Going to work

Good morning.

I really don’t know what to do about work. I’m a youth worker/teaching assistant. I work two evenings paid at a youth centre for ministry of defense children which I enjoy. And I’m happy with this job. During the day I top my hours up as a teaching assistants working specifically with kids with special needs or behaviour problems. And it’s this job I’m struggling with and I get anxiety about going in. It’s really hard being on form during the day. I have to have a clear head and be sharp and not take my eyes off them for a second. Yesterday I spent the entire day staring into space. I work for an agency so won’t get any sick pay. I really don’t think this job is for me anymore.

I loved this job before mum died but I no longer have a single ounce of patience.

I know what you mean about work! I have definitely thought about throwing it all in but then what would I do? As for staring into space, I’ve done that too instead of working. It’s hard to get and stay focused. My job is very technical so I have to concentrate which I struggle to do. I should be working right now but I’m on here typing this!
The general advice I’ve seen is to not make rash decisions about making big changes to your work life and give it some time. Easy to say I know. If I didn’t have to work, I wouldn’t but for now I’m going to keep plodding on unless I find a better answer. It’s not easy is it?

Oh Jooles, don’t make any major decisions yet while you are in a raw state emotionally. It was said to me nearly a year ago not to decide on anything too soon. I had thought about moving but I’m glad I had second thoughts.
You have a very exacting job.
Being impatient is another of those emotions grief throws at us. Working with kids with special needs must be really stressful, but I don’t doubt they need you. Can you give it more time? It would be such a pity to leave a job you liked because of the emotions you feel.
Of course you will stare into space. I do and it’s only when I get interested in something I come out of it. What would you do with your time? It would not be good to sit around would it? Of course, if you really feel it’s all too much then you have to make a decision. Another less stressful job maybe? But I suggest giving it time.
Best wishes. This is a long hard and difficult road we all tread.

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I think your right. I’ll keep going at least with the agency I can choose my hours. And book days off. I just don’t get paid. But I can make the hours up another time. My mum was such a softie. If I had a sniffle she would let me have the day off school. Even as an adult she would say “oh you look tired have a day off work”. So I can quite clearly hear her saying now “take time off don’t make yourself ill”. Ha ha. And that’s not me making excuses she was so worried about our health and working too much. However she never took a single day off work. She was at work until only a few weeks before she died but had to admit defeat as the pain in her back was so bad she couldn’t walk. When we told her work colleagues she had died they were absolutely shocked.

Thank you Jonathan. I’ll keep going. At least with school work I know I have Xmas half term coming up. I’m working with a little boy who seems to really like me and only behaves for me. So I’ll try and do it for him. His home life is not great. I just can feel myself drifting and not concentrating. Which worries me

Jooles. It’s ok. You see what I mean? Someone somewhere needs you. If you make that little boy’s life happier then your reward will be in feeling better in yourself. Helping others helps ourselves. That’ not being selfish it’s a fact.
We all have love to give and we can give it through any supportive way we are capable of. On here is such a place. Where you work gives you ample opportunity to care for people be they kids or adults. I knew a bereaved nurse who wanted to get back to work so she could do what she did best. Caring for others.
Don’t let ‘drifting’ as you say you say worry you. You have suffered a painful trauma and it’s to be expected. I often drift off into never land, we all do even without grief. Grief accentuates all emotions. Things we would have shrugged off become major issues and difficult to cope with. But it’s all part of this natural process of grief. Natural?? Strangely, when that was first said to me I doubted it, but now have come to realise how true it is. It’s not pleasant in fact it’s awful, but I do begin to see a light. It’s nearly a year since my wife died and the pain does ease just a little.
You are doing fine. Keep busy, well as busy as you can. Blessings.

I know you are right Jonathan . I just prefer to sit at home and stare into space and eat chocolate. Ha ha. I haven’t cancelled work tomorrow. And I went in yesterday. Next week only two days work. So it’s not too bad. It needs to be done for lots of reasons. I do like to just sit and think of mum. People keep saying it will take your mind off things. But i like thinking about her even if it’s the bad stuff of her death. I feel a need in me to work through everything that happened with a fine toothcomb. Is that the saying?

