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Back again, like a long lost friend...

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Mar. 20th, 2013 | 07:44 pm
posted by: songindarkness in crazy_academics

Hi,

I have depression and anxiety.  I used to post here a long time ago, when I was doing my undergraduate, which I eventually completed, even though I had to keep suspending and coming back, and again when I was doing a masters, which I had to drop out of.  I literally walked out and didn't come back.  This was 2009.

Fast forward to now - I'm doing a PGCE (one year teacher training course in England) and while it's been difficult - I have basically two massive assignments and the rest is teaching lessons in placenment - I've survived so far.  Even massive assignment number one - I only scraped through just - but I passed, even though I was this close to flunking.  Until Monday, when after not sleeping more than about 15 hours in a week I was completely incapable of planning lessons on the weekend so I didn't have anything to go in and teach and was a crying ball on the floor.  I had to call in sick to the school I was on placement with and go to the doctor and say that the depression had started up again.  I got put on Prozac again(Fluoxetine) (yeah it works for me).  This is exactly what I didn't want to do.  I didn't want to screw up. The gaps in my CV due to time off because of depression are becoming harder and harder to explain in this job market.   I'm 30.  I've had experience of this.   I know that I should put stuff into place to make myself ok.

Now I've had emails from my placement school because I was supposed to email in an idea of what I was teaching and I didn't.  And I didn't call in sick properly yesterday or today.  I just kind of fucked up.

I'm so angry with myself because I*knew* this would happen if I was working flat out and doing nothing else and not sleeping and stressing myself out.  But I felt like I had to do this - I was up against the wall.  If there is work to be done, it has to be done, right?  I was just counting out on not crashing into the wall until Easter.  I'm angry that I couldn't keep myself going.

I also got on to the university counselling service.  They seem like they want to help - I talked to a very posh lady who asked a lot of questions but I'm a bit angry at her too because the first thing she asked me was if this had caused me to question doing teaching as a profession and I said that of course it had because teaching is so demanding and she just said straight away that "under the circumstances, is it a good idea doing teaching at all?" And I said that of course I still wanted to.  I just hope I don't have to fight her on this one.  People have told me to quit university the whole time I was there for my undergraduate.  I don't want to fight about this too.

I really want to go into my placement school tomorrow and teach my lessons but I have to plan the lessons first and then go in and sort out the damage.  I don't know if I can fix the damage I've done to the references and report they will give me.  I really don't.

(kind of cross-posted to my journal)

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Comments {3}

evilgerbil

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from: evilgerbil
date: Mar. 20th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
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First thing I want to do is give you a virtual hug and pat on the back because holy cow, that sounds like a tough program! Rather than be disappointed in yourself for hitting the wall, you should be proud that you have made it this far, and that you're not giving up. I was sleeping probably 20-30 hours during my undergrad and it made me so nuts (for lack of a better word) I probably should have been hospitalized.

I think the school counselor was doing a good job, because so many times they put school above your health. It sounds like she was making sure you knew that your health comes first. Do you imagine that teaching will be like this or will it be less stressful when you are finally doing it rather than in school? Use every available resource, and if there is anyone you can have check on you like a friend or family member, tell them to remind you to get enough sleep. Many people crack under the stress, mental health issues or no, so it's probably not likely that you've done irreparable damage. Do you have an advisor or professor that you can talk to? Keep taking the Prozac if it helps. If anyone wants to know why there are gaps on your CV, all you need to say is that you had significant health issues in the past. You can add that you do not expect them to present a problem in your job.

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Teh Dino!

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from: dinogrrl
date: Mar. 21st, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
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^This. (Though I am personally hesitant to mention anything regarding personal health history to potential employers, but how you choose to explain resume gaps is up to you.)

If this is what you want to do, then go for it--it is definitely possible to fix any damage that may have been done. Mistakes happen, and if you can show them that yes, you want to teach and yes, you can learn from mistakes and you're willing to fix them (even if they don't know the details of the mistakes or your plans to fix them), people are usually forgiving.

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natasha

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from: nulz
date: Mar. 21st, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I know how you feel all too well. I'm coming to the end of term and I feel like I've achieved nothing. I was doing fine until mid February and after that, I missed so many classes. I simply haven't felt up to explaining why to my tutors/lecturers. They do know a bit about my health but not the full scale. It's the same as what you said - I just kinda fucked up. I simply don't have the energy to write emails to people trying to explain what's going on. I want to hide in bed until the end of term and forget about it all.

As for your counsellor, she probably didn't mean to sound so accusing or mean. I think she just wants you to really think about why you're doing teaching - even though you probably have, many times, I guess she needs to know why.

You can fix the damage. People will understand. Your health always has to come before university and all you can do is try and keep people informed as to what's going on. Don't be embarrassed or scared to ask for help. I need to ask for an extension for an essay that's due on Friday and I know I should have asked for one before now, but I didn't. There's not much I can do about that but I need more time and that's it. Someone else already mentioned it, but if you have an advisor or professor that you can talk to, do it. Look after yourself first. It's not the end of the world if you need time off from your placement then take it. I know the PGCE is a very difficult course to get into, nevermind the workload. All it takes is one last push to get to the finish line. I know that's easier said than done. I know people without anxiety and depression who have struggled with the PGCE and dropped out, so you've done really well so far.

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