I’m a software developer and I’ve been at the same company for 10 years and I’m very happy there, and generally they have been happy with me too.

I have suffered from depression since I was a teenager, but I’ve generally kept it under control. The impact of COVID has seriously impacted my mental health however and my performance at work is being affected. After discussions with my manager, I went back into the office to see if that helped (we were/are working from home). Unfortunately it didn’t and in the end, I had to take two weeks off sick and at the advice from GP.

My brief period off helped a bit and I started some new medication, but unfortunately in recent months, with COVID restrictions again (rightly) increasing, I am feeling worse than ever. I love software development, but no matter how hard I try I seem to just be unable to work to my standards. I have sleepless nights worrying about my work and how my colleagues probably think I’m lazy and undeserving of my role (I’m in a senior role). I dread our video calls because I have to put on a brave face while everyone is happy and putting our some good work. I have been feeling suicidal previously and I am genuinely concerned that this could get worse.

I am very grateful to my manager as despite my poor performance he has been very understanding. However, I feel I need time off and more than before - possibly even up to 2-3 months, to get some help and to hopefully tide the worst of the remaining part of the pandemic. I want to come back with a completely fresh state of mind, I don’t know for sure it’ll happen but I am desperate as I know otherwise I may end up losing my job. My doctor has agreed that they can give me a fit note for this as they know how much I’ve been struggling.

I’m in the UK and I know I can have Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks, so I know legally I can do this. But, we are pushing hard in work and have a lot on, plus we are only a small team and with my current work, only myself and my manager are involved - so knowing I’ll be essentially passing all my work over to him would make feel so guilty.

I just want to know whether I would be doing the right thing. Because my depression is worsened because of the COVID crisis, I feel extremely selfish because not only is everyone else suffering from this too, but there are thousands dying which makes me feel ashamed at feeling this way.

  • 5
    Go seek professional help from a mental health specialist. This isn't a workplace problem we can assist you with.
    – Kilisi
    Jan 5, 2021 at 22:05
  • What types of Employment Assistance Programs are available in your organisation? What professional and mental health related support services are available in your country? I think this is not the right place for this type of advice, and you should at least make use of the support services that are available as a startin gpoint. Jan 5, 2021 at 23:10
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it's needs a mental health pro
    – Kilisi
    Jan 5, 2021 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


My only advice is that you seek help from a professional mental health specialist, as they are trained to detect and handle depression and other situations, and will be able to assist you and tell you what you should do.

Doctors and such professionals can provide you with a letter in case they determine that you need time-off due to burnout, depression, etc.

If you really are depressed things can get out of hand if you don't address the problem with a professional, so be sure to do it ASAP, because your health and well-being is paramount.


You should not feel guilty about taking the time off you need to recover, I can’t reiterate this enough. Go to see your GP and tell them exactly how you feel about the situation, they deal with mental health issues all the time and will be best placed to provide you with the care you need at the moment.

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