Sympathy Doesn’t Help Me

This last year, I have gotten a lot of sympathy from people that feel sorry for me since I have such a rough group of students. The sympathy has always bothered me; especially when it comes from parents who I feel could do more to make my job easier. I do not enjoy any of the sympathy though because it still does not change the fact that I have a difficult group of students.

I went home this weekend and took off tomorrow because I am having such a rough time (most of my mental health problems I have dealt with this last year are probably mostly rooted to my classroom). I am just not sure if I can make it the next three weeks so I decided to make it just a tiny bit easier and put my students’ behavior problems in someone else’s hands.

This morning at church, I got a lot of sympathy from people who seemed to know about my students. I guess my mom has been talking. Again, the sympathy bothered me even though these people cannot do anything about my problems. Their sympathy brought tears to my eyes though and I found myself fighting to hide the tears.

Despite having tomorrow off, I still cannot help thinking about the next three weeks. My students are getting worse by the day and I am just tired of dealing with it. And despite having tomorrow off, I am still not sure if I can make it.

I am just tired of the sympathy. I want some real help.

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What More Do I Need?

When I was a sophomore in college, I formally gave my life to Christ and was baptized again. With Jesus in my life, I thought that depression would be a thing of the past. My baptism had to be the happiest day of my life and I thought that since I now held the secret to life (Jesus!) I would never be depressed again. A few weeks later though, I became depressed again and that is when I learned that depression is a chemical problem.

This last year has been rough. I know that I often complain about the town where I live, my job at the school, and my mental problems (cutting, depression, OCD, and trichotillomania). It is sometimes hard to remember the good things when I think about how everything in my life seems to be going wrong.

I really do have a good life though, thanks to God. I have a nice family that always welcomes me home. I also have a job where I can support myself and a place of my own. Even though my landlord does not allow pets (another complaint of mine since I really think I would feel better if I had a cat) he has made an exception for my fish and hermit crabs. That is another reason to be thankful.

I may not be the most friendly person and have a hard time making friends but I have always had people that I can at least talk to. And except for a brief few months in college, I have always had a few friends through the different stages in my life.

I also may have a lot of mental problems which has made my life miserable at times but at least I am physically healthy. And God has provided me with support that has helped me through the rough times. It is because of followers of my blog that I am sixteen weeks clean from cutting. And it is because of the Samaritans that I got help when I was feeling suicidal.

I have a great summer job that would not be possible if I did not have family willing to take me in for a few months. And it is mostly because of my summer job that I have managed to hang on to life when things get tough.

Finally, I have Jesus in my life. I know where I will one day spend eternity because I have accepted the forgiveness given for all sins through the death of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. I sometimes forget that life on this Earth is only temporary and someday, everything will be all right.

God has certainly provided me with more than I ever deserve. I really have no right to complain. Life has been tough at times, but I guess it is because of those times that I am able to grow closer to God.

My Trich Dilemma

I have trichotillomania. That means that I pull out my hair without even realizing it as a way to deal with stressors. I pull from my eyebrows which usually means that I have bald patches in my eyebrows. I always thought I was crazy because I did not know there was a name for what I did. It was not until I learned about trich that I realized that there was a reason behind my madness. I learned that pulling often happens when a person is bored or doing something like reading or talking on the phone.

I do pull when I talk on the phone. It has gotten so that when I am planning on talking on the phone, I hold on to a stress ball so that I will not pull. Of course, the other night, I got tired of holding on to the ball and my hand started heading to my eyebrows.

Lately, I have noticed that I pull when I am grading students’ assignments. The bald spots are getting worse. I have wondered if I should bring the stress ball to school to hold when I am grading. But at the same time, the custodian is in the room and she will be sure to ask questions. Plus, other teachers frequently pop in to ask me something. Nobody has ever pointed out that I have odd eyebrows but they would be sure to talk about the stress ball which would then lead to questions about my eyebrows.

What is more embarrassing: Bald patches in my eyebrows or holding on to a stress ball which will mean questions about my disorder? I know I have probably mentioned before that I am all about raising awareness for mental illness and telling people about Jesus at the same time but I actually do that through fictional writing and my blog posts. I am not ready to do it in person.

A Teacher’s Rant

Yesterday morning, I began thinking about how it would be nice to go home for the weekend. I was rather surprised by this thought since it was only Tuesday. Plus, I had just gone home for Easter two weeks ago and summer will be here in three weeks. I had thought I would probably just stay here until summer. I kept debating whether I should go home because if I did, I would want to take a day off from school. I live four hours away and I am going to make my trip worthwhile.

