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How do you know if you are well enough to go back to work?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Brosie, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. I've been depressed for a very long time, I'm on ADs, temazepam and diazepam for acute anxiety. The anxiety is fairly new and a result of bullying by my line manager and one of the Deputy Heads. For example they asked me to sign a document stating that I wouldn't kill myself in school (not sure how they'd manage to hold me to that one, but nevermind). I've struggled into work for most of this, but last Monday I couldn't cope any longer and the doctor signed me off for 2 weeks as I actually had a panic attack in the surgery as soon as he asked me how work was. He put that it was an acute anxious reaction to work-related stress, which of course made everything kick off at work. The Head wants to meet with me on Monday, which should be my first day back if I don't get another note. I have to see the doctor on Friday for him to decide if I can go back. I know he'll leave it up to me though, but I don't know what to do. The rational side of me realises that the longer I leave it, the worse it will be going back, but the anxious part of me is shaking just thinking about it.
    I'm finding it difficult to keep setting work remotely, and the Head has said that even if the doctor says I am fit to return on Monday, I can't go into school until the meeting in the afternoon, but instead have to set work by email. I've got lots of exam classes, and they haven't had a supply in, just cover supervisors, so I feel so guilty. I also feel like no-one believes me, I just keep being told that because I have depression I have distorted perceptions, so I'm the one in the wrong. I need the job to pay the mortgage or I'd just run away and never go back.
    Should I just go back and face it? I know I've been referred back to OH, but I've not heard from them yet.
    God, that was a longer bit of self-pity than I was expecting, but I have no-one to talk to about this in real life. Thank you if you managed to get to the end of it. x
     
  2. I've been depressed for a very long time, I'm on ADs, temazepam and diazepam for acute anxiety. The anxiety is fairly new and a result of bullying by my line manager and one of the Deputy Heads. For example they asked me to sign a document stating that I wouldn't kill myself in school (not sure how they'd manage to hold me to that one, but nevermind). I've struggled into work for most of this, but last Monday I couldn't cope any longer and the doctor signed me off for 2 weeks as I actually had a panic attack in the surgery as soon as he asked me how work was. He put that it was an acute anxious reaction to work-related stress, which of course made everything kick off at work. The Head wants to meet with me on Monday, which should be my first day back if I don't get another note. I have to see the doctor on Friday for him to decide if I can go back. I know he'll leave it up to me though, but I don't know what to do. The rational side of me realises that the longer I leave it, the worse it will be going back, but the anxious part of me is shaking just thinking about it.
    I'm finding it difficult to keep setting work remotely, and the Head has said that even if the doctor says I am fit to return on Monday, I can't go into school until the meeting in the afternoon, but instead have to set work by email. I've got lots of exam classes, and they haven't had a supply in, just cover supervisors, so I feel so guilty. I also feel like no-one believes me, I just keep being told that because I have depression I have distorted perceptions, so I'm the one in the wrong. I need the job to pay the mortgage or I'd just run away and never go back.
    Should I just go back and face it? I know I've been referred back to OH, but I've not heard from them yet.
    God, that was a longer bit of self-pity than I was expecting, but I have no-one to talk to about this in real life. Thank you if you managed to get to the end of it. x
     
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Not sure I agree. Going back when you are still ill is a recipe for disaster - you will be off again within days at the most, and this is not going to help you recover.
    You shouldn't be doing this, so resist the pressure to work when you have been signed as unfit for work.
    Not your fault - don't feel guilty about things you can't change.
    Does your union know about this?
    I don't know how you know, but you just know. You know it'll be hard, but you can see that it's possible... And ask the GP, and respect his/her opinion, just as you'd expect your professional opinion to be heeded.
     
  4. Hi, thanks for replying.
    The union know about it, but I just got told that whilst it was perhaps 'misguided' it came from a good place. I was really stupid, was asked to go and 'chat' to the Deputy and be totally open and honest and it would go no further. Then it turned out that she had minuted (inaccurately!) the meeting and put the notes in my file. Union rep asked for notes to be removed and destroyed, they said no. I refused to sign document saying that I wouldn't kill myself in school, so now that's being interpreted as if I am planning some sort of grand gesture at the front of assembly. Rep says that a formal grievance won't get anywhere.

     
  5. As others have advised, do NOT go back yet. You most definitely aren't ready. If/When you decide to, do NOT see the head without someone with you. I also think you shouldn't be worrying about setting work. You need to stand back and let the school sort it out. Have you got support out of school?
     
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Their problem; not yours. They knew you would be off this long because you had a note - they should have got cover in. It is not for you to feel guilty that they didn't do that.
    It sounds to me like you're not ready. If you feel like this here and now, how will you feel when you get to the gate/carpark/reception desk/HT's office? And if you do decide to go in, who are you taking with you? I don't think I would want to see your HT if I felt like you do.
    I said that too. And then I decided that happy was better than anything else and took a signficant pay cut to get out. Best decision ever.

