My Mental Health Struggles
This school year was the hardest one I’ve had in a long time. Granted, it was only my second year back to teaching after taking 6 years off (because of my mental health), so it’s not surprising. I’m pretty sure I’ve been depressed the majority of the school year and my anxiety has been unbearable. They usually go hand-in-hand.
A lot of my struggle was the toxic district/town that we were in, but I even struggled mentally after we left that school. I started healing then ended up taking a long-term sub job less than 2 months later at a new school. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the people I worked with (SUCH a contrast from my previous school) and adored my students. The parents of my students were amazing. But my brain just couldn’t handle it. I think it was a combo of the driving (two hours a day) and the expectations that I put on myself. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t think I can handle being in the classroom. Then of course, the year ended with a mass shooting at an elementary school (in Uvalde) not super far from us. We didn’t go to school the last day.
I’m really hoping teaching from home will be a game-changer because I really need to work for our finances and especially because I get even more depressed when I have no purpose. It just needs to be different.
I came into the summer telling my doctor that something HAS to change for my anxiety because I cannot keep going the way I have been. She put me on a medication that I requested and found out quickly that it wasn’t a good fit. She put me on another one and it seems to be much better so far and maybe even working. It’s hard to say because there are a few other things that are helpful as well. It does make me sleepy, but I’m hoping I will adjust to it over time.
I am the wilderness cook at the camp where my husband is the Wilderness director, and I LOVE it. It keeps me busy without too much stress, it keeps me out of my head, I get to plan and organize and cook for people (all things that I love), I get to make people happy, and I get to work with my husband! So maybe it’s a combo of my new med and my new summer job. I’m not anxiety-free but my anxiety is MUCH better.
No More Dieting
I decided less than a week ago that I would trust myself and stop dieting. No more tracking or weighing food. It has greatly affected my mental health. And you know what? I’m in a place now in which I can eat based on my hunger and fullness cues, and I’m not eating as much. And I’m still craving fruits and veggies. I’m not eating emotionally, I’m not trying to front load food (eat a lot so I don’t get hungry during a time when I can’t eat), and I’m not eating “because it’s time.” It feels good to not be thinking about food all the time. I mean food that I’m eating. Obviously I think about food because I cook it for groups at camp. Sometimes I don’t eat what I cook. I kind of just eat what I want, when I want. And it’s less overall. I guess this is intuitive eating. I had cereal the other night for dinner and while that’s not ideal every night, it wasn’t the end of the world. And I didn’t have to measure it and log it on an app. I think this will help my mental health so much. It’s freeing.
The ONE thing that has been frustrating is that I had a procedure done on Monday and I’m healing slower than I thought I would. They had to stick tubes in my nose into my eustachian tubes and blow up a balloon to open the tubes. One was completely closed and the other one was mostly closed. They had to stick shots into my nose that contained lidocaine and epinephrine. It was pretty miserable. Since then the left side of my face has been swollen and painful down into my neck. The doc’s office didn’t seem to be concerned except that they said it wasn’t normal (but since it IS healing they said to just take it easy). The mistake I made is that I didn’t take it easy the day after it. I worked a long day with lots of lifting and moving things and cooking for large groups. It was a lot. Since then I have tried to rest when possible. I’ll be glad when I’m healed and the procedure will have done its thing (it takes 6-8 weeks to full heal/work).
Letting Unimportant Things Go
My house has been pretty messy all summer so far and I have had to learn to let it go. I’m not home much and my teens and pre-teen aren’t going to naturally keep it clean. They still have to do chores, but I try to not fuss about imperfection. Some things are just not that important. When summer is over we will do a deep clean to start the new school year, but until then, I’m letting it go.
Time with Jesus
I didn’t realize how much I have missed this. I haven’t spent much time with Him in quite a long time. I was in a period of deconstruction, and it has taken a long time to begin the reconstruction process. I’m sure this helps my anxiety as well. I’m not trying to do things on my own.
Summer has just started and it feels like it has been a month. I’m going to try to just enjoy it and focus on the things that I’m enjoying.