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Hi there. I been off work with WRS, anxiety and depression. I have suffered with depression on and off since my teens but this time it was mega. Crippling physical pain and at my lowest point I had suicidal thoughts but the last time that happened was early march. Since then I have received telephone counselling from my employer (NHS 6-12 month waiting list) . This was a major break through as until this all I had were antidepressants and being signed off by GP from my primary teaching job.
In addition to this I embarked on daily exercise and this also made a huge difference. Consequently , I referred myself to Occupational Health to discuss the prospect of a phased return. My GP was happy for me to try this at the end of May but to not go fully up to full time this term. As my school is no longer LA affliated our Academy Trust uses an outside OH provider and I attended their clinic last week.
On arrival at their very corporate premises I realised these people dealt with all sorts of employees and did not specialise in education. I anticipated that and as a result knew it would take a fair bit of explaining to the clinician of how my breakdown came about. This was not a recovery from injury, physical illness, bereavement, this was a result of years of unachievable workload, ridiculous expectations and unpleasant bullying by parents of children I teach this year. As I tried to explain this he interrupted me and said “we only have 45 mins so let me lead this discussion! What was it that led to you being off work?". Of course there was no simple answer but he wanted me to pinpoint and I then said that receiving one vicious email from a parent broke me and in the hours that followed I wanted to kill myself. This one event didn't cause all of this though and I felt very upset that he did not have time to listen.
He did agree to a phased return in incremental stages and accepted that bullying was unacceptable. However, my husband tried to explain that the specific year group I teach (Year 6 -SATs and residential trip abroad) was a really onerous workload that I had done for 7 years and needed a change and to change to part time. My husband asked if he would note this and recommend the change. His reply to my husband was “you’ve said that 3 times already! I can't control an operational decision!". We knew this. How patronising. All my husband was trying to do was to get him to note it as a recommendation. He did do this but wouldn't have if we hadn't pressed the point.
In essence I hope the report will be ok but I found the whole experience completely impersonal and upsetting. I have been free of suicidal thoughts for a month now but after this I returned to many symptoms of previous depressive episodes. Fortunately, I had written a suicide plan and was able to use it and find support.
Has anyone else out there had similar difficulties with OH or done a phased return. I'm worried that I am still quite fragile.
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