Yesterday (Saturday 4th November 2017) I received quite the heartbreaking email from a teacher in need. A teacher going through something they never thought they would experience. Depression.
It took a lot for this teacher to realise, reach out and start the road to recovery and they want you to know you are not alone.
As a teacher that has gone through it and come out the other side (read more on my experiences here), I recognise just how difficult it must have been for this teacher to write this. I therefore hope you appreciate the honesty and find comfort in it if you are going through the same or similar circumstances.
Here is Ben’s experience…
Today I have cried…a lot.
An entry on signs that I missed along the road to depression:
Over the last few days I have cried a lot, in my kitchen, a museum, in the corner of a cafe, in front of my head of faculty, the head, my friends, in fact almost every where and all of it has come after finally admitting to myself and my wife that I am depressed.
If I am open and honest about it I have never really understood why people can be depressed, take my situation, I love teaching Geography, I have very supportive friends and family, have 2 great kids and an amazing wife. So how can I possibly spend my days crying and not being able to enter the school building without feeling like I need to hide in a dark corner? What have I missed along the way that has got me to this situation?
Opening up to people has helped me to see some of the signs that should have screamed out, “you need a bit of help”.
- Family and friends saying they were worried about me:
It sounds obvious and silly but I had really dismissed my parents’ questions/concerns as those of parents who were just being a little protective. Thinking about it now, family and friends know you incredibly well, possibly better than you know yourself and if they are concerned they probably have a reason to be.
- Family tension because of my workload:
The number of times my wife told me that I needed to stop working otherwise I would burn myself out has been ridiculous. I work most evenings until 9 to ‘avoid getting stressed’ about too much work (the irony) and I think my body has now given up…it can’t cope and the last few days have been it’s way of telling me to stop.
- Thoughts about self harm:
It still shocks me to be thinking these thoughts but I never made the connection between my thoughts about deliberately having a cycling accident on the way into school because ‘at least then I could have a break’ and self harm which we preach to students about. I never seriously thought about doing it, but the thoughts alone should have been a clear sign to me.
- Wondering if I was depressed:
There seems to be quite a big difference between wondering about depression and admitting it to yourself. Looking back at it, I would say to someone, if you wonder if you are depressed you probably are or at least you need to speak to someone about it. Again this is something that I dismissed as being silly, “of course I’m not depressed I have a great life”.
- Not celebrating:
This was the clincher the one that finally made me crack, I came home trying to work out how I would ask my wife if we could postpone celebrating my birthday so that I could get into work on time to finish some marking/planning. At that point I think my brain clicked and realised that I really needed some help.
I’m not sure what my next steps are, I’ve been proscribed anti depressants and counselling. School have been very supportive showing me organisations that I should speak to ( https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk/helping-you) and sending me home to see the doctor. I still cry when I start to think about work and I’m not sure how long it is going to last, but I have made steps by admitting the way that I feel and as awkward as it is crying in front of all and sundry it is now in the open there for me to tackle.
Note from Miss H
Please feel free to get in contact if you’d like someone to talk to, advice on where to go for support or just want a general natter. x