A return to work on my terms…

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Misha had been suffering from work-related anxiety when she was referred to Twining Enterprise and met her Employment Specialist, Helen.  Helen worked with Misha to help re-build her emotional wellbeing and eventually navigate a return to her workplace but with some key changes built in to better support Misha.  Here Misha tells us her story in her own words…

I was referred to Hounslow IAPT and Twining Enterprise in May 2023 by my Doctor after she diagnosed me with suffering from work related anxiety issues.  I was allocated an Employment Specialist at Twining Enterprise by the name of Helen. 

Helen was great in providing me with support in my employment issues.  At the very start I could not carry on with my work duties and was off sick for nearly 3 months.  During this time, Helen nurtured me to deal with my emotions by building me up in a positive way.  Helen advised me to do things I most enjoy and things that make me happy; find a hobby; watch TV programmes I enjoy; go out for a coffee; listen to music; exercise; spend time with family and friends, etc.    

In a way, she helped me to engage with things I had slowly neglected due to work pressures resulting from working excessive hours in a stressful job.

Not only did she help me in my personal relationships she was also counselling me on my employment issues.  I had been in this job for 18 years and thought I could no longer return to it once I was better.

Helen coached me to deal with the work-related problems by suggesting I speak to my employer and make them aware that I was suffering from anxiety due to work related issues and that they must address this.  Also, that I should sometimes learn to say ‘no’ if I cannot take on any work and seek assistance if it got too much; and that my employer should have regular meetings with me to address any problems I may be having, which I agreed with, and spoke to my employer who then referred me to the in-house Occupational Health Team.  They carried out a risk assessment with me to establish the facts of my illness.  After which they wrote a report back to the employer stating some recommendations be made to accommodate my work-related grievances.  All the time Helen offered to accompany me on any work-related meetings.

Helen would constantly check on my well-being every fortnight until I began to feel better.  Helen suggested I return to work on a part-time basis and see how I would get on before returning to work full-time.

Looking back, I feel the employment support I obtained from Twining Enterprise was invaluable as it gave me faith and empowerment whilst ensuring I was not alone in pursuing other employment opportunities and/or resolving matters with my current employer.  For that I will be forever grateful.    

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