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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by The_Teacher1010, Dec 5, 2011.
Thank you for your advice! It is nice to know I am not all alone and people do not think I am pathetic.
I went to the doctors a few weeks ago and he said I shouldn't be working. I just could not see it. It has been hard being off work as I feel so guilty and in many ways I am not scared of my workplace even more. I do think that the two doctors I have seen who have said the same thing were right and I was and still am not very well.
I am supposed to be going back to work at some point this week but my doctor needs to see me again. I am still very anxious on most days and there are still many nights where I do not sleep at all. The thought of going back to work scares me as I worried about what people will think and the things they will ask me! As a result of having this time off I did have some good nights of sleep and I have started eating properly again. I just hope that I am ok when I do go back to school.
If you are not well enough to return yet, then you should continue to recover at home. Going back too soon will not do you any good---I know, I have been there. Look after yourself.
Your experience sounds so similar to mine! I am (6 months on) only really just admitting to my family and friends about how much things got to me last year. I became exhausted under the weight of expectation from my HT and was given very little support, covering a class for two terms under very difficult circumstances (politics involving the previous teacher and the HT). My lessons started to suffer and that caused more anxiety as I was an NQT at the time and needed to have sparkling wonderful lesson observations for my file! The weekend came when, spending another entire weekend holed up planning, I started to get panicky and every time I thought about my perceived lack of ability and what I still had to do, I would start to get breathless and become unable to think of anything beyond the fear of being rubbish. I had to leave. I saw the year through - thankfully passing my NQT and have since been doing supply. I found a lovely regular school with a super head and have just last week bagged a part-time position where my lesson was complemented on by the HT and DH. It made me feel so good after all the **** I felt last year! It can happen for you - I'm certain. Take one step at a time and start to formulate plans..I wish you all the very best xx
I think work can help but it needs to be work in a supportive environment which in this day and age schools unfortunately are not!
Thank you for your support. I know that I need to get better and therefore I am not at work. I hate the person I have become and I have started pushing people in my life away from me and then I feel all alone. I am planning on seeing my doctor on a regular basis now as I was avoiding doing so before and kept cancelling appointments.
I want to leave and I am going to leave at the end of Spring term but do I have to go back after the Easter holidays until 30th April? I just want to leave so that I do not have to return after the holidays. I wish I left sooner. I am not sure I can take this anymore.
I have thoughts which really worry me and I don't understand how I can get to this and become like this. When I think back to other points in my life, even times a few months ago, I almost don't recognise the person I was. I feel like I have lost that person somewhere.
The 'thoughts that worry' you are a perfectly natural and normal part of the illness. So is the self-hatred, the pushing people away and the avoidance. It won't last for ever, although it's hard to see beyond it at the moment.
I am so sorry to read that you are suffering from depression and that your Head is not sympathetic. There is still and unfortunately a lot of misunderstanding about psychological illness. You have been given fabulous advice and support already from other posters and I agree with the suggestion that you should not rush to make any decisions about your long-term future. One of the characteristics of depression is that it really hinders your ability to make sound decisions. You are ill - not weak or mad - and you need to give yourself time and space to recover and then think about how you might return to work.
Occupational Health should be able to assist you greatly in managing the return to work - but don't go back until you really are better or you will only set yourself up to fall again.
Over on the Governors forum, Clare Collins posted a link to a very good booklet for employers on their responsibilities for workers with a psychological illness or injury. I hadn't known about it before then. Here is the link:
Eventually, when you are well enough, perhaps this booklet would offer a way into a discussion between you, your Head and occupational health.
Do keep in touch with your doctor. How often are you seeing him/her? Please don't cancel appointments, as you'll need your 'fit for work' notes anyway and should be discussing medication if any. Try not to isolate yourself. Even talking to the doctor will help to avoid this, as you'll have to get out of the house and talk openly about how you feel, which will begin to help.
It could be worth getting a referral to Occupational Health too. I found them very helpful. The other place is to call the Teacher Support Network, they were brilliant.
Please take care of yourself.
