1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

What to do with myself?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Jenerena, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Since going back after the holidays, I've been so up and down emotionally. I had trouble with planning over the holidays and felt very unprepared on the inset day, so I started the day off in floods of tears. I'm only in my second year of teaching and didn't get much support as an NQT, so I really struggle with planning and marking and nothing anyone says seems to help me or make things seem simpler without feeling guilty about taking shortcuts. I overcomplicate everything but feel if I don't I feel guilty.

    I'm so up and down at the moment. I'm getting married this summer and I've just sold my house, so there are so many good things to think about, but when my head's on work I'm just constantly telling myself I'm not good enough and I just want to break down and cry. Some days I'm better than others, and on the good days I just think about how silly I've been! Its a state of mind and a self-esteem issue. Its nothing to do with work itself as in a better state of mind everything is going ok, but I just can't seem to control my mind and as soon as I let myself dwell on something negative, I just go into a downward spiral and I just want to walk out/break down.

    My fiance doesn't understand and is worried that I'll show my colleagues how incapable I am of doing the job emotionally, and they'd put me in capability. I'm too scared to see a doctor as both my fiance and close family seem to think its something I can 'snap out of' and shouldnt show myself as weak towards my Headteacher. They have a point, but how much longer can I go on like this? How do I get my self-esteem back? As I say I have good days and bad days, but when I have a bad day I literally torture myself and have broken down in front of colleagues before. I'm scared of myself and what I'll do if I let myself get so down, which happens often.

    I just don't know what to do. Im writing this from a more positive state of mind but Im worried what the week will bring and I'm scared of my emotions! I feel I maybe need to see a doctor but maybe I'm OK, maybe I'm being silly. I'd have to hide it from others around me.

    I've just spent my weekend feeling so happy and excited about our wedding, but back to thinking about work again today andI've felt Iow again.

    I just don't know what to do!!
  2. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    You do need to see a doctor - show them this thread and let them decide whether you need treatment.
  3. Jo Shmo

    Jo Shmo New commenter

    Thank you for posting. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. Please stop telling yourself you're not good enough. You wouldn't dream of saying it to anybody else so don't say it to yourself. It's not accurate, it's not helpful, and it's a drain on your energy.

    You are getting married AND you have sold your house. These are two major life changes which, however joyful, are up there among the most stressful events we experience. Big changes. Plus the demands of work as well. If your fiancé and family feel you can just "snap out of it" that's really not very helpful. Don't even try to. And don't try to handle this alone. As teachers, we tend to over complicate things. I think that just means you're the usual dedicated recently qualified teacher.

    I hesitate to recommend a GP because the default is to prescribe anti-depressants. Of course, I'm not a medical professional but I think you are just suffering from overwhelm. Look around for a helpful friendly face - a close friend, therapist, a colleague you may be able to confide in as a mentor. At any rate, don't do it alone. Take some time out, throw a sickie, get a massage, go to a spa or stride out in the countryside. Something that makes YOU feel good that puts work out of the picture completely for a time.

    And let us know how you get on.
  4. Willsmum79

    Willsmum79 New commenter

    Hello 'me'!

    This was me 15 weks ago. After having some time off (stress - feeling inadequate, no self-esteem, planing and marking difficulties with 14 years experience behind me by the way!) I am now back at work on a phased return.

    The first thing I will say is this: YOU ARE A VERY STRONG PERSON!! It takes strength and courage to admit that you are not feeling your best and even moreso to admit you need some help, guidance and support.

    The second thing I will say is you MUST ABSOLUTELY go and see your GP. Your GP will be a hugely supportive and give you the sick leave you need to take some time away from work. As someone says, you are already going through two life changing events.

    The third thing I will say is tell your school the truth and ask to be referred to OH. I am currently seeing a counsellor through OH and it is proving to be brilliant experience. It will help you sort out what the issues are and help you make plans to cope or change the things that are causing you such mental anguish.

    The fourth thing I will say is that families and loved ones are often blind to the extent of stress related issues until the ultimate happens - the person going on sick leave. I think once they realise just how involved other professions are in your care and well-being, they may just begin to realise that you need some TLC and support. My husband found it odd and uncomfortable at first but then hen earliest that HE was fundamental in my recovery.

