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NQT with serious depression

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by anon8315, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Please don't be too upset or worry about creating workload for the school. A school doesn't employ an NQT because they think they are perfect, they employ them because they think they will be. With support, you will be.
    Could you get someone in to watch another lesson? I did this when I got a satisfactory recently, and asked if I could be seen again because I felt I hadn't really performed at my best (had a real nervous panic and gabbled and talked too much!)
    It sounds as if you're in a nice school and remember that no one expects you to be perfect except possibly yourself. x
  2. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    I agree with the previous two posters. Some in your shoes needs treatment and in order for that to work it will probably need time off school and you should be as prepared to take time off for this as you would be prepared to take time off for a broken leg. I have had colleagues who have take time off for depression and although the did not make a speedy recovery - they have recovered and are back into the swing of things.
    Don't be too hard on yourself.
    i hope everything works out
  3. Thank you for the replies, everyone. I spoke to my lovely mentor and she said much the same as all of you - she made me feel less guilty and advised me to take some time off, so I've not been in to school this week. I feel better for being away (apart from the inevitable worrying about my classes and all the other things that I can't stop worrying about no matter how hard I try).

    I'm now wondering whether I should go back next week or see my doctor and give it a little more time - I do feel better, but I was still having panic attacks on Wednesday and only started to feel 'normal' yesterday afternoon, so I'm not sure if it's too early to go back yet. But then, I don't want to take loads of time off, and I'm also aware that the longer I have off the more difficult it may be to go back.

    Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.
  4. I'm so glad that your mentor is supportive, and I really hope that things get easier for you soon. I'm also glad that you have seen a Dr and are getting medical and cognitive help. Did you know antidepressants can take a few weeks to take effect? Be gentle on yourself and don't despair if they're not kicking in immediately, you should feel effects soon.

    I'm wondering if this is a long term problem, the depression, or if it's a new experience for you in reaction to the stress of being an NQT? If it's a long term problem, what did you do to help yourself through your training?

  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    In addition to the other very good advice you've been given, can I stress the need to take good care of yourself physically? I've seen a lot of young teachers existing on very poor diets, not getting enough (or any) exercise and then spiralling down mentally as this very hard year wears on.
    Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. If you can afford it, go to a gym. I bet you can't, so get yourself out on brisk walks (or runs) as often as possible, definitely on Saturdays and Sundays. It's amazing how this can raise your mood and keep it up there for much of the day.
  6. I was diagnosed with depression in 2008. I go through good patches and bad patches - on my training I didn't hit a really bad time until near the end, by which point I was nearly done and it didn't have too much of a negative effect. It does usually hit in the winter (I suppose an element of SAD), but during the winter months on training I was on a fantastic placement, and I can genuinely say I loved going in every day. Real teaching, sadly, isn't like a six week placement where you just have to get your head around standing in front of a class! ^^ I was on anti-depressants throughout my training, and I feel that being on a PGCE gave me an automatic support group as well - I was never the only trainee at school, so the feeling of isolation was never there like it is now.

    I'm hoping that, so long as I can get through to Christmas, things might get easier. I'm fully expecting not to pass my first term as an NQT, which is another worry but I hope that if I can pick myself up mentally and emotionally I might be able to pull it back.
  7. TeacherSupportJason

    TeacherSupportJason New commenter

    It is encouraging to see so many comments offering you help and support, and it is important to find people that you can talk to about how you are feeling.
    It is so easy to feel like you are the only person going through something like this in a school, but you are definitely not the only new teacher feeling like this.
    In addition to the great advice that you have been given, I just wanted to make sure that you know there is support specifically available to you. Teacher Support Network offers telephone and online support, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They only offer help, information and advice to teachers and their families. This means they understand some of the issues you may be facing, as well as the education sector as a whole. You can call them on 08000 562 561 or go to www.teachersupport.info.
    Jason Harrison, Teacher Support Network

  8. Well, I have had three weeks off and I am going back tomorrow. I've felt so much better this last week, but now I'm faced with returning I've had a steep drop again. I suppose it was inevitable. My HoD e-mailed me with where all my classes have got up to, but it's very vague and I'm having a bit of a panic trying to plan. It was mentioned that I could possibly go back in tomorrow but not teach my full timetable (a full day of 6 lessons), but SMT won't allow it.

    If I can get through tomorrow without bursting into tears and walking out, it will be a miracle.
  9. Are you really sure that you are ready to return then?
  10. I really don't think so, but I'm not sure staying off longer is the answer. I think I'll always get to this point, where I don't feel like I can cope. I think it would be easier with a phased return or a reduced timetable, but SMT doesn't seem to want to do that at all.
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you're not feeling ready you might end up returning and over-reaching yourself, so I recommend contacting SMT/ LA HR whoever at the earliest possible opportunity.
    I've done quite a few covers for long-term sick with phased in returns and would recommend that you try and convince them that a short period of adjustment is necessary or the school might end up with bigger problems. The school has a 'duty of care' towards their employees.
  12. Well, I am in school. I felt very anxious this morning, and when I arrived I promptly had to go and lock myself in the loo to have a quiet panic attack. I've been in tears for most of the morning - and nothing has even happened. Luckily the staff are incredibly supportive, and arranged some cover because I was clearly in no state to teach. I really want to leave and go home, but I need to wait and talk to my mentor.
    I have a meeting tomorrow with the HR / Business Manager about my absence, and I am seeing my regional union rep this afternoon about it as well. He said he will attend the meeting with me, as my school doesn't have a rep for my union. Would it be acceptable for me to ask for a phased return or similar? I'm clearly not going to cope with full responsibilities, but I'm not sure if 3 weeks is long enough to be off to justify a phased return.

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