I have decided that I need to leave teaching before it destroys me. Bit of context: I am in my third year of teaching. I have handed in my notice three times ( to two different employers) and have always felt trapped and depressed by teaching. I am the breadwinner for the most part and have felt numb for the past three years of teaching. I have had a bad habit of handing in my resignation (feeling relieved) but then panicking because I fear applying for other jobs/ references/ making a leap of faith into different employment and so I go back into teaching for the stable income and what I perceive to be a solution to the problem. I don’t drink but I have been smoking 30 cigarettes (chain smoking on the way to and from work and having 3 cigarettes on my lunch break at school). I was also regularly extinguishing cigarettes out on my arms/legs that I didn’t tell my partner about as a way of relieving the numbness/stress/pressure of school). I would also never eat until 6:30pm because I knew I would be sick if I ate food whilst in full teacher mode. I was just trying to bring in the income and keep calm and in control. In January this year [This comment/section has been removed] whilst waiting for the bus to work (the fear, panic and dread of going back in again was getting too much). I was admitted to A and E after confessing to my headteacher. My partner was devastated. After we walked back from A and E together I confessed that I felt trapped by teaching/income/fear of not having another job and he was pretty devastated that I had not told him sooner. I am currently off on the sick with my doctor strongly advising that I do not return to teaching. I have not handed in my notice in at present. I thought that in being off sick I would miss the job and get restless but I am not. I am getting one hour a week therapy (provided by the school). I am learning and reflecting on how much mental and physical damage this ‘profession’ has done to me over the years. My partner thinks I may have some form of PTSD (every time I get a letter from school I fly into panic and struggle to catch my breath and start sweating profusely before having thoughts of self-harm. I also start shaking and my toes go very numb which is weird). I have finally decided that enough is enough and for once in my life I have put my own mental and physical health first. I need to admit to myself that my life is worth more than a job. I am applying for any type of job I can- be it retail or cleaning. Yes it will not be as much money but I feel like I am doing the right thing for my health. I really really wanted to honour my commitment to these kids and their education but I cannot do it anymore. I have been in this duality of mind for the last three years going back and forth between “I am a teacher. I can do this. It is a proper job. What else are you going to do? You were always meant to teach” and on the other side “ You hate every single waking second of this. You are fooling yourself. What are you doing. This is not you”. It has been exhausting and demoralizing. The constant prressure/ the constant scrutiny. I genuinely believe that I have moments where I would black out (running around in a haze/ feeling numb and not knowing what I was saying to people when they were asking me questions) I don’t have a job to go to yet but I am trying to do the right thing for me and my health. I am posting this on the TES forum for mostly cathartic reasons and just for general advice if anyone else has been in this position before and what they did. And the elephant in the room/ what is obvious is that I am seeking validation that I am doing the right thing. Interestingly there are a lot of newspaper reports recently about epidemics of stress. Weird coincidence.