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Off work with anxiety and depression

(19 Posts)
rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 11:14:40

I've been signed off with anxiety and depression. Been prescribed tablets which the Dr says could take 4 weeks to work. I'm hab9ng trouble getting out of bed in the mornings and cannot imagine going back into my classroom and facing 30 kids, let alone the rest of the staff.

Ive not been in this job long afyer leaving one where I'd been for years and was very unhappy by the end.

I just can't imagine going back to work and cannot see what to do next. Has anyone else experienced this and how did you manage to go back to the classroom?

millimat Tue 03-Oct-17 11:34:51

I've not really been in this situation but didn't want to leave you unanswered.
I have been off with depression but it wasn't really work related. However the thought of going back to work was horrible.
Are you on medication?

millimat Tue 03-Oct-17 11:35:51

Sorry just read your gp has given you something. They will take time to get into your system. What had good head said?
Are you primary?

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 11:44:58

Yes I started antidepressants yesterday and I've been on beta blockers for panic attacks for 2 weeks ish.

The head has been understanding, told me to take the full two weeks on the sick note and she will call me next week to see how I am. She's really not unreasonable.

I just feel pretty hopeless and frustrated. I'm a good teacher. I can do the job standing on my head most days. I do have extra responsibilities and I am only part ti.e so lots to fit in but if i could think straight o think id be okay.

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 11:45:23

And Yes, primary teacher.

Teddy7878 Tue 03-Oct-17 11:50:31

Do you have certain triggers that make you feel more anxious such as having to leave the house?
Once the medication kicks in within 2-3 weeks you'll hopefully feel able to tackle going back to work and won't feel so bad. Do you live alone? If you have to be signed off for a couple of weeks longer do you have savings so you don't have to worry about money until you feel better?

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 12:22:21

I live with my husband and daughter. Money isn't a massive issue and as a teacher I should get some sick pay I thnk.

Ive been give 2 weeks sick note by the dr. The thought of teaching the whole class and organising myself fills me with dread. Today I've got dressed, put some washing on and hovered. I have a student coming this evening for home tutoring and even feel.a bit anxious about that which is really unusual for me.

I'm wondering if afyer 16 years in a classroom I habe burnt out or sometjing. I'm a good teacher, I cam do the job but I just feel utterly hopeless.

The anxiety stems from constantly saying no to extra I think. But it's got to the point where even the thought of opening my work email or walking in the building makes me feel sick.

Ive got online CBT starting on Friday, maybe that will help. The head has been so kind and understanding I don't want to let her down anymore than I have already.

Teddy7878 Tue 03-Oct-17 13:11:18

CBT might be really useful for you as it will teach you distraction techniques when you feel most anxious. It's great you managed to get up and do a few chores today. Could you consider just working as a home tutor for a year until you feel better? It might be a considerable pay drop but if your husband can support you for a bit until you feel able to go back into a proper school then it might be worth it.
Another option could be to ask the headteacher if you could come back for half a day and see how you cope? It might be incredibly daunting but once you actually get there you might not feel as bad as you think. Do you have holiday allowance you could add to your sick days to extend it a bit?

millimat Tue 03-Oct-17 13:13:51

You need to worry about yourself, not letting your head down. Do you think your workload has increased uncontrollably over the 16 years? Mine has. I'm part time but do more hours now than I've ever done full time.
Could you give up your additional responsibility to concentrate on the class?

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 13:22:58

No chance of dropping responsibilities no sad

I actually was meant to be doing home tuition with a bit of supply when I got offered this job. I suppose I was flattered and knew I wasn't really enjoying supply (although I really enjoy tutoring). I am wondering if I jumped too soon at the opportunity .

Matildasmum13 Tue 03-Oct-17 13:50:28

Take this time to rest and think. I agree with the post above that you could go back for half a day as that will show you if it really is workable. But only do this when the drugs have kicked in. CBT will help you examine methods to cope, but you need to identify the root cause and how to move forward with what's best for you. We teachers give so much, but at the end of the day, it's only a job. Good luck.

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 13:59:19

Whatever happens I'll have to go back until Christmas. And I need to decide this by half term I guess. That's 3/4 weeks. I suppose by then the meds should have kicked in.