    The fifth thing I will say is do the things you normally do when not teaching. Go for walks, go to the shops, meet friends etc, etc. Normality is vital when you feel like this.

    Lastly, do not expect a quick fix. I thought I would be right as reign after 3 weeks. Instead it took exactly 3 months!
  5. Katie777

    Katie777 New commenter

    I think one of the toughest things about teaching is how vulnerable it makes you to feeling not good enough- it's so hard to measure "good enough" that those doubting voices in your head can have a field day!

    Try to spot those negative thoughts when they crop up and block them, just don't go down that thought path. I have read lots of things where people say that helps a lot, don't let the negativity get a foot hold. I try to do this, meditation really helps with this as it quietens your mind so you become more aware of your thoughts.

    Meditation also really helps to calm anxiety- you feel calmer all the time if you can make some time for it, it works for me. Check out the Honest Guys on YouTube, lots of lovely guided meditations.

    A couple of people have recommended this free on-line mindfulness course:

    www.palousemindfulness.com/selfguidedMBSR.html I haven't started it yet but will do very soon! I think some areas have free nhs mindfulness courses on a doctors referral.

    You may need to see your doctor and get some help but it's also worth learning to calm your mind, only you can do that and it will stay with you forever.

    I know it all sounds way too hippy for some people but it helps me so I thought I should pass it on.

    Go easy on yourself x
  6. Thank you for your replies. I don't really want to go on sick leave - I'd feel very guilty. That said, I've had a pretty good day and I'm on a high. It's actually great when that happens, and I really 'blossom' in the classroom. I enjoy my lessons and I am so much more productive/pro-active. When I'm on a low though, I'm on a low and I just get so wound up. I feel I can't control it sometimes either.

    I'm tempted to cancel the doctor's appointment as I feel ashamed. Right now I feel ok, but then I worry that I'll go on a low again tomorrow after a set-back or whatever. I think I need to just go and see what my GP says. I don't want to give the impression I'm ok at work and then suddenly go on sick leave. People will wonder!
  7. Willsmum79

    Willsmum79 New commenter

    Go to the doctors. Why feel guilty? If you don't put yourself first, then children WILL suffer. Don't be a martyr. Stuff what people think.

    I went back after three months. People have been fine. Kids have been fine. Parents have been fine.

    Honesty is the best policy. You are just prolonging your suffering by trying to sweep it under the carpet.
  8. Jo Shmo

    Jo Shmo New commenter

    If you have made a doctor's appointment, I would go. Don't cancel because you are feeling "up", unless you feel that there is a real stability to the up that isn't going to lurch into a downer again. I suspect that you are still quite up and down and that you need things to be a bit more on an even-keel and calm. But do correct me if I'm wrong!!
  9. Jo Shmo

    Jo Shmo New commenter

    An afterthought: I second the person who recommended mindfulness as well.
  10. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    Gooddays... that's my name!

    This was me 31 years ago. I managed reasonably well my first three years of teaching, but when my daughter was born I didn't want to go back but felt I had no choice. I realized I had coped those first three years by putting in too many hours and I wasn't able to devote the same amount of time anymore. I too felt I wasn't good enough.

    Please see your doctor and if s/he refers you for counselling, go. You need support to tell your fiance and family that it is their job to support you in your struggles, not to tell you to hide them for fear of appearing weak.

    I recommend this book:


    It gives strategies for coping with your low feelings. Best of luck.
  11. Hi - the best way to overcome this (sounds like depression) is a combination of anti-depressive meds and counselling. The meds will suppress your reaction to things (you'll still be aware of the feelings but they won't be intense) and the counselling will help you discover why you may be making some choices that don't help you and empower you to make changes. I'm in the middle of this (2 months in) and feeling loads better.

    Sounds like you have people in your life (and possibly you) who have an old-fashioned (and unintentionally unhelpful) views of mental health.

    Of course, time-off would be good and do things you enjoy:

    ...or learn something new (but not how to play the ukulele!)

    ...or do something (like a sport,music, hobby) that you're good at.

    .... avoid people who are negative and drag you down...

    Guilt is something we create ourselves.

