I Quit My Job Due to Menopause Related Anxiety & Depression!

Those of you who know me in person, or have been following my blog for a while, will know that I “live” with mental illness. Three years ago my mental health started to decline again, and when it didn’t improve, I made the decision to quit my job of 20 years due to menopause related anxiety and depression.

Menopause and the workplace had been mentioned in the news a lot at the time, so I decided to share my story in the hope that it would help other women.  I also wanted to bring some attention to this menopause symptom as it is not always recognised or talked about.

Read on if you want to know what happened, how I feel now and what my plans are for the future.

LIVING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

When I say “live” with mental illness, I do mean just that.

I don’t mean to downgrade the severity of mental illness. It affects us all differently. Sometimes it is truly awful, sometimes worse than awful, but having had mental health issues for more than half my life, I have learned to accept it. I have learned to live with it.

I’m not always ill. I’m not always anxious or depressed. In fact most of the time I’m happy.  I enjoy my life.  I manage to work, run a home, look after my family and have a reasonable social life (well not in 2020 obviously 😉).  Like most people suffering from anxiety and depression, I have good days and bad days.

MENOPAUSE RELATED ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

I eventually left my job in March 2019, but I will fill you in on the lead up to my resignation.

I had been going through the menopause for a few years, and it had brought more anxiety and depression with it.

I would worry about silly things and although I knew they were silly,  I could not control the feelings. I knew I overreacted to things. I would overthink situations that may or may not have even happened.

I found it hard to cope in certain situations, and social anxiety had become a big problem for me too. I no longer felt that I “fit” in anywhere. I lost what little confidence I had in those scenarios.

I felt drained. I often had no energy. I lost interest in things that used to excite me. But I was “fine”! I mean, these were all things that were on the inside, and I was pretty good at putting on a big smile and getting on with it!

blackboard with chalk words Learn About & Accept your Mental Illness Tea and Cake for the Soul

WORKING WITH MENOPAUSE RELATED ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

I worked a few different jobs, mostly for myself, as I liked the variety and I like being my own boss.  As well as my self-employed status, I had also been working in a school for 20 years as a part-time Learning Support Assistant to mainstream students and children with special educational needs.

Sure, it was stressful but it was also very rewarding. It was a career that I’d loved and one in which I was extremely confident.  I felt that I did a good job.

However, during the last year or two of my employment, my workplace became a huge focus for my anxiety – to the extent that I was dreading going in. On the whole, I loved the work, the children and my colleagues, but I couldn’t shake the feelings of anxiety away.

I didn’t know if it was menopausal anxiety causing me to feel that way, or the job itself was exacerbating the anxiety. I wondered if I would feel better if I left the work environment, or whether I should stick it out.

If I got rid of the anxiety would I enjoy the job? Or would I ever get rid of the anxiety if I continued to work there? I felt like I was going around in circles. A real chicken and the egg scenario.

woman with long blonde hair sitting on a log facing the sunset - I Quit Work due to Menopause Related Anxiety & Depression!
I met with my employers in the October of 2018 to hand in my resignation and told them that I was suffering from extreme anxiety. They didn’t want to accept my resignation, and asked me to give it a bit longer.

They offered to make some changes, but to be honest I didn’t want to be treated any differently. I didn’t want any “special” treatment. We were a team and I wanted to pull my weight as much as everybody else did.

I just wanted to FEEL better. I wanted to feel confident and enjoy my job again.

I had obviously discussed my symptoms with my GP. She felt that I needed to go on anti-depressants as well as continuing with my HRT.  I opted for a higher dose of HRT for the time being instead.

LEAVING THE WORKPLACE DUE TO MENOPAUSE RELATED ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

I decided that I would see out the rest of the school year and see how I felt then before I made any rash moves and quit my job. But it got the point that it was making me so ill.  I was not sleeping. I was filled with dread. And I no longer felt that I was doing such a good job (although my colleagues said I was).

I knew that I had to leave for my wellbeing and health in general, so in February 2019, I handed my notice in and left a month later. The relief was immense!

Leaving day was bittersweet. I’d been involved with that school for 25 years. My children had been to the toddler group, pre-school and infant school there. I’d been the chairperson of the pre-school, and had been part of a small team that set up the PTA at the infants’ school. I’d been a parent helper and then taught in both the pre-school and infant school for 20 years. I’d actually taught some of the parents whose children I was teaching all those years later! It had been a big part of my life.

Did I made the right decision? I am confident that I did, especially with all the measures put in school with Covid. I would never have coped being in the anxious state that I was in back then. I was told that the door is always open which is comforting,  but I decided it was time to open a new chapter.

empty pad and pen with coffee cup - my mental health story

LIVING WITH MENOPAUSAL ANXIETY – WHAT NOW?

I know that leaving something that was causing me stress went some way towards relieving my anxiety. I wasn’t expecting it to be the cure and I still suffer with anxiety to an extent now, but it is so much better now than it was back then.

I began to practice this self-care that everyone’s talking about nowadays.  I had used up so much energy with stress and anxiety and I needed to build myself back up. I wanted to get myself fit both mentally and physically. I’m still focusing on that, but I don’t beat myself up about taking time out for me anymore.

I still do my other jobs. They cause me no stress at all and I enjoy them, but I’m choosy about what I do.  If I feel a certain job is likely to cause me more stress, I don’t take it on. I  know we don’t all have that luxury, but that is one of the joys of working for yourself.  I do wonder if this is nature’s way of making you slow down and make time to be kinder to yourself!

