Tag Archives: Anxiety

Step One: The Exploration

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Step One: The Exploration

I’ve decided to try to keep up with my writing now that so many interesting things are going on in my life right now. Hopefully I’ll be able to do so. I’ve been so busy that some of the only time I have to myself to write is my lunch break at work. A measly 25 minutes to myself that I am now going to use to communicate here, with anyone who cares to read my blog. Before I run out of that time, I should probably get to the point…


 

I have finally succeeded in my evil plans to convince my family that we need another dog. Some of my motives for this plan are selfish and some are completely selfless. The biggest reason that I want them to get a dog is because I love dogs and cannot wait to have an interaction with another one. That’s the mostly selfish part speaking. The other side of me has so many selfless reasons for wanting a new pup in the house. Mainly, T and I are thinking about moving in together sometime this year. Well, he wants to buy the house and I will slowly transition to that house. So it may be sometime this year or it may be early next year at the latest (unless our plans fall through). In any case, my family would be left without a dog in the house, because there is no way I am allowing them to keep my pup in their home without me! (Sorry, but there’s me being selfish again.) Plus my little Jasper is still such a puppy that his energy is outrageous. I wish I had enough time in a day to fully wear him out like I can do during the summer time. Unfortunately, with work and my long commute, that’s just not possible right now. I do the best I can and appreciate my family’s help so much, but with us all having jobs and him being super hyper… I’m thinking another little pup will help to play with him and wear him out. (Maybe that’s selfish again?) One thing I know is unselfish though is that the vet is always concerned about how shy and timid Jasper is. Surely this is because of his background of abuse and shelters, but still. They would like Jasper to be a little more outspoken (if you can imagine that) and a little more playful with other dogs. Anytime he’s around another one, you can tell that he’s curious and interested, but that doesn’t always mean that he is willing to play or even sniff at them before hiding behind me or trying to run away. I guess it all really depends on the dog that he is around. Dogs that bark louder are scarier to him, smaller dogs are ones he thinks he can at least run away from faster than their little legs can carry them. But I digress…

I have been spending time posting pictures of pups to Facebook and tagging my family in them. I have sat down with my sister and told her all the reasons I want her to get a puppy. Then, since we had to get permission from the parents, I sat down with my mom and tried to convince her that when I move out the house will be too quiet. Once she saw the light, it was all over…

There are two applications pending right now, both for two little male terrier mixes just like my Jassy. They are brothers, named Danny and Duncan, and they look exactly like Jas. I really hope one of them comes through for us, but we’ve been told they have other applications in line ahead of our own. *Fingers crossed* This adventure is a fun one all in itself. Too bad I can’t help all of the little animals that need homes. 😦


 

Now for the even bigger, newer, scarier exploration (what I was supposed to be blogging about this whole time)… THE MOVE

Yes, that’s right. It is looking more and more like T and I may find a house that we both like and agree to move into. I’ve previously been spending my lunch breaks researching: financing, steps for finding a house, actual houses and lots, etc. I think I’ve spent over 10 hours in the past three weeks or so doing some sort of housing or mortgage research. Since we don’t live real close to each other to begin with and we both commute to work in the opposite directions, our possibilities are highly limited. Right in between our parents’ houses are those lovely little places called HOAs, which we are totally not interested in dealing with. Then there are the super over-priced houses smooshed beside each other in a teeny weeny development. Let’s just say it’s not going to happen.

So yesterday I came across a tiny little gem; with barely 0.4 acres of land and just over a 1,000 sq. ft. home, I was skeptical that T would like it as well. But he said that it looked like a decent place to start: in our price range, in the right geographical area, and not so completely run down that we would spend the next 10 years fixing it up.

Luckily through all of this, my mom has a realtor for a friend. She has been so amazing. She’s always willing to answer our questions for free, wants to suggest lenders and brokers to us to help us save money on the mortgage, and is willing to show us any house that our little hearts desire to look at.

