Work stress left me sick, broken and BLEEDING
Lorna Jayne Riley shared with me how stress and anxiety caused by her job became so bad that she was hospitalised - twice. I shared her story online for The Sun's Fabulous.
It all started when I landed the role of office manager for a large well-known travel company that had offices in Luton and Turkey. I had applied for a job abroad after having a bad experience in a past job, in which stress had caused me to have six months off sick. I thought this new role was the perfect chance for a fresh start.
But a few months into the role in Turkey, I started feeling so stressed that it was making me unwell. A lack of communication, a feeling of isolation, having no support from my manager and a lack of empathy were all key factors. But I bottled up how I felt, because as a manager I knew I had to be professional.
My anxiety grew until I started having heart palpitations. I would cry all the way to the office and back every day, and then I started getting bad stomach pain and felt sick with it. I tried to mask my symptoms - I was good at putting on a front. During the times I was tempted to just quit and walk away, my pride stopped me. My dad had always told me never to quit. I was taught to be strong, so I did my best to be just that.
But before I knew it, the pain and sickness landed me in hospital where I had countless ultrasound scans. I felt so alone, and I was also upset with myself for allowing myself to get this way. I had lost who I was – I had low self-esteem, my weight had plummeted, I had started smoking and I was addicted to coffee. I was broken.
After a relocation to the UK, I returned to work as a project manager in Luton. It was an interim role – I was waiting for my dream job to materialise as a European project manager. But when my previous manager started meddling, I soon realised I wasn’t going to get it and that’s when I started getting unwell again.
On 22nd November 2015, I was in Marks and Spencer’s buying some nibbles and bubbly for a party when I realised I was bleeding – it was so heavy it was soaking through my clothes. I was hospitalised again and was shocked to be told by the doctor that I had actually passed the lining of my womb, due to extreme stress and anxiety. Three weeks after coming out of hospital I was sacked - weeks before Christmas with no pay.
This time I promised myself I’d listen to my body and I decided to warn others to do the same. I moved away from the corporate world and I’m now a global NLP Mindset Transformation Coach and qualified Reiki Healer for professional women.
I have also co-authored a book called You Are Meant For More, in which I talk about what I’ve been through. I want to get more people opening up about workplace wellness and to try and help people identify their own triggers, that perhaps they are not looking after their wellbeing in their current roles.
Too many of us accept stress as a part of life, too often. We just think it’s part and parcel of our busy worlds, and yes to a degree this can be true. But when we are feeling sick in our stomachs about going to work, when we are getting physically ill as a result of anxiety, then it’s time to stop.
I hope in sharing my story I can get people to stop and take a look at their wellbeing before it gets to this point, to help others avoid getting to the point of burnout that I did.”
- You Are Meant For More is now available to buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KTBYVV3