I’m enjoying the freelance writing and digital consultancy that I do. I’ve already had some of my writing and photography published, and I’m really looking forward to the prospect of writing for other publications in the future too.

And of course, I continue to write my blog for pure enjoyment.

collage of books music and cds with pictures of scooters musicians and Dms
Some of the publications where my work has been featured.

I will be writing more about anxiety in the menopause soon as it is a huge and very common problem for ladies in their 40s and 50s. I do believe that the more we open up about it, the easier it becomes to talk about. You begin to understand that it is an illness, just like any other illness and you shouldn’t try to hide it.  I hope my story may help others to acknowledge it.

Has anyone else has quit their job for the good of their mental health?

Do you suffer with menopausal anxiety?

I’d love to hear your stories, do share in the comments below.

47 thoughts on “I Quit My Job Due to Menopause Related Anxiety & Depression!

  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve also got to the point that I’ve given up work. I have got to a stage where I rarely get out of bed and I’ve only been outside the house 4 times since June this year. I will struggle financially but I see no way out of this menopause. There is no help out there and GPS just don’t understand. I can only hope that the menopause becomes more recognised in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. I think the pandemic has contributed to people’s agoraphobia too. Are you able to see a different GP or access any support via the NHS’s refer yourself for mental health counselling?

      I do hope you find some help soon.

      Like

  2. It certainly sounds like you made the right decision, and it done you the world of good. I will check out your other posts on the menopause, now I’m 40 its looming lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing it does help. i am 51 and ended up taking a career break when my contract finished in August last year. i was suffering anxiety and stress at work and while i was on HRT I felt like i needed to take a pause to get the right type and dosage which is still sadly an ongoing journey for me. Removing work has meant that the anxiety has lessened. However i have started to look for roles again and have been approached for some big roles in the corporate world recently and i just don’t think i can operate at that senior level anymore . I feel like it’s a failure and it’s such a hard decisions as years ago i could have done it. I seem to have lost my motivation I still get tired as well. I know that there are some more junior less visible rolesIi could manage and thats probably the route i will need to go for this stage of my life . I am wondering if you took anti depressants and HRT i don’t have any history of mental illness just wondered if combining them might give me a mental boost.
    thank

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t at the time I quit my job, but I now have a chronic pain problem and have been prescribed an old style antidepressant which is now used more as a sleeping aid and for pain relief. Whilst the pain relief side of taking amitriptyline has now lessened for me, it certainly helps me sleep and has elevated my mood.

      I can’t advise on what you should do work wise, I personally prefer something with less responsibility now, but I know many women my age who are just getting started in demanding high-flying roles – we are all different.

      Please don’t feel like a failure, and make a telephone appointment with your doctor to discuss medication or at least some form of talk therapy to help you get to a better place.

      Wishing you lots of luck.

      Like

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It has given me some hope, encouragement and comfort knowing I’m not alone in this tremendously challenging time. I’m 52 and have been struggling with perimenopausal anxiety for almost a year. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for at least 30 years off and on, but this hormonal anxiety is the worst ever. I do find that my job exacerbates it. I went back on antidepressants which help a bit and will have a doctor appt to discuss HRT. My job is stressful as I’m in the mental health field., but it does have rewards. I’ve cut down my client load but am feeling the need to cut down a bit more and start other projects like writing and teaching that I’m feeling guided to do, but it’s difficult when anxiety, depression and fatigue take over. I have a strong faith in God, and know He has a great plan for me and is guiding, comforting and strengthening me. I need to trust that He has a purpose for me in this and will use it for good, whatever that is. My heart goes out to all who are struggling with peri/menopausal anxiety. God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope it eases for you soon, or you can at least lessen your workload a bit more. Maybe it’s nature’s way of making us all slow down a bit. I’m glad this has helped a little which is exactly why I wrote it. All the best.

      Like

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for your article.

    I have just quit my job – I was so stressed out – they are a great employer, flexible working, employee assistance, I was making progress and have good relationships, but I felt so pulled, as in by strong currents, between worrying about my children (they are fine) and worrying about this and that, that when I was feeling very anxious, I talked myself into quitting, to regain some control.

    Now I wish I had not quit but asked for time off, instead. I am planning to exercise and get therapy and clean up the house and do some volunteer reading at the school, but I am really regretting having handed in my notice, as I was barely getting started.

    I didn’t realise that I quit due to anxiety until after I quit. The mistake I made was that I was listening to my own advice (and I am not the best person to give myself advice, as my thoughts are not always true!) and should have sought help.

    I am 47 and am definitely in peri-menopause, as my periods etc are all over the place.

    Now that I have quit, I am going to make the most of getting healthy and putting some good habits in place. Meditation and learning to live with anxiety, without letting it rule my life.

    Then, maybe I can go back. Or maybe I’ll find a new path….

    x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you feel that you made the wrong decision. I know without a doubt that quitting my job was the right thing for me and my anxiety. Sure I’m still anxious but I do have more time to focus on me and doing the things you mention like meditation, exercise and I’m reading a lot too.

      Thanks again. I hope you reach a better place soon.

      Like

  6. Thanks for writing this. Menopause is now less of a taboo subject but all you really hear about is hot flushes and it is so much more that Like you I have lived with mental health issues and also like you love my life most of the time. In the last few months I have found myself anxious which is new really as I am more of a depressive. I don’t like those whirring thoughts particularly at night and am trying to eat and exercise to help me with sleeping patterns. Well done you on taking what must have been a difficult decision especially with all that history behind you in that place. Good Luck with whatever comes next – right now I am questioning where I am, what I do, who I am with and so much more #Blogtober19

    Liked by 1 person

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