Which brings me to my biggest piece of progress in this entire thing… we are looking at our first house this SATURDAY! Wow, I can’t believe I said it out loud. The thing is, I’m super excited because for once in my life I can actually imagine completing this step of maturing. Yet it makes me nervous to think about this huge step and to anxiously await to find out how perfect for us this house actually may or may not be. If that isn’t enough, T is semi-nervous too. I’m glad he was willing to admit it to me, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel that our nerves may play off of each other’s. So I told him that I would support him and he says he’d do the same for me. And even if we find we aren’t ready for the big move yet, I guess only time will tell and we will be stronger for any of this anxiety we have felt.

Need to go eat lunch now before I’m late for my next class. I feel so much better having written (gotta love anxiety like that!)

~B

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I am ashamed…. (and I wish my coworkers would know)

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This is me. This is my story.

When I was in first grade, teachers and my parents started to notice a change in me; I didn’t want to be anywhere but home, and I hated school for all it was. I was the weird kid that no one really understood and yet I was the one who had a ton of friends. There were instances that year where I would feel so sick to my stomach that I would request to go to the nurse. Sooner or later everyone decided I was faking it because I wanted to go home. But you know what? I wasn’t faking.

When I was in second grade, I had to make all new friends. Very few of the kids in my first grade class were in my same second grade class. But that was okay; I knew how to adapt and I knew how to be friendly. Those, I guess, are two traits that I’ve always had going for me. At least until I started to feel homesick. Then it was right back to people not believing that I felt sick to my stomach all the time. And still… I wasn’t faking.

Third and fourth grade passed in a blur, but I remember that fourth grade Math teacher. I actually think I learned a huge life lesson from him as I look back on his class today. But then, then all I saw was someone who was out to make my life horrible. He gave me my first (and my last) B on a report card. Everyone thought I was a perfectionist. And guess what? I may have been, but I was more than that.

In sixth grade, peers started to think we were old enough to date. I was part of this popular clique who thought it was a great idea to hang out with “boyfriends” and talk about our “love lives.” Oh how naïve children can be! By the end of that year, a boy had “broken my heart” so badly that I had even more problems than I had in any previous grade. I would be up all night crying my eyes out, begging not to have to go to school. Any time there was a test, I would get so nervous that my hands would turn clammy and my stomach would knot. Everyone still thought I was being a perfectionist. Truth? That wasn’t even the half of it.

By the end of that year I had started to see a therapist. She helped me work through my emotions and finally let everyone know that I was not some unhealthy, weak child. No, I was suffering from anxiety disorder. Talk about a shocker there. And yet: It’s not like there was a cure.

By seventh grade, my friends decided it would be cool to play sports. I did too, at least that first year. But as my grades rose above the others’, they started to look at me like I had five heads. Their solution was to cheat off of my tests and talk crap behind my back. Why? Because they thought it was the cool thing to do I guess…

In eighth grade, I still dealt with the drama, but even more than that was the teacher/field hockey coach who screamed in my face that I ran “slower than her grandmother, who was 90!” Needless to say, that sport dropped out of my playlist. It’s not like I had asthma or anything…

Also in eighth grade was the flight of the friendships. I literally had to make all new friends as my old ones thought it was cool to treat me like I was a leper just because they were jealous of my grades. The teachers’ solution? Just ignore that anything is wrong.

By my first day of ninth grade my anxiety was so bad that I knew things weren’t going to work out in my favor. On that first day, three main things occurred.

  • The PE teacher called me out for trying to “skip out of” gym class activities. Why? I had broken my finger playing softball that summer and it was still in a cast. But apparently playing volleyball was still expected.
  • The English teacher asked if we had any questions about our summer reading. I had a question about whether we were allowed to combine our own notes from the stories with those from spark notes. Her answer? I had better not be planning on cheating my way through her class because she could see right through me and I had another thing coming if I thought she was stupid enough to believe that I was innocent. The truth? Someone else mentioned spark notes to me and I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing by not including those notes in my essay.
  • The school might not have been big, but that didn’t stop me from being late to the bus that afternoon. The bus driver’s reaction? I better learn to carry all five hundred pounds of my textbooks with me if I intended to ride her bus this year…

I had a complete anxiety attack the minute I got home. Things were never really looking my way, but that day had been beyond ridiculous. If the kids could gang up on me, and now the teachers too? I had zero hope of ever surviving my life in high school.

