If you are having a bad day, save this post for another time. I'm breaking the silence, I'm sharing, and it's not all puppies and rainbows.
I've heard from other friends that they've avoided Facebook. They've avoided the negativity, the name calling, or even the constant reminders of the love others have and they've lost. We all have a protection mode.
Recently it's been encouraged that we post/share about depression and suicide prevention. The past week a classmate of my son committed suicide at the age of 23. The press is constantly posting, analyzing and speculating on our new leadership in Washington, and in Iowa a bill was passed effecting state employees including educators. It's very scary.
For a person like me, it's stressful. Sleep is a distant memory as I attempt to empty my mind of all the new worries each night.
1. I've mentioned on previous posts about my battles with depression. We can post all we want on Facebook, the real help is action.
I was a senior in high school when I first was diagnosed. I was missing a day or three of school a week. No one called to ask why I wasn't at school. No one told me they misssed me when I was at school. It was as if the world didn't need me. Whether I got out of bed, left the house, etc. nothing changed. Even now I plan things, I truly want to do them, then cancel as they draw near so I can hide.
I encourage you to notice and talk. If a friend, student, colleague or relative is often sick tell them they are missed. Let them know it wasn't the same without them. When they do conquer their mental challenges and attend-let them know you are glad to see them. Spend time catching up. Try to make a plan to see them again soon. Follow up. Communicate every few days. If you are close let them know they can tell you anything. You won't judge or try to fix it, you'll just be there for them.
I often feel I have to paint on a smile or act excited. It is exhausting. Depression is very frustrating.
2. Politics (especially the bill in Iowa this week). How do I continue to encourage my sons to follow their dreams to become teachers, when the profession is looked upon so negatively by so many? Teachers are to blame for everything according to many. Teachers only work 8 hours a day for 180 days...they don't need a raise,many believe. Every year teachers are to ready students for future careers & to be productive members of society-with less money, & less support from parents and community. Teachers teach because they love children. They aren't in it for the money. But lack of funding and support drives many quality educators to leave the schools to seek a career for more money, less stress, and better hours.
Wait didn't I say teachers work only 8 hours a day for 180 days...they can't get better hours. I call bullsh$$! A quality teacher arrives to school early to prepare or assist students. They stay late to do the same. They answer emails all evening from parents or even helping students on homework via email. Some use Snapchat to actually work step by step on homework with students. They attend sporting events and musical events at the school to support the students. When students request some even attend non-school recitals, etc. They research while off the clock for new lessons to spark interest, new strategies to help students, or seek the help of other educators to reach/assist a child. Then they plan lessons, they decorate, they hang bulletin boards, they grade papers, they fill out reports, they update grades...these can not be accomplished while on the clock educating students. Many teachers have students in their room before school, during recess, during lunch, during planning time, and after school. They use every minute they can to help each child they can. So these other tasks occur off the clock. Yet many think it's an easy profession. It's just babysitting right? Not many could handle five students for a day-let alone thirty.
3. As I lay in bed trying to sleep my mind ponders...
President Trump, money, my sons, am I a good mom, what can I do to exercise more, I should plan a visit with family, wonder what Peyton's grades look like, I hope Carter finds a job, I make my grocery list, I scroll through Facebook to catch up on happenings in my friends/families' lives, I wish I could be a politician with enough support to make changes, I should invent something, I open Pinterest and immediately close it-I'd never sleep, I set reminders on things I need to do tomorrow, I try to catch up on my DVR shows, I binge watch Netflix, I read, I snack, I vow to start a diet tomorrow, I search for fool proof AKA Gretchen proof recipes, I stare at the clock and vow I'm getting off all devices so I can fall asleep. I spend hours in the dark on all these-no wonder I'm exhausted all day.
Life is messy. No one's perfect. We do the best we can with what we've got-this is my plight.