I have worked with children and their families for 23 years, this is my passion. I pride myself on being a positive role model to all – confident, a great team player, empathetic and I value everybody and their thoughts and ideas. For the past 8 years I have worked as a Teaching Assistant. This was my dream job. I loved my live, I loved my job.
My world turned upside down as I arrived for work as normal and was told allegations had been made against me (resolved as untrue) and I was to attend a Preliminary Disciplinary meeting offsite within the hour. I was subsequently suspended from my job pending an investigation and told not to attend school. I couldn’t contact colleagues or speak to anyone other than family and close friends about what was happening. I cannot describe how I felt at this time, I think I went into shock, I remember sobbing, but I was so thankful I had the support of a trusted colleague who came to the meeting with me. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I was so angry, I had done nothing wrong. I started to notice a change in me, I was once a very happy, upbeat, motivated person and these traits were quickly disappearing. The first couple of months were tough. I would just sit at home alone crying, often uncontrollably, thinking about my life, my future. I began to think that I was worthless, that I had brought shame on my family. I was losing confidence not only around my ability to do my job again but in myself, I was avoiding going out as explaining the situation to people was too difficult. I wasn’t sleeping and I noticed that I was scratching my skin all the time. I had constant itches that wouldn’t go away. My relationship with my husband also started to suffer, we hardly spoke as I wasn’t prepared to listen to what he was saying, I know now he was giving me all the right advice but I wasn’t ready for it. My friends and family were brilliant, checking on me constantly, talking with me but I wasn’t in the right place or frame of mind to listen. The allegation was overturned. I was innocent.
I contacted Think Wellbeing and made a self-referral. I attended an initial consultation and through this it was established I was suffering with depression and anxiety, I was offered online CBT. I also threw myself into exercise, walking daily, listening to upbeat music, working out in the gym and playing tennis, I found that getting out of the house was really helping me. I’m getting back to being me, the person I was. I even completed a Youth Mental Health First Aid Course as I want to use my experiences to help the children and young people I work with.
There are still days where I have a “wobble”, something will trigger my anxieties and I go and have a cry, but I have people looking out for me. I know now that when I feel my anxiety heighten that I will be ok. I have learned the process that my body and mind go through to cope with certain situations, and I know the next day will be easier and I will get through it. My children are my aid to recovery. I am so proud of myself! I am so very thankful for the support I was given, and I know I will always have the support of my friends and family.
I started to work on my self-care and started to get some fight back in me. I had been given a date to return to work however due to returning to the place of where this all happened (the trigger) I decided to go and see my doctor, I found it very hard to admit to him that I was struggling but so glad I did. He confirmed I was still suffering with anxiety and depression. I was offered medication but decided I would continue with exercise as I found it beneficial. I was also referred for counselling, counselling helped me to realise that I hadn’t lost the ability to do the job I love I had just lost my way for a time.
I hope that by reading my story I may have helped you in some way. Just remember it is ok not to feel ok, we are after all only human. What is essential is that you talk, talk about your feelings with whoever you feel comfortable with, talk till you can’t talk anymore!
You are not alone
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