Severe Depression, need to quit, need encouragement...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by andyguitar331, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Hello

    I was diagnosed with depression this past December. I've been seeing a therapist to help me through this. I started to do fine the beginning of this semester but unfortunately my symptoms are becoming more severe. My family is telling me that I should resign because I have to put my health before my career. What makes this worse is that I might be Bipolar and am going to start getting evaluated for this. So even with the crappy symptoms of the depression (I'm mainly experiencing extreme lethargy), I'm very distracted by the worry of my personal well being. What makes the situation even more worse is that the majority of the stress is coming from school. My classes overlap two to three times a week and I don't have a lunch on those days.

    My mind is not in the classroom. I feel it is unfair for the kids to have a teacher like this.

    My therapist, friends, and family support me if I choose to resign. the one that is taking convincing is myself.

    What do you think? I need help building the courage to resign.
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Wow, I think that is more of a decision that needs to be made between you and your physician. Both bipolar and depression can frequently be treated with the right drug therapy, and I can't imagine giving advice of a medical nature. I do think that you need to make sure that you are being completely honest and forthright with your doctors, and that you are taking any medications exactly as prescribed. It will take a few weeks for the drug levels to reach theraputic levels in you blood, and many people give the prescriptions a few days and then say it didn't help. It is a longer term problem, but there is almost always the right drug regimen that can help. I wish you well.
     
  4. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2015

    I am being honest with them. We haven't figured out a medication because we are not sure on my diagnoses. I guess I'm not being clear. I need more advice on the resigning part of my issue. Resigning seems like the right move, I'm just afraid to for some reason.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jan 29, 2015

    I would be terrified to resign, but my salary pays the bills and provides our benefits. I would be more concerned if that didn't bother me. No one here can know how the decision to give up gainful employment will play out or impact your frame of mind going forward. I do know that sometimes it is the lethargy talking from the depression, but once again, I would not think that this is a conversation I would want aired on this forum. If, however, you have made up your mind to quit and you just want everyone to tell you that this is the right thing, well, it is your life. It is as simple, really, as writing a letter that says you are quitting for health reasons. You may get lucky and they might consider rehiring you at some prearranged time, but I wouldn't count on it. My son is a music teacher who has gone a different route, because music jobs don't grow on trees. I will say once again, I believe this is a conversation that you should be having with your physicians. Just my opinion.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Can't you take a medical leave of absence?
     
  7. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Jan 29, 2015

    One of my mentor teachers had to take a medical leave of absence for bipolar disorder (she had been diagnosed for years, but was having problems). You should definitely look into that.

    The only reason I would worry about quitting your job is that it may make you depressed anyway, since you won't be required to get out of the house, do things, and be around people. I'm speaking as someone who's gone through serious depressive episodes, myself. However, from the way you described your job, that does sound VERY stressful -- even a perfectly healthy person needs a break! If you're not given an actual lunch break, I'm pretty sure your employers are breaking the law... correct me if I'm wrong....

    Since you're still trying to figure out your diagnosis... have you thought about your diet/exercise? Are you truly eating healthy (a good ratio of carbs/protein/fat, limited sugar/caffeine, etc.) and getting physical activity? Sometimes this gets overlooked, which is a shame because it can really improve your well-being.
     
  8. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Jan 29, 2015

    As someone who has suffered with acute anxiety and depression for over a decade, I recommend you do not quit your job. However, I am not your doctor. I am not you. I cannot make the decision for you. I just know that if I quit it would compound feelings of guilt, worthlessness, failure, etc. I also think it is good to keep things moving with depression. Again, I'm not you, though. What is the plan if you quit? Would you move home with your parents? That seems like it doesn't help you deal with the situation when it reoccurs in the future.

    I would try to find another job, even a retail or other basic job, prior to quitting. That way you are maintaining some semblance of independence and routine.
     
