All getting to much!

I don’t post very often, but had some really helpful people contact me after my last post, which helped me cope and get by. So fast forward about 8/9 months. My wife, is in a much better place having not made any attempts on her life in a long while now, to the point that I am meant to be going back onto my Teacher Training Course that I had to defer in January this year due to having to be there to care for wife and kids.

This should be a good thing, as the earning potential, both as a student and when I have qualified is far better than living on benefits. However, right now I am in a really low place personally, and not sure how to get myself out of it. There are multiple reasons (I am not expecting people to give me sympathy or anything, just needing to get things out). I don’t know if its the seasonal affective disorder thing, but always seem to have a dip in my mental health around this time, so never a good starting point. Added to this, if I had my way I would look after the kids and my wife would go to work, I don’t enjoy work and as a whole I don’t like people, from experience they use you to better themselves/company and then never give the same support back. Unfortunately for me, due to the abuse my wife received as a child, she never really accomplished much academically, so her earning potential is significantly lower than mine. As such i have to be the bread winner, something I accept but wish didn’t have to be that way. So the thought of after having a sustained period off looking after the family is really hard to take. This is made worse that I found the course hard (I know higher education shouldn’t be easy, but even my previous degree I managed to come out with a good grade without putting in as much work as I should) this was obviously made more difficult by my wifes impending breakdown and the cracks that were beginning to appear in the months leading up to it. I am just really scared that I won’t be able to pass the course, and if I do pass the course, that I won’t be a good teacher!

I know this sounds silly, but I have been messed around by previous employers, and it has left me questioning myself and the overall work environment.

Ultimately and unsurprisingly, the emotional strain of having to support my wife during her low times, has taken a toll on me emotionally, having to try and convince someone who honestly feels the best option for everyone is for them to die, that they are wrong is hard, so is having to safety proof the house like you do for a toddler, but for someone who can reach and climb and open safety locks. Worrying when you lay in bed, that they might not be asleep (even though you’ve watched them for an hour) and they have a stash of tablets or a knife you had missed and what you would wake up to. I have spoken to people and they say how well I am doing, but (and I don’t really know what I am wanting) just feel like they are saying what they think they should rather than really being able to understand how it feels. Probably why I take the thoughts and opinions of all of you more seriously, as you have actually been there and know what I am talking about, rather than studying it in a text book so unable to really emotionally relate.

In short, I don’t feel that I am good enough, as a father and husband, as a student and ultimately employee. Yes I can keep my family safe, but I don’t trust other to do it when I’m not there. So I have this constant feeling of being completely overwhelmed by the future, and the fear of having to face it. So to be brutally honest I have contemplated both self harm and suicide. As such I have contacted Wellbeing, and they are organising some counselling, so fingers crossed that helps.

Its all not helped by the fact I have a long standing ACL and Meniscal Tear, which I am waiting to be operated on. Apparently I am urgent on the list, but haven’t been seen since January! I know the NHS is over-stretched and I am so thankful for all they do, as they kept Fee alive on several occasions, not to mention the support that she has received. However, as anyone who has ruptured their ACL knows, you have no stability in your knee, and now the ground is getting slippy, I am falling over regularly as I can’t stop myself if my good leg slips. The last time, I was carrying my youngest daughter, and cut my knee open to avoid dropping her. But that is a moan for a different forum.

I apologise for this post being all over the place, but that is how my brain is at the moment, one of our girls has got some viral illness so her sleep is all over the place and as such running on fumes.

I’m sorry you are having such a struggle. I can really sympathise. You have to wonder sometimes why it all has to be so flipping hard. I’m constantly making lists - this needs doing, that needs ordering, have I arranged for this to be done - it messes with your head in the worst way. It is too easy to underestimate the drain on your own resources when you have to spend so much energy being upbeat and encouraging for someone else and when having a few quiet minutes with the newspaper or some music seem like a complete luxury.

Sometimes the only thing to do is grit your teeth, straighten your shoulders and march on.

Simon, I definitely think that counselling looking at your current limitations - wife and knee - and your future employment would definitely help you.
We can’t have it all in life, teaching is a very demanding occupation these days.
I’m a bit confused, you mention your employer and a previous degree. Are you currently working? Why then do the teaching course on top?
I studied for an honours degree in Business Studies as a mature student, with two children, one with severe learning difficulties. It was hard work, sometimes I felt I deserved the degree just for getting to college on time. I never used the degree to get a “proper” job, due to respite issues and elderly poorly parents, but I don’t regret doing the course one bit. What I learned has been invaluable in day to day life, and I went on to set up a business with my husband and for 20 years ran a national lorry club. (Long story).
What is in this teacher training course for your soul? is it something you’ve been desperate to do for a long time? Money isn’t always the best motivation.
Could you find a less pressurised occupation that you enjoy more, or lower your desires for extra money?

Should it be required , that abhorrent 21 HOUR RULE if claiming Carers Allowance is on the cards down the line ?

NO CA If you are in full-time education … to be entitled you must spend > less than 21 hours > in ‘supervised study’, and not doing a course described as full-time by the college or establishment providing it.

