#045–What do you do when you need a mental health day, but can’t get off work for it yet?

I think we’re all in a pretty lousy place this past year. There was a meme people passed around that became my mantra on New Years Eve, 2016:

“The first rule of 2017: do not talk about 2016”

Or some version of it, like the one above. I love Fight Club.

What sucks is this year is shaping up to be more of the same, if not worse. I do my best not to be a pessimist, and not to dwell on awful things… but let’s face it, if our thoughts were that easy to control, there’d be no such thing as depression, as suicide, as phobias or anxiety. We’d just talk ourselves out of it and be a-ok.

Well, this week being the anniversary of a certain someone’s election victory, I have a feeling many people are going to need a mental health day (or two) to get over not only that, but the months of violence and such that have gone on since that day.

But it’s nearly the holidays–and work doesn’t stop for anyone. How can we have a mental health day without making things worse in the long run?

I’ve found quite a few articles about the subject of mental health days. I hope you have understanding bosses if you need to take one. I wish like crazy I could take mine today, but as it turns out, I might actually have a Saturday and Sunday to myself for the first time in forever…if I can relax and not get antsy and anxious again.

The tension headache that’s come and gone the past week either needs to turn into a migraine so I can get over it and move on after 24 hours, or needs to whimper and fade away for good. It’s in that in between place where it’s more than a nuisance but not quite bad enough to pull out the phone and get somebody–anybody–to replace me.

But how do you take one when you’re training other people at work and there’s nobody available to take your place right now?

That’s what’s stopped me from doing it.

I can’t get anybody to come in and cover for me. If my job didn’t have so many requirements and certifications to use the equipment, then I could just get the newbie I’m training to just take over and call somebody else to help out if needed. That’s the trouble also with part-time work: I really need the money and can’t take a day off, especially now that my Halloween seasonal job is officially kaput for the year.

But is it possible to take some half-days and make them mental health days? I might be able to start that tomorrow, or tonight if it’s really bad.

What’s the best way to make a mental day/half day work for you? I would keep trying to work no matter what (I always feel guilty calling in sick to work), but this pain in my head won’t stop. It just comes and goes, and then spikes like crazy. I keep this up and I WILL have a migraine, I know it.

But I can’t figure out what to do about it.

Except maybe if a customer gave me crap and started yelling, I’d aim the technicolor yawn at their shoes. But that satisfaction high would be temporary… and who would be cleaning it up?

Not much guesswork there.

I’m looking for good migraine strategies to deal with when you can’t just disappear for a few minutes/hours. I’d have to wait for my replacement (if they could actually come) and still see customers. When you’re in a front office and the only one who can do your job…how do you just walk away from that?

My guilt just won’t let me walk away and say “screw you, I’m sick.” People had to make appointments and take off work probably to show up, and somebody needs to help them out. Just wish it wasn’t always me.

Yes, I’ve taken tension headache meds, but they barely take the edge off. Migraine meds are slightly more powerful, but I’m not there yet and they’re not much better. If anybody has great ideas for how to handle a migraine when going home immediately to sleep it off in the dark and cold isn’t an option, they’d be appreciated.

Or, if anybody has ideas for coping when you really really need a day off in general but can’t get one for mental health reasons, I’m all ears. I don’t want to turn into an anxious wreck because of head pain and all and get irritable.

Ideas welcome. I bet most of us will need them by the holidays and shopping season, anyway (hee hee).

8 thoughts on “#045–What do you do when you need a mental health day, but can’t get off work for it yet?

  1. bobcabkings says:

    I’m sorry about the headache and vote in favor of it whimpering and fading away for you. One of the best things about being retired is never having to decide whether to call in sick, mentally or physically, which I was always much too reluctant to do, especially when I worked in mental health case management and crisis. I found then that even just taking advantage of even just a few minutes of quiet for a mini-meditation sort of break to pause the monkey chatter in the head helped a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      I managed to work it halfway–I got somebody to cover my shift for tonight at least. Dizziness is always on the symptom list and I was dizzy just sitting at my desk. I said an hour drive while I’ve got dizziness wasn’t a good idea and they agreed. So I took a short nap when I got home and am still a bit in pain, but drinking hot tea with some light music when I need a quiet break. I just hope it’s enough so that I’m not hurting tomorrow morning at work, because I gotta be at dad’s beck and call in the afternoon. Til then, some short bursts of Jane Austen reading and dark rooms.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. SynDolly says:

    Migraines come from stress. and by the sounds of it you have a lot, it’s a small step and it might not cure your migraines, but it may give you something to look forward too; if you can lock yourself in your bathroom, light some non-scented candles and try for a bath once a week, maybe play some music, thereby creating your own “spa” in your home. Also, ask for help, straight up say “Hey, enough is enough, I cannot do this alone, so we need to work as a team” and maybe come up with a list of ways that your co-workers can help you out.

    Everyone deals with stress, and sometimes it’s easier to just dump on someone then it is to pay attention, so maybe (hopefully) if you step up and say something, as scary as it might be, maybe they might find their own humanity and try and give you a bit of a break. I don’t know if any of this is helpful but I want you to know you’re in my thoughts. ❤

    And by the way, quit feeling guilty for being ill, my love, everyone gets ill but if you don't start taking care of yourself, as hard as that may seem, I PROMISE it will only get worse.

    Sending love ❤ -D

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      Thanks–I am big on quiet and cool and dark when I get migraines at home. It just stinks when I’m stuck at work and nobody can come in and take over for me so I can get better faster. I’m learning to take it easy and not work myself to the bone, even if I think I need the money that badly. I need adequate rest, too–I just have to convince myself the world’s not going to end if I let myself enjoy a day off.

      Liked by 1 person

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