WTF, Middle Light Switch!

I really thought that I could switch the light on through sheer will and determination. Actually, I thought of it more like I was on a dimmer. If I tried hard enough, I could turn that knob brighter and brighter. I could nudge it an itty bitty bit every day and that could keep me going forward. I have a need to see some kind of progress in my life. I have to at least think things will get better.

I’m not a dimmer. I’m a light switch. Hell, I’m that middle light switch that no one can figure out what it does. I can’t switch myself out of this depression, and I’m losing the ability to fake it. I’ve missed about two days a week out of work this past month. When I call in sick and organize for a substitute to cover my classes, there is a pull down menu of reasons. I click the “sick leave” category, but I really want an option for “can’t do today.”

In my delusional effort to turn that fucking dimmer, I have overextended myself. I promised myself I wouldn’t lie. When people ask me why I’m not at work, I tell them. I now have people coming to me with questions. Adults and students who are having mental health issues and coming to me as if I have my shit together. At first I thought I was saving the world, but this problem is so much bigger than even a sane person could handle. The 22nd kid came to me on Friday. I need to stop keeping count. He showed me his cuts. That’s all he had to do. We sat down. I told him he was brave and thanked him for trusting me. Our school is lucky enough to have a doctor’s office on site. I reassured him that he was going to be fine. He is unwell and not the deviant he thought he was. I then promptly delivered him to the health center. I was able to use the words he didn’t know to tell the doctor what was going on. A bell rang and I went and taught test taking skills to my juniors. Number 21 doesn’t see a point to any of it and is struggling to survive through each day. I’ve known number 20 for a few years and a once vibrant young lady is a greasy unshowered mess who can barely get out of bed. Numbers 17-19 are also cutters. Numbers 6-16 are severely depressed. Number 5 is way out of my league, I’m thinking schizophrenic. 4 is bi-polar. 1-3 are depressed. They all had different needs and were each hurting so much. I am so thankful we have a doctor and psychologist available in the high school for these kids.

I’m at an impasse. I’m not getting better. I’m becoming more unwell. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I am not a reliable support system for these kids. I’m not a reliable support system for myself.

I’ve gotta figure out what that middle light switch does.

2 thoughts on “WTF, Middle Light Switch!

  1. It may take awhile to find that “ideal” combination of professional support, medical support and social support before you figure things out. Using my own experiences as an example, it took my wife almost two years to really get her mental and physical health in order. This is not to say that there will not be any setbacks, there will – it is just that you may be able to minimize their impact. Through it all, the critical thing is that you do not lose faith in yourself or the process.

    Take care!


  2. I just want you to know, that I know how you feel about the light switch thing in a way. A lot of people seem to think, you can just get rid of your anxiety (or depression in your case) with a snap of a finger or a flick of a light switch, it doesn’t always work that way. Stay strong!


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