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When do you know you are 'ready' to go back?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mapledrop, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. mapledrop

    mapledrop New commenter

    I've been off work for a few weeks with WRS. I'm on medication and have just started counselling. I feel guilty for having this time off although I feel the fog is only just starting to lift and I'm feeling a little bit more myself. I have the urge to go back to work but I'm not sure that I will be able to cope with the stress that comes along with it again. I don't want to rush back and fall ill again but yet I feel anxious about having more time off. I can't win.

    I have a meeting with OH and another doctors appointment soon. I also have more counselling lined up.

    I'm not sure what to do.....

    I was thinking of resigning at Easter but if I am signed off again I am asking myself if I can hang on until the summer after I return but again I am not sure if I can actually 'hang on' until then...

    Dilemmas dilemmas!!
  2. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Ultimately, it depends if you want to stay in teaching at all! If you don't, the fairest thing if you can't face returning is resign for Easter and if you are still 'ill' stay signed off until then. If you do, ideally you should go back in but ask yourself if another school may be less stressful (and it may well be frying pan-fire so a different school is no guarantee of a stress free job!)
  3. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    It's too soon to think about returning or whether to quit yet. Medication and counselling take a while to settle in and do their thing. If you rush back, there's a good chance it will set you back.

    I've been off with depression for 9 months (after a breakdown). Only now has the medication been right for me (three different types, numerous different dosages later...) and only recently have I had the clarity to see what *I* need to not end up like this again. Made the proposal for some changes to my employer, seen OH and discussed it with them, and will be going back next month.

    Please don't rush any decision, give yourself time to heal, get strong, kick teacher-guilt into touch and appraise your needs. Better to take this time than always wonder 'what if...'

    Good luck.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  4. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    Been thinking and just wanted to add, do be guided by your health care professionals too. The decision isn't all on you.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If you have to ask? You're not ready.
  6. Birdie64

    Birdie64 Occasional commenter

    you will know when you are ready...it takes a long time and pushing yourself will only exacerbate matters. take the time available and just keep breathing - that's all you have to do at the moment.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  7. Carofi90

    Carofi90 New commenter

    I am feeling the same. I am an NQT who's been signed off with depression and anxiety and it's all work related. I've had an awful start to my career and i'm left feeling lost, not knowing what I want to do with my career now. I also feel unsure about when i'll be ready, i've been off a few weeks and i'm hoping to get back even if just for 2 or 3 days before half term to ease myself in a little but the thought does also make me feel really anxious and full of dread. Also awaiting some form of counselling to help my thought processes and coping strategies as well as to generally talk to someone who can help or give some ideas or anything at this stage!

    It's a tough position to be in for anyone. I keep being told my health is most important and to take the time I need. My position is temporary so ends this term and i'm freaking out about my next move.

    I think we have to be prepared to take it a day at a time and to accept that it might take a while and that a lot of things are easier said than done when in this situation.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you feel dread or fear about going back, then you aren't ready.
    If you just feel a little nervous, then you may be ready.
    If you are looking forward to going back, then you are ready.

    Forget even thinking about resigning or not. It is irrelevant.
    You are ill. You may get better soon, you may take an age.

    I was off in 2014 for three months and then spent another 6 weeks doing a phased return. My friend from the same school was off for 8 months (6 full pay, 2 half pay) before spending 2 months on a phased return. Both of us with work related stress and anxiety. Work has caused you this illness, you owe them nothing at all.

    Get yourself well by going out and about, doing things you enjoy that have nowt to do with school. Accept all help from doctors and OH. Contact your union for support with keeping school informed about absence, they will often do all the contacting for you meaning you don't have to face or speak to anyone.
    joannagb likes this.
  9. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    I feel exactly the same I'm filled with dread and had the worst few days ..... Seeing OH and counsellor at mo but just feel like the worst teacher in the world
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  11. diamondjane

    diamondjane Occasional commenter

    Many good points on here.
    Don't rush into resigning. I was off with WRS for 7 months from November 2014. At first I just wanted to resign and walk away. I'm SO glad I didn't. It was 5 months before I was really well enough to make that decision rationally.
    In the end I did resign just after Easter 2015 and then went back in on a phased return for the last 6 weeks of the summer term to work my notice. That was my choice as I was ready by then (although still anxious and fragile) and it helped my overall recovery to get back into the classroom.
    One thing I can say looking back - it really was OK to be off sick as long as I needed to get well. The system worked. I am now truly well and teaching again.
    You are ill. Take as long as you need for you.
    Best wishes.
    Schoolbird likes this.

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