Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is the story of our narrator, Charlie, and his freshman year of high school.  He is a true wallflower in every sense of the word.  Reminded me of the post secret postcard about shy people - how they notice everything but never get noticed themselves.  That's Charlie.  That's me.

I'm not sure if it was a good idea for me to read this book.  But I did.  Someone did warn me about it, but I don't remember who, or why.  The book was really captivating, and I think I liked it, but I don't want to see the movie, at least not yet.  The story completely wrecked me.  That's all I have to say about it for now.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Challenge 11, Part 5: YOU

I got an email the other day.  That email contained my biggest nemesis: a compliment.  Not just a little compliment, a big, huge, super meaningful compliment.  It hit closer to home than any compliment I've ever gotten.  Especially since it came from an eight-year old.

I should be happy. This child, in a conversation that was shared with me, paid me the biggest compliment I could ever hope for as a teacher.  This compliment spoke directly to my philosophy as an educator: I teach kids.  I teach kids, not math.  I teach kids, not science.  I teach kids, not reading.  I teach kids, not writing.

Yes, I teach kids to do all of the above.  But I teach the KIDS.  It's up to them to learn the subjects.  My goal is to inspire them to want to do so.  My goal is to motivate them to ask questions about math, about reading, and about writing.  I want them to take their learning into their hands.  Yes, I am the teacher, but I can't learn for my students.

Instead, I find myself learning from them.  And from this little one?  I learned that somehow, among all the chaos in my life at the moment, I'm doing something right.  I learned that even when I don't want to get out of bed, much less get dressed and leave the house, once I'm in my classroom, the teacher comes out and good things happen. Things that make an eight year old say "My teacher makes me feel confident in myself.  She gets me." 

I just wish I knew what it was that I do...... 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

National Psychotherapy Day

Today is the first annual National Psychotherapy Day.  I am proud to share this information with the masses, because I have experienced the benefits of psychotherapy.

This movement is just beginning, and it's an important one.  Therapy should not be reserved for the just special situations.  Therapy should not be seen as a decadent indulgent for the middle class.  No, therapy should be seen as a lifesaving tool.  Cause that's what it is.

Therapy saved my life.  Not once, but twice.  Because at two different periods in my life, my world came crashing down around me and I was unable to dig out from beneath the rubble.  The first crash was as a young adult when I was facing some major life changes.  The therapist I worked with then was more of a short term experience from which I benefited greatly.  The second crash was more recent, and this time, I had a team to help support me, led by my incredible therapist.

See, therapy isn't just a place to go to dump your worries and whine about your life.  Therapy is a place to go if you are seeking change.  Therapy is a place to go if you want to make your life, and your world, better.  Therapy is not for the faint-hearted.  Therapy is not easy.  In fact, it's the hardest work I've ever done.  EVER.

But I'm becoming a better person because of it.  I'm on the road to liking myself, for the first time ever.  And for me, that's a huge step.  While my history may be littered with experiences that would shock many, because of therapy, I know I don't have to let the past define my present, or ruin my future.

To the most amazing team of professionals - my dietitian, my doctor, and of course, my therapist, I am forever grateful for your guidance!

Oh, and please do not think you can't afford therapy - there are people and places out there that will help you!

Read more about National Psychotherapy Day here and find them on Facebook!  Also check out this article written by one of the founders of National Psychotherapy day, as well as these articles written by those who support the day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Challenge 11, Part 4: YOU

OK.  I know I've been in very much a downer of a mood.  Yeah, I'm still stuck in that space, but I just cause I'm stuck doesn't mean I need to depress everyone else.  Which is why I picked this quote for the last of the week's prompt.

I'm kinda short.  I have been referred to as "vertically challenged" at times, but after reading this quote, I'm going to stick with "concentrated awesome" instead.  Good things also tend to come in small packages.

It's even been said that things only grow until they are perfect.*  Some of us didn't take as long as others!  Well, I am far from perfect, that's for sure, but it's nice to smile once in a while, and that's what this post will hopefully do for you, and for me.....

* As I've stated before, perfect really only exists in the dictionary, or at least that's what I believe.  However, in this case, perfect for me means someone that is full of imperfections, too, because I know I sure am!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Challenge 11, Part 3: YOU

I saw this quote this afternoon and it really grabbed me.  I am one of those people full of weird, random facts.  I hide behind them as a way to protect others from seeing the real me - the somewhat shy, very insecure, afraid-to-be-happy, ashamed-of-her-body, girl who just wants to find someone to accept her for who she is.

