Hi! I am writing this from a strange place, where I am looking for support but also I maybe be able to offer support to others. I have recently been signed off work by my doctor due to work related stress. I know I am not the first to go off and I'm sure I wont be the last! It is such a horrible feeling not being able to do your job. Up to this I always got on with things and did my job as best I could. I was aware of how stressful it can be and witnessed colleagues take time of for stress related illness. I thought I would be ok, I cut a few corners at work to lessen my work load, tried to forget about school when I left the building, socialised, exercised, pampered, rested, shopped etc etc. I tried not to take it personally when I had a rubbish day and I tried to tell myself I wasn't a 'bad' teacher. It got harder and harder to go in, until one day I couldn't. That was such a hard day. The feeling of being a total failure, I felt like I was going mad. Why couldn't I just get on with it like everyone else? I felt like I hit rock bottom and I knew I needed to seek help but I didn't know where. I rang the teacher support network and I tried not to cry down the phone as I told them what was wrong. The girl on the phone was so nice and understanding. She suggested I go to my doctor and ring my union. The next day I went to my doctor. I was very anxious about going to a doctor and was worried what his reaction would be, what do I tell him and what will he say to me? I thought he might tell me to 'get a grip' and get on with things or maybe that I had gone mad and needed medication, I didn't know which would be worst! Thankfully he did neither, he was very understanding and he signed me off for a week. I spent most of this week staying with family, I thought this would give me the rest I needed and time to get mysef back on track. After the week I was feeling no better. I found it difficult to talk about school, when I thought of the place I would feel sick in my stomach and panicked at the idea of going back. I returned to my doctor and I explained how I was feeling and he signed me off for another 2 weeks. He told me I would have to wait at least 3 months for counseling, so I found a counsellor who lives near me. I went to see her last week. This was a strange experience for me, I never thought I would need to seek professional help but I was so low that it was necessary. I found the session useful and I am going back to her this week before I see my doctor again. I am finding this time really difficult but I am so glad that I have now found some help with this instead of pretending that everything is ok. I know there are so many teachers who have gone through or who are going through similar situations and I would like to hear from you, maybe we can help each other.