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Work burnout & anxiety

Edna Average
Community Member

Hi all, I’m new here so please bear with me. The situation is that I’ve experienced extended trauma and moral injury at work. It started with a colleague making false allegations and the company being too scared to protect me. I was investigated and cleared through two mechanisms over a nine month period. Unfortunately this happened during COVID and I live alone and have felt isolated and lonely. I also work in a very hard, high pressure environment. On top of this, I had an unfortunate health diagnosis that can luckily now be managed but fell out with a close friend and a few other unfortunate events during the same period.

I ended up on SSRIs and have been seeing a counsellor but my mental health plan has expired. I can get this extended but my GP has left and I’m so exhausted and don’t want to retraumatise myself explaining again. I’m off the SSRIs because they made me feel unwell and tired. For a while I was great but my work stress has flared up again. My boss is unsympathetic and previously told me in my PDR that he would like me to work on my resilience. I’m a very resilient person and found this offensive but it confirmed that I have zero support.

Recently a colleague passed away suddenly and there are rumours about the cause, another colleague has confided in me that they’re struggling to cope and took some leave. I’m desperately looking for a job but am not having much luck. Unfortunately I’m feeling incredibly burnt out and have short fuse, which isn’t helping me with writing applications and presenting. Tonight I burst into tears after a bad haircut and flew into a rage. I screamed and smashed a hairbrush. This is not my usual behaviour and I feel at my wit’s end. Any suggestions for where to start? I can’t quit my job, but know it’s 99% of the problem. I’ve started feeling hopeless, sad, tired and alone.

18 Replies 18

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Edna,

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums and thank you for sharing your story. That all sounds very difficult to deal with.

You have been strong throughout your whole situation. Getting through something like that isn't easy. You mentioned seeing a counsellor but your mental health expired and your local GP left.

I know it is hard to restate your story to somebody new but sometimes it is the best option. See a mental health professional can really help us maintain our emotions and create a coping plan.

Stay safe and i am always here to chat.

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Edna,

Welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry for what you've experienced. I feel you need a break, a longer holiday or a career pause. Do you mind sharing why you can't quit your job, knowing it is the problem? You mentioned your current state is not conducive to perfect performance when looking for a job. I guess Even if you find a satisfactory job, it is difficult to show very good performance during the probationary period, which will probably bring you more frustration.

And I feel you still need professional support. There should be some way not to re-traumatise yourself while switching to new professional support. Do you want to give BeyondBlue hotline a call? I believe you can get some good advice.

Also, you need more emotional support from your family or close friends. Are you able to find someone close to you who can be a good listener and companion?

Hope everything will be ok.


Thanks Mark, I agree that I need the break but I’ve whittled away my leave just taking short breaks to cope unfortunately. I’d need to build up some savings to be able to quit with nothing to go to.

In terms of my support network, it’s very limited unfortunately. My family don’t live here and my parents are sick and elderly. My best friend is always saying that everyone in her family relies on her for support and that she’s over stressed by it. I fell out with my other close friend as a consequence of her constant criticism and me asking her not to do that. As painful as it was, it was important for me to set boundaries. I’m trying to make new friends but am always tired and not putting my best foot forward.

I’ve made an appointment with a new GP on Tuesday. I know I can’t get through this without help.

Thank you for pointing it out and taking the time to reply to my message. Fingers crossed I can get a good psychologist and develop new tools to at least get me through in the short term.

Thanks Sophia, it’s really kind of you to reply. You’re 100% correct. I need to just see the new GP and start talk therapy again. I think this time I need to come up with a tangible plan rather than just recounting all the horrible things in my day-to-day interactions at work.

I’m considering sick leave after Easter if things don’t get better, or broaching the possibility of purchasing leave to recharge.

Hi Edna,

Thanks for your reply.

As you have limited support network, would you like to consider Mental health peer support? There're some organizations out there providing mental health peer support service, such as MindAustralia (www.mindaustralia.org.au), or access to peer support groups, such as GROW (https://grow.org.au).

And very glad to hear that you've found a new GP, hope you'll be referred to a good psychologist soon.


Thanks Mark, I had no idea this existed. I’ll definitely take a look! Thanks!

That Other Guy
Community Member

What sort of work do you do? It's tough if you need to work to survive, but work is where the stress is. The company you work for has no mechanisms to try to deal with this situation? It's a small company? Are you seeing a therapist? Have you thought about that? My last year was basically hell, although I have the good fortune of having a good job and no trouble finding work, the rest of my life collapsed. I'm not sure what I would have done without the support of my therapist. But yes, to get one without the cost, you need a mental health plan and that feels like a lot of hoops. I've had two mental health plans when I was close to the edge, but I am lucky I can afford to just pay for therapy. It can vary though, my therapist is $90 which is quite cheap. My wife also looked for someone and the person she found was $350 a session.

No worries at all Edna, if you feel you need more supporting resources, feel free to give BeyondBlue a call (1300 22 4636, 24/7).

Without saying too much I work for a very large multinational in a male dominated industry. My role is a combination of supply chain development, sustainability and business capture. It’s very unique and not standard for the industry. It was somewhat of a career change three years ago. In some ways I’m not enough of a specialist but in others I’m in a niche role. Unfortunately my organisation won’t move me because nobody else wants to do it. It’s quite politically sensitive at times and I have the people skills.

I earn good money but it’s being whittled away on psychologist appointments, physio, massage, food and anything to make me feel better.

The organisation admitted they didn’t deal with the original situation well. I was sent home during the investigation and told to access the EAP during the protracted process but they made me jump through hoops to even get a couple of extra sessions. The damage is done. I’ve now been pretending I’m better because of the culture there. Comments about whether I’m the right person for the role etc. and questions about my resilience were made, which was veiled bullying to stop me from raising the issue again. The problem is that the colleague that made the false allegations didn’t face any consequences and is still undermining me. As you can imagine, it’s impacted other areas in my life and I find myself single and regretful of my life choices generally.

Anyway, the new GP confirmed today that I’m depressed and I have something to help me sleep now. I will see my original psychologist asap. She was good but seemed to be running out of ideas in January.

As an aside, I was contacted by a recruiter about a job interstate which is a return to something I enjoy. I’m not sure if I’m up to another move but need to get out. I’m trying to write an application but my mind is jumbled. Wish me luck! Maybe some sleep over Easter will help.

Thanks for your suggestions.