Anna*, aged 47, Victoria

"The first few weeks after my return were the worst. I work in retail and my hours, quite naturally, were at the busiest times of the week. I felt slow and incompetent and asked many questions which may have irritated customers, but I was not prepared to risk making mistakes and being accused of not being that 100% ready to work. My supervisors in-store were terrific and responded promptly and encouragingly to my seemingly constant questions. I took it upon myself to spend a few hours shadowing another employee before my official return to work. By doing this I became familiar with the physical space, some new procedures and just the feel of being back at work.

Whilst there was no opportunity to debrief or discuss any issues with anyone at work in a formal sense, I was still seeing my doctor regularly and spending one day a week at an out-patient program, so there was support available. This support was essential as I doubted myself, that I was capable of returning to work in a meaningful capacity.

I am pleased to say that I have now been back at work for nearly twelve months, have increased my part-time hours and am confident and happy there. I always wanted to return to work, but it wasn't easy."

*not her real name