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Sick note query - MH related

(33 Posts)
Timpani Sat 15-Sep-18 13:32:15

I think I'm on the verge of a sicknote for MH reasons. I'm due at the Dr this week and think this is my only option.

I don't want my immediate line manager aware of why I am absent. The sicknote shouldn't go to her but then my return to work meeting would probably be with her? Does anyone have any advice? The thought of being off with KS4 classes is awful and it's the only thing that's kept me in school so far. I've also been putting on a brave face and so admitting defeat and getting a sick note will come as a surprise to most colleagues (one or two know there's something up though).
I just don't know what to do for the best. Being off sick feels like I will have my cards marked for some reason sad

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winewolfhowls Sat 15-Sep-18 23:06:18

First of all please do look after yourself and get a sick note. The classes will cope.

Could you email a member of senior staff you do get on with to request back to work meeting with them, rather than your line manager, no harm in asking.

If the school is not supportive then it is not a place you want to work.

Timpani Sun 16-Sep-18 02:05:52

Thank you. Yes, I will email someone who I can trust and hopefully go through them. I'm already anxious about what will be sad about me and the thought of having to set cover. I know it's not legal to ask for but it most definitely is an expectation at my place.

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jackio2205 Sun 16-Sep-18 03:21:29

You can absolutely just speak in confidence to someone in HR/admin, however I would advise having a 'story' to tell others because you don't want a rumour mill to start and also people knowing will aid your recovery, they'll know how to support you when you return, if they don't know anything they won't be able to help you at all? I'm in HR and have so many stories about how teams have helped people come back to work.
The most important thing for you when it comes to work is to break it all down and realise what you are responsible for, so first step, tell them you're not in for XYZ reason, 2nd step is to manage expectations and advise that you'll speak to them again in a reasonable period of time, 3, work with them to discuss how you can phase a return. Of course the most important thing is for you to recover, but when it comes to work, all you have to do is to communicate effectively, it's their job to find cover and to aid you in what you need. Don't worry or think about work whilst you're looking after yourself!
Good luck and hope you feel better soon x

Timpani Sun 16-Sep-18 13:08:54

Thank you, that is so very helpful. The way I feel today about tomorrow is awful. And I have a stack of marking to do and my children are playing up. Finding things very hard today.

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Timpani Sun 16-Sep-18 22:31:48

I don't think I can face it tomorrow but I have to.

I can't think of what I'll tell them if I go off.

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hairRaising Sun 16-Sep-18 22:35:40

Teaching can be such a tough job, especially when you have a vulnerability to MH. Thinking beyond this immediate sick note - is there any way you could afford to go part time? A teacher friend of mine did that as she had long term PTSD and just found that working pt took her to her capacity

Good luck

busybear Sun 16-Sep-18 22:40:25

This happened to me. I had sixth form classes and key stage 4. My line manager was the reason I had a mh breakdown so I absolutely did not want to discuss this with them.
I got the sick note, rang hr and said I was in no position to set cover unfortunately. You shouldn't be required to do any work under a sick note. I had let a trusted colleague know what was happening in advance and gave her an idea of where the classes were up to.
The students survived. When I came back, I said I'd been really unwell and they all understood. I requested a return to work interview with hr.
If the mh reason is to do with work, make sure your gp puts this down.

busybear Sun 16-Sep-18 22:44:19

Getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage to say that enough is enough.
At the end of the day, even though we pour our hearts and souls into it, it's just a job. You should not feel guilty about putting yourself and your family before other people's children.

Timpani Sun 16-Sep-18 22:53:08

I already am part time (0.8). Work isn't the reason but it definitely adds to it and although my LM is supportive on the surface there's a lot of background of he
not being supportive and LM can be very false.

I can't make decisions sad

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jackio2205 Sun 16-Sep-18 23:06:43

Yes it is difficult making decisions, I can totally relate!! I got overweight because I couldn't make the decisions of what to eat so I grabbed the easiest foods, more often crap ones!
But like I said before, you have to realise what is in your power and what isn't and it's not your job to get your cover etc. the kids will be fine and someone will cover, you've just got to look after you.
As for what you'll tell colleagues, don't think about that now, that's too far ahead, just do bit by bit what you can handle.
You're doing amazing right now by even talking about it, shows your self awareness, amazing!!!!

