Drowning in Anxiety

Over the years, I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar 2, and PTSD. Out of all of that, the anxiety and PTSD are the things that are debilitating for me. I have ups and downs that come with Bipolar 2, but even in my lows, anxiety is what is screaming at me. You would think that after this many years I would be more stable, but I’m just not. I can’t seem to keep a job long-term because of it. I will think I’m doing better only to fall flat on my face. I left Rocksprings ISD thinking it would eliminate my anxiety, but it didn’t. I AM happy to be out of there and it has been such a positive change for my kids, but honestly, being a long-term sub at the kids’ school was just as hard. Maybe harder because of the drive. The school is so much better in a lot of ways including the fact that the teachers and staff are all amazing and Karis is especially thriving, but being in a classroom and all of the driving are just hard for me. Part of the reason being in a classroom is so hard is because I put 200% into everything that I do and also it’s physically exhausting (classroom management of littles takes a LOT of energy every day). And again, the driving took the rest of my energy away. I was driving two hours a day. I’m REALLY hoping that teaching online will be a breath of fresh air. We will see. I’m praying that it’s just what I need. It’s still full time but there is no driving, less personal time spent planning and grading, and less classroom management. If it’s less physically draining, I think that will make all the difference. Again, we will see.

My fall/winter struggles started early last fall. I began noticing it in September. And it just kept getting worse and worse. Part of it is that I was teaching an age that I didn’t really want to teach. I loved the kids as individuals but teaching littles just isn’t what I wanted to do. I was originally supposed to teach 3rd grade again, then they moved me to 4th/5th grade, then down to pre-k. Part of it was that I had no connections with the rest of the staff. I felt excluded on a regular basis. I had no one to talk to. They would go off to lunch and not invite me. They would talk to each other (gossip), and I didn’t like being part of that. The aides would gossip and my aide in particular would be so negative. It was a toxic environment. I felt trapped. Things just kept getting worse by the day. Leaving the school in January was the right decision. But my anxiety continued.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my psychiatrist, and I told her that something has to change. I cannot keep living this way. I’m doing everything I can on my own, but it’s not enough. I’m on so many medications yet still struggling as if I’m on none. IF I have bipolar 2, those symptoms don’t seem to be the issue (I’m thinking I have Seasonal Affective Disorder instead and we are working on figuring that out as well).

I asked my doctor if I could try another SSRI. She agreed that it may be a good idea. Also, she took me off of two anxiety medications that didn’t seem to be helping at all. I’m hoping that this change will make a difference. I have to deal with the side effects of adjustments of medications so it might take a bit till I have some relief. But I’m hopeful. Overall I’m on less medications now than before and they might be more effective. Having mental illness is one of the hardest things. Severe anxiety all the time makes me feel like I’m under attack 24/7. Anxiety lies. Anxiety is debilitating. It makes me feel like I’m always in survival mode. I’m unable to do the things that I want to do. I feel paralyzed. I feel like I’m drowning.

I’m praying that the change will bring about more peace. I need some desperately.

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