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Signed off with Anxiety and Depression

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by ethnic, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Dear all,

    Last term I was signed off school with anxiety and depression from my doctor for a number of weeks - 7 actually, although I worked 2.5 days so strictly speaking that would be 16.5 of my working days. I am no longer at the school and I am now worried that I may have ruined my career for good. Let me explain then, this may take a while:

    I am 43 and have been teaching since the age of 23. I have had experience of 5 different schools and have been a very successful Director of Music for 13 years in 2 boys' grammar schools. I have always wanted the experience of teaching abroad so when the opportunity arose for me to teach at a top international, selective school overseas for September 2009, I just had to go for it. This seemed like a once in a life time opportunity. I was also in desperate need of a change and under a new Head things at the school seemed to becoming less pleasurable; indeed when I talk to former colleagues at this school they are utterly miserable because of this new Head, so maybe it was right to go.

    Anyway I went to this top international school in September 2009 as a Deputy Head of Music. The school, salary, package and life were all fantastic. The only problem was that my Head of Department was an obnoxious bully, which is one of the reasons I decided in January 2010 to resign at the end of the academic year. Additionally I was very homesick, missing friends, family, the UK and even my former school. Most of all I was becoming very concerned about my mother who was suffering with Alzheimer's and my dad's inability to deal with it.

    I managed to secure a part-time job for September 2010 as a main scale teacher. In hindsight I shouldn't have rushed into taking this job and I regret it deeply because, although a good school, I just didn't enjoy being there and had a couple of difficult classes. Overall it was just not the right school or department. I resigned from the post after only a few weeks of starting, giving the excuse to my head that I wanted to spend some time pursuing an orchestral conducting course and offer support to my mother, which was very true; I didn't tell him I was unhappy at the school! It was around the same time I was having problems sleeping and suffering with anxiety/panic attacks. It began to dawn on me after seeing my doctor, that problems at school, at home with my mum's illness, the massive changes and the feeling of wrecking my career had all taken it's toll. There are other serious issues but this is not the place to post them. Consequently the doctor gave me anti-depressants, sleeping pills and signed me off 2 weeks at a time.

    It is now the New Year and I am wondering which way to turn. Deep down I love teaching and my subject, but I am worried that I wont get another job because of my recent mental instability and the 7 week signing off period. To make matters worse is the current job climate and my age. Also part of me doesn't want to go back to a situation that could be potentially stressful and bring me back down again.

    Many thanks and sorry this is such a long post!

    Ethnic

    I
     
  2. Dear all,

    Last term I was signed off school with anxiety and depression from my doctor for a number of weeks - 7 actually, although I worked 2.5 days so strictly speaking that would be 16.5 of my working days. I am no longer at the school and I am now worried that I may have ruined my career for good. Let me explain then, this may take a while:

    I am 43 and have been teaching since the age of 23. I have had experience of 5 different schools and have been a very successful Director of Music for 13 years in 2 boys' grammar schools. I have always wanted the experience of teaching abroad so when the opportunity arose for me to teach at a top international, selective school overseas for September 2009, I just had to go for it. This seemed like a once in a life time opportunity. I was also in desperate need of a change and under a new Head things at the school seemed to becoming less pleasurable; indeed when I talk to former colleagues at this school they are utterly miserable because of this new Head, so maybe it was right to go.

    Anyway I went to this top international school in September 2009 as a Deputy Head of Music. The school, salary, package and life were all fantastic. The only problem was that my Head of Department was an obnoxious bully, which is one of the reasons I decided in January 2010 to resign at the end of the academic year. Additionally I was very homesick, missing friends, family, the UK and even my former school. Most of all I was becoming very concerned about my mother who was suffering with Alzheimer's and my dad's inability to deal with it.

    I managed to secure a part-time job for September 2010 as a main scale teacher. In hindsight I shouldn't have rushed into taking this job and I regret it deeply because, although a good school, I just didn't enjoy being there and had a couple of difficult classes. Overall it was just not the right school or department. I resigned from the post after only a few weeks of starting, giving the excuse to my head that I wanted to spend some time pursuing an orchestral conducting course and offer support to my mother, which was very true; I didn't tell him I was unhappy at the school! It was around the same time I was having problems sleeping and suffering with anxiety/panic attacks. It began to dawn on me after seeing my doctor, that problems at school, at home with my mum's illness, the massive changes and the feeling of wrecking my career had all taken it's toll. There are other serious issues but this is not the place to post them. Consequently the doctor gave me anti-depressants, sleeping pills and signed me off 2 weeks at a time.

    It is now the New Year and I am wondering which way to turn. Deep down I love teaching and my subject, but I am worried that I wont get another job because of my recent mental instability and the 7 week signing off period. To make matters worse is the current job climate and my age. Also part of me doesn't want to go back to a situation that could be potentially stressful and bring me back down again.

    Many thanks and sorry this is such a long post!

    Ethnic

    I
     
  3. Sorry to read of your illness. You've been through an awful time.
    I'm from a primary background so not really well placed to offer you advice on career prospects in secondary as such. I do know that the job market is tough but then you have recently secured a post so maybe you have the knack for interviews etc.
    You express concern about ending up in another stressful situation though and this makes me wonder if another teaching job is the right thing for you at the moment. Could you ease yourself back in by doing supply or private music tuition? You need to put your health first.
    43 isn't all that old - yes, I'm sure it's harder to get a job than when you're in your 20s - but you're nowhere near at the end of your career. I only got my post by doing supply at my school (I'm slightly younger than you) and got nowhere with formal applications.
    I'd look at finances - how much do you need to get by - and just aim for getting that much in to start with. Really hope you feel better soon.
     
  4. Seven weeks' absence for depression which is being treated is not a big deal in career-wrecking terms.
    43 is not old to be looking for a teaching job. I was 43 when I returned to teaching after a seven-year break. You are, however, more expensive than an NQT, but that's a separate issue.
    I'm afraid that if you're waiting for a nice job in a lovely school that won't give you any stress to come up, you could be in for a long wait. If a part-time job in a good school with a couple of difficult classes was too much for you, you might want to consider whether teaching is the right option for you at the moment, especially if you still have worries about your parents.
     

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