After the day I had yesterday, I finally decided I should go home. I was so angry yesterday. One of the special teachers cancelled class because there was something going on in the gym and she did not want music class to disrupt them. The thing is, the event was happening an hour after my class so there would be no interference. And, she could have chosen to do something quiet. Instead, she chose to cancel class. I am not allowed to do that. And when she decided to cancel class, I suddenly have to find something to keep my class busy for that thirty minutes. Why should that be my responsibility? And why should I have to give up my break in order to supervise? I sometimes I only get a thirty minute break the entire day if I have noon duty for a week (thankfully I did not have noon duty yesterday). I definitely need a break because of all the behavior problems in my class. And, the thing is, another special from a different teacher got cancelled on Friday so my only break is at lunch (again, no noon duty, thankfully).

Plus, I have had so many students gone that I am constantly preparing work to go home or trying to get students caught up. And, we are testing this week. It is not fun. My life does not get any easier when one of my students does not take their medicine, leaving me to deal with constant disruptions.

I finally decided to call my mom and tell her that I am coming home this weekend with the intention of taking Monday off. I really wanted to take Friday off but there are so many teachers gone that day that I was afraid that I would not get a sub. Plus, even though I hate Mondays like most people, I also like them because we have two specials on Monday and one of them is very long so I get a very long break in which I can get a lot done. Since it is the end of the year though, I really do not have that much that needs to be done.

I think the break will be good for me. It is giving me something to look forward to so hopefully this week will go faster. Plus, with the day off next week, it will make next week shorter. And, it is giving me a break, just like the Samaritans suggested for me a couple weeks ago.

16 Weeks Clean!!!

Today, I am 16 weeks clean from cutting! I am saying that I have tied my previous record from the first time I went clean. I do not know if it is exact because the first time I quit I was very busy and did not really keep track of the time.

I had a rough time stopping the first time just like I did this time. The first time, I kept giving in and cutting every time I had a bad day. Then, I ended up getting a job away from home and that is what stopped me from cutting. I ended up moving in with my aunt and uncle and did not pack my blade. Plus, I had a really great job and that helped with the depression. But then, four months later, the summer was over and I had to come back home. That is when I cut again. It was very disappointing.

And until this last school year, I only cut every couple months. I really did not want to pick up the habit again. I knew what I was doing was wrong. But once I moved here and got a new job, I looked at cutting as necessary in order to deal with my life. That was a mistake because I quickly picked up the old addiction.

There are days like today when I do not miss cutting. I cannot believe I ever once did like it. I feel like these last few months have been an eternity. But then there are days like yesterday when cutting is all I can think about. Suddenly, these last few months have seemed like a few days that really did not matter.

If it was not for the support I have received from my followers, I never would have made it to this milestone. And unfortunately, the journey is over. The last sixteen weeks have been a roller coaster. I have no idea what the future will hold and whether the desire to cut will ever completely go away. I only hope I continue to have the strength to fight the urge.

Are You All Right?

Are you all right? has to be one of the worst questions someone with depression can be asked. With me, I always answer with a lie. Nobody needs or wants to know about the inner struggles of my mind. And the thing is, I was asked that question once on Sunday and twice on Monday by three different people.

I almost broke down and confessed that I was depressed on Sunday. The person actually asked me more than once in the same conversation and if they had asked again, I probably would have broken down and said that I was not. That was the day I wanted nothing more than to cut. I cried several times that day too.

On Monday, I was not feeling any better. I still wanted to cut, I did not want to go to work, and I was still feeling depressed.

Today, I was asked by the two people from yesterday if I was feeling better and I was able to truthfully say that I was indeed feeling a little better. I was feeling a little better. At least the desire to cut had gone away. But I was still feeling depressed and most definitely did not want to come to work.

It is kind of funny how I was asked the question three times in two days. It was almost like they knew that I was depressed. I have had only one person figure out that I was depressed and that was when I was in high school and by a student that had a huge interest in psychology. It makes me feel like I am valued but at the same time, I don’t like people looking too closely at my life.

For the most part, I am feeling better. I have been able to laugh and smile for real today and actually enjoy some conversations. I was able to go about life on a normal speed instead of slowed down. I was actually able to do things because I wanted to rather than forcing myself. I was almost able to sing in the shower.

I only hope that this feeling continues. Depression is not fun. I hate how it controls my life. And obviously, some people are getting suspicious.

I Just Want to Cut

I have never wanted to cut more in the last fourteen weeks than I do now. The thought came to me last night and is still with me this morning. My brain is trying to come up with alternatives to actually cutting but they are stupid suggestions because it would still be considered self harm.

My brain is begging me to grab my old letter opener and just make a tiny scratch on my arm. I guess my brain thinks this is acceptable because I actually switched to scissors quite awhile ago and I make way worse than tiny little marks.

The other thing my brain is suggesting is using my fingernails to make tiny scratches. I have used my fingernails in the past when I did not have my cutting instruments. The fingernail idea actually scares me the most because I am afraid I will snap. And it is not like I have to get up and actually get my fingernails.

