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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by FRJones, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. FRJones

    FRJones New commenter

    Hi, for a variety of reasons, predominately work- related I have been suffering for anxiety/depression this year.

    Usually, my solution to most things is that I throw myself into work and I feel fine but I've been finding the general demands of teaching challenging. Things that would not usually bother me are, in the last couple of weeks, triggered by an altercation, my performance has declined quite rapidly. I had a chat to my manager yesterday and staff in general are worried about me. Somehow I'm managing to teach and assess but I look tired, I'm withdrawn, easily upset, tearful, I'm snappy, not an effective manager, and I am most definitely stressed. I'm usually the most positive one in the department so it's noticeable. I was in two-minds about going to work this week, I did, and I've just made myself look incapable- I just appear over-sensitive.

    I don't know what to do, most of the problems should be resolved this week but I'm not sleeping/eating properly. I don't want my performance to decline even more- I have not disclosed that I suffer from this at all and I am on medication to try and resolve this. Ultimately, I'm doubtful if teaching is for me, but I don't want to make a rash decision when I feel so low. I feel a bit stuck if I don't go into work I'll have this on my record but if I do I will make even more mistakes. I know peoples attitude to mental health very greatly. I'm meant to be getting observed this week too....

    I know staying off might make it harder to go back too- There are many little things at work that are causing stress and I think they would to anyone not just myself.

    Please help!
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi FRJones

    You need someone to talk to in confidence. Telephone/email the Teacher Support Network for help. Google for their contact details. They are available 24/7 to help teachers who need help and advice. They have many years of experience and I am sure they have counselled many teachers in similar circumstances as you.

    Try not to worry...there are many teachers who have found themselves in exactly the same position as you and have found help and a solution to their problems.
  3. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Depends how expensive you are. If you're in your first few years, up to M3, they'll want you to rekindle your mojo...for a while.

    If you're anywhere near UPS you'll probably find you'll be under increased pressure to jump through more and more hoops until you either quit or find another job.
  4. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    You need time out as you are unwell and need signing off. Don't worry about the stigma. Any move in job will involve a questionnaire that will only be seen by occ health/ HR. Anyone that does discriminate is not going to be someone you will want to work for anyway. If employers stopped employing those with MH problems, there would be no one left to employ. Don't whatever you do have an observation whilst you are feeling this way. You can't possibly perform to your best which could have further problems re capability. I know this to my cost. Take care.x
    FRJones and pepper5 like this.
  5. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    A reality check just how valuable we are to schools...NOT!
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'Triggered by an altercation.' Between you and another member of staff? Kids fighting?

    What you are going through sounds very much like burnout. If it has got to the stage where colleagues are worried about you, it must be pronounced as often people can be good at outwardly hiding stress. The not sleeping and eating is the more concerning. I know of few people that teach and get a fantastic nights sleep every weekday (less so still on Sunday night) but if your average sleep has halves or worse you will rapidly gain sleep debt, which can make us far more vulnerable to emotional rollercoasters. As for the eating, it is amazing how much a nice meal can make us feel a little better. If you are not eating because of the time it takes to cook food, indulging in the odd take away and ready meals is fine!

    You could try and soldier on until half term which is only two weeks away(?) and then maybe if you can afford it book a break or at the very least, you need to lock up the laptop/work for a good chunk of it, many would say for the entire 9 days!

    However, the last thing you want to do is end up getting into trouble over something caused by your state of mind (say snapping at a child.) So some would argue get signed off NOW.

    It is true in some ways that getting signed off can mae it harder to return, although if you return more refreshed with your 'mojo' back this is good.

    I would like to say that getting signed off won't impact on how managers perceive you. It might, but then again the same managers would probably expect someone who had a shark bite off their legs over the weekend rock up on Monday.

    Hope you get through this difficult time.
  7. FRJones

    FRJones New commenter

    That made me smile. I have actually slept and ate. No, shark bites!
  8. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Your experience sounds similar to mine. I don't know if I'm depressed or stressed, or a bit of both! I also had an altercation with a child who physically threatened me last week and ended up in tears, and I also feel that I am perceived as over-sensitive. So I can relate.

    My major problem is eating, or not being able to. I lost 6 pounds in one week a few weeks ago, due to a combination of not having the time to eat a full meal and/or feeling too anxious to be able to. It all came to a head when I almost passed out one morning and then I think the shock of this made me stop and think. Now I try and stock up at the weekend, treat myself, enjoy a take-away.

    I have also wondered about going off sick. I have decided to hand my notice in next week and I hope this will alleviate things a bit. So I am going to get to half term, see how I am then, and then set a countdown to Christmas. I don't want to go off sick, largely because I have the most amazing HLTA who will be lumbered with it all in my absence.

    I hope you feel better soon.
    FRJones and TEA2111 like this.
  9. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Better that than have your HLTA watch you go into meltdown and THEN be lumbered.

    Take care of YOU and let others look after themselves.
    FRJones and TEA2111 like this.
  10. FRJones

    FRJones New commenter

    Jessica Rabbit- don't make a rash decision because you are down- and I agree look after yourself...
  11. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    Just after Christmas, I was in a very similar place to where you sound to be now OP. I was determined never to be absent because I wanted to change schools and so did not want attendance to be an issue. However, things came to a head at Feb., half term and I was unable to go back after the holiday. I spent the morning at the doctor's. Upshot of all this was a referral to the local MINDS team and some counselling sessions for anxiety and depression. I wish I had done it all sooner. Things haven't changed, but my way of perceiving and therefore dealing with them has. Get some professional help and then you will be able to deal better with things. Good luck to you.
    mark6243 and Dragonlady30 like this.
  12. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Are you primary ladies?

    I've spent three years at a school where I was sworn at on an hourly basis, had things thrown at me, was punched, head-butted and spat at. Usually the chav got the punishment of a couple of days at home smoking pot or playing the xbox, whilst I was quietly reprimanded for being 'confrontational'.

    I fvcking hate this profession and the wakners who just want to climb that greasy, stinking pole.
    sebedina and Compassman like this.
  13. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    It is all the same ********. Same issues, different schools. What a pity. When I see a happy place it is almost unreal...I did experience one school where I could actually enjoy teaching. No SLT or head snooping. It was lovely... I could get on with teaching...

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