Much of the year I’m a productive, decently happy, organized, peaceful, passionate person. Until winter. Well, late fall through winter.
Several traumatic things happened this time of year a long time ago that contribute to my severe anxiety and depression. PTSD is pretty brutal. Part of the issue is my bipolar 2 diagnosis (I mostly deal with the lows from this). Mental illness is debilitating.
I have been frustrated lately. I have a strong passion and drive to teach, but my brain doesn’t always allow it. Which makes me wonder if I should ever teach full time again. Maybe I’m going to only be able to sub. The benefits are that it’s flexible, I can take time off as I need, I don’t have to work at home, I can support other teachers, it’s mostly part time, etc. But it’s not the same. One of my favorite parts of teaching is coming up with original ideas and lesson planning. I feel that I’m really good at that and it’s so fun. I absolutely hate that my mental illness makes the thing that I love to do nearly impossible. I hate that I can’t support my family financially better than with subbing. I feel like a failure.
And all of this came to a head the past several days. Between winter, being stuck at home due to winter (everything was shut down due to ice), Robert has been out of town a lot, my kids are getting too big to want to hang out, trying to be patient and wait for the principal to get back to me about subbing, and struggling with the idea that I may never be able to teach full time, I have been depressed, lonely, anxious, and just plain sad.
Yesterday I took Levi to town and that was helpful. I got to spend time with just him, I got out of the house, and the weather was much better (sunny and much warmer). I felt much better when I was in town. Then we came home and cleaned the house (not spotless, but it’s not as messy as it was). As soon as things got less busy, I was in my head again and started feeling down. I don’t do downtime and lack of routine very well. I need to start doing something productive other than just cleaning or doing basic things on a to-do list. I hope the principal gets back with me about subbing very soon.
In the meantime, I’m working on forcing some routine as much as I can. I made a schedule for the week. I have started working out with others through Zoom which is helpful. I will be working out the same time every day (8:00 am). I will continue my daily Bible study, eating healthy meals, getting back to studying my nutrition coaching course, be more organized with daily chores, walk Loki regularly, etc. I’m going to start cleaning out my raised beds, working on the yard, planning my garden, etc. If I start subbing soon, that will be twice a week to start (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
I’m just trying to figure everything out. I’m ready for spring. More than ready. I’m craving it. I KNOW that I will feel great once it hits. I always do. Spring is my best season mentally/emotionally. I can’t wait!
I too suffer from Bipolar Type 2 so I know exactly what you go through. Something that makes me feel better is accepting my diagnosis and the fact that I have to live with it forever. Maybe you won’t be able to teach full time but that won’t make you any less of a teacher. Maybe part time is the right answer for you so you can still work but spend time taking care of yourself. I believe you’ll eventually find the balance. Hugs.
Thank you. I really needed this comment. I thought I was doing better then it hit so hard this year.
When I’m in a high, I assume that I’m doing great and can work full time. I usually have a lot of passion and drive and think that’s enough. But this year my low has been really low. I’m realizing that I need to see myself as a whole person and what I can do on my lowest day is what I need to plan for myself. It’s so hard. I want to be able to fight the illness but it’s impossible. I can’t change what is.
I know what you mean. When I’m having a manic episode, I’m a workaholic. I feel like I can take on anything and have all these projects going in my head. Obviously, as soon as the high is over and the depression sets in, I’m unable to complete whatever I’m doing. Knowing that has helped a lot in the past few years. If I feel like I’m going there, I don’t let myself do it and immediately slow down. You WILL be fine. Be gentle with yourself and treat yourself like you would your best friend.