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Urgent advice needed, please...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by laticsbird, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Hello everyone...it's few and far between that I post on here as I have been very poorly lately. I'm unsure whether this should be on Health and Wellbeing, here or on another forum, so apologies if this is the wrong place.

    I have just returned to work after 8 months absence with depression, severe anxiety and stress. This was against my doctor's advice as she advised me to wait until Christmas. There are two main reasons why I agreed a return to work date. The first is financial. I had been receiving full sick pay and then half pay but we have been having real financial difficulties which was making my anxiety worse. The second reason was in that in my last but one meeting with the Head, rep from LA and my Union rep, although it wasn't said out loud, the Head and the LA guy alluded to there being some sort of assessment as to my capabilities in the profession and my duties as a teacher i.e. my job was in jeopardy if I couldn't return sooner rather than later.

    I realise now just how right my doctor was in that I would have been better going back at Christmas or in the New Year as I am finding being back at school quite distressing. I can't really explain it as everyone has been so kind and lovely to me but I just can't process the information everyone is giving me, I find it hard to concentrate still but at the same time I feel so guilty when I see everyone running round too busy to almost breathe and here I am, literally a waste of space. I just don't know what to do. Should I carry on and try to overcome my feelings of anxiety or should I go back to my doctor and tell her she was right. If I do the latter, what will happen? Will I be dismissed? If not, will I be entitled to sick pay? Will it be half pay if so or would it be full pay for 6 months and then half pay from then?

    I just don't know what to do. I feel so guilty and angry with myself for feeling this way I have started once again to become a tearful wretch. Please can someone give me some practical advice? Has anyone had any experience of being absent for a long period, returning and then having to go absent again??

    Thank you for any help and advice anyone can give me.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Not been 'your side' but I have covered 2 long-term sicknesses for a colleague in your position.

    My advice, for what it's worth, is to go to your doctor, admit you have returned too early but explain your reasoning and see if they can give you something to help you over the return period. (You'd be surprised how many teachers are on anti-depressants, just to cope with teaching today ordinarily let alone returning after an absence!)

    I think most teachers are a little 'stressed out' this term- it's always the worst term I find.I know the last few weeks I've felt overloaded (due to circumstances outside school) and have felt a dreadful teacher and felt I wasn't processing things properly. We're all just wanting for the big O visit too.
    So try not to beat yourself up too much. I know it's difficult but just try to prioritise what needs to be done and then try to build in some relaxation. Honestly it will help. I know my break-through came the other evening when I went to dinner with my son and his fiancee and had a good laugh and I realised how long it was since I'd 'switched off and had a good laugh!'
    CWadd likes this.
  3. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Thank you Lara...I'm already on ADs but am due to have a reassessment of them in a couple of weeks. Think she may change them as they aren't having any real effect. Thing is though, these are the fourth type I've tried...not sure if there are any more :( x
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes indeed.

    Going to see your Dr is the very best thing for you. Your health is the most valuable thing that you have, you must preserve it at all costs. You are obviously not well, and must help yourself here.

    As for the consequences of this, I am afraid that i cannot say. Yes, there is some possibility (but not necessarily a probability) that you could be dismissed for ill-health capability, if you are incapable of doing the job. But that could happen also if you went into total melt-down from the stress of being back.

    I'm not sure about the half-pay/full-pay scenario as a lot depends on timing.

    For both those two points above you need to talk to your regional union office.

    So Dr, and union.

    Another point - if you have gone back to school against your Dr's advice - were you actually signed back on again? Because if you weren't, but just turned up at school again that could make another problem as you would not be insured to be on premises . . . Didn't the school ask for a certificate for you to return to work.

    I am really sorry for you, it sounds dreadful, you are quite unwell in my view and should be looking after yourself, not going back to school to feel worse, you poor thing.

    Please go to see your Dr.

    Best wishes

    aspensquiver likes this.
  5. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Thank you Theo...your compassion has me in tears - see, I can't even accept sympathy without bursting into tears. I'm just a wreck.

    Yes, she gave me a fit for work note - a phased return specifically saying it should last until Christmas. This is why I am so wary of going back off sick again. The school have been ok so far with regards to my timetable - I am teaching 3 KS3 classes per week, supporting a teacher in classroom 3 times per week, taking 3 students once per week for intervention and 1 one-to-one session 4 times per week.

    I realise this is a great timetable but I still feel so overwhelmed :(
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    It's a great timetable, but not for you.

    You need to go to bed now with a soppy novel if necessary, ring in sick tomorrow and go and see your GP.

    You are just not able to work, and will damage your health further if you try . .

    Please listen to this!