But before that will ever happen, it means I need to accept myself for who I am.  Which is so f@#$%& difficult!  It's been the topic of therapy for weeks now, the fact that I'm clinging to childish wishes that will never be fulfilled unless I figure out how to fulfill them myself.  And until I let go of those wishes, I'll never be able to process what I didn't get, and move forward into a world full of things I did get, and I do have.

Once that happens?  Who knows, maybe the world will reveal a person who falls in love with the me I've been trying to hide.  That'd be kind of nice, dontcha think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Challenge 11, Part 2: YOU

This is so true.  I am in the middle of a pretty nasty visit from the deep depression fairies, and it sucks. It leaches the life out of me and I feel so guilty because I know that many others have it worse: more challenges than I face, more past hurts than I've had.  More of everything.  Yet here I am right now, miserably depressed.

This too shall pass......

Challenge 11, Part 1: YOU

This quote speaks so loudly to me I need earplugs.  Tracey, over at Just As I Am, posted this in the comments of one of my other posts, and I think I heard my heart sigh, as someone finally put into words what I feel nearly every moment of every day that I am out in public. 

"Being" normal is EXHAUSTING.  Seriously.  Trying to keep the facade that life is rolling along smoothly, that I really do know what I'm doing.... no wonder I get home from work every day and could crawl right into bed.  I don't, though, because a "normal" person gets home from work, eats dinner, relaxes for a bit, and only then do they go to bed.

Sigh..... I know normal is really just a setting on the washer, but sometimes I wish it were really that simple.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Down in the Dumps

The title says it all.  I'm down in the dumps.  I have been for a while.  I was just hoping that once school started, I'd snap out of it.

But that doesn't seem to be the case.

Instead, I still feel lost.  Sad.  Depressed.  Exhausted.  Emotionally distraught.

I've tried to write a post for the last week or so, but the words aren't coming.  That's probably been one of the best things about the Blogging for Wellbeing project - it's easier for me to write to a prompt when I'm stuck like this.  With this lack of words, I'm resorting to music.  Which ironically, I haven't been listening to much of lately.  You could say this is another round of Words That Give Me Meaning if you wanted.  I really don't care.

The current song that is looping through the lost neurons in my brain is Kings of Leon's Use Somebody.  The first hundred times I listened to it, I really did want somebody.  I wanted somebody else to fix things, to make things better, to make things easier, to be there for me.  Now I realize that I need to be the person who is there for me.  It's a lousy realization, even though it's a healthy one.  I just gotta figure out how to be there for me..... cause it's pretty hard to hug yourself....

Use Somebody
Kings of Leon

I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody

Someone like you and all you know and how you speak
Countless lovers under cover of the street
You know that I could use somebody
You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you

Off in the night while you live it up I'm off to sleep
Waging wars to shake the poet and the beat
I hope it's gonna make you notice
I hope it's gonna make you notice

Someone like me, someone like me
Someone like me, somebody

I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now

Someone like you, somebody
Someone like you, somebody
Someone like you, somebody

I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Challenge 10, Part 4: Inspiration

We've all had our challenges. We've all faced our demons. We've all been through things we wish we didn't have to experience. We've all had our share of sadness, of frustration, of fear.... And somehow, if you're reading the words I've written, it means we've all survived, too.

If we've managed to survive some of the challenges, chaos, and trauma of our life before, well then, we're likely going to find a way to survive whatever else comes our way. We do not need to be reduced to our problems. We can use our problems as ways to boost up ourselves as we overcome them.

Easy work?  Hell no. Worthwhile? Hell yes.

Challenge 10, Part 3: Inspiration

Failure. Not something that is often seen as an inspirational topic. But this quote proves otherwise. It's all about perspective, dear readers, perspective indeed.

You may have figured out that as much as I speak about perspective here, it is something I struggle with, especially when my anxiety is heightened and I am stressed.... which is more common these days than I'd prefer.

Thankfully, it often only takes a short conversation with one of my team members to shift my perspective and realize that a positive spin can be found in just about every situation, if only we remember to look.....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Challenge 10, Part 2: Inspiration

I love this quote.  Even when I'm crabby and sad and feeling like a complete mess of a person, forever destined to be alone, this quote can make me smile through my tears.

