Hi I'm trying to keep the following details as vague as possible, as colleagues of mine (who may well be present here) would no doubt jump at the chance to gossip at yet another staff member off with 'stress'. I'm also aware that a symptom of my current stress and anxiety is likely to be paranoia ... I work for an LEA, for 3 days a week, in a peripatetic capacity. I have worked in this exact job for 15 years, during which time I have achieved many things that have given me great pride in the job. Unfortunately, none of these achievements have been noted beyond the pupils/parents/schoosl involved - no mention nor gratitude by the LEA, despite them being, in some instances, internationally-recognised achievements which would have been reflected very well on the LEA, as well as my particular department. Needless to say, I find this hugely demoralising, and the pupils involved do too. Some years ago, an issue developed in one of my schools which was ultimately a personality clash between myself and the head of department. Despite protestations from parents and pupils, I was removed from the school ('for my own benefit') and promised the issue would be dealt with, and a formal grievance procedure put in place to prevent such a dismissal from accusing without following a certain path in future. Nothing happened. I was offered counselling (i.e. I was given a business card with the name of the outsourced counselling service when I became teary in a meeting), and promised that a meeting would take place to officially clear my name. Nothing happened. I also have experienced a number of instances of what is probably termed as bullying over the 15 years. On one occasion, a colleague completely ignored me for a period of several months whilst I worked alongside him in charge of a group of pupils (I mean total ignorance - no eye contact, no conversation, no response to any of my questions, and all of this in front of pupils). I pleaded with my line manager to resolve this (I was a young 20-something at the time, and still pretty green behind the ears to these things), but was told it was 'probably nothing to worry about'. Nothing was done, but the offending 'colleague' eventually opted to take another group so I could forget about this problem. Lately, another issue has arisen with another colleague (a relation to the previous one, funnily enough) which (apparently, according to other colleagues) stems from jealousy and power issues (the other staff member is less qualified and generally less experienced, although older). My line manager has refused to deal with it, despite requests for meetings to resolve the issue, and now other staff have even made complaints at the way this particular 'colleague' is speaking about the matter in staff meetings. Essentially, the line manager is incapable of dealing with it, and prefers instead to say whatever it takes to each of us to keep everyone 'happy'. I realise that this probably sounds ever so trivial, but the net result of a number of years of being devalued, demeaned, not having achievements recognised, conflict, etc ... is that I finally 'broke' last week and was take to the GP by my OH. I've been given valium, signed off for two weeks (to start with, with the reason 'work-related stress'), and told to return for a follow-up visit next week. Since that point, it feels like the emotional dam I have constructed to stem the accumulated years of stress has collapsed, and I can now not even contemplate the idea of returning to work. To further complicate matters - I have a second job, which is in the same field as my teaching job, but is also unrelated. The second job is freelance, and it has taken twenty years to build up the contacts and reputation to get to the stage I am at. Whilst I haven't undertaken any work under this second job since being signed off, I have some booked within the next few weeks. This second job gives my great happiness, fills me with confidence, and frankly gives me something to get up in the morning for. I see the two as completely unrelated, and being signed off from the 'day' job through stress does not prevent me from undertaking the 'evening' job. I've spoken with my union briefly about this, and my rep also can't see why the sick note should render me incapable of undertaking my second job. However, I have delightful colleagues who would actively research any further work I undertake whilst being signed off 'sick'. I'm not sure what I hope to gain from posting here. I think partly I just need to vent. My partner is trying his best, but I feel it's unfair to heap all of this on him, when he's essentially helpless to resolve it. Before signing off, I was at the stage where I sometimes couldn't leave the car to go into a school, I was intimidated by some kids (I'm talking primary kids here! The type who say 'who the f*** are you? You're not a real teacher! What are you doing here?' whilst walking past my class - I teach in some delightful schools), and I couldn't get through a day without being overcome with tears. I'm at the end of my tether here. To cap it all, the likelihood is that my department will be cut/vastly reduced in the near future, which probably is why very little effort (none?) has been made to give me any assistance or support. Or even recognise a problem. Apologies for the general vagueness of this lengthy post. I realise I'll probably have to provide further details for anyone to make any sense of it. I just needed to start somewhere.