Anonymous asks:

I'm starting a new job in just over a week's time but I'm very worried as I have at least 4 hospital appointments coming up in the first 2 weeks of my new job. 

One of them would be on my second day. 

This has all come about as I had started losing weight unintentionally over the last 3 months and after seeing my doctor and having a number of blood tests I've since been urgently referred to 4 different consultants for investigations as my GP is suspecting cancer. 

Apart from not feeling well and fatigued over the last few weeks, which makes it tough to focus, my new boss has booked a skype call the week before I start to talk about her plans for me joining. 

Do I tell her about the appointments and what they're for? 

I'm really worried that this is going to give a really bad first impression. 

Should I offer to take the time as unpaid leave or suggest pushing back my start date? I am so stressed as I need the job but am also very worried about my health.


Noel McDermott says:

Agony Aunts on Female First

Agony Aunts on Female First

“You bring up some interesting issues around appropriate framing, transference and support. You are going through a very frightening time and I would guess feeling quite young, like you want mum or dad to come in and help, to take away the fear and say everything is going to be alright. I know I would be and I think we can all identify with that. 

Why I say framing is that a frame is a way we look at a situation, literally how we frame it. And learning to look at a situation through different frames can give us greater insight into what is happening and what we need to do. There are three frames I see here: medical, personal and emotional and employment/legal. Ask yourself which frame is best to use in what circumstance. What can you earn applying that frame? With your soon to be employer which frames are you utilising and are they appropriate? You seem to have used the frames I call emotional/support and medical but not the legal one. I don’t know that you have enough information to answer your questions and I certainly don’t. You need the legal frame to really understand this situation, which means you need legal advice to tell you what your obligations are and what your rights are. 

Looking at transference and in this context it means how we can experience and powerful emotional experience in the here and now as though it were a powerful emotional experience from something in our past. Understanding our transference can help us see the current situation more clearly and inform action. What are your experiences that inform your reactions to medical fear issues? What, if you like, survival mechanisms have you evolved, are they useful here? 

And this brings up the issue of support and the different types of support that exist. Everybody who is diagnosed or suspected of being diagnosed with cancer is or at least should be offered counselling around this? What about you? You are running around trying to do a number of very large life altering things at the same time. Stop, take a breath and go find the proper support that you need..” 

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist and International Speaker with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. which provide health and social care services to individuals, families and organisations dealing with mental health and addiction problems.

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