My Experience with Black Friday Shopping

Last night, I went Black Friday shopping for the first time (if you do not count the small town shopping I did once with my mom at about six in the morning). I went for the experience, not the deals. I actually wanted to deal with the crowds.

My brothers and I drove up to the city about an hour before six because we were worried about parking. We ended up finding a couple empty spots in the back. Once we got inside, we were not sure what to do. We were instantly surprised that parts of the store were blocked off and that the merchandise had been moved to different locations throughout the store. It was all wrapped up and had signs that said the sale started at six and that the stuff would not ring up at the register before that time. Employees were scattered throughout the store, guarding the sale items and getting after people who got too close to the crates.

We decided to begin by walking around. It was not always easy because there were lines forming. We ended up in a line for TVs but after realizing that the sale did not start for another two and a half hours, we got out of line and went to the movie section.

We waited in the movie section for about twenty minutes. As it got closer to six, more and more people gathered around. My parents had been worried about us getting pickpocketed or something like that but my only worry was getting trampled once the sale started.

My worries were for nothing though. A few minutes before six, a couple people started pulling movies out so the workers started cutting off the plastic wrap and letting everyone else go through it. We grabbed a few movies and then ended up in a huge crowd of pushing people. Because we had no carts, we were able to move through it pretty easily. I felt bad for the people in scooters.

We had to wait in line for a little while but it was not too bad. The line wrapped all the way through the clothing section though. The people around us were pretty nice. We also laughed about the rude people we had encountered throughout the experience. One guy had tried to take another person’s empty cart and two women had an argument when we were in the huge crowd.

Well, I can cross Black Friday shopping off of my bucket list. I do not think I will ever do that again. Really, my personal beliefs are that Thanksgiving should be about family, not sales.


Small Town Depression

I grew up in a small town of 3,000 people. I always thought my town was lame though. If I could have moved to a bigger city, I would have. And then one day my wish came true. I got a job at the amusement park in a big city.

At the beginning though, I was very scared to be living in such a large city. I was scared to drive any where because the different lanes and all the traffic intimidated me. I was also scared about crime. But after awhile, I became more comfortable living in the city and realized that I could be happy in both a small town or a large city.

That was before I moved to the small town where I live now. The population is only 200. The town has a grocery store and a few other small businesses but nothing else. It is so boring. I have been unhappy since shortly after arriving.

Today, I drove to one of the nearest large towns (50 miles away) so that I could see a movie and do some shopping. As I passed countless fields, I could not help but feel depressed. I hate my life. I hate the fact that I am in such a tiny town.  I hate how I have basically no friends. There is really no people in this town my age (I wonder why). I hate how I live so far from my family. Is it any surprise that I am feeling so depressed.

Back in Time

I often find myself wanting to go back in time; back to a time when I was happy and life was much simpler. For awhile, I wanted to go back to the time when I was in college. I have some great memories of hanging out with my friends. Plus, I had the freedom to be an adult but not all the responsibility. But then I remembered the time in college when I was seriously depressed and thought about ending my life.

Then, there was the time I thought I would go back to high school. I see all these high school kids at high school every day and they look so free and carefree. They do not have many responsibilities and they have a happiness that I want. But I was not happy in high school. That is a time that I definitely would not choose to repeat. I found out that I had depression when I was in high school. Plus, I really did not fit in very well during high school. I was a nerd and the people I called friends were not afraid to let me know it. Plus, I was not really happy with my mean English teacher and the fact that I had to live according to my parents’ rules.

Lately, I have found myself wishing I was back to being a little kid. As a kid, I would not have all the responsibility of an adult. I would have to live according to my parents’ rules but really, that is small potatoes compared to life as an adult. Plus, as a kid, my only expectations are really only get good grades and be nice to people. As a kid, I could play all day.

But of course, I am an adult and nothing can change that. I am where I am right now because that is where God wants me. So no matter how much I complain, I am expected to live according to God’s plans for me.

I Want to Cut

I want to cut. I want a way to deal with the events of the day. Unfortunately, there is some blood draw at work tomorrow. I still have marks from last week’s cutting but I think I will be all right. I can pass them off as cat scratches. But there is no way that I will be able to hide fresh cuts tomorrow.

I hate how I am dealing with my life’s problems with a pair of scissors.

My Day with Depression

I look over at the alarm clock. Morning is quickly approaching but I cannot fall back asleep. Sure enough, the alarm clock goes off way too soon. I hit snooze to delay starting the morning.

Depression is taking over without my permission. The marks on my wrist are a reminder of what I have already been through. I really do not want to go through it all again. I would love to call in sick to work.

Eventually, I have to get out of bed so that I can go to work. I would rather stay in bed where it is safe. Work can be cruel.

I get through the day with mostly fake smiles and a rare real one. I count down the hours until it is time to leave, wishing for the day to go faster.

I finally get to go home and I enjoy a few hours of freedom and forget all about my awful day. But the feeling only last a few hours because then I start processing the events of the day and looking at all the mistakes I have made. And then I think about how I will have to do it all again tomorrow.