  9. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Jan 30, 2015

    I don't have anything new to offer--I agree that you may want to look in a medical leave of absence rather than resign. :hugs:
     
  10. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Jan 31, 2015

    What a difficult situation. When I was student teaching, my depression, anxiety, and what I now know to be ADHD came to a head and I really thought I would not be able to handle being a teacher. One cooperating teacher shared this concern (thankfully the other I had was more supportive). If this helps--I am very glad I stuck with teaching, because I can honestly say it has helped to heal me--being without employment gave my mind too much time to be its own enemy. However, without medication I don't think I would have made it.

    Therefore, my advice to you would be to stay with your job but speak with your union rep if you have one. I wouldn't mention anything to the administration right away because some people still have that stigma against mental illness (which is ridiculous but true). Having benefits is key while you see doctors and find medications, and something to do every day helps so much. Work with your physician and take medications as prescribed and be as patient as possible. Throughout my life I have taken 3 different antidepressants that didn't work before I found the ones that did, and I am so thankful for that. I am not sure how my life would have turned out if I hadn't found them.

    Good luck, and know that there are ways to beat this!!
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jan 31, 2015

    I don't know much about mental illness, but aren't depression and bipolar disorder mostly caused by chemical issues in the brain, not by stress? Just removing the stress isn't going to cure a mental illness and then you will be isolated from people, broke and without health insurance. Sounds like starting with a leave of absence before you make the decision to quit would be a better route, but only you can make the decision.

    I have also heard many young teachers who are just overwhelmed with teaching in the first few years or at a bad school. They stress themselves out, put too much pressure on themselves, feel like they are drowning, and panic. Could this be you? Quitting could permanently damage your career when you just need a better environment and more experience.

    Good luck with the decision and I hope you find peace and health whatever you choose to do.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jan 31, 2015

    SCMom: "I don't know much about mental illness, but aren't depression and bipolar disorder mostly caused by chemical issues in the brain, not by stress?"

    Yes, depression and bipolar disorder are mostly caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.

    Since you haven't been at this job for a long period, you may not be granted a medical leave of absence. That's just business. If you think that resigning for "medical reasons" will be better when you find a new job, I can assure you that is not the case. It will immediately throw up red flags that you may or may not be able to do the job and what they must consider in terms of your reliability and stability. I don't think that is a great thing to have to address in an interview for a new job. I do urge you to run all of this by your doctors - I work with students on medication, and I can assure you that it can take up to six weeks for some drugs to reach therapeutic levels in the blood. That doesn't mean that you may not see some improvement as those levels are being reached, but most of the time there is no quick fix. I do agree that having benefits, a routine, and a paycheck may actually improve your prognosis.

    If this is about a poor fit or working conditions, document and fight for better scheduling and support. You may still be stressed, but you will be doing something proactive to right the ship, so to speak. I would never give up without a fight.
     
  13. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Feb 1, 2015

    It's different for everyone. I could never recommend a depressed person try and stick it out. I always tried to never quit any job and fought to hold on to them as long as I could...but with me, my depression was so severe that I could not keep up my appearance so people would comment on how bad I looked, I had trouble eating and sleeping, I would stop living other parts of my life, and basically I would become close to suicidal and needing hospitalization in a matter of only weeks.

    So for me, I had to resign as it was between life or death. Even with being broke and uninsured, I still had my life and a chance to heal and recover. But jobs for me are a main trigger so even medication and therapy would not help me function well enough to maintain a job.
    Know your triggers.

    Depression often goes hand in hand with other disorders. I have OCD as well, along with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), PTSD, major depression and Bipolar 2.

    Bipolar 2 is not the same as Bipolar 1, kinda a big difference, so make sure the doctor is explaining those things to you. I completely rejected the Bipolar diagnosis at first but when a 2nd doctor made the same diagnosis, and I researched on my own, I realized that the doctors were right. It was a tough thing to accept.