Hi Jooles. YOU eat chocolate!! Disgraceful!!! Oh gosh, I know just what you mean. I could get through a whole box of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in one sitting. Greedy? Oh yeah, but it is so good isn’t it!!! I must admit to being a ‘chocaholic’. Sad but true, but I can exercise control and limit myself to what is good for me. So many of us resort to comfort eating. I know I have and I have put on weight. But as time passes I have less of a feeling of wanting sweet things. But what’s a bit of choc here and there? For goodness sake, if we can’t indulge ourselves who can. We deserve it.
Yes, working through things is fine, but becoming too introspective should be guarded against. Grief can become a habit. That’s not being unkind. Like any emotion that brings comfort we can lapse into it without being consciously aware of it, so it becomes a habit to feel grief.
Emotional pain is pain whichever way it comes, and any sort of relief may seem attractive at first. We can go or be led up many blind alleys by well meaning people until we find what is good for us.
Anyway, I’m going to go and have nibble of choc. So there!!!

Hi Jooles. I’m a teacher and had just started a new job as head of faculty. I’d only been in four weeks when my husband died suddenly. I have been off for the last 5 weeks. There’s no way I was capable of managing such a big job and I know what you mean about the patience. My resilience has gone completely and I don’t think I’m in a fit state to give any energy to the job. I’m going in to meet the head teacher this afternoon to try and get over the first step towards going back. I want to renegotiate my contract to drop two departments but I’m not confident they’ll accept that. I can’t see me coping to be honest but I need the job to keep my house. I want to go back for the routine and to give my brain something normal to think about, but I’m so fragile…yesterday I blubber all day…today already feels more steady. 8 am and I haven’t cried yet! I do get that working with kids is not a job you can do half cocked. We cant go in and just shuffle paperclips…good luck Jooles…stick at it until you’ve got the clarity and space to make decisions about changing your job. I’m now not sure I’ll continue in teaching much longer. 25 yrs I’ve done in the classroom…it’s what I’m good at but the new school wasn’t as nice as the school I did 15 yrs at before. My husband would be pissed at me for quitting though…so I’ll go in today and see how I get on. Just hope I don’t break down in the heads office x hope you can manage to keep going today x

Hi diverliz,

Good luck today but I think you are being very brave. It’s still such early days.
I had 3 months off work when mum died. I had zero concentration and spent most of the day crying. I was no good to anyone.
I went back to work a month ago and am slowly building my hours and have found that slowly my concentration is returning. I hope today goes ok.
Cheryl x

Wishing you all the best for today. I’ve always thought highly of the teaching profession and it must be very rewarding to inspire the next generation. I realise it can be a tough job and that you have to present yourself pretty much all day long in a positive way. Do what you think is best and avoid any drastic decisions, that’s what I’m trying to do.
I took 3 weeks off although my employer very kindly told me to take the time I needed. I didn’t know what was reasonable and decided to try and get back into it. Maybe too soon, I’m not sure, but I was about zero effective when I went back. Here I am at the 10 week mark today and I find myself on here typing this while still not being very effective. I’m lucky as I work at home most of the time and it’s said that work can be a distraction, I don’t find it necessarily so and my mind frequently wanders. My job does involve some UK travel but I haven’t been anywhere since before and I’m not exactly looking forward to doing it ever again. If I could I would retire right now as there are plenty of things I could be doing with my life, but of course short of winning the lottery, that isn’t going to happen yet!
So instead I sit here wondering if I’ll ever be that enthusiastic again.
I went into the office about 5 weeks after and had a meeting with my HR manager in her office. Managed to make us both cry, it’s the effect I have on people! If you do break down, just remember, you are only human and you have a lot of love. Unless the head is devoid of empathy and emotion, I’m sure they will understand and will see how you really feel. It’s not been that long after all.
I wish everyone the best for today, whatever you are doing.

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