Day 2 – sleepless

I had every hope that I would sleep well last night but I didn’t. I mean, a long day of packing and travelling…stress…weeks of not sleeping..

The room is comfortable enough. Nice bed, air conditioning, blackout blinds. Unfortunately, I overlook a motorway and so that is what I could hear most of the night.

I turned down the air conditioning as that was loud too – it just helped me hear the road more!

It’s not just that, of course. There are a million and one things in my head still. Will my transit flight be OK today? Will Wildcard be there waiting for me? Will he calm once I’ve arrived?

Will everything feel as it did, or better? Or worse?

When I first met him, I had known him 3.5 months. 3.5 months of talking daily, mind you, multiple times a day.

Now, it has been 19 months.

I’m staying for two weeks and I think this will say a lot. He is not on holiday so will be working. This won’t be a holiday, it will be daily life with him. I’m perfectly happy with that because I get to see the truth.

I’m also worried about work. What if they find out?

But then…what else could go wrong? They don’t want me back. They’re trying to be difficult so I leave without the conditions I’m entitled too. They’ve caused me this stress and anxiety. So much so that this trip is as much about getting away from it all as it is seeing Wildcard. Well, almost.

So, after being up at 5.30am, I eventually went back to sleep and then went down for breakfast. Happily, there were gluten free options!

Gluten free rolls

Unfortunately, unlike yesterday’s bread, these clearly had been cooked in the microwave. They were chewy. I only ate one (which was all I had asked for) and was happy with fruit and yoghurt.

So now, I will shower and prepare. Happily, I can stay in my room until 12 so I have some time to prime and preen. And to try to squeeze everything in my case again.

Should I stay, or should I go?

This post is full of staying and goings. But please stay until the end and please leave your thoughts too. I like reading others’ perspective.

To be honest though, you can’t beat Mumslovelife for advice. She always knows what to say and it always makes sense.

Take yesterday. After my somewhat melancholy post… Sleeping Beauty.

… I stayed in bed. I slept. My head was heavy and weary. It’s more that I had to rather than wanted to. I awoke just before one and only minutes to spare before Wildcard called me.

“No” wasn’t an acceptable answer. Neither was “nothing”, “I’m ok” or “I don’t feel like talking about it”.

I told him most of it was to do with work. Today was the day of initial settlement discussions. I’ve been at that school for 11 years and up until two months ago, have been successful and praised. I’m being forced out and I haven’t done anything wrong. His words of wisdom set me straight as always. He gave me my options, boosted my confident and made me feel more positive.

Which kind of makes me feel a little guilty for the next part. But only a little. I admitted I was a little upset with him too. I told him how happy I had been when the borders had opened and how excited I was to come. Yet he didn’t seem bothered and acted like nothing had happened.

He pointed out that it is not in his personality to get excited like that – which is true. He told me he wants me to come every day but he is just worried. His dad has told his brothers not to come yet. He is worried about curfews, variants and his Government’s often rapid and last minute changes. He reiterated that it is my home. I can come when I want but I need to do my research and be careful. “If you want to come, come.”

“But I want you to tell me you want me to come.”

“You know I want you to come, every time. But I want it to be easy for you, with no problems.”

We discussed maybe a quick trip sooner and then a longer one in August when he can have holidays and we can travel.

So do I…

Stay because he is still worried at the moment or Go because we both want to see each other?

Stay because I’m officially off sick or Go because this is the best medicine I could have?

Stay because my settlement isn’t sorted or Go because hey, they don’t want me anyway, my union is sorting it and I can still be at the end of the phone?

Stay because I’ve let myself go a little in my depressive state or Go because he should love me anyway?

Stay until I know this Delta variant isn’t going to cause problems or Go because I can get over there – 4 flights – for £75 and I am not going to miss work even if I am stranded a little.

Stay because my kids will miss me if I get stranded or Go because they are in school now anyway and I will have more time with them now than I ever have?

What are your thoughts??

Following our call, I finally was contacted by my union rep who told me that the academy CEO doesn’t want to give me my contractual pay and doesn’t want me back – there is no place for me at the school. So, even if my leadership wasn’t good enough (no complaints so far) my teaching isn’t. Thanks for that. I’m sure the countless kids and parents that have said otherwise are wrong and my good exam results are deceiving.

It was a slap in the face but a good one. There was a very small part of me that wondered if I had overreacted, maybe I just needed a little support to get me back on the ball etc etc. Nope. She wants me gone. I’m not part of her plan for whatever reason. And now, considering her treatment of me, I don’t want to work there anyway.