My parents’ solution was to speak to the counselors, have me tested out of grades and courses so that I could avoid those teachers who had bullied me into submission. The guidance counselor had a lovely reply; stay in your courses or leave. We won’t switch your courses and we won’t allow you to prove that you’re smart enough to skip a course.

My solution? Leave school and do it my own way.

Three years later I was in the top ten of a graduating class of seniors where I was technically only supposed to be a junior. A few months later? Instead of spending all of my hard earned money on a private institution where I had received almost full scholarships, I applied to an online school where I could work and pay my own tuition.

The result? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in teaching like I had always dreamed but never thought possible. Less than a year later, I had a full-time teaching job and even a year after that, I had graduated with an MA in Physics education.

If you think I’m stupid, you have something else coming. But even more important than that, if you think that I don’t care about my students, you’ve lost your mind. If you think I don’t feel their pain when the boys give them cat calls in the hallway, think again. If you think I don’t know what it is to be embarrassed by a superior, a leader, a teacher, an administrator, you’re wrong.

What ashames me most now is that I’m part of a system that I never really believed in. I’m part of a school where these things are actually happening to students every day. No, our kids are not perfect. They are far from it. But the reality is, that’s how they are supposed to be. They’re kids. Yes, they want to learn. Yes, they want to be leaders (at least most of them). But many of them just don’t know how. And if any of them are anything like me, they just don’t have the confidence in themselves to call out their peers and deal with the repercussions.

That’s why we are supposed to be there; to support them, to guide them, and to gently correct them along the way. But what I have been hearing lately pains me. For not just one, but for many of my kids, they feel as though they have been yelled at over issues that are trivial compared to other things. Some feel as though they have been sexually bullied by peers who are even younger than themselves. I’ve heard from the little ones that language has suddenly become an issue, and even more than that, I’ve learned that those who used to trust us barely trust us anymore.

While I don’t know what all has changed and I don’t understand why we are all struggling to adjust, I just want it to be made clear that this school is struggling. The students are struggling because the teachers are struggling. And that is only true because they are trying to juggle the administration’s changing and the changing of some of the most important parts and people in their lives. And truthfully, it’s not administration’s fault by any means, but when everyone looks to them to be the leaders and things don’t work out… where would most kids want to point the blame? No, not just at administration or the teaching staff; our kids point it at themselves too. That alone should show you that we have kids who are unique and one-of-a-kind where I work. That should show you the good that is in them.

But until something changes, until someone up top starts screaming from the rafters, nothing is going to change. We’re stuck in a tornado where we cannot climb out. And my only feelings on the issue are not that I am struggling or that I have no communication with the other teachers anymore. It’s more that I’m scared; scared for the kids who have anxiety like me, scared for those who need to focus on their work and not all of this drama. I’m scared for the students who now believe they’ve done something wrong when all they’ve done is try to hide in the shadows so they don’t become a laughingstock to their peers.

My kids give me hope. My kids give me happiness. To know that none of them at work are suffering the way I did; that fact used to propel me through my job each and every day. But now… now I fear that some of them are feeling the stresses and anxieties that I used to feel (and am feeling right now too). I fear that I’m doing nothing to protect them from what should never have to happen to anyone else but me. It’s my duty to say something, my duty to let everyone be heard. I might not be able to change anything, but I sure can lend an ear. And, if anyone important is reading this… I just ask that you take the time to self-reflect some too. We’ve asked the kids to do it. Now let it be our turn. Just to make sure that we aren’t the field hockey coaches or English teachers of my past. Because if I can stop just one child from feeling the way that I felt growing up, then I’ve changed the world.

Not Just Another Memorial Day Post

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First, I don’t want anyone to think I am rude. I am thinking about those who we are supposed to be celebrating today for Memorial Day, however; I don’t have a whole lot to say on the event, unless you consider discussing BBQs and cookouts as an actual Memorial Day “part”. I know the holiday is about more than that, but since I don’t know many who have been in the military, I don’t have any of them to hang out with or thank today. Hence, they are in my thoughts, but this post is not about the day.

