I Wore My Crocs to School Today

In my tiredness, I did not realize this morning that I accidently slipped on my crocs instead of my dress shoes this morning. I only realized what I had done when I had arrived at school. I talked to another teacher and discovered that the administrators do not really care what is on our feet. So I started the day off comfortable.

The morning was good because my students had two specials first thing in the morning so I was able to get my lesson plans almost completed. I also accomplished a lot which made me feel good since this week I have noon duty and I have little time to get things done.

Throughout the day (and it was a short day due to a teacher’s inservice) the papers that needed grading piled up. Then, there was the inservice that prevented me from getting the papers graded. Even though inservices are supposed to be over at four, they never end on time. And what really bugs me is that usually, teachers are required to stay until four every day. That gives us at least thirty minutes to get papers graded and do things in the classroom. That does not happen on inservice days unless a teacher wants to stay later.

When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher hated teachers that complained about inservices being a waste of time. But what if it is true? I mean, I do not feel that I benefited from much that was discussed today.

And now, I have additional stress due to all the papers that did not get graded as well as all the other projects that did not get accomplished because I did not feel like staying extremely late to do them.

What started off as a decent day quickly turned the other way.

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OCD

I do not know if I have OCD and I guess it does not really matter. If I do, than I only have mild symptoms that I can live with. It still drives me crazy though when people say they are OCD about something such as chipped nail polish though because I know that OCD is not that. There are people who cannot move on from their obsessions and compulsions. Chipped nail polish is a small matter that can easily be taken care of or even forgotten if something else comes along as a distraction. But people with OCD do not have that luxury.

The reason I believe I have some OCD symptoms is because occasionally, there are things I have to do a certain way or I believe that something bad will happen (usually, I think that I will get fired from my job).

For example, the other day, I realized that I had not turned on the fan before getting in the shower. I immediately got out of the shower without grabbing a towel even though I was dripping wet and had shampoo in my hair to turn on the fan because I knew something bad would happen otherwise. The same goes for how I brush my teeth and several other activities. If they are not done a certain way and in a certain order, I feel something bad is going to happen.

Then, there is the arrangement of things. The baking ingredients have a certain spot in my cupboard. The remotes for the TV have to be in a certain spot. Everything has a place in my apartment and must be in that order and arrangement at all times.

Like I said, I do not know if my symptoms would classify as OCD because really, they are mild. I am writing tonight though to say that OCD can be more than just repetitive hand washing and is definitely not chipped nail polish.

Learn to Be Lonely

I have always been a very independent person and thought that I would be all right if I did not have any friends. I was proved wrong in college and again recently. Lately, I feel like my life is like the song sung in the ending credits of Phantom of the Opera. “Learn to Be Lonely,” seems to reflect my life.

I have never been the most social person. In high school, I had a few close friends that drifted away when I went to college. It took me several months in college to find some new friends but eventually I drew close to some people that were my friends until I graduated. After I graduated, I only stayed close with one person but still, we only talk on the phone every few weeks. The others I only talk to occasionally on Facebook.

Over the last year, I have realized how lonely I am. When I was living with my parents last year, I felt like my only companions were my family. It is even worse now that I am on my own and live over four hours away from my family and my remaining friend from college. I have made one friend at school but she has a life of her own so we do not hang out all the time.

My loneliness causes me to spend a lot of time eating, watching movies and shows, and time on the internet. I long for people to interact with me on Facebook or call me or send me mail. Instead, about the only companionship I get are from people that like my writing or blogs online.

There are days, especially on weekends when I long for someone to have a serious conversation with. I long for someone’s touch and care. I just want people to acknowledge that they know I am there and that they care about what is going on with me.

I also have been longing for a pet. I have fish and hermit crabs but I long for something fluffy that will show its love for me in ways that my fish and crabs cannot. I long for a cat that will sit with me and purr or something that will rub my face.

In this small town where there are very few people my age and I am far from my family,  I guess I had better learn to be lonely, because there is no one out there for me.

The Depressed Underachiever

Before I started college, I was invited to join the honor’s program. I only ended up taking one honor’s class though. Why? Because I knew that the work load would get to me. I knew I would be able to do it but I knew with how easily I get stressed, I would not be able handle it.

The same thing applies to the rest of my life. I am afraid to go back to school or take on more responsibility at work because I am afraid that I will get overwhelmed and then shut down. I know it makes me look like an underachiever. I know it makes me look lazy. I actually graduated as valedictorian from my high school and I graduated Summa cum Laude from college. But here I am doing as little as possible because I know it is better for me.

We live in a world that stresses the importance of achievement and advancement but what happens to the people that just cannot handle the world? I read this blog yesterday about someone that had a great job but just could not handle it and ended up moving back with her parents. A bright person succumbs to the demands of the world. And another blog I read talks about a guy who is happy working as a cleaning person (nothing against custodians because I used to be one) because there is not much pressure.

The world just expects so much from us and some (like me) just cannot take it. Something has to give, and unfortunately for me, it is my mental status.

Home Sweet Home

Over the past year, I have had three different homes. First, I have lived with my parents; just like I have for pretty much my own life. I love my parents but as an adult, I was eager to get out of the house. Plus, there were times when my family was driving me crazy.

Next, I lived with my aunt and uncle while I was working at the amusement park during the summer. After that, I moved to my own place so that I could begin my new teaching job.

I came home for the long weekend and I was so excited. Coming back to my parents’ house meant not only seeing my family but not having the responsibility of cooking and cleaning and other chores. As much as I have enjoyed being home though, I also cannot wait to go back. This is no longer my home. And while I enjoy visiting, I will always enjoy going back to my personal life.

