Thursday, 13 October 2016

Ill health retirement

Although I have tried to make this blog about my journey with ON and not about my work, there has become a massive my life just cannot exist the way it is and that is because ON does not mix with working, especially as a a teacher. 
I have been meaning to write all this down for a while, but it has taken a lot of effort to bring myself to begin to explain all this today.

Back in May, I was advised by my union that because of the nature of chronic pain conditions and that I cannot be cured, and that I have also exhausted every possibility with medication, surgery and work adjustments, I am highly likely to be approved ill health retirement through the Teachers Pension Scheme. With all the CBT that I underwent, I knew that I couldn't manage my job any longer, and the term I worked before my operation in June proved this to me. I was told to apply after the summer once I had recovered from the surgery.

So during the summer holidays I set to work writing my statement. It is over 2500 words!!! This is to explain my condition, what I have tried and the outcomes of these. Also to say what adjustments have been made at work and how this effects me. It was scary to read this, once I had written it, as I realised how much I risk health and safety of myself and the children just by being there. I am now at peace with the fact that I can no longer work as a teacher. I have seen the truth.

Once seeing occupational health in August, who of course fully backed my application for ill health retirement, a letter went to school to say that I am unfit to do my role and that medical reports and files were now being sought to add more evidence to my application. 
I had spoken to my GP and consultant before this to let them know that I was applying. They were both very supportive too. With all these medical experts agreeing, I know that I am making the right decision and that the final decision in the hands of the Teachers Pension, as they decide if I meet 'not working as a teacher again' OR 'not managing any gainful employment'. I, for once, am leaving this up to them. What happens will happen ...and I will work out the rest of my life after that decision has been made.
However, the union case worked who checked through my statement believed that I would be eligible for the higher tier, despite not many people meeting the requirements for this. This actually scared me, as I started to realise that I am worse than I have pretended I am, for a long time. I have been fighting teaching not even thinking about over jobs but the more I think about it logically. How can I know when I am going to feel ok to work? How can I ensure that my attendance isn't poor anymore? I can't manage sitting at a desk but yet I can't manage a physical job either! Still....I will try and worry about that when I know for sure.

So at this point I thought that, on occupational health advise, I now just await the form along with medical reports and then I compete my part of the form. my life ever that straight forward?

So a few weeks into the new term, with me signed off work while the application is compiled, there are some issues from my employer. I can't really go into the ins and outs, but let's just say that it is uncalled for, irrational and unsupportive. Enough to make unions VERY angry.

So I am now feeling in more of a bad place mentally and this obviously effects my pain levels. 
Time will tell what will happen but for now I have been advised to not take phone calls from work but just contact via email. This helps me cope a bit better, no one can enter my space without me choosing to look at my email.

However, this is the last thing you need, when you have made a difficult decision to end the career you have wanted to do since the age of ten. Every part of your school life was working towards getting to university, then ending up in massive debt to train for your dream job. Then working for the past 14 years doing that job....ending all this is not easy!!