    If you find yourself having "high" stages where you feel super amazing and productive, very energetic and happy, euphoric, creative, dreaming big and having unrealistic goals for yourself...etc...then you crash and become depressed, that could be a sign of hypomania, Bipolar 2. Look over life and "study" yourself. I had some behaviors that I had no clue were a sign of bipolar. Such as, switching topics very fast when I'm talking to others...

    So for all of my adult life, I was only being medicated for the depression..but not for the Bipolar and other issues. So it's all just very complex and difficult to find the right treatment plan.

    I hope it all works out for you. Due to my personal experiences, I suggest anyone suffering from mental illness take time away from work or school and really sit down and work hard with the doctors to try and determine what's wrong and how it can be treated. Find the triggers...which are different for everyone. Once a treatment plan is in place, then return to work or school which will always be there.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    As I have stated many times, these are conversations and discussions the OP should be having with his physicians. It is true that there is no one "typical" presentation in mental illness, and the OP needs to be working diligently to find exactly what is needed to effectively deal with his particular illness or combination of illnesses. However, since the OP has not been happy with the job since his hire in October and certain situations there, he should be honest about whether this is strictly about his illness versus his displeasure with the job.

    This is not a discussion I would share on this forum, but that is just me. I would get myself doctors I trusted, and then follow their advice and counsel. Often times, more than one doctor will be involved, and I would be very faithful taking medications so that the doctors can truly rule out meds that don't work well versus noncompliance. Many people with mental illness are not compliant when it comes to taking their meds as directed, which complicates finding the right treatment. I hope that the OP will find what he needs and see life through a much improved attitude and perception.
     
  15. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Feb 2, 2015

    May I suggest a book that I found useful during depression times:
    Unstuck by James Gordon
     
  16. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Feb 2, 2015

    I don't know what else to say except that I know. At my first job I moved 400 miles from home into a position that was an awful fit for me. I had the worst classes in the entire school and a mentor who accused me of stealing her lesson plans. I subsisted on coffee, pretzels, and yogurt for a month. I stopped calling my family and posting on Facebook. I hated myself every day yet I pushed myself to work harder and prove that I was worthy of my position. My apartment was a mess. I could barely get out of bed. One day I finally lost it. I cried at a morning team meeting, and students saw me on my way to the bathroom. I was immediately put on an "improvement plan" which ended, unsurprisingly, in a judgment that my contract was not approved for next year. I wanted to quit in September, but I stuck it out. Was it the right choice? I like to think so. I know if I quit, I would have felt like a failure at the one career I ever wanted and pursued with fervent passion. I would have felt like my life was meaningless. I would have never experienced any modicum of success so I would have completely given up on myself and all of my dreams.

    But that was my struggle. I can't say I don't have my issues because I grapple with my negative experiences constantly. I won't tell you to quit or not to quit. But I will tell you that I made it, and I hope that you can take some solace and know that you will make it, whatever your decision.
     
  17. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    I would recommend taking a medical leave if possible. One year I had a major depressive episode in Nov., stuck it out until Jan., then took leave the remainder of the year. I returned to teach for three more years symptom-free, and felt strong enough to go back to school, which I had been wanting to do for a long time. I wish you the best. This field attracts sensitive people.
     
  18. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    Feb 3, 2015

    I was ready to quit a few years ago, and told myself that it was because of job-related stress. Once I got put on the tiniest bit of mental health meds, it became clear that work wasn't the problem--my head was the problem. I was lucky enough to start out on a great med and a good dosage, so I didn't have to do a lot of adjusting, but life is completely different now.
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Feb 3, 2015

    I quit when I was 30. Had moved into a new job and missed the old one badly. I felt I had left my family. Throw in a few other things and I just quit. Within six months I knew what my profession was. I had started subbing in my home county and then saw the movie Teachers with Nolte. My old principal called and said come finish year teaching Title One math. Then another principal called and said come teach PE. That was 30 years ago and Im still at the same school. You can get better. You will.
    Life is a journey not a destination. Do what you need to get better and climb back on the horse. All of us that believe a little or a lot will pray for you.......the rest will send you good thoughts and feelings. Good luck.
     