Just reading through this thread, I could have written so many of the contributions myself over the last couple of years.
I found that trying to rush things resulted in one step forward and 3 steps back. I felt that everything was going away from me and no matter how hard I tried to catch up, things were further out of reach. One example was we were asked to clear out of date emails. I duly sat down one night at home and worked my way through. After a while, I was struck with a thought. Who was this woman who wrote witty emails? I could hardly believe that just a few months earlier I had been this witty lass, often poking fun in a gentle way to friends and coleagues. When I reread them, I felt smashed and broken.
I took early retirement and now, with some healing time and distance, I can see that I wasn't really given achievable goals nor the support I needed to achieve them.
Healing time has taught me that I am a useful person. I am supply teaching, being asked for by name to my agency and been offered a short term contrac for January. I CAN bl**by well do the job!!
Like any illness, depression needs healing time. As others have said here, you wouldn't be worrying about going back to school if you had a broken leg so why do we feel so guilty when we have a broken spirt?
OP, concentrate on yourself. Keep visiting the dr and get OH on board. You'd be surprised what they can do and how powerful they are. Your HT might argue with you and the union, OH is a whole different game.
Take time for you-you are the important one in this. Very best of luck.
I always thought occupational health was employed by the HT/LEA and was therefore on their side and hence very bias towards the teacher?
That was not my experience. Twice I was referred o them and on each occasion, when I suggested that the school might not 'wear' their advice, I was told in no uncertain terms that the school could lump it-my health and well being was the issue, not the smooth running of the school.
Was my experience unusual? I have nothing to compare i with so I am not sure.
thank you dragonlady that is comforting to know for people!!!
Same here. I was fretting about OH. I took my union rep with me. OH wanted me back to work but not until I was ready. Mine also stipulated certain things that must change in school for my return to start. "Duty of care" is a very useful phrase.
I did hear of one case where a school completely ignored OH directive about the teacher's return to school on the very first morning. The teacher had to be collected from work by her husband who contacted the OH and told them what had happened. OH went mad, told the teacher she was not to return the school under any circumstances and they negotiated early retirement on the grounds of ill health, with full enhancement!
The second time I saw OH I was given the chance to see their report before it went to the school. I valued this and did ask for some changes, which were included.
For myself, I have every confidence that OH work for the teacher and their well being.
I have had a good experience of Occupational Health, too. My only criticism would be the time it took from first referral to get an appointment with the physician. That may not be typical, of course.
Although the OH team work for the employer they are, first and foremost, medical professionals, employed to give their professional opinion. The physician I saw was specifically qualified as a consultant in occupational health: in other words, he had chosen to make it his specialism. For an OH physician to work in cahoots with a Head would compromise his/her professional integrity.
Same here I am finding OH to be excellent.
I am so sorry to hear this. As so many others have said, you must see your doctor! To isolate yourself from your friends and family is a natural thing to do when suffering from depression (I know that some days I don't even leave the house or answer the phone..) but this is actually one of the worst things you can do - you need people around you that care about you. Make plans to see them, even if just for a coffee and though you may want to cancel, don't; it will do you good to be with others. Your doctor can also give you numbers of local helplines should your dark thoughts continue or ring a close friend - but you must not take these thoughts any further; I nearly did so can deeply sympathise. You can come out of this, perhaps not the same person but you can come out of this a stronger person, however, it takes time to heal until one day you will not even notice that you are not feeling low anymore as you embrace life more and more. And please remember you are NOT alone - as this thread shows, there are many of us out there who share a part of your story, we are with you. Big hugs xxx
My head totally ignored the recommendations of OH and was livid that they had dared to make them. OH had no power to enforce the recommendations, which to me makes them useless.
I am thinking of resigning so I can leave at the end of the Spring Term (30th April) but I am worried that I cannot resign while off sick. Also I am worried that I will never get hired again as I have been signed off and I have left a school after not being there for long.
I am so worried about everything. I am still barely sleeping. I feel so scared of the school,
Has anyone got any advice or knows of any situations where people have left while on long term sick and have they been able to secure another post?