So, taking Mumslovelife’s excellent advice, I made myself go for a walk and had a little jog midway which killed my hip but was something. At 6 this morning I went out with the dog again for 40 minutes and had two small jogs. Still ouch, but this was after a 15 minute yoga session which had helped a little.

So that’s me. I’m showered, feeling OK, but still none the wiser about going or staying. Oh and I would also be there for his birthday too.

All comments below considered. And I am vaccinated twice by the way. And I will be responsible.

Sleeping Beauty

I’ve dreamed about school over the past two nights. Strangely, about my primary school, not where I work. Or worked.

The first night, I dreamed I was helping out tidying, and I sneaked a look into the attic. Inside were boxes and boxes of memorabilia, items from the last. O couldn’t set foot in the attic because the floor was made of split bamboo canes so it was precarious to walk on. (Even in my dream I wondered how all the stuff was up there). I saw children’s ballet shoes and reminded myself about my little ballet bag as a child.

Last night I was back at the school again. This time, the school was renovating a classrroom/kitchen. I was helping to peel wallpaper. There was much discussion on how it should be decorated with people changing their minds. I carried on with what I had initially been asked to do. Then it was open evening and parents and small children were there. I walked around with my school ID and explained I was there to support the children.

I kept wanting to leave though as my dog was locked in my car. I had stayed longer than intended. I kept walking round the maze of the school, trying to find my handbag and keys. At one point, I was asked to help as a first aider- a woman had a hole to size of a ping-pong ball in her arm. There was no blood.

I eventually found my things and spoke to the new Headmistress of the school who congratulated me on my work stripping wallpaper. I toured th school with her, pointing out how it had been altered since my time there. I then let my dog out of the car, and walked him towards the school field where a carnival was starting. He turned into a pony, as things do in dreams, and some students of my current school petted him.

🕥

So it is 10.30am now. I’m still in bed. I haven’t walked or jogged or even had my coffee.

Yesterday after a really positive start, I slid into exhaustion. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I waited patiently for my union rep to get in contact as he was making the first move to me leaving. He contacted me at 2.30 to say a meeting was planned for today. I then went back to sleep.

This morning, I slept through my alarm. I woke at 7.45am and hurriedly got my youngest ready for school. Once his dad had picked him up I went back to bed and to sleep. I woke again at 9.45 when Wildcard called me.

He knew something was wrong – when doesn’t he – but I didn’t want to talk as I’m not sure what is wrong myself. Only when he mentioned the meeting did tears suddenly appear.

I still haven’t got up.

My head is woozy and all I want to do is shut my eyes again. I’m thirsty and hungry and I know if I take the dog out I will feel better but I just can’t. My sadness is like a weight in my head, dragging me towards sleep. I’m tired of everything and everyone. Even Wildcard.

Will I wake from a long sleep, the worst over, beautiful and with a full and happy life ahead of me? My body clearly thinks so.

I did it!

This morning, I got up at 6.15am. I put on my exercise clothes which I had set out the night before. I got my dog on the lead, started the podcast and completed my very first session for the Couch to 5K NHS programme.

I’m proud of myself.

What I noticed:

  1. I love being put early morning in the sunshine.
  2. Having everything ready was a great motivator.
  3. My dog enjoyed it.
  4. I probably need to be out earlier to avoid other dog walkers and to feel less self-concious.
  5. 60 seconds of jogging isn’t as long as I thought it was.
  6. I couldn’t brisk walk by the end.
  7. My legs felt like jelly on the last run.
  8. Completing a 6 minute stretch routine at the end helped.

Tomorrow is a rest day but I’m going to go out again for a leisurely walk and do some yoga.

It is only 8.45am and I could go to sleep!! I found it really hard to get to sleep last night, maybe because I knew I was getting up early. I aim to be in bed by 10pm tonight.

Other developments which caused my insomnia are that work called me yesterday and requested a meeting on Thursday. I have a meeting with my union rep this morning to discuss and plan.

I know I can’t go back. There is a war in my brain as I keep thinking I could, this isn’t happening, I’m over-reacting. But then, I consider the truth. I had one day off for a migraine and I was sent a letter offering a settlement to leave. This was before I had phoned the doctors for a sick note. I need to face the truth that they just don’t want me.

I’m leaning more and more towards the tutor business but I’m scared. How will I make enough money? Where do I even begin?

I think, once the meetings are over and the settlement is signed sealed and delivered, I will feel better and resolute and ready to go.

For now I’m going to take a shower and hopefully wake up.

Pexels

Yesterday I felt like things were aligning positively.

I had my interview. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted the job but it was a good opportunity, paid well and I had done well to get this far.

I felt like I did ok. I wasn’t too nervous. My presentation went as planned. I answered the questions and tried to get my research in. At the end I was told that the start date could be September which was perfect. I could have my summer with my kids and Wildcard, recuperate and start a new career.

