I have not posted here for several months.  There has been what I consider a good reason:  I got a job teaching school.

 That’s a good thing.  I love teaching high school and I sorely missed it in the five years since I had to leave my last position due to family needs.  Though I substituted and did odd jobs, I never had the satisfaction of resuming my career and doing what I do best until this past September.  I am very happy with my position.  I love the kids and the coworkers.  The families have been great and the work has been fulfilling.  God is good!

 I am still battling depression.  Why? WHY?

 My pastor, my counselor, my psychiatrist, my friends and I had all agreed that when I got a good job I would be happy and the mental illness would be a thing of the past.  We were all wrong, for we were assuming that the aspects of depression I faced were based upon my attitude which in turn was based upon my circumstances.  As a matter of fact, my mental illness was, is, and always will be a result of physical causes within my body. 

 Don’t get me wrong:  I am better in many ways than I was even six months ago.  But as long as the chemical imbalance remains, my mind and emotions will continue to respond to situations in odd ways.  Let me describe a few of my personal observations, in the hope that someone else might gain understanding or even hope.

  •  For whatever reason, my memory is noticeably diminished; this makes teaching much harder than it used to be.  I am still struggling to remember a handful of student names.  Talk about frustration!
  •  I am extremely distractable, and find it difficult to concentrate.  Not only is it harder to grade papers, it is harder to stay on task for a 60-minute class, or even to follow my own lesson plans.
  • I fly through the day on an adrenaline rush—I am thrilled to be doing what I am doing!  But that leaves me exhausted physically and emotionally when the students leave and it’s time to start the 36-mile drive home.  Do you understand why I didn’t want to say that “I crash” at the end of the school day?  (And then I wake in the middle of the night, often to sleep no more.)
  •  Everything is new—the schedule, some of the classes, the policies and procedures, even the routines.  I had learned to cope with my limitations by living within a comfortable rut, but that’s no longer possible.
  •  The energy required to fulfill my duties no longer left me no choice but to eliminate a major source of stress in my life.  While I know I did the proper and necessary thing, in my weak moments I suffer from the temptation to feel guilt and regret.  The holidays have amplified this struggle.
  •  And one of the more difficult aspects of my position is that I am uncertain just how much I can and should say about my mental illness.  Those of you who have followed my journey know that I have been open and transparent, and that approach has been a blessing to me and to some others as well.  But as a professional educator, I must keep my students in mind; and I believe that my story is something that they need not hear, lest it cause confusion or distraction from the classroom ministry.  Some of the older students have found my blog, and, presumably, have read it; but none of them or their parents have commented on its contents.  My administrator and the school board knew my situation before they hired me; and my coworkers learned in October when I presented a seminar.  They have all been very understanding and, honestly, react to me as if I were “normal.”  I’m just not sure that my students in grades 7-? would be able to do the same, and I’m not about to put them to the test.  And the parents?    They pay the bills, and I fear that some would not trust their precious children to someone who has been unstable in the past.

 So I haven’t written in my blog.  I appreciate the patience of those who waited for a new post, and are ready to read this.  As time passes, I trust my energy levels will rise, my concentration will return, and my reputation at the school will allow me to write freely and frequently once more.  If you are a praying person, I would ask you to pray to that end.  Thank you.

 By the way:  I could write energetically about politics every day, but my counselors have advised me to stay positive.  God bless America—she needs it.

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