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Uncomfortable situation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by neville28, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. <font face="Calibri">I seem to be in a bit of a fix and don&rsquo;t know what to do about it. I had a week off school because I felt VERY tired and emotional and ended up in tears at work on two occasions immediately before my absence. I couldn&rsquo;t really give a plausible explanation for my absence to the school and as a result felt guilty. I am not usually the type of person to take time off. I have been teaching 8 years so it wasn&rsquo;t the usual autumn term tiredness. I arranged a doctor&rsquo;s appointment and had blood tests. Unfortunately I didn&rsquo;t receive the results until after my return to work. On my first day back the Head had me in his office in a very uncomfortable meeting. I had previously had a good relationship with him and I suppose I felt he was justified in wanting to know &lsquo;what was going on&rsquo; (several staff are off on stress). He was very dismissive about the blood tests and obviously thought that they might be an excuse (as I did too). The problem is, is that I thought that I might be having an emotional breakdown/depression. I had no other symptoms except tiredness. Emailing the cover work was near impossible and I literally slept the entire week. I have unfortunately been subject to sexual abuse in my childhood and have recently sought counselling. The process is exhausting and is affecting my ability to be as good at work as I should be. The meeting with the head put me under additional emotional pressure and he was asking me to be &lsquo;straight with him&rsquo;. I left his office in tears after about an hour&rsquo;s inquisition. With adrenalin flowing I immediately returned to his PA who is lovely Mum type figure and had also been present in the meeting, revealed the truth of my past and its possible affect on my current state/ability to work with too many details. She advised that the head should be put in the picture. She said that she would tell him. I feel very uncomfortable in school now. I received the blood tests that evening and discovered that there was a legitimate reason for my tiredness. I am anaemic and have a very low white blood cell count which implies that I have been fighting an infection/virus. The head hasn&rsquo;t spoken to me since &ndash; although I did pop into his office briefly to tell him the details of my blood tests. He was very dismissive and didn&rsquo;t even lift his head from the paperwork he was doing. I feel like I have made my position untenable. I haven&rsquo;t been employed in the school for very long. Only three other people in my life know the details of my past and I feel like its effects are now going to sabotage my career as well. What to do??</font>
     
  2. <font face="Calibri">I seem to be in a bit of a fix and don&rsquo;t know what to do about it. I had a week off school because I felt VERY tired and emotional and ended up in tears at work on two occasions immediately before my absence. I couldn&rsquo;t really give a plausible explanation for my absence to the school and as a result felt guilty. I am not usually the type of person to take time off. I have been teaching 8 years so it wasn&rsquo;t the usual autumn term tiredness. I arranged a doctor&rsquo;s appointment and had blood tests. Unfortunately I didn&rsquo;t receive the results until after my return to work. On my first day back the Head had me in his office in a very uncomfortable meeting. I had previously had a good relationship with him and I suppose I felt he was justified in wanting to know &lsquo;what was going on&rsquo; (several staff are off on stress). He was very dismissive about the blood tests and obviously thought that they might be an excuse (as I did too). The problem is, is that I thought that I might be having an emotional breakdown/depression. I had no other symptoms except tiredness. Emailing the cover work was near impossible and I literally slept the entire week. I have unfortunately been subject to sexual abuse in my childhood and have recently sought counselling. The process is exhausting and is affecting my ability to be as good at work as I should be. The meeting with the head put me under additional emotional pressure and he was asking me to be &lsquo;straight with him&rsquo;. I left his office in tears after about an hour&rsquo;s inquisition. With adrenalin flowing I immediately returned to his PA who is lovely Mum type figure and had also been present in the meeting, revealed the truth of my past and its possible affect on my current state/ability to work with too many details. She advised that the head should be put in the picture. She said that she would tell him. I feel very uncomfortable in school now. I received the blood tests that evening and discovered that there was a legitimate reason for my tiredness. I am anaemic and have a very low white blood cell count which implies that I have been fighting an infection/virus. The head hasn&rsquo;t spoken to me since &ndash; although I did pop into his office briefly to tell him the details of my blood tests. He was very dismissive and didn&rsquo;t even lift his head from the paperwork he was doing. I feel like I have made my position untenable. I haven&rsquo;t been employed in the school for very long. Only three other people in my life know the details of my past and I feel like its effects are now going to sabotage my career as well. What to do??</font>
     
  3. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    I have no answers, but send you my sympathy for going through all this.
    You do sound as if you are suffering from stress. Recent counselling about the horrible things someone did to you when you were a child has also been traumatic, no surprise that you feel low. I think you would feel low regardless of your white blood cell count.
    An unsympathetic head hasn't helped. "What is going on" is that you are unwell at the moment. I think you should go back to your GP and tell him/her everything you have posted here.
    Unfortunately, depressive illnessses happen to strong people who soldier on and try not to let people down. You have to take care of you. If others at work are off with stress, then I believe that is a sign that all is not well in your workplace.
    Visit your GP, and perhaps inform your union of the meeting you had with your head.. My doctor says that the only people he sees with workplace stress are teachers.
    Take care, and keep posting on here.
     
  4. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Your head has not been very understanding it seems. This is not the end of the world though, and in a long career you will have big ups and downs; and have health problems.
    So you've had a bad term, it will not ruin your career though it certainly feels like it at the time. You're going to be teaching for years, possibly at the school you're at now. Just keep going, do your job and eventually time will put distance between you and the bad situation you're currently in.
    Your position might feel untenable now, but it won't feel like it forever. You feel let down probably, and misundertstood. Just do your job as best you can, and soon it will feel much less important.
    If you really feel depressed though, you should put your health first and take proper time off.
    You won't sabotage your career, just keep perspective. Your head's upset you; you won't work for him forever, and in my experience he'll soon be on to some other problem teacher, some other flavour of the month.
     
  5. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Oh my lovely! What a horrible situation.
    Great advice from Newposter. There is no reason for anyone to feel ashamed to be suffering from 'stress'. It is a recognised illness and your employer has a duty of care to ensure they are not contributing to it. Teachers can and do, take legal action against employers for 'occupational stress', as employment lawyers will confirm.
    That is not to say that I am suggesting that this is what you should do - just pointing out that to undergo a period of stress is Normal and affects many people. Sometimes this is diagnosed as 'reactive depression.
    Obviously check with your union first, but may I suggest you contact Occupational Health for support? They employ medical experts who can confirm the impact your health is having on your employment at the moment. Though they shouldn't do it, I can understand why some Heads might think, 'O gawd, not someone else going off with stress'. The true nature of the condition is not often fully understood. OH will be able to reassure both you and the Head that the situation is temporary and a natural reaction to what you are going through. The Head will feel better if he knows you are having a temporary 'blip' and that he will get his valued staff member back again.
     

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