I have been enjoying writing these posts and meeting people who understand what most others don’t. That’s right, feeling joy! Nothing compares to sharing the ups and downs of mental illness with people who can really understand. Well, lots of things compare to that; an impromptu road trip, a great make-out session, taking your bra off at the end of the day, the perfect sun dress, hotel room-service, and good Thai food, just to name a few.
I’m half way done with three new posts and I was going to finish one of them today so I could post it. I went to work this morning. My students came into the classroom and I started doing my teaching thing. We started a new unit today on Shakespeare. As a class, we decided to tackle Measure for Measure this semester. I totally geek out on this stuff.
I found myself having to continually “shush” the class. They are a well behaved bunch, but it felt like I could hear 20 different conversations at the same time. Then it hit me. They weren’t being loud. It was me. I was agitated and my senses were already overloaded. I made it through my first two classes. I just kept reminding myself that it was me, not them. I usually ask myself 30 times a day, “Is this kid being a twit, or am I reacting inappropriately.” The twit to inappropriate reaction ratio is about 1:1.
I made it to my planning period. I took out my to-do list. My options were grading papers, creating quizzes for tomorrow, calling parents, or doing some blog writing. I went with the blog writing. I needed a little breather. Instead of getting started, I just kept looking at the list. I couldn’t formulate a plan to get going. It shouldn’t have been complicated. I needed to get out my computer and type stuff. Then it really sunk in. I have lots of names for it. I call it brain mush, stupid head, brain fart, and my staring off into space time. I couldn’t focus or keep hold of my thoughts for more than 2 seconds. Everything seemed impossible at that moment. I put on my noise canceling headphone (you have GOT to get a pair!!) and kept it together until the beginning of fourth block. With the help of Billy Shakespeare and my well behaved students, we got to 3:30. The afternoon announcements came on with the usual stuff I don’t pay attention to, but I did catch the bit about a brief faculty meeting right after school. Fuckity fuck fuck.
I had been hiding out exclusively in my classroom since I had come back from sick leave. I had yet to even venture out of my hallway. Now it was time for a cozy meeting with 120 of my colleagues all snug and intimate in the library. I grabbed the teacher in the classroom next to mine and told him I needed his help. He was going to lead the way, I was going to follow, he would navigate finding seats and I was going to sit. He knows about my crazy, but now he got to witness it in full anxiety bloom. He got me to the meeting and sat me in the corner without incident. Thank you, TT.
I was in full on panic mode, but I am a master of deception. I wonder how much of my energy goes towards acting normal. If only that energy could be converted into electricity. I could probably power a small country, somewhere like Monaco or Liechtenstein. The meeting was chugging along. I was quietly hyperventilating. Another friend of mine gave me the, “you ok?” look. I gave him the, “I think so, but I need to get the hell out of here” look. Thank you, TJ.
After the meeting, I sat in my classroom for a little while to calm down. I then made it home and went straight to bed until about an hour ago. Here’s the thing, this is the first time I have had one of “those days” since I let my friends in on my mental illness issues. Granted, it was a very low level episode, but it made all the difference to have a couple of friends keeping an eye out for me. I am used to feeling alone in a room of a 120 people, but it looks like I don’t have to any more. The jury is still out and it is early days, but my friends finding out about my crazy has been nothing but good for me. This blog is still my secret, but I’m starting to feel like I want to share it.
I have a challenge for you. It’s a scary challenge. Tell someone tomorrow about your crazy. You may just get that little extra support you need. It is better you tell them when you are in a good place, than they find out because you have been committed. Trust me.
Let me know how it goes.