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Anxiety Support
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scared to go back to teaching

Hi, I started having panic attacks back in the 90s. Back then the doctor would tell me to "breathe into a bag," and there was not much known about depression/anxiety. I finally found a doctor that had me do a check off list of symptoms and was put on Paxil. So I have been medicated for many years. I recently was diagnosed with menopause after having a break down and asking for medial leave for the last 6 weeks of teaching. I have been rediagnosed to help with these changes and am feeling better, but the anxiety about returning to work end of August is starting to give me that niggling, tingling, scared feeling. I don't want to wake up because it means I'm another day closer to going back to work.

I have a meeting with my principal in three weeks to discuss how I simply left after calling my principal and saying I couldn't come back and would be sending in medical leave paperwork as soon as I could. She had emailed and wanted me to come in to help with sub plans and I just couldn't. I spent about two weeks in bed crying, sleeping, just doing the minimum.

I guess I just want to know if anyone else can relate to what I'm going through. I have worked 20 years in teaching and feel inadequate. I wish I could get a different job, but I need to keep my benefits and salary. Don't know how to go about finding another job and time is running out.

Anyone out there relate to what I'm going through?

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I can relate somewhat to what you have wrote. I was due back at work the Wednesday just gone but my anxiety flared up so bad that I've ended up with a severe stress rash and couldn't face going back. I've been in retail management for many years and in retail for 14 yrs but for some reason I feel I'm incapable of doing the job but deep down I know this isn't true. I'm currently self certified sick till next Tuesday and I feel awful for being off and have cried myself silly for days feeling like a failure. People have told me it's nothing to feel ashamed off and I need to think about myself.. you're the same. We can do this and I think we shouldn't let this awful illness force us out of the things we are good at. Speak to your colleagues and principle don't be embarrassed to ask for some support that's my advice, I opened up with my employers and they've been very supportive. Chin up you can do this :)

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Caroline, Who was it who said 'Do what your fear and the death of fear is assured'? No it wasn't Kennedy it was the American philosopher Norman Vincent Peele. If you go back to teaching you will be fine, believe me. First of all you've done it for 20 years so you can do the job with your eyes closed. And second, occupation is very helpful therapy for people with anxiety, far more helpful than staying in bed crying day after day.

Just walk in there as if you run the place and do what you do best. You'll be too pre-occupied with the students for your thoughts to run wild with anxiety and if you do feel a bit shakey well so what, you can put up with the shakiness and still do your job, it won't be a problem I assure you. At the end of the first day you'll feel a tremendous sense of achievement and of course the second day will be so much easier.

If you were inadequate you wouldn't have been able to hold down a job in teaching for 20 years, by the way.

After all these years of suffering with anxiety I suggest it's time you took serious steps to recover. Go to Amazon and search for a book called 'Self help with your nerves' by Claire Weekes (also called 'Hope and help with your nerves' in the U.S.). That book has helped more people to recover from anxiety disorder than any other sekf help book, and there are some very good other sekf help books about. For a few quid/bucks you will hold in your hands a book that is the turning point in your life. It will offer you understanding, reassurance and a road plan for recovery. You will feel the book was written specifically for you even though it was first published 50 years ago, it has withstood the test of time (Claire Weekes was the furst anxiety doctor to advocate Acceptance as the key to recovery). I will say no more or you will yhink I have shares in the book's publishers.

So I say again, calm your mind and return to your rightful profession, there are students there who need your teaching help. Life lies ahead for you, Caroline, I have a feeling you will rise to the challenge despite everything and I tell you that all will be well, all manner of things will be well, because you have within you the strength to do it.

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