Hi all. I'm a young (ish - 25) teacher been having a completely hellish time at my current job. Head of dept. just didn't come back one day and was on long term sick for 18 months. As we are a 2 person dept. I was, by default, obliged really to take on this role. Anyway, the school, to be fair, acknowledged this and made me permenant head of dept. However, after having spent 18 months managing with different supply teachers, the challenges of s special measures school and a widescale lack of discipline across the school I eventually reached the point of collapse around Easter. I went to the doctor and was prescribed medication to relieve anxiety. I hate the fact that I have been given these tablets as I (maybe stupidly) like to 'fight my own battles' and have not taken after the first week I was given them. After a bad stomach / gut illness which I believe was brought on by stress (have ruled out food poisoning as my OH and I ate the same and he's fine) I have been off since Monday, and each time I thought of returning to work later this week my stomach began to fill with adrenaline and I'd feel sick again. Anyhow, I have to go in this week, there is no option for me to take any further time off. I just don't know what to do for the best for my career. Several people around me are telling me to get myself signed off until half term so I can come back fresh after half term and on full steam, that if I go back now I will just mentally collapse again etc. and it will be worse, however I feel that being signed off with stress will just end my career in teaching,no decent head will ever take me on again, and if and when a new head arrives here they will see this on my records and assume I can't cope and just get rid of me. I really do feel it will all change in Sept. as we have now appointed a new member of staff who I am looking forward to working with and building things up, but the thought of the week ahead of me is making me want to crawl into a hole and die...! I suppose I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, worried for my career, worried for my health, and just want someone a little older and wiser to give me some unbiased guidance. My main question being this - if I'm signed off with stress - am I effectively ending my career?