     
  7. I really wish I could just leave. I can't though. I'm my mother's carer and she lives with me, I have no partner to share the bills with.
    The really horrible thing is that I feel good in the classroom. It helps me to forget how awful my life is and I know that most of the kids really enjoy my lessons. I just can't handle all of the backbiting. My line-manager really has it in for me, and no-one at school believes me because of course I'm 'ill' and therefore my perceptions of what is going on are skewed.
     
  8. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Nobody believes what?
     
  9. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    I think you answered your own question!
    How do you know when you are well enough to go back? When you don't need to ask that question! If you have doubts about going back then don't. You need to get yourself sorted first. It's far better to have a longer time off then to go back, find you can't cope and go back off sick.
    Letter from OH will take a few weeks, don't let that add to your stresses like I did!
     
  10. Absolutely do not go back until you feel up to it. You shouldn't be setting work whilst off sick. The contract business is completely out of order; I can only begin to imagine what my union rep would make of it. If you have only spoken to the school based rep, it may be worth contacting the regional officers.
    Hope you start to feel better soon.
     
  11. That my line manager wants me to leave. She's told me to my face loads of times, but she's too careful to do it in front of others, so of course no-one believes me because I am ill.
    Thanks for all of your replies. I suppose I'll leave the decision to the doctor tomorrow.
     
  12. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    Check your PM inbox.
     
  13. This is awful - I really didnt want to read and run and wanted to send you my best wishes. I dont have any advice but totally agree with other posters that if you are asking the question then you are in no way ready for work yet.
    As for setting work whilst off sick - it makes my blood boil!!! Cover supervisors or not it is NOT your responsibility to set work when you are off for a lengthy period of time! If work related stress is your reason for being off then as a HoD I would never expect my team to set their own work when off sick. Send an email to school being brief just stating that you are unable to set work. Surely you cant anyway as you know NOTHING about the students progression whilst you have been off?
    Hope you start to feel better soon but really hope too that you take as long as you need and that you seek support from your union in any communiaction/meetings with your line managers or SLT.
    Please dont suffer in silence
    M xxx
     
  14. Hi all,
    I've been to see the doctor this morning, and he thinks I should try going back as I'm so anxious about returning that not being there is making it worse. He's given me a fit note suggesting a phased return. Not sure if school will go for that, but if they don't he said that he'll sign me off again. I suppose I just wait for the meeting on Monday now and keep taking the diazepam!
    As for setting work, I know I'm a mug but they really do expect it - if I haven't sent an email with PowerPoints, worksheets etc by 8.15 I get texts and phone calls until I do. Then I get an email with where they got up to from the Cover Supervisor so that I can set the next lot of work. I suppose I feel a bit less guilty if I know that at least my classes are doing something productive. I'm just going to get 'useless mug' tatooed on my forehead, I think.
     
  15. I agree with others, you should not be setting work. I was in a very similar situation (ended up off for three months). I was expected to set work, which I foolishly did for the first few days then decided enough was enough. I sent an email stating (briefly) where all my classes were at (and what parts of the syllabus they had covered and that I would be back in touch when my doctor deemed me fit for work. It was a polite way of saying 'that's it for setting work, and please don't contact me about it again'. This was after contacting my union who were very supportive and offered to contact school if they continued to harrass me in this way.
    I hope all goes well for you. If work is still causing that much anxiety then you really should not go back. When I was first signed off I couldn't imagine going back in ever again, but after time (and NLP arranged by occupational health + seeing a medical herbalist in place of antidepressants) it gradually became more of a possibility. I DID go back and it wasn't easy but I coped without crippling anxiety and insomnia. Two years on I'm still there and doing OK. Focus on getting better and healing yourself rather than what's going on in school. After several NLP sessions, the main thing that stuck in my mind (and still does) it my lovely 'therapist' saying 'it's only a job'. Hold on to that. Best of luck. You are not alone, plenty on here have been where you are (and come out the other side).
     
  16. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    How did the meeting go? Are you receiving counselling to help you deal with things?
     
  17. Meeting got off to a poor start as the representative from the LA HR department was 45 minutes late! My union rep was spitting feathers by this point. After that things seemed to go more smoothly, and I got quite a few concessions and reassurances, plus a phased return that will be reviewed at the end of each block of teaching to see how I am coping. That was all good, but then I went across to the department office to get my stuff sorted for tomorrow and my HOD was there and her first remark to me was 'what are you doing here?' and then she got on the phone (in front of everyone) to check with the head that I was actually allowed to be on site. That made me feel really good. Anxiety about tomorrow now through the roof, but not going to let her win just yet.
    I've had counselling in the past and I'm now on a 6-8 month waiting list for CBT.
     
  18. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Have you been to OH? They may be able to sort something out. I remember someone on here got to see a psychiatrist that way.
    A self help book on CBT strategies would be helpful in the meantime. There is also Moodgym available on the internet.
    I know it is hard, but smile sweetly at the HOD and accept that some people just aren't nice and that you can't change them, but you can change how you react to them.
     
  19. I actually bought NLP for dummies today. I've seen a psychiatrist and a psychologist through OH, neither very helpful. I've done moodgym, but I find it really difficult as I don't really accept that my thoughts are wrong, as I do think that I'm rubbish. I'm not sure that makes sense, sorry.
     

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