It has to be true.  I know it does.  Because I know that life delivers to us what we most want when we least expect it.  I really want to get married and have a family.  But there is no significant other in my world right now.  This quote reminds me that the perfect* person for me is out there somewhere... wondering what it would be like to meet me...

* Perfect really only exists in the dictionary, or at least that's what I believe.  However, in this case, perfect for me means someone that is full of imperfections, too, because I know I sure am!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Suicide Prevention Awareness Week

Here is a great collection of resources to promote awareness, to support, and to general information about suicide.

Your life matters!  Everyone's life is important.  You make a difference in someone else's world, don't let go of this world...

I am forever grateful to the person who showed me I was important enough to stick around.  Without her, I would not be here today, but I'm so glad I stuck around!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Challenge 10, Part 1: Inspiration

Such a fun topic!  As a quote collector, it's going to be tough to choose just the right ones this week.....

I am a big music junkie.  I have music playing whenever I can (thanks to streaming music sources!)  I will listen to pretty much anything, too.  I love this line from The Middle because it is one of those songs that no matter how many times I listen to it, I always smile.  I can always use the reminder that I don't need to try to be someone else, just being me is good enough.  Sometimes I'm better at listening than others, but hey, what can I say?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Always Remember 9/11

Always Remember...... 
Living through history isn't always pleasant,
but this is one event we can never forget......

September 11, 2001
I was nannying.  I had just dropped the kids off at daycare
and was headed to university.  I was listening to my favorite radio
station, and heard my favorite DJ mention something about planes
crashing into the towers.  I thought it was a joke of sorts, but in flipping
channels, it was on every station.  I headed home instead of to school,
just for a few minutes, to turn on the news and see what was really going on.

I was shocked, dumbfounded, and completely frozen.
I immediately went back to daycare to pick up the kids,
and we went straight home.  For the rest of the day,
they never left my sight.
I will always remember that day.....
with sadness, for the lives lost,
with gratitude for the heroes who found miracles in the rubble....
with hope, that a tragedy like this need never happen again....

Monday, September 10, 2012

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Which kicks of National Suicide Prevention Week.

A few statistics:
  • Data from The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that 1 million people die every year of suicide worldwide
  • There is one death by suicide every 40 seconds
  • There are more people lost to suicide than to homicide and war combined
  • Suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death worldwide among 15-19 year olds
  • More than 100,000 adolescents die by suicide each year worldwide
  • Highest rates of suicide are among those age 75 and older
  • Up to 90% of people who take their own life have a psychiatric disorder

A few sites for information and support:

There is always help, please be brave enough to ask, you are worth it!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Challenge 9, Part 3: Wholeness

This quote pretty much speaks for itself.  

What I would give to fill the empty places in my being with love, with caring, with kindness, with compassion....

Maybe then I would know what wholeness truly feels like.

I do know, though, that the only person who can fill those voids is me.

Sometimes that's an invigorating realization, but most of the time, it's a rather frightening one.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Challenge 9, Part 2: Wholeness

I love this quote.  I think it fits in this weeks topic of wholeness, too.  If you think about it, we have to do a lot of "stuff" without knowing the end result, without knowing the whole picture.  For me, that is terrifying.  I like to know what the outcome will be.  I like to know what the whole picture looks like before I start a task - even recovery.  What will the process look like?  What will the end result look like?  How will I feel once I'm through the whole process?

Unfortunately, there are very few instances in life where we get to see the whole picture before we take that first step.  It feels counter-intuitive to my teacherly organized brain - as I tend to picture where I need my students to be at the end of a project, unit, or even the school year, and then put things in place to ensure their success along the way (backwards design for you fellow teachers.)

But that's not how life works.  There's a quote somewhere that says something along the lines of in school you get the lesson before the test, but in life you get the test before the lesson.  That's how I feel about a lot of things.  Which is why I wish I could order the WHOLE manual before moving forward in life!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Caving... In A Good Way!

Where I live, it's cider season.  The trees have yet to start turning, but the cider is already being pressed, the donuts already being made, and the apples already being dipped in caramel.

There is this incredible old Cider Mill nearby, one that I've been going to my whole life.  I have gone every year, at least once, as long as I can remember.  Except last year.

