Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.

The What if… of mental health.

8 Comments

It is the week before we go back to school. 5 weeks have passed. I’ve relaxed, rested and written the majority of a book.

I’ve also been off of anti-depressents now for 3 full weeks. By the end of July I’d made it down to 1 a week. End of June 2 a week. End of May 3 a week. You get the idea I’m sure. There were a few hiccups when I’d forgotten a dose and had a few side effects but on the whole it was a relatively okay process.

Anyway, the longer between doses the more my thoughts have invaded the space in my mind that has been clear for the last two years. My thoughts have turned back to sudden thoughts of possible dangers, thoughts of worst case scenarios and just general worries.

Now I’ve always suffered from some sort of anxiety or stress, uni was a particularly prominent time for instance but it wasn’t until I started taking anti-depressents that I realised just how much I worried about things.

When I started taking medication, I experienced for the first time in as long as I can remember what it felt like to just have a clear mind. To not be continuously worrying about this or that. To have a thought come into my mind and have the ability to decide whether to continue with it or shut it down. I felt like I’d become more productive and alot happier.

As I started to come off of the medication, I maintained the ability to abolish those thoughts that plagued me; to switch them off. But as the time has progressed and the level of medication in my system declined I’ve found my thoughts returning to old patterns. The school holidays have certainly not helped; no routine, time to think.

As we’ve gotten closer to the beginning of September the more I’ve started to worry about going back. Worrying about the anxiety returning. Worrying about managing my workload. Worrying that I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students. Worrying about worrying.

It’s gotten so bad I’ve had to detach myself from all things education for a few days, including Twitter.

I’m not the only one to be experiencing such fears I’m sure but I feel like I made such headway in the last two years, I’ve implemented strategies that have reduced my workload. I’ve developed a system for working that works for me. I’ve learnt to put myself before my work and to look after my wellbeing so I can be on top form for my students.

Yet still the fear is there. What if I can’t cope. What if I fall back into old routines. What if I stop saying no. What if… I burnout and breakdown again?

Author: MrsHumanities

Teacher. Blogger. Author.

8 thoughts on “The What if… of mental health.

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for writing and sending this, although I’ve never been on antidepressants I was signed off in my last school. I know what you mean about the anxiety and I wish I had a cure to share. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one.

    Kind regards,

    Natasha

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. I don’t believe you will break down again. You are in a more supportive school, you know the signs and would act more quickly if necessary, you know where to access help and you are surrounded by love and support. And if you do need to return to anti-depressants, that will not be a “failure”, but a coping strategy.

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    • Thank you Gill for the supportive comment. The thing about anxiety is it can drive you down a road that you don’t need to go down. I just need to remember that when I started at this school I was coming up from rock bottom and the medication gave me a step up. Now that I’m in a better place (literally and mentally) the starting point is much higher and therefore the step up isn’t needed. Just have to keep that focus in mind.

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  3. Well done for being so brave. You do and excellent job and your work is highly appreciated. I hope you continue to stay strong and remember you are the most important person in your life and everything else can wait.
    Best wishes to you x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How amazingly refreshing and honest. Thank you for being so frank about your vulnerabilities. You sound such a dedicated teacher, if not a perfectionist, I can relate to all you have said and been on similar medication. Keep strong and do the job you love, but take time to nourish yourself and don’t feel guilty about pulling the drawbridge up and taking time to relax. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mrs Humanities, as a department we love your resources online and I read your blogs often. This one is particularly thought provoking!
    In my nqt year I became very unwell with glandular fever. I was trained as a geographer but appointed as a science teacher!! Teaching three subjects out of my comfort zone took its toll and by Easter I was off sick for 9 weeks. Luckily I had some physical symptoms and it was certainly easier to tell colleagues it was glandular fever than I imagine saying I was having a break down. Apparently, if you push yourself enough your body flips a switch and shuts down!! Sleeping for 20 hours a day for 8 weeks taught me that.
    Since then I too have taken the wonder tablet citalopram and I too am now off antidepressants all together. My school have been so unbelievably supportive. I’m now a pastoral leader and covered to mat leaves as Head of Geography (thankfully a position opened up and I’m now back in my subject). They have given me coaching and CPD as a middle leader and this year I’m attending an aspiring leaders course run by my brilliant head teacher.
    I’m going into my 6th year teaching and my job brings me joy most of the time. I actively keep a gratitude diary and this really helps me feel grounded.
    But the most important thing I always remember is that I would happily accept citalopram back into my life again- ‘if things get tough, as they sometimes will – just take the god damn pill’ is something I will live my life by. We wouldn’t deny diabetics insulin or fail to cast a broken limb- we are just organic chemistry blobs that sometimes need a little extra to muddle through. I’m micro ambitious these days and aim to win the war of attrition – it’s a long game.
    Good luck with your first days and weeks back this year. I look forward to reading your blogs- they are brilliant!
    Keep going, keep strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Starting the conversation… #PedagooHampshire2018 | Mrs Humanities

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