You know what I have come to realize this weekend? Quite a few things actually. From staying over at my boyfriend’s house for hours and hours this weekend to going to a party for the first time in a couple of years to being outside and getting attacked by my allergies.. this has been a super eventful weekend. Here are the main things that I accomplished this weekend.

  1. Went to T’s graduation. (See previous post…)
  2. Spent a day with my mom for the first time in… forever!
  3. Spent almost 3 whole days with my boyfriend. Yay!
  4. Watched a whole bunch of people drink and act like idiots.
  5. Watched a creepy guy flirt with multiple girls at once.
  6. Watched creepy guy accidentally flirt with me while my boyfriend wasn’t around (coincidence or no?)
  7. Went to the park and took a hike around the lake with my entire family.
  8. Slept in way longer than I should have on any given day.
  9. Received my diploma in the mail (finally!)
  10. Ate at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate T’s graduation.
  11. Went to the drive-in movies and saw Tomorrowland.
  12. Gave the dog a “spa day”, including a good brushing (or three), toenail trimming, and some hair cutting… plus a bath!

I think those are the main things. But through each of those events, I have learned at least one thing. I think the biggest thing I realized is that I sometimes need some time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love having time to spend with the four people that I love most in this world, but I am so relaxed to just be able to sit here right now and type without worrying about a schedule, timing, etc. I don’t need to be anywhere today, I don’t have any major responsibilities today, and I have no pressure on me right now whatsoever. This feeling feels… great!

Second, I have learned that it is ridiculously impossible to schedule equal (or anywhere close to equal) amounts of time with everyone that I love and who deserves my attention. I have had moments recently where I feel like I am neglecting those I love, and that feeling is awful. I mean, I’m not neglecting them, but with everything going on in my life this weekend (and right now in general), I feel like I barely get to see some people. I don’t think I’ve seen my grandma since Dad’s birthday in April… 😦

I also think it’s important for me to realize that this is my last day of freedom for quite a long time. As I glanced at my calendar this morning, I realized that I will be late home from work every day this week except for Thursday. Yay me! And what’s worse, my anxiety is on high alert because of the crazy schedule, my break in routine from this weekend, and a couple of other things. As much as I was looking forward to going to Hershey Park last week, I now wish that I didn’t have to go at all. But I know the kids (at least some of them) are relying on me to be a buffer between them and some other chaperones, so I know I have to go. It’s just too bad that it’s so late at night that I will be getting home and so horrible that I just get nervous about these things instead of excited or happy. 

Oh nerves… I think that is what really wraps up what I am feeling right now. I’m just a bundle of nerves. About work, about my schedule and routine, about people that I care for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a full blown panic attack or anything, but I just feel this underlying nagging sensation… like any minute, everything will start to seem way worse than what it is. 

I have to go now… my schedule is calling me again. Wish me luck!

~Me

The Most Important Lesson is Always the Last

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Robin Williams

I’m sure that people around the world have heard the news by now. Yesterday, this lovely man passed away. This post will be about him, but even if you did not appreciate his acting talents and comic relief, please continue to read. 


 

I’ve never really been the kind of person to have favorite actors, singers, bands, celebrities, and idols. I find it silly that these people who are doing jobs just like us are “prized” and treasured more than anyone else in the world. It seems to me that each one of us has a unique talent, and just because I am not creative and silly enough to be a comedian or actor, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing special about me. Until today, if you had asked me who my favorite actor was, I might reply any number of ways: Nicholas Cage, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ralph Waite to name a few. But recently, things have changed…

It’s sad that I realize this change today of all days. Why not yesterday or a year ago, I wonder. But the main point is that I have realized that my favorite actor is Robin Williams. And, unlike the ways that most people choose their favorites and their idols, I would reply with this name for reasons other than his acting career. Sure, without even realizing it, I grew up with Robin’s talent: from Genie in Aladdin, to acting in Flubber, Robin Williams was one of my most watched actors. Even in recent years, I have enjoyed his comedy abilities in movies like RV. The thing is, while this man had a big career, he had an even bigger heart and more brilliant mind. 

As news spread of Robin’s death, people continued to talk about him on social networking sites that I frequent. In the past twenty four hours, I’ve read a list of all of his acting performances, the awards that he has won, and read quite a few of his most famous and touching quotes. 

So what makes me wish that Robin were still with us today? Besides the fact that he was too young to die, I find it important to note that he had the right outlook on life. The advice that Williams spent his life instilling in young children and adults alike is reason enough to love him for the man that he was. Even better, he knew how to make every person smile in some way. 

I never even met this man, but I have to say that he has one of the biggest hearts that I have ever heard of. I suddenly feel the need to print a picture of him and hang it at my desk at work- not to be creepy, but for inspiration. If ever there was a person who I would like to learn something from, it would be Williams. 

And as the title of this post states, the most important lesson to be learned is always the last. While speculation has arisen about the cause of death in this incident, it seems that Robin committed suicide. This, unfortunately, is not a new subject to us, especially when it comes to the death of celebrities. But the thing is, even though Robin may have been depressed and may have had problems, he spoke out about things that could make a difference in a person’s life. He taught us how to care, laugh, take joy in life, and enjoy the company of others. At the end of the day, maybe the most important lesson that he ever taught us was this:

It is never too early to let people know what is going on inside of your head.

Maybe a higher power was working in this man’s life to take him away from us all so early; maybe there is a bigger plan for his numerous talents than any of us on Earth may realize. But regardless, it is never too early to talk. Whether Robin Williams did or did not have depression problems, whether he did or did not commit suicide, he has given us all the opportunity to sit back and think about our lives and the lives of others. Suicide and depression are real issues in a majority of people’s lives today. Even if Robin’s problems were unnoticed and unspoken in regards to his friends and loved ones, he has given us this opportunity to learn more about each other. If any of us are suffering from mental illness or are feeling alone in our lives, we need to realize that now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to stop being ashamed and afraid of the truth, now is the time to believe in ourselves and put the smiles back on our faces that Robin was able to instill in us all these years. 

I pray that we all learn something from this death. And while I hate to make a big deal out of a person’s passing, I am truly feeling for his family, friends, coworkers, and the world right now. Many other actors and celebrities have died before Williams- unfortunately many will also follow. I’m sorry that I haven’t taken the time to inspect their accomplishments like I am now doing for him. However, I too have learned that people are more than meets the eye and something can be learned from everyone on this planet. 

If you are still reading this, please take the time to pray for this horrible loss. Please also take the time to rethink the experiences that you have had recently. Be sure that no one you know is suffering from anxiety or depression right now. If they are, reach out to them in whatever way you possibly can. And if you are one of the people who fall into this category, seek help on your own, for you never know if it will come to you before it’s too late. 

In closing, I would like to say that God has gained another beautiful angel, and that Genie now is, truly, free. 

For more about Robin Williams’s life, simply search his name on Google and begin to read articles- they are abundant and ever-varying. To get you started, I will share my favorite post on Robin so far. 

Also, if you or anyone you know suffer from anxiety or depression, please contact Common Ground’s Suicide Prevention/Help Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

To all of you, God Bless. 

Friday Mash-Up: Maybe the Inspiration I Needed

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Mash_Up

There are about five million thoughts running through my head today. That’s how it’s been lately; that’s why I haven’t been writing much. I continue to strive to pull my mind together and get focused on any one topic for a certain period of time, but those topics that jump out at me and stick are all negative and stress-inducing. After the past few days, these are the last things that I need to be thinking of. So, instead of forcing myself to suffer through for the sake of my blog and my strength of character, I have copped out and avoided writing for the past few days. I think I may finally be coming back to it. Slowly, one second at a time, I think my life might start feeling like mine again.

All of this may seem sort of confusing to you all, especially since nothing tragic or drastic has happened to me in the past week. But anxiety has a funny way of sneaking up on those of us who think we have control and are purely happy with our lives. In an instant you can feel like a stranger in your own world, uncomfortable around your comfort zone. This is what has happened to me recently; and it isn’t the first time it’s happened either. I’m growing, unhappily used to the procession that my life decides to take. Sometimes I have control over it, and sometimes I don’t. Maybe in truth, sometimes I don’t want to. God makes everything happen for a reason, that I truly believe. But believing that makes taking a stand against things that occur in life even harder to deal with or justify. 

Anyway, the inspiration that I needed may have come in a very familiar form, one of my personal favorites. People may think I am the clingiest, most childish person of my age group. Because the thing is, my rock, my inspiration: it is my family. There are three other members of my little clan, plus a bird, two dogs, a kitty, and a fish. Some of them live what seems to be worlds apart, but they all hold a place in my heart and help me even when they do not realize it.

So while I’ve been waking up late, sitting around on the couch all day, and falling to sleep extra early, these people that I love have been encouraging me to get off my butt and do something with my life. It’s true and I know it; I need to find my balance again and get back to being my happy self. The only way to really do that is to DO something! I know, but I’m reluctant. I’ll keep being reluctant until I can put all of these scrambled feelings behind me. 

I’ve been talking a lot to my boyfriend about difference of opinion lately, and being openly, brutally honest with those that I love so much. Especially those that I love so much. He has helped me grow in more ways than one, even in the last few days.

My sister is my hugger. She gives the most physical affection of anyone that I’ve ever met. She has inspired me to believe that hugs are good things, that physical touch doesn’t make you weak, and that you don’t have to be five to tell someone you love them. So lately, she has been my hugger. Every time she sees me, I get a hug. She tells me she loves me, and doesn’t pressure me for more. That, to me, is help enough.

My mom is the hard one, the one who keeps saying “You’re stronger than you think,” while I sit here trying to cop out of everything. She’s got this tough, brutal love about her, but deep love that means the most at the same time. She is the one you go to when you don’t want to do something but know that you need to do it. She tells you the truth regardless of situation, at least as it stands from her eyes. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not, but regardless, she is there.

Finally, my dad- the worrier of the group. If anyone has ever had such unconditional, ridiculous, incomprehensible love for someone else it is my dad for his family. Sometimes I cannot get along with him (probably because we are so similar), but most of the times knowing he has my back is all it takes to snap me out of my funks. This week he encouraged me to get off the couch and move. To do something, just like everyone else has been saying. But instead of giving me emotional reasons why I need to (like my head needs to get focused on important things again), he gives me physical work to do to help me get motivated. And so, thanks to Dad, my new motivation has become the garden. 

I’m a farm girl at heart, one who can easily be at peace with nature. As long as it’s not some scary, dark forest with weird noises or anything horrific like that… So the garden, at least at this time in my life, has become the perfect distraction. I have made it my goal to clear all of the weeds, appropriately thin out the beans, discover all of the new pickles, and create some bigger, better, straighter rows of plants than our garden has seen in years.

Anyway, my laptop battery is about to die, and while I have a lot more to write, I guess it will have to wait until I get inside to plug this baby in. (Don’t expect to hear back from me for a few hours- I’m unwilling to give up the peace and quiet of the nature outside just yet.) But when I do, I’ll tell you some of the small things that I realized when working in the garden today that many of you may never have even thought of. And, E, if you are reading this, I am going to write that little piece about my childhood that you and I had been discussing. But like you said, it takes time for genius- there’s no rushing about it! 

Talk to you all soon!

Ditching the Norm and Focusing on Important Matters

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So here’s the thing. I haven’t posted in a few days. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to, it’s because I haven’t really known what to say. It seems so simple to just keep up with my normal posts each day, but this weekend brought some matters of my life into focus and I cannot get them out of my head now. 

I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety, but it’s not just your every day anxiety. I get severely anxious when dealing with certain situations. This weekend the biggest issue was homesickness. I tried to take a vacation all by myself like the big girl adult that I am. I had support from my family and God to watch over me. But even with all of that support and help, it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get control. And, needless to say, it stunk! What was supposed to be an amazing week-long vacation turned into a one-day trip, with two twelve-hour drives before and after it. 

Please do not get me wrong: there were moments where I was truly happy and content to be there. But they were overridden by a feeling of extreme dread, nausea, and anxiety. I had people there with me, talking me through the entire thing… I had constant access to a phone and the ability to talk to my family at home. And somehow, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. 

So I’m sitting here today on the couch, trying to find a good reason to get up and move. To do something to distract myself or make myself feel better. I’ve eaten a decent meal, watched some TV, and moved around a bit more than yesterday. But I still feel so stuck right now. Stuck in my own body, stuck in this situation, mostly, stuck in a rut. 

Why am I writing this? Not only because I hope that others with anxiety will understand that they are not alone, and not only to educate others about how it actually feels to deal with this day in and day out. Mostly, it’s because writing makes me feel better, and talking makes me feel way better. But right now, everyone is working and I’m here all alone. Not alone in spirit, but alone physically. 

The trip this weekend was fun and amazing in a lot of ways, but something coming up in my life is going to be way harder than that trip, and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. An overnight trip with my students. It’s looming before me on the calendar, just over a month away, but it’s already got such a grip on my anxiety that I can barely think of anything else. I honestly feel like this new job and field trip thing are part of the reasons why my vacation became so unsuccessful. I was so focused on these stressers (without even realizing it) that they played a huge role in my anxiety this weekend. 

I don’t want it to be this way, to feel this way. I don’t like the fact that I feel so much weaker than everyone else that I’ve ever known. But this is who I am. I’m so torn right now between accepting myself and embracing my flaws and trying to work past them to become something better.

I came to the realization yesterday, while talking to my boyfriend, that I overexert myself to try to improve. And that’s when I end up in situations like I am now: stuck and feeling awful. I want so badly to be better than what I am now that I sometimes lose focus of the fact that I am me and I am okay the way I am. There may be things in life that I may never be comfortable with: being unable to spend the night away from my comfort zone (the house) is a definite disadvantage in the world these days. But maybe it’s easier to deal with that hill when it’s necessary and to not pressure myself to just “get over it” already. 

And here’s the thing too; something I’m not sure anyone else relates to. But I hear things in people’s voices when they speak to me that I’m not sure are really there. No, I’m not saying I’m psychotic and hearing voices or anything like that. But discussing my anxiety issues with anyone makes me feel like there are expectations there that I’m not sure really exist. When my parents tell me “you’ll be okay, just go and have fun”, I end up reading into that more than I should and thinking that I need to have fun regardless of what else is going on. It’s like I immediately put this pressure on myself to be something that I’m not. Granted, it’s something that I want to be, but I’m just not there all the time. 

People always tell me that I’m stronger than I think I am. And maybe they are right. They encourage me to try new things, go new places, and be independent. It all sounds so good, so great really. I’d love to be as carefree as some of the other people in this world. To be able to throw it all to the wayside just because I can… would be paradise to me. I tried it this weekend- I just packed up and left. I said to myself you know what, you want to go, so go. And I said my goodbyes and I packed up the car, and went on the road. But being that carefree didn’t work. When my anxiety got triggered, I wasn’t prepared for it. It was right in my face and I had no attack plan. 

I feel like I should be so proud of myself for what I did; for packing up and leaving because it’s what I wanted. I should be so proud of myself for reaching my destination and being where I wanted to be. But I feel like a failure too. Because I couldn’t control myself, I couldn’t manage my anxiety. And more than anything else, I worried and affected people that I love in such a negative way that part of me wants to regret ever even trying. 

I don’t know what lies ahead for me. I’m not sure when I’ll be feeling better. I’m slowly trying to accumulate myself to a routine that I can stick to. Routines help me a lot. But even after I start feeling better, I fear I’ll be no closer to knowing how I should act, how much I should push myself to grow, and how to be settled and content with the person that I am. So many people love me, and maybe a huge part of my problem is that I don’t appreciate myself in that same way. 

Here’s to trying though… just for the sake of trying. And here’s to hoping that if any of you out there deal with anxiety, you don’t feel this horrible right now. We all deserve to be happy regardless of when or where that happiness occurs. 

