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*sensetive* concerned for my mental health due to work issues.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by PoppinsOz, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. PoppinsOz

    PoppinsOz New commenter

    As soon as I graduated from university I knew I'd made a huge mistake choosing teaching as a career. My husband convinced me to give it a try for one year and if I still did't like it to move on. 9 years on and classed as an "outstanding" teacher I still feel this way. I've spent the last 5 years trying to leave the profession but with no success.

    On the surface I appear calm and organised but inside I constantly feel like I'm in a pressure cooker with demands being thrown at me from all angles. I've had a number of long periods of time off with illnesses some of which I believe have been caused by work related stress. My amount of sickness leave probably contributes to my lack of job application success.

    Last night I reached a new low. After reading the 32 emails I'd been sent that day (observations, pupil progress, reports, data, work and planning scrutiny, parents evening, the list goes on) my head was spinning. I went to bed and for a split second I thought to myself I can't do this anymore. I've had enough. I'm scared to admit it but for a brief second I thought about suicide. As soon as it came into my head I snapped straight out of it but the fact that that happened has really unnerved and frightened me. There's no one I feel comfortable telling about this. I cant go to the dr as if they sign me off that's more time off I'd have to explain to a potential new employer and my school are fed up with me as it is. I feel like a drama queen as I type this all out. But I'm feeling so low.

    I need to leave teaching. My husband tries to be supportive. On one hand he sees the stress I am under and incidents that happen and says I need to get out then when I try to look into other options he tries to talk me into staying.

    I often think about going on supply but again my husband doesn't want me to do this for financial reasons.

    I don't really know what the purpose of my post is. I think I just needed to speak to someone about it.
  2. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Firstly, it's a good thing to have reached out and there are lots of excellent posters on here who can give better advice than I can.

    Deal with your health first. Jobs will come and go. And when you are ready to make the next move, you could always have a diplomatic word with the new school about the sickness.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I think you need to put yourself first, and prioritise your own health. Perhaps visiting your GP would be a good first step. If your husband isn't willing to listen, do you have a close friend/relative who could speak to him on your behalf?
  4. Brunettegirl

    Brunettegirl Occasional commenter

    I agree. Poor you. It must be bad enough struggling with school, but the additional stress from your husband must make it unbearable. Mine is adamant that I don't go back to the classroom unless I want to, and even then, only part time. Money IS an issue, but your health and well being is vital. I hope you feel better soon.
  5. PoppinsOz

    PoppinsOz New commenter

    Thank you for replies.

    PurpleCarrots Id like to leave teaching all together if I can. Although I've no idea what I'd do instead. I apply for anything that looks like I could do but. Ever get anywhere.

    Frank Wolley thank you for your advice. I wouldn't want to burden anyone or ask them to do that.

    Brunettegirl thank you for your reply. I think he's just concerned and doesn't want me to make a mistake. Are you currently off work with stress yourself?
  6. missRV

    missRV Occasional commenter

    I'm so sorry to hear your position;

    I was in your place 12 months ago, please do go to the doctors..... you can refuse the sick note if you feel that strongly, but they can refer you for counselling, give you support and if needs be prescribe medication.

    I was referred to the crisis team who were excellent, my head teacher was amazing and referred me to occupational health who were brilliant with me, there are people to help you.

    Please PM me if you need any support!
  7. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Any job would be better than feeling like this. Start applying now. Local government, NHS, personnel, admin work, receptionist, taxi driver, child minder, EAL teacher, and all those other jobs that don't classify so easily. Anything. Dig the tunnel and escape.
    Take time off it you are sick. Just do it. You did not choose to be sick. It is the stress and burnout. It's not your fault, you are not weak, cowardly, any of this. The system is making us all ill.
    You are you. You deserve to have your life back.
    It is part of your feeling down, that you listen to your partner who does not understand the pressure you are under and is not giving good advice. Do what is right for you not for him. Forget pensions and salaries. None of this is important if your health is compromised.
    You can always go back to teaching later in life you know. It's not that final. It is just a need for something else at this moment while you heal and strengthen again. Or you may never want to go back to teaching. It is a lousy job. Do something else. Try lots of different things. Be free.
    And next time it seems a good idea to die rather than go to work the next day, just go and talk to your GP about that. That is what they are there for.
    Oh my dear I do send all my love.
    monicabilongame and mapledrop like this.
  8. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    mapledrop and phlogiston like this.
  9. leonslow