    Lara mfl 05 and monicabilongame like this.
  7. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Thank you again Theo for your advice...I do have an appointment with her for in a couple of weeks anyway...I just want to shake myself better if that makes sense :(
  8. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    You want to, which is a positive sign, but at the moment you haven't the resources to do so - beating yourself up over this is counter-productive. Be gentle with yourself and see the doctor asap.
  9. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Listen to this. Especially the advice about ringing in sick for tomorrow and going to see the Dr.
    The fact that you felt overwhelmed by Theo's compassion shows how you need some time.
    Health as she says is not to be neglected.

    The teacher I referred to earlier was on a phased return. Having come on a visit and seeing it was 'not chaos' she decided to return and we did a phased in return with her gradually extending her hours and me doing the rest. But after 3 months she had to go off sick again despite that phased in return.

    So Tomorrow- Drs! (Says she in Theo's best school marm voice!;))
  11. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Thank you so much Monica and gooddays...the support on here is second to none and I really, really appreciate it. x
    prathap4 likes this.
  12. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Hello @laticsbird. I wonder if the LA 'guy' (I presume they were from human resources) and your head were thinking about a referral to the Occupational Health team - which probably should have already happened if you have been unwell for many months.

    Whatever you do, don't stop taking the anti-depressants, even if you think they are not helping. It sounds very much like you need some talking therapy alongside medication. You must insist that your GP refers you to the mental health team so that you can be referred for counselling. MIND have some excellent resources online, they also provide counselling services but you do need to pay for these - so that might not be an option at the moment.

    I agree with @TheoGriff - phone in sick tomorrow and ask for an urgent GP appointment.

    My very best wishes

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
    monicabilongame likes this.
  13. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Lara...thank you so much and to everyone for taking the time out of your busy schedules - I know weekends are precious - to offer advice. I will see my doctor sooner rather than the later appointment and let you know what happens. My only worry now is if I lose my job or have no or reduced income. x
  14. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Thank you snowyhead for your help. I will. x
  15. Pepper78

    Pepper78 New commenter

    Sending you lI've and light. Do listen to what everyone is telling you here. .. if you had a broken leg you wouldn't be battling on regardless and dragging it behind you, you'd accept that you needed to take time to heal yourself! Your heart and mind are just as real as your body and you owe it to yourself and those who love you to put your health first. Nurture yourself as you would another person in your position and you WILL come out the other side.
  16. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Tears again...thank you Pepper. Part of my stress and anxiety now is because I've already had 8 months of absence been back a couple of weeks and just feel terrified of breaking down in front of everyone. More often than not, I find myself crying in the Ladies :( Another huge part is wondering how my Head will react when I tell him I'm barely coping again - they have been so kind and I really don't want to be a burden. And finally, how will we survive financially...I'm in such a mess ...
  17. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    A lot of good advice has been given already. I really empathise with the situation you feel you're in.

    I would just make two observations. The core problem is your health.
    With anxiety and depression talking therapies/coincilling are effective.
    I would also have thought your half pay wound be over now. Could you not be signed off again by your GP and still be on full pay?

    Take care of yourself and do not be hard on yourself.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  18. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Whoops. Would not wound. The 6 mins editing got me grrr! Counselling...
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  19. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I am very sorry for your troubles and hope that you can resolve your problems at least to allow you to continue.

    You should be aware that one of the effects of depression is one of severe cognitive disruption. Your ability to process information is very much reduced. In my case this reduced me to being unable to count the rooms I had in my department. I still remember sitting in one of the rooms trying to add up again and again and failing. The ADs will not restore this function fully. Also sometimes you need to try a different AD to find one that suits although after 8 months this might not be a good idea.

    I agree with the advice given about tomorrow and your GP. If you don't already know what to do to get an urgent appointment check your GP's website before you go to bed so that you are not rushing about in the morning. Then try to forget about work and sleep. Easy to say I know but try to do so just the same.

    If sleep is a constant issue then you could ask your GP for something. They won't give you sleeping tablets anymore but there is other medicine which works as well. I have prescribed amitriptyline 10mg tablets. One tablet taken 11 hours before I'm due to get up is usually enough though I can take two if needed. You can ask your GP about these or some equivalent. Since it is an old fashioned AD, it might not be compatible with your current medication but your GP will sort that issue out.

    Best of luck anyway.
  20. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Lots of us on here have been in similar positions to you. Theo put it very clearly- you're not mended yet. Well done, you, for giving it a shot, but it was too soon.

    I turned up at my GP's surgery, all tearful and looking ghastly, and said I needed to speak to a GP, I didn't mind who, and that I would be prepared to sit and wait. I know GPs' receptionists are usually trained by Goebbels, but they do show more than a spark of compassion when presented with a burnt out teacher.

    Have a read of the post on Health and Wellbeing called "Depressive illness, the curse of strong people" it explains what you are going through far better than I. You sound like a good teacher who gave too much and your brain blew a fuse to stop you giving any more. Listen to your body: it needs more time to heal.

    Keep posting on here, or we will worry about you. xxx

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