've undone everything. What are your thoughts? Honest feedback will be much appreciated!
I think that you are just going through a lot of unexpected things and that I hope that your boss understands this is not going to be a reoccuring theme. We all go through unexpected issues and circumstances and all we can do is work through them as best as we can. It seems like from what you wrote you have been in GREAT contact with your boss which is good. Try not to worry to much as things happen that we can NOT control. I am also in a new job and lucky for me all my managers and supervisors are a great support. I hope and wish you the best!!! :) Keep Pushing Forward !!!
Thank you! Communication is a weak point of mine that I'm trying desperately to improve (especially during adverse times). I definitely intend to go back and work just as hard as before all of this. I'm grateful that I didn't get fired; I had accepted that as a true possibility.
Yes, it will all be worked out. Nobody perfect but what I learned and had to go through most of my life until now is that working with a good team and support staff is HUGE!!! It makes the day and issues and problems so much easier since you have support and assistance when needed.
I wish you the best and if I can be anymore of assistance
please do not hesitate to reach out to me :)
Stay Safe & healthy,
You had a few bad breaks there, but for the person signing your paycheck, diarrhea and pet death as reasons for *not coming in at all* start to sound like "You need to understand I'm only coming in when it's convenient."
I've been up all night, swilled coffee and headed to work anyway. I've had to call an employer and tell him I'd be late because I had to take a pet to be euthanized and I was waiting for the veterinary office to open. (I called before my shift started and yes, I went to work immediately after.)
No one deals well with guilt or shame. Employers, even the best ones (especially the best ones!) are supposed to tell you when your job performance isn't working well for the company. That's not a matter of shame. When somebody's job performance suffers, the business suffers, and so does the livelihood of the people who rely on those jobs to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Employers aren't parents who tell you everything you do is wonderful.
@OldMainer: Thanks for your feedback. I agree with and have been considering your perspective the last several days and my conscience has been eating me alive as a result. Despite the rough circumstances I still feel a huge deal of regret for missing work even though in the moment (on Saturday and Monday) I truly didn't see working a whole shift as a possibility. My time away from work hasn't been restful at all because I've been beating myself up so badly.
I guess my biggest concern is that I was expecting to receive much harsher treatment but so far haven't really experienced that. I even told my boss Monday via email "I understand if you feel the need to let me go." But she's put me on next week's schedule so I guess I'm good. I just don't want to show up tomorrow and get yelled at or written up if that could have already happened. We'll see. Is it messed up that I'm freaking out about NOT being treated badly?
Would you suggest I do anything special/extra when I get back to work tomorrow? I bought a thank-you card for my boss which I'm planning to write something nice inside of and give it to her along with my doctors' notes.
Do everything you can to be an excellent employee.
Excellent employees aren't perfect. They still mess up, they still get spoken to by the boss when they do, but it happens less and less. It's not a matter of guilt or shame - when I screw up, I screw up. The boss needs to tell me what should have happened - if I haven't figured it out for myself, but I usually can now.