    leonslow New commenter

    One of the ugliest things about mental illness is that it tells us no one cares or that we must tackle it alone. And we are much crueller to ourselves that to others. If a family member or close friend came to you in a similar situation would you think of them as a burden? No. Your loved ones care about you and will want to help. Think of it as though you've broken your arm or hurt your back - would you think yourself a burden if you asked someone to help with your food shopping? It's the same principle.

    Go to the GP, reach out. I understand where your husband is coming from (my parents are similar in not wanting me to regret anything by not completing my NQT year) but ultimately I'm sure he wants you to be healthy and happy, and you need to decide whether you can achieve that in teaching.

    But no decisions need to be made this second. I'm still off with anxiety and depression and tend to think I have to figure out everything right now. I don't. I need to use the right now to get well. As do you.

    Big hugs. You will get through it but you need to tell people (friends, family, GP) so they can help you.

    Best wishes.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Hugs - teacher support agency.
    Otherjobs will come along
  11. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    You have all my sympathy, I'm at nine years and quitting this year with nothing to go to or any confidence that I can get another job right now (self esteem: zero). We are tightening our belts as hard as we can, and saving for a few months grace to recover and decide what's next. I'm applying to mark, moderate, tutor... Whatever, just bring something in. We're not financially secure (OH has temp job) but figure it's better to do this than risk any further ill health. Had a breakdown last year, going back soon. Don't want to, but knowing it's only temporary helps.

    Please look after yourself, seek help. My meds curb the anxiety and am waiting for therapy. There are options. You're worth more than the job.
  12. mapledrop

    mapledrop New commenter

    I can only echo what the other posters are saying. I got to the point where I was so overwhelmed I couldn't really function and suicidal thoughts crept in. At that point I knew enough was enough. I just said no more. I was signed off by my GP and given meds and counselling. I feel much better but not ready to return to work just yet.

    Please seek help and support from your GP, the teacher support network helped me when I was at my worst and they can set up weekly counselling for you. There's also the Samaritans you can talk to and also us here on the forum that are all going through this.

    You also need to do what is best for you. My husband says that I am good at what I do (I used to be 'good' but 'good' is no longer good enough anymore according to the head) and that I should apply for jobs to start in sept. Well that is something I can't do, my passion has gone, I have no faith left after what has happened to me. I feel that it's best I leave to nothing and hope that I find a better school (they are out there so I am told) through doing supply or just get a job outside teaching.

    Your health and wellbeing is the most important thing. Put yourself first and do what you feel is right but please seek help from your GP.

    Sending virtual hugs
    indusant and notsonorthernlass like this.
  13. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think many a person on here would recommend you put your health first above all other considerations.
    You seem to have coped remarkably well to be getting 'outstanding' despite all your obvious struggles.

    Believe me you are not alone, nor the first or last teacher who has felt like this. I know schools where most staff are on medication to cope and often it is the outstanding schools and staff where these problems are most prevalent as expectations are so high.
    I have known others come back from expereinecs like this who've posted on here , but one thing at a time, starting with looking after yourself first and leaving the 'next step' for when you feel stronger and more able to cope.
  14. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Look after yourself first. If you are having difficult thoughts you must go to your GP. They are there to support you - and will - just tell them exactly how you are feeling. People who are not in schools find it very hard to understand what it is like - just how much pressure there is in most schools. You are not alone in finding it all too much. Take a step back - have some time away from school - signed off - you will be paid. When you are feeling better - then is the time to think about what you might do in the future.
    rachelpaula008 and indusant like this.
  15. And100