  20. magister

    magister Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2015

    I understand what you are going through and hope you find your way. Your priority is getting on track, seeing a therapist, and getting meds to balance yourself and regain control. That is the path. Other things you can do are go see a massage therapist. Make sure you are eating the best foods possible. Stay off or limit caffeine, alcohol, and excessive amounts of sugar. That stuff aggravates any mental condition, causes physical problems, and can be addictive.


    I have a diagnosis of dysthymia and panic disorder. This has caused me a lot of trouble in teaching, especially in terms of dealing w/difficult students. I sought counseling at one point during a teaching job (a job I did not care for) because the students (7th, 8th graders) were disrespectful and apathetic. Given that I was teaching math interventions to them they didn't understand the reason for their being there. I had panic attacks at night while sleeping and didn't know how I would get through the next day. Fortunately, most students who caused me lots of grief were not there at the start of the last semester - thank God. I did not have much power or authority to deal with them except bear w/their nonsense and try to teach interesting lessons. I had no recourse except to talk w/their teacher. I sent a one of them out of the room once because I had had it with him (just to be clear, the student decided to fart in class as soon as we began, which was just totally rude and in effect he was saying i do not respect you at all and you can't do a thing about it).

    I often wonder whether teaching is worth it, given my diagnosis. I want to teach but when I do, the symptoms worsen, headaches, chills, self-doubt, anger, and lots of self-pity and helplessness. It's like having a full time job coaching yourself while doing your teaching job.
     
  21. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2015

    Thank you everyone for the advice. I was pretty low when I started the post. I just started on a mood stabilizer. Hopefully the medication will work and I will have the energy to teach until the end of the semester.

    I am also wondering if teaching is my thing. My passion for it has certainly died recently; all it is doing is causing way too much stress. I'm thinking its this specific position that's the problem and not the teaching profession itself.

    Thank you everyone for the wise words. :)
     
  22. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Feb 5, 2015

    Have you thought about tutoring or giving private lessons? I believe its a way to find out if teaching is still you thing or not
     
  23. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Feb 5, 2015

    My heart goes out to you, since I also have depression. Talk to your doctor about meds, and give yourself credit for hanging in there, yet wanting to be the best you can be for yourself and your students. It can be manageable. You'll find the right balance and know what's right for you. Prayers for you. PM me if you need to "talk".
     
  24. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    [/QUOTE]Have you thought about tutoring or giving private lessons? I believe its a way to find out if teaching is still you thing or not[/QUOTE]

    Yes I have. I was a private guitar teacher and had a pretty good reputation for it in my hometown. I did it to make money during college but now I'm considering doing that again.
     
  25. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    I don't want to sound rude to anyone, but from my quite long career of substitution (I've done elementaries and daycares), looking at the jobs from an outsider's point of view, institutions like public schools or even daycares seem to be very good places at killing peoples' desire to teach.

    I can't tell you how many teacher's aides I've seen who has taught once, and now want an "easy" job with no crazy demands and paperwork. I understand them so well!

    I'm also talking from a perspective of a sort-of-homeschooling parent, because I teach kids a lot in informal environment and I enjoy it even though it's crazy in terms of work, but at least I know that all of it is useful work. I can spend long hours planning a lesson, studying different activities, but it's all for the benefits of kids, not because some crazy people in administration decided that I have to do things this way.

    Whereas a lot of what I hear in schools (teacher's lunchroom is a great place for that) is how they seem to be enslaved by the state requirements, school's requirements, and what not. Pretty crazy!

    Who knows, I'm planning to get a cert soon and possibly find a regular job in public schools. Who knows, I may come back to this threat with similar complain, I'm in depression, should I continue teaching ! :) :(

    Again, please don't take my post personally. I'm not thinking of teachers on this forum when I write, I speak more about what I see in schools around here, and of course, I'm sure there are many success stories as well, but people don't tend to speak of them as often as complain about injustices :)
     

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