I was diagnosed with depression in 2013 and anxiety along with it and since the birth of my daughter have been diagnosed with postnatal depression. I’m incredibly lucky with the support I have around me and an amazingly understanding husband. But even with all this the voice of guilt in my head is strong and hard to ignore. Silly things like not doing the washing up, not cooking tea, the house being a mess, etc but also bigger things like not being there for my daughter when working or being super tired at the end of the day and having no energy for my husband. But this week I’ve had another thing to feel guilty for.
My beautiful daughter has been poorly with a fever and sore tummy. We think it’s teething related but she has stopped eating and drinking and only wants breastfeeds and sleeps a lot! So only my second week back at work and I’m having to take carers leave. My initial phone call to work was not well received and the night shift sisters response was “sorry you can’t have time off to look after her, we’re short staffed, there’s no sister tomorrow and you’re the second in charge”. I felt awful already that I’ve barely been back and already taking time off but the added pressure of knowing I’m leaving work hanging was almost too much. I almost left my poorly child to have no food to work for an understaffed NHS. That responsibility should not have been put on my shoulders. Luckily I rang back in the morning and spoke to my manager who was very supportive of my need to be at home and I’m glad I did as cuddles and breastfeeds were my day.
But as news of the high suicide risk for female care employees hits headlines how can anyone be unsure of the reason why. Understaffing, guilt and wanting to be there for not only there for your patient’s but family could make anyone feel torn. As the NHS struggles work-life balance is not always something its staff has. I hope in the future NHS staff will be appreciated and treated accordingly but until then coping is all we can do.
Take time to give yourself space and time to rest and do things you really enjoy, learn to say no without feeling guilty and know your limits and ALWAYS seek support or help if you feel you can’t manage!
For me I love crafting, reading, swimming, singing and gardening. Discover your passions.