Even better, my sister sent me a screenshot of an industry specialist predicting that Wildcard’s country would be on the greenlist.

In the afternoon, I finally-finally spent some time considering my future and what I really want. I still don’t know exactly bit I have an idea. If I am brave enough.

I also spent some time scouring jobs and felt some relief that, actually, there are quite a few I am interested in and I may have a chance at. There is a big wide world outside of school.

So, all good then.

Until today.

Yes, I am tired. Yes, my son and his friends kept me up all night. Yes, there had been a minor concern with Wildcard (which was nothing as usual). But it gets worse.

I didn’t pass my assessment interview and I won’t be put forward for the last stage. I didn’t know how I felt when I read it. Now I realise more than anything it was fear that I am still without a job.

And of course, last night was the news that the UK Government has characteristically gone back on what they’ve promised and there are actually less countries on green now and more on red. And Wildcard’s country still isn’t open anyway, as of today. So, yes, bad day.

I’ve been ok though. A little quiet and pensive but no tears. I’ve just got to keep on. There are about four jobs I am interested in now. A couple are long shots and a couple sound wonderful but don’t pay well. Could I start my tutor business to top up my wage until it takes off properly?

My own business is what I want. What I’ve wanted for a long time. See, I told you I’d finally allowed myself to think about it. 😁😇

But. The thing I am most worried about is not having enough money to survive. I’ve looked at where I can make savings, and, there aren’t many to be honest. I don’t get any financial help from my ex – I help him! – and that is unlikely to change for some time.

A job is better than no job. Right?

Do I go for the jobs I really like the sound of, but don’t pay as much? Or do I force myself to apply for teaching jobs even though I don’t want to? Do I try to be brave and go for some of the other management jobs that I like the sound of but have no idea if I even have a slim chance?

And the conclusion is?

I’m going to apply for anything that takes my fancy and see what happens.

Mud

Ever had one of those dreams where you are desperate to get somewhere, or away from something, and even though your panting and sweating and giving your all, you are not getting anywhere? It is like your feet are in quick sand or mud and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’m living that at the moment. I know I need to keep busy. I know that there are lots of things that I could be doing – should be doing- in regards to a new job or career. Motivation is like the tide at the moment – sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not.

Today, I didn’t want to get up. I haven’t logged on to my online course. But I did finish my painting and I have worked through another few chapters of my self-help book. I also, finally, picked up my increased medication.

The book has made me consider all areas of my life and what I am not happy about. It has then asked me to write down all the excuses I have for not doing something about my unhappiness. Fear and confidence seem to play a big part. No surprises there then.

But, I am not going to get anywhere unless I do something. And that is what the book is about – motivating yourself through the fear, the lows and the mud-wading dreams.

It is also interesting to see where I can’t change things because they are out of my control. Most of my concerns around Wildcard are just that – things out of our control. I wish knowing that stopped me worrying. It doesn’t. And out of all the areas of my life, it is the one I worry about the most. Well, until all this bother with work.

Work. What a sticky yucky mud-fest that has turned out to be. An area of my life that I once had really pride in. Now? Here are my choices…

  • Go back to work and ‘fight’ for my job whilst watching my back and being very aware that they want me and my expensive salary gone
  • Quit. Find another teaching job. There are few teaching jobs at this time of year and none at my level. Unlikely they will want to pay me for a standard teacher post as I am too expensive.
  • Quit. Try tutoring. I’ve no idea if this is enough to keep me afloat financially.
  • Quit. Get out of teaching completely. How transferable are my skills?

It is a mess. And of course, I am getting differing advice from different people. I’ve wanted my own business for along time but, savings are few and I am alone in this.

I will never know unless I try. I’ve had two weeks of intermittent wallowing. I’ve another two weeks off. Time to put my all into trying. Wish me luck.

Fight

I’m exhausted but I keep going to bed.

I’m medicated but I am still sad.

I’m fighting and I’m losing.

Well, it is more like a stalemate. At times, anxiety is completely kicking my ass. But the fact that I am trying…well, that has to account for something.

So, what is my battle plan?

  • I’m getting up and following my face and make up routine. Even though I didn’t want to.
  • I’m still showering (I didn’t last time.)
  • I’m keeping in touch with people better (not hiding away yet).
  • I’m looking for jobs.
  • I’ve applied for a job.
  • I’ve planned a business
  • I’ve bought a domain name.
  • I’m doing some housework each day.
  • I’ve started a course and enrolled on another.
  • I’m trying to get out the house each day.
  • I’ve bought and am reading a self help book.
  • I’ve completed a financial review.