I previously qualified as a physiotherapist, many moons ago. I started training when there was a high demand for physios and as such the government had made loads of new jobs. Unfortunately by the time that I had qualified, they realised that they didn’t have the money to pay for all these jobs, so jobs were frozen meaning competition was insane and as with most things in life its who you know not what you know. As such I had to take a different career path, while trying to get a physio job, until my training was deemed out of date. So could retrain to update skills (would have to travel couple of hundred miles as no where local does it) or continue in Early Years. I worked hard, and got to senior management level (which the pay is still around £16k) but unfortunately, particularly in Norfolk males working with young children, is still seen as inappropriate. Which I dealt with and battled against for over 10 years. However, 2 years ago, a member of staff was caught talking to parents about how she thought it was wrong males working with babies, my line manager refused to support me, I decided that for my own personal mental health I couldn’t keep being in such a toxic environment. So decided that teaching was the best alternative, yes high stress, but I didn’t want my experience and training of being an educator to go to waste.

I know money shouldn’t be the driving force, however, I have always been the sole earner in the house, not fair I know, but my wifes emotional resilience is so low that, shes tried getting work, and sticks at it for a while, but long term can’t keep going, as her anxiety flairs up, and till shes excised her demons from being emotionally and physically abused by her mother, I was not going to be the one to have a go at her telling her she has to stick at it. As you say, I’d prefer us to be together and happy and poor than her constantly on verge of a breakdown and lots of money.

As such, I want to be in a position where we are comfortable. We will never be able to be silly with money, but to not be at the end of the month, balancing the amount of fuel to be able to get to work against the food that everyone needs, often missing meals to ensure kids have enough.

Regarding what is in teaching for me, when it goes well it is so rewarding. Having a class have that light bulb moment, when they suddenly get a concept that last lesson they couldn’t understand, or a student who was struggling with a specific area, doing really well in the end of unit test. I like teaching people things. Its just hard work to begin with, like everything, that till you know what you are doing, learning the ropes and putting the theory into practice. As you can probably tell I am a worrier, so if I am stressed about things at home, that means that I worry about that, meaning studies/lesson plans suffer and so worry that not good enough at that. So entering a vicious cycle.

My self confidence is low, having been knocked so many times; by my father as a child never feeling that anything was good enough for him, by employers and colleagues working my ass off to get my work (and often others) done to a high standard, to then be expected to do more or just not appreciated when others lesser work is held is high esteem. To friends and family, who we (me and my wife) will go out of our way to help others do anything, move house/decorate/help mediate after a neighbour had an affair, then when we need help in return we have to beg anyone who will listen to help, as the supposed favours that the said they owed us, are never able to be cashed.

So I think part of the desire to be a teacher is to be able to go into a room of people, albeit teenagers, and be respected for all that I have worked for. I get and am willing to work for that respect, as I know personally even lecturers at uni, unless you can earn my respect, I will not just bow down and think you are the best thing since slice bread, just because you tell me you are. So I want to be able to build up that rapport, show them that I know what I am talking about, and can teach them, so they can go at the end of the year, I liked those classes, he helped me get a decent grade. So that I can feel a sense of achievement, that I rarely have in my life.

Sorry another rambling message. Thank you to all that have read and especially those who have replied

Have you spoken to your wife about how you feel?

Try talking to your partner about your emotions. Are you seeing a therapist or not?

That’s a really sad story.
Have you thought about doing something on a one to one basis, rather than in a group? I have always preferred to work like this, to establish a really good rapport with someone and help them, although usually as a part of a much larger organisation.
Sadly, I think you are carrying forward hurtful things that happened in the past. I really think that counselling would help you see things differently, it would help you move forward more positively. It was life changing for me.

This is something that I am fully aware of, but have as yet been unable to afford counselling on a private basis. I’m hoping the Wellbeing service can provide some form of counselling, but waiting to hear about what I am going to be offered.

I would love to do something more 1:1 basis, but I either don’t have the qualifications, or the training is too expensive, to allow me to follow this route.

I have spoken as openly as I can about how I am feeling to my wife, however, with her being still not 100% I have to be careful how much I tell her, as even if its something unrelated to her, she will make some connection, so that its her fault and cause her to dip.

So all in all a bit of a bitch of a situation.

Good day, Simon. Bowlingbun is spot on with both her posts. May I add a few words?

You mention seasonal affective disorder. Yes this is the time of year when it can start to affect people - failing daylight, etc. On top of that, you have the mental turmoil of what you think you dutifully should do against what you would like to do. This is a formula for depression.

You are ambivalent. In your post you say that you dislike work, but subsequently that you love teaching. You are clearly aware that it can be a stressful job but the rewards make it worth it. Only you can decide whether to go this way or alternatively find some sort of work that is possibly less demanding and less well-paid but less stressful. Generally I would say identify what you would like to do and go for it.

You seem to admit a loss of self-confidence. You have doubts about whether you will pass the exams or become a good teacher. Yet your career history you have described indicates many successes, marred by setbacks that were not your fault.

I suggest that you reflect more on your past successes rather than things that went wrong. Life is rarely a smooth and easy ride for anyone and we have all had setbacks, but I am sure that a successful man like you can rise above them. Don’t dwell too much on people that have treated you badly; we all have to put up with this at times. Think more along the lines of, “I’ll show 'em!”

Best wishes

Thank you so much to all that have commented, especially those which went into detailed advice.

While I still have some self doubt, think I always will till I have offloaded my baggage, I feel more positive about going back into teaching. I know its going to be tough, but as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

llegitimi non carborundum

You said two things-firstly, that you are afraid that you will not be a good teacher, and secondly being worried about being a good dad. I reckon any one who thinks they are the best are clearly deluded. I bet you are a great dad, and if you are a great dad, you’ll use those dad skills on all your students.
Unless you’re just rubbish like me :slight_smile: