Saturday, January 24, 2015

What Doesn't Show

Today was a pretty awesome day.  Though I was out of the house on this Saturday morning well before I'm even out of bed on a week day, the workshop I attended was worth it.  There is something kind of magical about spending three hours collaborating with colleagues on who have also chosen to give up their Saturday morning to learn and share!  I've gone to enough of these workshops over the years that when I walk in, it's almost like a reunion - hugs and hellos to those you see at each workshop and have become friendly with, maintaining a connection between workshops via social networking. 

Today in particular, I participated in a session that overflowed with ideas and energy and enthusiasm in regards to STEAM education - that is, science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics.  It was such a lively conversation we went well over time trading ideas and encouragement.  For me, somewhat of an outlier in my building who does things slightly, well, slightly different, it is almost necessary for me to connect like this as often as possible.  It's as if the support from my peers at these workshops reinforce that while what I do in the classroom may be drastically different than what others do in my school, it's awesome.

Outwardly, the day looked like it was a fantastic one.  After a lively and satisfying morning workshop I went home for a light lunch and a long nap with the Pup. 

Inside...... Inside it was and continues to be a very different story.

I'm in the middle of another depressive episode.  This one's been percolating for almost six weeks.  That's what happens with recurrent major depression.  All is relatively neutral for a while, and then slowly the blues start floating in, getting heavier and heavier with each passing day.  Before you know it, the world has turned dark, and you're once again drowning in oxygen. 

It can be challenging, appearing completely neutral, and even "happy" on the outside, while on the inside you're praying that no one will be able to tell that you wish you had never woken up.  No one realizes how you've been beating yourself up for the last twenty minutes because you don't deserve the compliment someone paid you earlier, and that you continue to cringe with each positive word sent your direction. No one can tell that you feel a fraud, and you fight tears when someone acknowledges your skills.

Daily.  I live with these thoughts daily.  When I'm not mid-episode, things are a little less dramatic, a little less dark, and a little easier to manage.  When things are like this, mid-episode tragedy, everything is harder.  Episode triggers vary, and I can never tell what will send me into the darkness until I'm already there.  Depression like this absolutely sucks.  At least for me, therapy is an absolute must, and on most days, the secret to my survival on the dark days depression delivers.

(A peek into my world that rarely sees light outside the walls of my treatment team's offices.)


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3


Day 65 - Thursday 1/22/15 - So thankful that I get to come home to the Pup every day.  No one loves me like he does.

Day 64 - Wednesday 1/21/15 - Glad that I actually got to go out for lunch for once, and to my favorite lunch spot, too!

Day 64 - Tuesday 1/20/15 - Had a meeting tonight with people I don't generally spend time with.  They said I was funny and they enjoyed me being there.  That was nice to hear.

Day 63 - Monday 1/19/15 - A day of doctors appointments wrapping with therapy.  I always value the insights gained, even when I don't want to hear them.

Day 62 - Sunday 1/18/15 - First thought this morning: It's Sunday, I get to see my therapist tomorrow!  Smiles come from strange places sometimes.

Day 61 - Saturday 1/17/15 - Super excited that I don't have to leave my house until Monday.

Day 60 - Friday 1/16/15 - Love seeing my dad with his first grandchild.  Being a grandpa fits him well.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

All The Wrong Reasons

It's Saturday evening.  This morning I had a meeting, and then went to the bakery before grocery shopping and heading home.

The first thought in my mind when I got back into the car after grocery shopping?

I am SO excited that I don't have to leave the house until Monday!

One might say, "well, yeah, you had a ridiculously insane week of work, no wonder you're excited about staying in!"

Except..... this is an all-too-common sentiment.  Not having to leave the house.  My inner turtle is coming out.  I'm heading into hibernation.  I'm burying my head in the pillow and praying for a pajama day.  I'm letting depression win.  I'm tuning the world out whenever possible.  I'm pathetic.  I'm hiding.

Or maybe I just need a break.  And all those other things?  Maybe they're old excuses.  Maybe I'm actually listening to my overly tired and achy body for once, and not resisting the need to relax and recharge.

I don't know.
Guess it doesn't matter, either.
All I know is that I am excited I don't have to leave the house until Monday.
Pathetic or not, sometimes, you gotta take the smiles from wherever they may be.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Year 3


Day 59 - Thursday 1/15/15 - Had to be a hard-@$$ today resulting in a crying child.  Thanks to years of experience, as much as I hated the experience, I am not beating myself up over it.  I know this kiddo will learn from this and become a better kiddo in the process.

Day 58 - Wednesday 1/14/15 - Surprised that the board meeting tonight was as peaceful as it was.  That will make it easier to go to next month's meeting.....

Day 57 - Tuesday 1/13/15 - While at a stoplight this morning on my way to work, two absolutely brilliant snowflakes landed on my window.  I watched them the whole way to work, as they made me smile.  Smiles are a good way to start a day.