    And100 New commenter

    Poor you, like many other people have said you're not alone. I had
    suicidal thoughts in my second year of teaching. I knew I had to act when I stood in the classroom, full of children and tears started crying for no apparent reason.
    My way of coping has been to change school a lot. I realise that I have to change my role within the profession or leave it completely. I graduated in 1996 and I wish I'd made a more definitive move a long time ago. I recommend you do.
    Make sure you don't bottle things up, a counsellor is a good idea. People mention The Teacher Support Network or even try the Samaritans. I'm sure in time your husband will see how damaging this is to you. No job is worth this and if your health suffers too much this could also affect you financially. There is likely to be a drop in pay but you can work your way up pay scales. I am considering doing a second job to make ends meet. Teach part time and do another job for the remainder of the week?
    There are lots of posts here about transferable skills, other possible careers etc. National Careers website, The Guardian jobs and various others. Finances and fear of the unknown prevented me from leaving teaching which I regret. I am planning to leave full time, class teaching this year. I have started to look for other jobs and there are other options. I am thinking of staying in education but not being class based. I will take at least a £10,000 drop in pay. I would rather do that while protecting my sanity, health and re-claiming my life.
    Wishing you all the very best
  16. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    Sorry to hear of this. I echo everything that others have said.

    Teaching can throw too many things at you. Trying to do them all at once can be counter productive. The sheer amount of work a teacher now has to do makes it difficult to work efficiently. It's sad but many teachers today are suffering which is why many leave.

    Look for the gaps between tasks and use them to stop and take a short break. Have a cup of tea, go for a walk, have a bath. Breathe.

    It is in those gaps that we can look after ourselves a little. We create space. It has been said that we can't have great music without the spaces in between notes. The gaps in between work are important, but easily neglected.

    I believe that those spaces not only help us to work more efficiently, but also help the mind to stay refreshed. All the best.
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    As you can see, @PoppinsOz , there are many people on here who are very sympathetic to you and your plight.

    And some excellent advice.

    Put your health and your family first, is how it can be summed up.

    Talk to your GP, talk to the Teacher Support people, start looking at other schools, start looking at other jobs, even.

    Possible other careers

    Wishing you a peaceful half term, and a new resolve to get things better soon.

  18. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    If the job is making you ill and you have ruled out trying another school where the demands may be less (but then again it may be frying pan vs fire,) get out! Your husband to be fair is probably trying to offer a balanced argument. maybe you both need to accept if the worries are financial that keeping up with the Jones's isn't the be all and end all and that you would both be happier with a smaller mortgage in a less expensive property somewhere else. Although many people rate their success in life by how they compare to the Jones's, without being flippant, sometimes you have to think '**** the Jones's!
    pepper5 and dljames2013 like this.
  19. ricjamclick

    ricjamclick New commenter

    As the thread seems to suggest, such thoughts are more common than you would expect. The thing to do is not make a plan to follow through on it.

    I wouldn't support the idea - as it seems to have been floated by Theogriff - that people with mental health difficulties should find another option outside of education. Even the faint suggestion is morally reprehensible in my view.

    You're probably very good at your job but you shouldn't be put upon as you have been. Don't go to the GP if you can discuss your ideas first with your nearest and dearest. If you can't do this then the health service may be your next option.

    Supply is always a good option and, if you know how to negotiate and are in demand, you can ensure that there is limited loss of pay and even get more work when you actually want it if you are good.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Dear Poppins

    You definitely need someone to speak to regarding your situation; if you do not wish to go to your GP then phone,email The Teacher Support Agency or Samaritans.

    If you sit down with your husband and talk about your situation, you both can come up with a plan together. Perhaps a plan of saving for a few months and also reduce your outgoings as far as possible until you find another teaching post or another post outside teaching.

    There are many options available: parttime teaching plus home tutoring, small business in a skill you have, supply teaching, any combination of the above, and many more. Even if it means a reduction in your lifestyle, having your health is your priority.

    Don't think you are a failure if you leave teaching. Nine years as a teacher is a long time in view that up to 50% leave within 5 years. The job is grueling for even the best and no one will think any less of you since it now seems people have to be super human to keep up with the demands.

    Wishing you all the best for whatever you decide, but do call The Teacher Support Agency or Samaritans. Also, your G P may be able to arrange counselling for you.

    Sending you a big hug

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