I did go get the blue highlighter that I normally use when I want to cut but it is not helping me feel better right now. I am so afraid that I am going to break down after 14 weeks. I have made it so far. My record is about four months and I so look forward to breaking it. I am so close. I am just really struggling right now though.

Samaritans-Third Time

I contacted the Samaritans through email for the third time last night after experiencing suicidal thoughts. And because my last email had been less than a month ago, I am still in the system. In some ways, that made me feel better because they have a better idea about what is going on in my life. But in other ways, I do not like it because it means that I have been suicidal twice in the last month.

In my email, I wrote that I hate my job and have been feeling depressed the last several days. They suggested that I either take a break from work or get professional help. I have considered both those options before but neither really work for me.

I do not want to take a break from school because school is over in five weeks. I personally cannot make it five weeks but people in this small community will talk. People will be questioning me about what is going on. They will see my car at my apartment and wonder why I am not in school. There is no way I am going to admit that I have mental health problems. It is none of their business.

Plus, in this small community, there are very few subs. I may not be able to get the days I want. And I am not sure that I really want to use all of my days. The school gives us twelve days a year. I have already used three. I am just afraid that some time I might get really sick or something and then run out of days.

The Samaritans also suggested I get professional help. I know I should. I have been depressed off and on since I was sixteen. I am just afraid that no one will believe me. My depression symptoms started about a week ago. Depression is supposed to be for at least two weeks. It has been eight years if you count all the previous episodes. Or, you could include the two suicidal thoughts from this month and say that I have been depressed for about a month.

The thing is, my depression has been fairly mild. I am able to go about my daily life. I still get my chores and school work done. I get out of bed each morning (not willingly) after hitting snooze only once. I am afraid that my idea of depression might be someone else’s idea of just not coping with life appropriately.

In my eyes, my brain is the problem but to what, I am not sure. I believe that my brain is not programmed right. My brain does not know how to handle the world around me. That is why I turned to cutting and am constantly tearing my eyebrows out. Do I really have a chemical problem or do I just have a problem with the world?

Selfies 2

The other day I wrote about one of my Facebook friends and the constant selfies she posts. I counted and she had about thirty. And the album is not even that old. She posts probably one to three everyday.

Well, this morning, her Facebook post was directed at someone that must have complained about her excessive selfies. She said that if they are going to complain, they do not have to look at them. Or, they could unfriend her. I have seriously thought about unfriending her as well but I still do care about her, despite the number of selfies.

Still, I think she should take the person’s comments and seriously reflect on them. I know there is some psychology behind selfies. Posting that many pictures of oneself cannot be healthy. Besides, the comments and likes on the album are starting to slow down. All the pictures basically look the same. There is not much more to be said.

Not All of Us Are Crazy

It seems like every time there is a mass killing (such as the recent tragedy involving 150 people on an airplane) mental illness is to blame. With these tragedies comes both positive and negative attention involving mental illness.

On the positive side, it raises the public’s attention that more should be done for people with mental illness. And I totally agree. There are a lot of resources available to people suffering as well as plenty of information for those who do not understand what a loved one may be going through. But there is also more that can be done.

On the other hand, these tragedies bring a lot of misconceptions about mental illness. After hearing stories about people losing their lives to a gunman in a movie theatre, mall, school, or even an airplane, there is always negative attention involving mental illness awareness. Mental illness is always to blame for these incidents. What bothers me about that is that of course mental illness is to blame but these people are not a very accurate description of people suffering from mental illness.

I also suffer from mental illness. I have depression, OCD tendencies, anxiety, and trichotillomania. I am also a recovering cutter at thirteen weeks clean! But no where in that description is mass murderer! I am not a danger to anyone. The very idea is repulsive to me.

I may have depression and occasionally feel like there is no value to my life but thankfully, I know that God has plans for me and that I need to continue living in order to fulfill those plans. I know that I need to keep living because I have people that care about me. Plus, I do not think I would have the courage to actually take my own life.

The only person I have ever been a danger to is myself in the form of cutting. And I never cut very deep because I knew I would have trouble hiding it. Cutting was just a way for me to deal with life. And I have been working very hard to achieve the thirteen weeks clean that I have reached this week!

I have also had thoughts of suicide in the past. That is a part of depression unfortunately. It is not normal. I know it is not normal and the thoughts always terrify me. That is why twice in the last couple of months, I have emailed the Samaritans (jo@samaritans.org) anonymously to talk about my problems. It does help me feel better and they always offer helpful advice. And if the thoughts got even worse, I know that I would have to take more drastic action and get professional help.

I may suffer from mental illness like a large part of the population but like so many of them, we are incapable of the horrific crimes committed by just a small percentage of those suffering. It is unfair to compare people with mental illness to the few people we see on the news.