Day 56 - Monday 1/12/15 - Was reminded today that "once my therapist, always my therapist" which always makes my heart warm.....

Day 55 - Sunday 1/11/15 - Loved the day in, where it was warm and relaxing.

Day 54 - Saturday 1/10/15 - Tackled a fear today - arriving quite late at an event with a specified start time.  I normally would use lateness as an excuse not to go.  Instead, I went.  And the world didn't explode.

Day 53 - Friday 1/9/15 - Spoke up for myself twice today, and no one hated me for it.  At least not yet.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

At What Expense?

The other day I was in the bathroom and I started thinking.  I know.  TMI.  But this isn't actually one of *those* thinking bathroom moments.

I'm kinda into helping the environment.  I try my best to purchase eco-friendly products and products that use eco-friendly packaging.  I often toss only one bag of trash a month, and about 4 bags of recycling.  I reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can.  I also turn off the faucet when I brush my teeth so as not to waste water.

And..... for the past several years, I've lived by the motto "if it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown...." (Thank you, Falkers.)  Just recently, I realized that in doing so, my toilet gets dirty fast.  Easy, you may think, just clean it more frequently.  Except I despise cleaning.  Seriously.  If I could get a self-cleaning house I'd spend my savings on it.  This realization is what kicked off the following thought process.

At what expense am I trying to "save" the Earth?  Considering my taste for cleaning, the whole "let it mellow" idea means I either have an overly gross toilet, or I clean it every 3 days.  For the last few years, I've had a rather unsightly toilet.  At what expense?

For the last 20-some years, I've gone out of my way to help those in my life.  I've learned to anticipate their needs, be prepared for whatever they may ask me to do, and essentially, I chameleon-ed myself to be exactly who they needed in whatever situation I was in.  At what expense?

In my building, I've become the go-to person for technology trouble shooting.  My colleagues will call me whenever they need something (whether or not I'm teaching at the moment doesn't seem to matter) and have emailed requests to me at all hours of the day and night.  And for the last 11 years, I've indulged nearly every request.  At what expense?

My eating disorder was an unknown secret for many years before it became "un-hideable" and I was "encouraged" to get help.  That eating disorder helped me feel in control of an out-of-control world.  It made me feel like I had some semblance of balance, of control in my life.  Therefore I put myself through a series of miserable food-related challenges that proved to be nothing good whatsoever, yet they made me feel in control.  At what expense?

I am the oldest child in my family.  My parents raised me in a way that trained me to be afraid of everything and everyone they didn't approve of.  They trained me to be the *angel* child, who always did what I was told, always could be counted on to help at family functions, be it setting the table, preparing food, or serving guests (while my siblings were off doing who knows what.)  I always conformed, without question.  At what expense?

There is a secret that I've held on to since I was in my early teens.  It is a secret so big and so terrifying, that I've very rarely allowed it to float into my consciousness, and when it happened to make it to the surface, I put 100% of my energy into vanishing it into the darkness once again.  This secret has plagued my dreams, my thoughts, my choices, essentially, my life.  It was as if I held a concealed weapon in my mind.  At what expense.

So many things in my life have been rather costly.  Whether it was my choice or it was something imposed on me that I accepted as truth...... I paid the price for so many "purchases" that had I been thinking, had I been given the choice and the time to reason, I probably wouldn't have "bought."  Though it wasn't money that was spent, the expense was much grater.  My self-worth, my self-image, my self-confidence, even my health - all were things with which I paid dearly.

I know that some of these situations, these so called "expenses" were out of my control at the time.  Some of them could have been in my control, had I used the tools to help me make better choices that weren't so costly.  At the time, though, these purchases must have served some purpose.

Now?  I'm done spending myself in unhelpful ways.  It isn't going to be easy to change my "shopping" habits, but it will be worth it in the end........


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Truth vs Lie

This is a truth I wish I believed.

I know it's true.  I know that every person on earth has value, just because of who they are.  Some people may appear not to have value, such as those that are cruel and unkind.  However, sometimes it is exactly that kind of person that can teach us pretty important life lessons.  We learn so much from the good people in our worlds, and we also learn from those who are not-so-good in our world.  I prefer the lessons from kind souls, though sometimes I learn the most from the unkind ones.........

Right now, I am struggling greatly with this truth.  I feel that the only value I have is through my job.  The only people I am of value to are my students and their families.  The only reason people are kind to me is because they need my assistance.  

These are the truths I believe to be true.

Even though I know they're lies.  All of them.  Nothing but twisted self-perception and lies.

Truth?  I am valuable just because I am here and I am me.  Truth.
It hurts, though it shouldn't.  
The truth can hurt, yet, somehow I think this truth should feel rather good, or at least neutral.
I am valuable just because I am here and I am me.
People like me because of who I am, not what I do for them.
My students and their families like me because I am me, and I happen to be a good teacher.
My friends like me because I am me, not because of what I do for them.

I am valuable just because I am here and I am me.

I wonder how many times I'll have to type that before it truly becomes my inner truth.