Last year, I let the cider season slip silently away, while a wicked war waged in my brain.  The battle between my willpower and my little enemy (formerly known as my little buddy.)

The truth is, last year, I let my eating disorder prevent me from enjoying one of the few traditions my family has..... I let my eating disorder keep me from visiting the Cider Mill and tasting even a sip of that sweet cider.  I didn't even let myself stop in to see the wheel, or the cider press, or the river with the plump little ducks, or the conveyer belt of fresh donuts (that I'm allergic to anyway, but still love the smell!)  I tortured myself by driving by several times during the season, but my eating disorder never let me stop in for a visit.
This year?  This year I'm hoping to stop in on a regular basis.  I don't care how expensive the cider is, the freedom to drink it is worth the price.  And that started today.  It's been a very long and tiring two weeks, and there's at least one more week to go till the school year settles in.  So that fresh caramel apple covered in peanuts that I ate on the way home today?  It was delicious.  And that freshly pressed cider sitting in my refrigerator?  I can't wait to have a glass of it with breakfast!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Challenge 9, Part 1: Wholeness

Sometimes, I believe that in order to truly be a whole person, you are required to fall to bits first.  That's what gives you the chance to discover all your shadows and corners of, so you can clean out the things that aren't serving you, and put yourself back together so you're an even better, more complete, version of you.

For me, that falling apart bit has been somewhat easy, and all to common.  This time, though, I've got a great team helping me put the pieces back together. Wouldn't be able to do it without them!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Challenge 8, Part 2: Learning

The other night I was invited to a friend's for dinner.  It had been a really long day, part of this crazy long week, and I was exhausted.  I knew that if I went to dinner, I'd not be good company, as I'd likely be slowly slipping into that place that I land in when I'm overtired.  The friend who invited me is one who I can lean on, and actually have in past emotional overload situations.

So when I was invited, I really, really wanted to go.  I knew that if I went, I'd get good food, and good friendship... which is great.  But I knew that I'd also probably lose it.  I don't want to do that.  I know how sensitive I am at the moment.  I know that I'm emotionally spent, and just want someone to wrap their arms around me and comfort me while I cry.  And this friend would have done that.  But I just couldn't do it.

This is one of those times when loneliness kicks in, and I wish that I had a significant other... Cause if I were in a healthy relationship, I'd have someone there for me when I need that kind of comfort.  And if I were in a healthy relationship, it'd mean that I'd have that kind of relationship with myself, too.  The one where I'd have learned how to comfort myself appropriately.  Where I've learned how to sit with and feel my emotions.  Where I'd have learned to let anger out without explosions and rage.  Where I'd have learned to feel the whole range of feelings, and not let them suffocate me.

Cause I know all of that needs to be present in my relationship with myself before I'll ever be able to have a healthy relationship with someone else.

I have a lot to learn...  I am willing to do the work.... I just don't think I'm there yet...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Challenge 8, Part 1: Learning

It's ironic that this week's topic is learning, because boy did I do a lot of that this week, and much of it was unexpected and happened in a way that I didn't realize I was even learning!

I know this quote is somewhat cliche, and a bit old school, but this was my week (except for the last line about being beautiful, of course.)  I found an inner strength that I didn't realize I had.  I was braver than I thought I could be.  And even more than that, through all the insanity, I remained calm.  At least on the outside.

See, this week was back to school week.  Time to set up the classroom.  Four whole days dedicated to setting up and getting ready.  But my room wasn't ready for me to set it up.  It wasn't even ready for me to be in until after quittin' time on day four.  Which meant that for four days, I watched my colleagues get their rooms ready.  I watched them excitedly open their classroom supply orders and put everything away.

And I wanted to cry.  I wanted to yell.  I wanted to throw a temper tantrum.  Cause my room was the ONLY room not ready.  Not safe to be in because of construction chaos.

Instead, I stayed strong.  I kept a brave face.  I made myself as useful as I could.  And when I did need to cry (which happened the whole way home each day) I escaped to my good friend's quiet classroom.  No one knew how upset I was on the inside.  And it seemed that the more upset I got inside, the calmer I became on the outside.  I've always been able to do that IN the classroom.  But this?  Even this was more than I expected.

So what did I learn?  That when push comes to shove, and strong is the only thing you can be, I can pull it together and be that. (And fall apart afterward.  Which for now, is gonna have to be ok!)