Remember that anxiety I spoke about in my last post (three months ago)....yeah, it didn't get better. In the last three months I have completely lost who I am. My mental health plummeted and took over my life.
First, it was the depression. Feeling tired all the time, having no desire to do anything, and when I did do something, I found zero joy. Next, the anxiety. The second my alarm would go off in the morning my heart would begin to race. Feelings of dread and fear took over. At first it was just in the morning. Then it became all day, every day, including weekends. I didn't feel safe. Which lead to the panic attacks. Full. Blown. Panic. I would spend the mornings sobbing in my car, hyperventilating, and fighting the innate urge to flee and return home, where I would be safe. Those closest to me saw my spiraling out of control and didn't know how to help. To survive, I turned to the old coping mechanism that had always helped me in the past, ED. I knew what I needed to get through was to avoid the negative feelings, and I knew my ED would make the feelings numb.
Education is a very taxing career to be in. I have been in the classroom before and I left because of my mental health. Teachers are constantly being judged, disrespected, underestimated, under compensated, and told they are not doing "enough". When you are in the classroom, there is absolutely no room to breathe. The moment you enter that classroom, you have to be "on" because you have tiny humans that all need something from you and need you to be at your best so they can in return be at their best. That is a LOT of pressure. Think about the days when you wake up and you are tired, grumpy, or simply in a funk that morning. Most people can go to work and just keep to themselves that day. Maybe slack off a little knowing that your mood is temporary and tomorrow you will come in ready to catch up. In education, you don't get to have those days. You come to school with the same feelings, but you HAVE to leave them at the door. If you don't it effects your entire day, because those little humans reflect your energy. You might be thinking, just take a day off to rest. Guess what else teacher's don't get a whole lot of.... paid time off. So, as much as I LOVED my littles, I knew it was time to go. If I couldn't be my best, I wasn't giving them my best. They deserve better than that.
Making the decision to leave the classroom (again) did ease some of the weight I had been carrying on my shoulders, but it also provided my ED a new focus. For a while, the behaviors were fueled by the belief that "I was failing as a teacher" or "I wasn't doing enough" at work. Now, the narrative is one of failure and shame. "You are weak, you gave up", "You are a wreck and should be embarrassed", "other teachers struggle too, and you don't see them quitting". My current view of myself is: fat, gross, weak, an embarrassment, undeserving, unworthy.
I will be honest. This "rough patch" if you will, is one of the hardest ones I have had in the last 13 years. When I think about having to do anything that does not include sleeping or laying in bed watching tv, my anxiety spikes. I have been wanting to write for WEEKS, but my depression has kept me from doing so. The thought of getting my laptop out, gathering my scattered thoughts, and writing was too daunting. I feel very disconnected with who I am. I need to fight through the depression and do things that make me happy again, like:
Reading a book for fun
Walking, jogging, running
Writing in my private journal and here
Start a craft project
Spend time with my family and friends
Plan our wedding!
First step was sitting down to write this post. Next, I will share it and hope I don't embarrass myself. My plans for the rest of the evening include watching Tik Toks that make me laugh, play my puzzle game on my phone, and snuggle with my pets before getting a good night's rest. Tomorrow is a new day. I am not going to plan the day just yet. Right now I am in a place that making plans equals daunting tasks. So, for now, tomorrow remains a surprise.
<3 Stay Strong and Beautiful