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Sinking but don't want to give up - some advice please?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by poiuyt, May 19, 2010.

  1. 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?
  2. Practical advice is for someone still teaching to give you -I bowed out long ago.
    But have a look at this link. Skim the first two pages then read on from the big post 24 right to the to end.
    It's the 'Anxious depressed and scared' thread. But look what happened....
    good luck
    non xxx
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    No, in a word.
    Teaching is one of those jobs where things often go pear shaped - it can do terrible things to you.I've been signed off with stress, put on competency procedures, resigned with no job to go to and I still teach!
    Take the time you need and talk to your line manager - sounds like you just need to get through the remainder of this academic year and next year will be better.
    A decent head is one that WILL employ you despite having been signed off with stress. You really don't want to work for a head that has a problem with someone being signed off with stress. My current head knows all my history but also knows that I'm a good teacher.
    Your health always comes first - without your health your career will collapse anyway. This is a situation that can be sorted. Look forward to next year as well and see the bigger picture - this is a short term problem.
    Don't know about wiser but late 30s and more than a decade in the teaching game! Good luck.
  4. I am currently signed off due to depression as I just physically mentally and emotionally cant face going back in at present.
    My GP has written down a general thing on my cert- that way they are not lying and my depression comes under the general umbrella but they are not putting me in a position when depression may affect my career as I too was worried about this.
    Like you I am mid 20s- have been battling this for almost two years as a severe case but have been forcing myself to go on. until this week when I just couldnt force myself any longer no matter how hard i tried. take the time until half-term- thats my plan- and discuss the sick note with your GP- explain your concerns- they are usually helpful.
  5. Why oh why are you not taking the medication now that the roof has fallen in? I doubt you gave them enough time in the first place to be really effective. They usually take anything from 10 days to several weeks to fully kick in.
    They may be just what you need to get through these next few weeks.
  6. Thank you everyone for your input.

    I just feel really incomfortable taking medication for things like this, Ior even medication full stop unless it's absolutely necessary - I prefer to sleep a headache off rather than take paracetamol etc. I'm just weird I suppose!
    I do feel much better than when I posted, but I have been massively up and down the last two days, from feeling fine to feeling like the world's about to end within the space of an hour!
  7. This is a symptom of the anxiety and depression brought on by stress, and you need to let your GP know about it. If you aren't taking the meds, also tell your GP - but explain your fears eg you don't want to be 'numbed out'. It might be that subsutituting a sleeping pill for the ADs will get you over the worst part.
    The whole point is that this job - not teaching necessarily - is making you ill, and anyone who faced similar would probably have the same ilness sooner or later. The plain fact is the school choked off your HoD - how many other staff have gone under or are on the brink?
    You need your union and GP on the case, the union to help negotiate your best way to leave this school, and the GP to keep you safely signed off until you are properly well / the cause of your work-related illness has been removed. Which may include leaving this job at some future point, but leave that thought to one side until you feel stronger.
  8. Hey everyone, thought I'd just give you all a little update on things.
    Well I went back into work today and ended up just breaking down with one of the deputies. Told her how I felt but that I didn't want to be signed off with stress, and she was really good. Basically said it's not a problem and if I need signing off I need signing off and that's the end of it. They covered my teaching for the rest of the day.
    Then the head came to me and told me that if I didn't want the stigma of being off with stress I can take next week as working from home and he's put me in touch with a counsellor who's supposed to be really good. The general consensus was to do whatever I need to do and it's not a problem...
    Really suprised with it all, but in a nice way. Now I just feel bad about being off, but I supposed that will die down in the next few days...
    Thank you to everyone for your words of advice on here, really helps with organising my thoughts!
  9. aw....thats nice. They must think you are really worth looking after! If only that happened everywhere...
    Incidentally I was a governor at a horrendously struggling special measures school. You couldn't help but feel sympathetic to what the staff were going through (I had children there and had worked there, so probably noticed even more than most -personal stuff wasn't routinely discussed in meetings, btw) . All sorts of teachers had time off. Even some of the best and toughest (mainly because they were just that, get lumped on more and more over their capacity). And certainly some of the younger ones, who were more vulnerable obviously, went on to be very valued members of staff by the time the SM was finally removed.
    So try not to feel bad about it. When there is obvious pressure, like in your place too, there is often less of a stigma -people understand more, I think
    You just need time to untangle your mind. And probably treat your body a bit better, take time to eat properly, get a bit of exercise if you feel up to it, just walking maybe. Have a look at the world outside the school!
    Time out can be a really positive thing, you'll be the better for it.
  10. Hey!
    Just thought I'd give an update to those people kind enough to respond earlier on.
    Well, to cut a long story short, I took some time off, been to see the counsellor a few times (been really good for me!) and due to start my phased return this week, on non-consecutive days! Anyway, the day before my first day of teaching in 5 / 6 weeks we got the phonecall - OFSTED due in Wed / Thur for the make or break inspection! We're either closed down or out of special measures. So I changed my days to Wed Thur coz I wanted to be a part of the inspection (although the school said I didn't have to) and would you believe it, first lesson in almost 6 weeks with a brand new class and the inspector walked in! Anyway, I got a good! Managed to get through the rest of the day and then today and we got the news this aft. - we're out of special measures - not even a notice to improve! Just out of the whole situation, back to normal! Was so cute, loads of staff and SMT were crying and just a great sense of relief!
    Not back in now until Tuesday as I am going to continue to take it easy so I am right for September, but just wanted to let others know that you can get through it if your management look after you properly, and if they don't, screw them and go elsewhere because, contrary to popular belief, many people (inc. my own school) have told me that it's not the end of your career if you're signed off due to a stress related illness!
  11. sorry - posted before finished!

    Want to say thank you to the people on here for encouraging me to look after myself instead keep charging on thinking I'm a hero, if I'd not have taken your advice I'd probably be in big trouble by now![​IMG]
  12. That's so good to hear. I've only just picked up on this thread, but I'm so pleased that it's all coming good for you and your school. Long may it continue.
  13. Brilliant!!!!!! Well done! -and thanks for letting us know. I hope a lot of people read this . The same problem you had must be multiplied thousand(s)-fold -and everyone thinking they are alone with it.... We'll have to keep upping this thread!
  14. What a brilliant story! Your SMT sounds great - many of the ones I know would have put the blame on you. It's a shame that some don't seem to realise that if they treat staff humanely, the staff will end up giving more back.
    Hope you feel better soon and fighting fit for September!
  15. Just wanted to bump this up as O noticed a few people on here in a similar predicament to my own last year, and wanted to give them some light at the end of the tunnel!

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