I had been struggling for two months now since THE panic attack at work. Finally on 1/14/11, I was defeated. All of my irrational fears were front and center. I was afraid to drive, afraid to eat and afraid to take medicine. I would not step foot in my car and I had lost about twenty pounds. Xanax was the only pill I would take, but my body was getting accustomed to it. The relief it provided, only lasted a few hours.
One of my biggest worries was around my job. I clearly was not performing at my best. I was not being productive. I felt like I was not setting a good example as a Manager and not really supporting my team. Running out of the building several times a week does not go unnoticed. I needed my job and wanted to keep the job I had. I enjoyed where I was at this time and liked the team I worked with. I was managing about ten people and felt like they were all counting on me. When I went to see the psychiatrist, I expressed my concerns about work. He strongly suggested that I ask about short-term disability and FMLA. It was obvious I was not in the right mindset for work and he assured me that he would do his part to get short-term disability approved. Like a lot of people, I had skipped over that part of the benefits package. I only cared about my salary, 401K and insurance. Short term disability is not something I thought would ever apply to me.
On Monday I called my Human Resources representative at work to ask what I needed to do for short-term disability. There was no way I could work in this state. I explained my situation and why I would not be able to work. I cried and my voice trembled as I spoke. I felt guilty asking for disability. It wasn’t like I was missing an arm, or had been in a tragic accident. That is what I thought of when hearing the word disability. I was expecting judgement and ridicule. Instead, I received compassion and understanding.
I spoke to my HR representative for several minutes and she let me know how common it was for people to use these benefits. “That is why these benefits exist”, she said. She was an unexpected source of support.
Between FMLA and short-term disability, I was protected from losing my job and would be paid 100% of my salary for up to three months. With that concern taken care of, I could try to focus on fixing whatever was broken in my head.
Continue: Week 1 on Pexeva…