Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week 24: Overcoming Challenges

I've faced a lot of challenges in my life. No biggie, you get kinda used to them after a while.  Doesn't make it any easier, but I'm no longer surprised when faced with what feels like an impossible or uncomfortable or painful situation, since they happen to appear on a fairly regular basis.

The 2010-2011 school year started off challenging, with multiple funerals of friends and family all within a short time frame.  I had a great class, and as much as I enjoyed being their teacher, I was not able to bounce back from the depression of the funerals.  I spiraled further into depression, and my doctor decided that I needed to return to therapy.  This was in December.  I was fine once I got to school because I loved my job and my students, but it was really hard to get going in the morning.  I was maintaining professionalism and fulfilling all my job responsibilities and then some.

Things changed in February.  I was still struggling to get out of bed, but now preparing for work and getting myself there had become even more challenging.  I was always exhausted.  I had been through 4 different meds, none of which helped.  By April I was ready to quit my job and sleep full time.  As much as I loved my job, I just wasn't motivated to do anything, even at school.  I was on auto-pilot.  I still fulfilled my basic job requirements, but I was barely holding on.  I felt like the worst teacher ever, despite the fact that my class still loved coming to school and their parents were thrilled with the school year.  I got home every day and slept for two hours, got up long enough to eat something, and then went to bed. I was hardly eating, always tired, and often on the verge of tears.

By June, I wanted to quit everything.  Parents raved about the school year, kids were happy, looking forward to summer, and all the while, I felt terrible.  I felt so bad for short changing my students.  They didn't get the *best* me that I could be.  They got a shadow of me, which was, in my mind, not good enough, even though it was fine with everyone else.  I'm honestly surprised I didn't get put on notice or something, I mean, I was running in late for everything at work, hardly participating, leaving as soon as the bell rang.  I was truly a shadow of myself.

Summer arrived and gave me much needed down time.  In addition to working with my therapist multiple times weekly, my dietitian joined the team.  The amount of support I had that summer, and still have today, is what helped me overcome the intense lethargy that had taken over my life.

By the time the 2011-2012 school year started, I was able to tackle school more like the old me.  I finally had a much needed support system, and with their help, the 2011-2012 school year was my best year yet.  I'm still working closely with my team, and am still battling ed and depression on a daily basis, but because of the support I have, things are better balanced - I am able to concentrate on school when I'm there, and on life when I'm not.

Don't get me wrong, things are not all sunshine and roses, and there is still a dark cloud that likes to follow me around.  I'm just better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life that will always be there.  But now I have people that toss out the life preserver before I get too far from the ship.

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