Anxiety’s counter attack:

  • Tight chest and panic attacks
  • Can’t sleep at night
  • Wake multiple times in the night
  • Constantly thinking about what has happened and my predicament
  • Keep finding myself in bed.
  • Don’t want to get up in the morning.
  • Doubting everything.
  • Worried – even more – about my relationship
  • Can’t trust people
  • I want to be alone
  • I feel scared – a lot.
  • My eating habits are bizarre.
  • Sometimes I just …sit.
  • I could do more on my business but I can’t.
  • I could apply for more jobs, but I can’t
  • I keep crying.
  • I probably need to take the increased medication I have been given but I haven’t yet.

And that’s it. That’s my daily battle, minute by minute.

Me, trying to make myself carry on and do things and be proactive.

Anxiety, making me tired and paranoid and crushing my chest like a vice.

My sick note runs out on Tuesday. I know I can’t go back. I know I need to use this time wisely. I just need to win the battle first.

Better news

Nope, I’m still not wanted. I have a lovely letter offering me a way out.

In contrast to yesterday’s self pity, today I was determined to feel better.

I woke at 5am (my sleep is awful at the moment) and after letting the dog out, made myself a coffee and completed an online application I had half-heartedly started. I showered, actually put make up on- just a little to hide the dark circles – and took my children to school.

When I came back it was still too early to speak to Wildcard, so I forced myself to clean up the house. Up until today, I’ve mainly ignored the housework. And lay in bed. And cried. But no, today I tidied and cleaned.

I had a long and productive talk with my union rep who is confident that we can lodge a grievance. They’re not following correct procedures but they will know that. I think they hoped that I was weak and would just roll over. Sensitive and emotional, yes. Weak, no.

I can’t go back. I know that. But there needs to be enough of a settlement for me to be able to recover from this shock and sort my life out. What they have offered so far, whilst unsurprising, is just not good enough. Particularly for ten years of my blood sweat, tears and sanity.

After making some lunch I went to pick up my new laptop. I guess school will want theirs back soon enough when the settlement is finished – and I at least need one to apply for jobs. If my new niche tutoring business takes off – well, I will definitely need it. I’m trying to be positive.

And talking of positive, the application that I sent this morning at 6am? I have a video interview! I have some time to prepare which is good. It is a different industry, but one I have worked in before. My leadership ‘skills’ (apparently I don’t have any) are transferable. It is worth a shot, just to get me back in the swing of applying and interviews.

I feel some relief that the union are helping me. The advisor is an ex-head teacher- honest, explains well. Huh, the kind of Headteacher I would have liked as a boss. Oh well.

So, for now, I have two – four weeks off. The doctor signed me off. Not sleeping, panic attacks and chronic crying will do that for you. It gives me, and the union, some time to write the grievance.

It feels weird, of course. I know it gives me some time to breathe and think and plan. But my full pay won’t last forever and I need to find another job.

I’ve booked two online courses. One is how to set up a small business. I don’t known if I have the confidence – or the funds- to pull it off, but I will try.

This time of year, so close to teachers’ resignation date there are very few jobs. And I don’t know whether I even want to walk straight back into a school. I may have to consider supply, but I probably won’t make enough money. First job tomorrow on my shiny new laptop is to work out how much I can trim off my budget.

So. I’m not a hysterical mess today. I still have a job but not for long. And I have np idea what I am going to do with my life. What fun.

Lost

Well-meaning people are beginning to get on my nerves.

“It is meant to be”

“It is a fresh start”

“A chance to try something new”

“A chance to do what you really want”

Here is the thing:

I’ve not just potentially lost my job. I’ve lost so much more:

Faith in myself

Trust in myself and others

Pride

My sense of achievement

Everything I have worked hard for

Who I am.

I’m not beautiful. I’m not slim or sexy. I’m not intelligent. But I was successful. I worked hard and I made it.

And now it is lost. I’m lost. Because I don’t know who I am without it. Or if I will ever have the strength again to find something else.

New/s

I know it has been a while. Sorry about that.

For a while, things just stayed the same. Work. Housework. Children. Videochats with Wildcard. Borders still closed.

Then I had some news. The bad kind. The sort that you don’t really expect.

Long story short – so unlike me – is I am going to lose my job.

Apparently, although I have been highly successful with positive feedback, pay progression and promotions year on year….apparently now I am crap. And need to go on to capability.

I have done nothing but cry for 5 days, so don’t be fooled by my flippant tone. I’m destroyed, betrayed and very lonely.

My union is on the case but…we both agree that I am clearly not wanted. The pressure is being put on to get me to leave.

Tomorrow I will not go into work.

I don’t know if I will ever go in again.

That is my news.

Oh, and the borders are still shut.