I spend the night struggling to concentrate. I mostly flip back and fourth from different websites, unable to settle on one site or activity. I am all wrapped up in a blanket for the security that life will be all right (someday). Eventually, I begin eating because I am so lonely. Food fills the emptiness and makes me feel better.

Eventually, I go to bed to start the cycle all all over again.

An Angry Parent

When my students get in trouble, I have them complete a behavior form so that they can think about their actions and decide on a plan for next time. I send them home over the weekend and require parents to sign the form.

Today, a student came back with two forms and a note from his mom. His mom thought that what he did was small and so he should not have been punished. She also criticized his spelling and grammar on the forms and requested a meeting.

I showed the mom’s note to the principal. I was really upset. Because while the student’s infractions might have been small, he was still not following my rules. And as for the grammar, I am not looking at that when they complete the forms. I do grade their spelling and grammar on other assignments but not on the forms. Focusing on a person’s character is just as important.

The student’s mom is a teacher (English at that) and you would think she would understand classroom discipline and be one of those parents that support the teacher. But she is something else. I have heard stories about her and would rather not deal with her.

The principal told me to ignore it. I am just hoping she will not come see me during lunch or before school like she has done before.

The Leaking Fish Tank

I rarely have a good week because of the bad behavior demonstrated by my students. I am usually looking forward to the weekend Sunday night. The week drags on because I just want a break from my students. And then I get to the weekend and it is a big disappointment because they only thing I have to do is school work and chores.

As if my weekends are not bad enough, I was feeling depressed yesterday morning when I woke up. It took me a while to get going and get to work on my chores. It was not an enjoyable Saturday mostly because of the depression.

It always seems when the odds are in my favor, they are really in my favor and when they are not, they are really not. There is no middle. Yesterday, the odds were really not in my favor. On top of my depression, I had a leaking fish tank to deal with and then my sewing machine was not cooperating. It is as if my depression were not enough to deal with yesterday.

Underpaid Teachers

Teachers are definitely underpaid. I arrive at school everyday between 7:15-7:20. School actually starts at eight and teachers are required to arrive fifteen minutes before. Teachers are required to stay until four o’clock but I stay later than that every day trying to get papers graded and getting things ready for the next day.

I do not get a thirty minute lunch break. On days when it is my turn to do lunch duty, I get to work through my lunch. Other than a short break at lunch, I do not get much more than thirty minutes of prep a day when my students are at specials. There are days when specials get cancelled and then I do not get any prep time at all.

Often, I take work home with me. Even with good time management, I cannot get my lesson plans done. Every night, my backpack is stuffed with textbooks and students’ assignments.

I go into the school often on weekends. I have to get assignments copied and the classroom organized.

A teacher is definitely not paid enough. And to make matters worse, I teach two different elementary classes. I have double the work. Because even though I only have a total of fifteen students in the two classes, I still have to have two sets of lesson plans and assignments and centers.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (but Sometimes They are Equal)

People that say the pen is mightier than the sword are clearly not cutters. To cutters, words and swords are equal. To a cutter, they will take those hurtful words out on their wrists.

I do not know what I was feeling the first day I cut. It was not the first time the thought had crossed my mind but after several reoccurrences and feeling severely depressed, I eventually gave in.

I was managing the swimming pool that summer and having a horrible experience. I was not getting along with my boss or the lifeguards. They had a lot of bad things to say about me. I found myself cutting a lot. I hated how I was letting people get to my wrist (literally) but I found that it was the only thing that helped me deal with the events of the summer.

And unfortunately, almost three years later, I am still a cutter, letting people get to my wrists. I tried to stop. I have managed to go several months without cutting, only to break down and cut. I always hate when I do it because it means that I have to start all over. I had been doing so well. Recently though, I no longer care. I have lost count how many times I have cut over the last few months with no regrets.

Many people do not understand why I do it or what I am feeling when I take the blade to my wrist. But I can tell you this: Words hurt. Words are just as sharp as a sword. They may say the pen is mightier than the sword, but to a cutter, the words will still cut.

God is Working Though My Depression

The other day, I was reading someone’s blog about how religion causes depression. The author said that people feel they are expected to be perfect and because no one is perfect, that brings them down and causes them to be depressed. I could not agree more.

I was depressed before I became a Christian. I found out that I had depression when I was sixteen and I did not become a Christian until I was twenty. And as a Christian, I know I am not perfect. I know God wants me to do my best but that He sent His Son Jesus to die for my mistakes. Because I have accepted His forgiveness, I will one day spend eternity in Heaven. It does not matter how perfect I am not.

Being a Christian is not causing my mental illness. Being a Christian is saving me from it though. There are times when life gets to be too much and I begin to contemplate suicide. I keep living though because I know that God has plans for me. And I know that God is working through my mental illness.

There was a time in my life when I blamed God for my problems. I told God He could not use me because of my depression. I was going through a lot during that time in my life and I told God He could not use me because I barely had the will to get out of bed and go through the daily motions of life let alone do anything else for Him. God just laughed and told me that He was in charge and He knew what He was doing. That is how I ended up becoming a Christian author with a focus on mental illness.

I have problems, but they are not because of my faith. My problems are from my brain being unequipped to deal with this world. But God has given me hope for the future and one day, I know I will be able to leave my earthly problems behind and spend eternity with God!