Talking Teacher: The World of Chaos— Summer Vacation Ends

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Talking Teachers

So I know many of you may not understand this post, and that’s fine. I’m used to people not understanding my thoughts, actions, and feelings. The thing is, I don’t do these things for anyone else except for myself. Whether you understand them is up to you. However, I have been feeling the need to write about, de-stress from, and deal with this aspect of my career, and I figured what better way to let it all out than right here on my blog where it may just help someone else out.

I’ve discussed before that I teach at the most amazing place in the world. I’ve been there for almost a year already, but I’ve been part-time for that entire year. This fall I’m trying something new. A position opened up and I just couldn’t resist. I grabbed it by the horns and I rode it straight through to signing a contract. 

I’ve been super excited about my first full-time job ever since I graduated from school. No one ever thought it would take me this long to sign that contract, but I’d never give up the experiences that I had as a substitute for all this time. And just like I always thought, God would find me the perfect place, where my personality would fit in with the community of the school and my abilities would mesh with what the administration was looking for. It happened. I couldn’t be happier.

Yet as we near the weeks of August and all of those days of endless meetings, pre-year training, planning, organizing, etc. my mind is taking a little turn for the worst. I’m getting so excited that my brain is turning said excitement into anxiety. Not everyone’s brains work this way (dear God, I hope not at least…) but mine does. So I have started the battle against the anxiety, to prepare myself for the first few weeks of school before they even begin. 

Every time I go down to work, people look at my like I’ve lost my mind. Here I am, working on paperwork, in July. They probably think I am certifiably nuts. Most teachers complain because their summer vacation isn’t long enough. But here’s the thing. I’m readjusting myself to having to make an hour commute each way, and I’m getting planning done that I’m not sure I’ll feel like doing on the weekends in August. 

In addition, I’m getting myself used to the idea of spending a lot of time in that office. By the time school comes, I’ll be happy to be running around like a crazy person trying to catch up with students and make it to class on time. And that, my friends, is exactly why I am going to school one day a week in the middle of July. By the time August rolls around, I’ll feel like a pro at this teaching thing all over again. 

Everyone keeps telling me I’m stressing too much, worrying too much, and planning way too far ahead, but here’s the thing: it works for me in this case. Normally I can’t plan anything or make decisions about the simplest of things. But when it comes to my job, at least I know what I need to do to get things done.

And it doesn’t help that I’m working on receiving my Masters Degree right now; talk about a heavy course load. I’ll be teaching five subjects, spread over 7 classes and taking classes of my own. It’s not nearly impossible, but it’s highly stressful. I wish people could see that working ahead of time is what works for me, and that by doing so, I’ll be happier more often when the school year rolls around. That, after all, is the time when I need a break most often. 

So my summer might not be anything like the rest of the teachers’ out there. Maybe some of them are working on classes of their own or planning ahead of time, but I don’t see anyone else at the office, and I doubt that happens in a lot of other schools either. The thing is, I don’t necessarily work harder, I just work in my own way.

My purpose of this post was mostly to let that little rant out, and explain my feelings to myself to ensure that I am doing what is best for me. Obviously, I have just proven that fact in writing, so I can read it any time I start to question my decisions. In the meantime, I’ve realized that I cannot be the only person who is not looking forward to the beginning of the school year.

And so I wonder… what are most teachers feeling about the beginning of school this year? Are you excited? Why? Are you nervous? Why? Most people have some anxiety about big things occurring in their lives, and even if you’ve been a teacher for years, you might still have some nervousness about the beginning of a new year. It would make sense right? I mean, most students have anxiety about the beginning of the school year, so why not teachers too?

The thing is, even if we are nervous, we are doing a huge job! We are making a difference in numerous lives, and unfortunately, one mess up on our part could have a detrimental influence on children. I would imagine nerves in our career are pretty normal. What I’m wondering is how other teachers deal with that summer’s-ending, school’s-starting, oh-crap-I’m-running-out-of-time stress. 

If you have certain things that you do to gear yourself up for the beginning of the year, please let me know below! I hope that by next week I’ll have a list to share with you all during the next Talking Teacher. And, if no one chooses to help me, maybe I can still do some research on the net and find out some ideas that have already been shared. We will see! 

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