Matildasmum13 Tue 03-Oct-17 14:33:56

Not if you are signed off- put your health first.

rosesinmygarden Tue 03-Oct-17 15:26:06

I'm only signed off this week and next

hollytom Tue 03-Oct-17 20:41:22

Sorry to hear that you’re feeling bad. I am also part time and have been struggling with things, I have found that I start to worry about things when I am not at work and I’m not sure being part time is doing me much good in some ways.
One thing I have started is the headspace app it’s mindfulness and it seems to be helping a bit. You can download it and the first 10 days are free. It might be worth a try?
You are not alone in feeling bad I think in many ways it’s an impossible job now. The whole of education seems to be mired in an attitude of nothing is ever good enough which is not healthy for us or the kids. I am very much debating what to do in future

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Tue 03-Oct-17 21:16:46

This was me 3 years ago and it's brewing again. I was diagnosed with stress and anxiety and once 'diagnosed' it will always be there; some days better than others. It's not a 24 hour bug type illness that once you have had it, you're immune to it. What frustrates me is that most SLT are completely ignorant of mental health in the workplace and many have absolutely no idea that they (HT) have a legal duty to ensure the health and well-being of their staff. any SLT bury their head and its almost like they don't believe it exists or it is a problem.

Lesson Observations are one trigger for me. But sometimes I cannot fathom why anxiety rears it's ugly head.

Three years ago, I went sick on October 6th after a lesson observation that had no intention of being graded anything but a RI. I had had a massive blow up with my HT (long story) and she kept asking me if I was ready and smirking, or what I perceived to be a smirk. I had actually done everything that was advised in a twilight training session months earlier but it was suddenly wrong. I had intended to return after 3 weeks as my GP gave me a sick note. But on returning to my GP he was very clever at making me realise that actually I wasn't ready. I wanted to be but he was 100% right. So I was given another 6 weeks. I had a meeting with work with my union in tow (advised by in school rep) and we had a chat. I was given sick note after sick note. I was pregnant at the time and my GP did not want me to return until after my maternity leave. I did return; 5 weeks before it started. I was stupid to. I was going through council appointed counselling and it was crap.

3 years later and I have been through absolute HELL at school. My issues have returned because they have never been dealt with and I don;t think my HT has any intention of helping me through them; not after what she did last year. Last year was the worst thing ANYONE can go through when at school. I was actually ready to end everything. It was horrific and at times it still is. I have an ex-DHT who repeatedly told me never to trust her or anyone in the school office.

So I am at the point where stress and anxiety are at a heightened state. I am an emotional person anyways, more-so after my disastrous time with my HT 3 years ago, and because that was never settled, what happened last year and recent observation feedbacks this week has tipped me over the edge.

My best advice is to seek counselling ASAP, keep it up for as long as possible, take medication if you feel you need it and take as long as you need to recover. Don't rush it. I think that is one thing I regret. I SHOULD NOT have returned to work until after my maternity leave had finished.

I'm on the brink of seeing my GP again and considering medication and asking for a referral to a counsellor. I think another period of sick leave for stress and anxiety would actually push my HT to seek dismissal for me due to 'incapabilities'. Though I want to quit teaching altogether, finances for the next 2 years means that's not feasible.

millimat Tue 03-Oct-17 21:21:00

You also need to accept that medication is long term. When I was ill I was on ADs. Once I thought I was better I stopped them. Big mistake. They need to be continued for at least a year. There's no shame in them.

soimpressed Tue 03-Oct-17 22:27:48

I would go back to your doctor and ask to be signed off for the rest of the term. That way you have time to properly recover. I'm guessing that you have been feeling increasingly ill over a period of time and you will therefore need a decent amount of time to recover. Don't think about resigning - you are not well enough to make that decision.

manicinsomniac Fri 06-Oct-17 20:36:24

Surely the school has a duty of care towards you too? Is there really no way they can support you in reducing the load a bit?

I have anxiety, bipolar and anorexia and can sympathise with feeling like you can't get out of bed and like you're wading through treacle. But I've never had to take any time off because my friends at school and even SLT to a point are fab. For example, last term I was able to drop one of my evening duties for a while during a rough patch.

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