  12. Well I went to the doctors and she offered me a sick note which I declined as I would feel too guilty! I got some anxiety tablets and I'm going to be referred for counciling. Having taken the day off work today because I felt so sick this morning, I now feel more guilty than ever. I just don't know what to do now. I'm mostly scared of what my OH would say and I feel like I should go back tomorrow because of him but I sort of regret getting the sick note.
  13. Oh my dear glad you went to the doctors. You can have upto 7 days off without a doctor's note and I really would advise you to phone up work and say you will not be in tomorrow. I can fully understand the emotions you are going through and why you would gave turned down the doctors note but no doctor would give a note if they did not think you required one. Usually they would say you can self cert for 7 days before they would issue one. Surely as well your partner will ultimately be concerned about you. Maybe like others have said he doesn't know how to deal with it, which I know isn't helping you and most likely adding to the situation. By not going in tomorrow will give you 4 days. Monday morning if still feeling the same then go back to the doctors and say I am not better and need some time off work so can I now have the note please you said you would have given me last week. It is hard. Best wishes
  14. I have done, so I won't be going back until Monday. I feel so ashamed though. I could have gone today and I'd have been fine. I was fine at work yesterday. Of course I'm always anxious and I had worries through the day but I still taught my lessons. I'm having a better week emotionally but I'm so scared that will turn again. As I said before I'm so up and down and it doesn't take much to wind myself up into a state.

    My fiancé thinks I'm over a dramatising it all, but I keep telling him that that is the whole problem! He thinks taking time off work will not be good for my career, so I'm worried about that now as well.

    I'm just not sure about time off. I'm worried about what I'm going to do tomorrow - how bad is that?! I seem to be opening up more worries not going to work!
  15. Well I went back yesterday and just couldn't cope. I broke down again and my head recommended some time off. So now I'm off for 3 weeks. I do feel guilty, but the worst part is my fiance isn't talking to me. It's awful not having his support and I just feel a fool.
  16. gooddays

    gooddays Senior commenter

    Please read these suggestions again. Your fiance needs to be part of the team, perhaps go to counselling with you. How painful to be given the cold shoulder by the person you will be counting on for support for the rest of your life! [​IMG]
  17. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Well done for taking time away from work: this is something which is difficult to confront. Additionally, speak to other organisations if you need immediate support, such as http://www.samaritans.org and http://teachersupport.info

    (NB: The guilt happens during the first week/stage of recovery, since teachers are usually conscientiousness and caring individuals. Remember: you are not alone!)
  18. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Hi Jenerena,

    I'm getting married too this summer. After moving home and starting in a new school, things became too much. After taking time away (GP's advice), things have improved. Each day is an improvement and I've decided what I want from my professional life.

    Anyway, I was only posting a message on your thread, checking how things were going.

  19. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    How are you getting on Jenerena.
  20. Things are going ok. Thank you for asking. I've been off a couple of weeks now and I suppose things are steadily improving. Because I'm such a perfectionist it's hard for me to accept things won't drastically improve overnight, but I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel I think.

    My biggest problem is catching myself in the act thinking negatively as I find myself feeling worried with no idea why. I think it's just a habit I've developed over years and years of thinking negatively constantly without realising, so I have just lived with the resulting anxiety.

    I've spent a lot of time with family and friends; my fiance is more supportive but he's mainly not talked about it at all and is pretending nothing has changed, which is actually quite helpful as in many ways I don't want to be treated differently than normal, but I do have plenty of support from my family and friends so it's enough to keep my head above water. I've been on days out, sorted ALOT of wedding planning out which has been more pleasant than stressful having had the time to do it, have been to yoga which is great for me, and I do a guided meditation once a day which really helps me to observe my thinking patterns and allows me to recognise when my mind is wandering in a dangerous direction.

    I'm mainly anxious about going back to work now. I'm afraid I won't be able to cope with it. I am seeing my doctor this week. However, even though I told them I will be returning after half-term, my sick note doesn't run out until the Thursday, so the school wants me to get something in writing saying I can return earlier. This makes me uneasy as I'm not even sure I'll be back after half-term, and having a set date for returning makes me more anxious. They're going to nag me for it and I don't know what to say to them!

    Once again, thank you for all your support.

Share This Page