John Mason's experiences recounted in Friday (September 22) were similar to my own.
As a successful but overloaded primary teacher I left school at the end of July 1997, having pushed myself beyond the limit to make it to the end of term. I suffered horrific panic attacks, I contemplated suicide and on several occasions I prayed that I would die. I saw doctors, counsellors and therapists, all of whom doubted that I would ever teach again.
However, in my case there was light at the end of the tunnel. With help from a consultant and my GP, excellent medication, the support of my family and friends, and not a little dtermination on my part, I defied all expectations by returning to work full time on June 1, 1998.
I have reduced my responsibilities, stopped trying to prove I'm "Superteacher", and have learned to have a life outside school. My priorities have changed and I have once again learned to enjoy teaching.
Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones and I'm very aware that I was the one that changed - not the level of pressure. With so many casualties it must be a priority to reduce the unacceptable stress imposed on us all so that we can do the job for which we trained.
Judith Maclannan, email@example.com