Self Diagnosing Depression

Mental illness is fairly common. Somewhere, I read that one in four people will suffer from a mental illness sometime during their life time. They could also have been talking about depression. I am not entirely sure. The point is, despite the commonness of mental illness, I am still surprised by the number of people that will share posts relating to depression on Facebook.

Maybe it is just me, but I have told very few people that I suffer from depression. I know people will judge me. I know that my family and friends will not understand and think that I just want attention. I write anonymously online so that is why I am very open about my problems on my blog. But I have never posted anything about my problems on Facebook.

If people knew the true meaning of depression and mental illness, maybe they would not be so quick to diagnose themselves. Depression is more than just sadness. I had a friend that once claimed she was depressed after she lost her phone. After she got a new phone though, she was instantly cured. If only depression worked that fast.

Depression lasts way longer and is way more complicated. With my depression comes suicidal thoughts, cutting, loss of sleep, as well as several other problems. I would not wish depression on my worst enemy; that is how horrible it is. But some people just do not get it. Depression is horrible and way more complex than they think.

I guess that is why God has told me that despite my problems, He would like me to be a Christian writer with a focus on mental illness. Somebody has to get the Word out there as well as raise awareness for mental illness. And since I am very familiar with depression, it might as well be me.

Depression and Going Back to School

A four year college degree is not enough any more. If a person wants a job, they are expected to have multiple degrees, minors, or endorsements. I heard from many of my college professors that I would not get hired as an elementary teacher without an additional endorsement. I refused to take any more classes though.

I was very depressed in college. My last year, I got very stressed and reached the point that I was contemplating suicide quite often. I do not believe that any college class is worth what I went through that year. Unfortunately, employers do not see that. They look at transcripts and think a person is not motivated.

That is partly why I have not gone back to school since I have graduated. I have friends now working on their masters and I feel pressured to go back for something. But I just can’t. I cannot go back to school and work at the same time. It was bad enough in college and I think it would be even worse today since I am working full time.

The world is just not made for people suffering from mental illness.

A World That Encourages Stress and Depression

As a young kid, we are told to dream big and believe that we can accomplish everything we want. Unfortunately, that is not life though. We live in a very difficult world. There are just so many stressors that block our chances of every truly achieving our dreams. Once our dreams are smashed, depression become rampant.

Our world heavily stresses academics. Without a good education, a person will not be able to get a job and be successful in life. The academic stress starts early in life. Kids are expected to get good grades in high school so that they can get in to a good college. High school students are expected to start taking college classes in high school so that they will practically have their first year done when they arrive at college. Once at college, they are expected to study hard so that they will get hired once out of school. At college, students are expected to get several majors or minors so that they will be well rounded and beat the rest of the competition when applying for jobs.

Also while in school, students in both high school and college are expected to be very involved. Colleges are looking for students that were involved in high school and employers are looking for students that were involved in college. As if the students were not stressed enough over their classes, they are now expected to add more to their plate. It is no wonder so many young people are suffering from depression. The world expects so much from them but does not give them the time to do it all.

The world becomes all the more stressful after school. With today’s economy, it is difficult to find a job. There is just so much competition. It does not matter any more about how well a person did at college. There are just too many people all vying for the same position. And unfortunately, there are not enough jobs to go around. Depression becomes a part of life again as a person realizes that they are not living according to their dreams.

Once a person finally finds a job, they are set to live out the stress of the job as well as adult life. Again, there are so many expectations that their is not enough time in the day to get it all done. A person ends up giving up because of the impractically of it all. It is better to stay in bed than to deal with the world. And if that were not enough, there are other contributors to the stress.

There is the pressure of the world to belong and fit in. This stress starts early on. The world expects us to dress and act a certain way. We are expected to have certain possessions. Without them, a person will never truly belong. A person begins to realize that they do not have any friends which leads to depression.

And in case all of that were not enough to drag a person down, there is the cruelty of the world. We are quick to blame but slow to forgive. Mistakes can lead a person to be fired or sent to jail. We are all quick to point fingers without truly knowing the real story. A person has to be careful not to ever mess up because one mistake can cost them dearly. With a blink, a person can find themselves in the middle of a scandal and their life ruined.

Is it any wonder that our world is full of depression? Is it any wonder that people would rather commit suicide than continue to live with a world that encourages stress and depression? We are told from the beginning to dream big, but in actuality, dreams differ greatly from reality.

Walmart vs. Hyvee

Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to shopping for food. Some people prefer Walmart or Hyvee and some people prefer some place completely different. I guess I am a Walmart person because that is where my mom has always gone.

Yesterday, I went to the Hyvee for the first time. I have only been on my own for a few months and do not have a lot of food prices memorized but I could not help but feel that Hyvee was definitely higher priced. There were some items that I felt I could get cheaper at the high priced grocery store in my area.

I was impressed with the selection at Hyvee though. I mean, Walmart does not have an aisle and a half devoted to cheese. But for me, I do not need a variety of cheese. And personally, price is important to me. I only ended up getting one thing because it was on sale.

Regrets

A couple years ago, I wondered if maybe I had more than just depression. I wondered if maybe I was possibly bipolar or had cyclothymia. I eventually decided I just had depression.

I know people with bipolar disorder sometimes make impulsive decisions. Last night’s ear piercing was very impulsive and something that I am regretting right now. The bipolar symptoms still do not match what I am experiencing but I still cannot help but wonder why I pierced my own ears last night.