Timpani Mon 17-Sep-18 16:47:13

One day down... can you get a sick note to start at a particular date or are they always immediate? As in if I go to Dr Thursday can I get a sicknote to start on the following Monday rather than Thursday or Friday?

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DinahMorris Mon 17-Sep-18 17:45:05

If your doctor assesses you as too unwell to work then you are too unwell to work that day and subsequent days. I've been there - the feeling that you are letting kids down can be overwhelming, but that (in itself) is a sign that you need to be off. A mentally healthy person recognises that whilst having a teacher off sick for a couple of weeks isn't ideal, it really isn't the end of the world either.

Go to the doctor, get signed off, tell the school you are off and will contact them on x date. You really shouldn't be setting cover - that is the responsibility of the HoD.

If you were hit by a bus the school and kids would cope without you setting cover. Mental health is just as serious as physical health.

Timpani Mon 17-Sep-18 18:10:31

Thank you. I guess I'm still trying to be nice to school by 'planning' an absence. I know it's inevitable I'll end up off so I should just accept that.

Thanks. I'm the only one able to set decent cover for my subject so that is why I'm struggling.

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DinahMorris Mon 17-Sep-18 21:10:03

As a compromise could you make a list of exactly where you are up to with each class? Unless you are the only person in your department that should be sufficient for someone else to set passable / vaguely useful cover work. The best thing that can happen to your students, right now, is you taking a suitable amount of time off work to properly recover and get back to full teaching fitness.

Timpani Mon 17-Sep-18 21:36:29

Thank you @dinahmorris

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jackio2205 Mon 17-Sep-18 22:56:40

Yes @DinahMorris is right, your doctor will sign you off when they assess you, they can't tell the future so it will be from the point of assessment.
Good luck and keep us updated, you've got support here x

Timpani Tue 18-Sep-18 22:42:09

Thanks. I'm now panicking that the Dr won't sign me off. Argh

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jackio2205 Tue 18-Sep-18 22:49:47

I'm no expert, but your anxiety seems pretty bad, I can't see why they wouldn't. Honestly though hun, take it easy, one little step at a time.
Headspace is the best app you can get for anxiety and stress, download it now and get listening to the first video, do the next one tomorrow. I also listen to asmr videos, they're not for everyone, but they really help me when I'm anxious, i listen to spa ones on youtube, im asleep withing 10 mins!

DinahMorris Tue 18-Sep-18 22:55:40

I felt like a fraud when I went to the doctor, but honestly they were lovely. Just go in, tell the truth and see what they say. You sound incredibly stressed to me so I can't imagine they will do anything other than sign you off.

Timpani Thu 20-Sep-18 18:59:07

I went to the Dr. It seemed more difficult than I thought but I've now told work I won't be in an the Dr will (I hope) give me a sicknote after the 5 days self-certify. I suddenly feel busy and stressed with household stuff but I'm sure I'll ease into being "off" once my body has caught up with me. I'm so tired. People from work messaged and seem supportive so far.
Thanks for all your help. I just hope I feel better soon.

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Naveloranges Sun 23-Sep-18 00:20:08

A mh related illness is just as serious as any other illness. I saw my GP on Monday and was signed off immediately for minimum two weeks. GP stressed that I was not fit to work. Work have been great. HOD has
managed all cover. Ordinarily I would be really worried about being away for KS4/5 classes but I’m just too unwell to even care.
I hope you get the answer you want.

Timpani Sun 23-Sep-18 08:47:51

My GP said I had to self certify first as that was the only legal way to do it. Did you not have to do that @naveloranges?

I'm anxious (!) That when I see him next he will not give me the sick note. Surprisingly, work have been fine. Even the people who I thought mightnt have been have texted to send their best wishes. I still don't feel any different.

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Timpani Sun 23-Sep-18 08:48:41

So sorry you are poorly too @naveloranges.
flowers Are you having any treatment or medication?

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Naveloranges Sun 23-Sep-18 23:10:50

@timpani I have two lots of meds (am and pm)and waiting to see adult mental health team. I know I will get better. My last breakdown was over 25 years ago.

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