Targeting the trigger

Over the next few weeks, I have planned some really intensive EMDR work that ought to help me work through my feelings of “stuckness.”

I’m approaching these appointments apprehensively…for me, EMDR is rigorous and exhausting. It is emotionally overwhelming and draining all at the same time.

But, without hesitation, I can say it works. After each session, it feels as if some part of my path has been cleared, making it easier to take a few more steps forward, edging ever closer to the elusive other side.

My last few weeks have been riddled with more anxiety that I have experienced in quite awhile. Luckily, I am able to take a step back and realize that I handle the anxiety so much better than I once did. Once, it paralyzed me, making me ill and unable to get up off the floor.

Today, I breathe through it. I know I have medication that works if I need it. I know the feelings and why they are here. I know I am not dying.

Not that I welcome the anxiety at all—no, it has been a rather unwelcome visitor of late. I have been stress eating. My IBS symptoms have been flaring up, causing me to run back and forth the the bathroom and giving me anxiety as I wonder who will notice, or when it will happen.

The last quarter of the school year is a time that is rather unsettling. Students are rambunctious and wild. Teachers are over it and getting rather snappy with each other (unless you’re me–and can’t understand why anyone would ever be mean to someone). Job positions are opening up and there is a lot of uncertainty in the air–who will leave? Who will they hire? Will contracts be renewed? Will remaining teachers be swapped grade levels?

So much is currently up in the air.

My teaching partner retired. She’s been out ill most of the year, so I am not surprised. But the hole there is giving me anxiety. I want to know who I will work with. I want it to be someone who is kind and willing to work as a team player. The person working the position right now is amazing and we have naturally and easily fallen into a friendship and partnership. I don’t want to lose that. BUT. I don’t know if she will be offered the job or not.

I am struggling with another teacher, one who is veteran and whose daughter is in my class. She has been upset that her daughter’s grade went down in a subject–but, rather than addressing it with me, she instead began simply ignoring me. She went from having lunch in my classroom, chatting frequently, and the like, to simply completely ignoring my existence.

Then came the more passive aggressive behaviors. The rolling of the eyes when I spoke up. The slight comments. The general competitive nature and subtle implication that if kids were struggling academically or with behaviors in my room it has more to do with me as a teacher than the students.

And a minor panic attack on my part and confrontational meeting before and during parent teacher conference week (which, is a super stressful week on its own).

Today, I saw my new friend talking to this other teacher. Walking down the hall together, chatting and laughing (this friend knows what has been going on and has been on my “side”).

As I walked down the hall behind them, I started to feel myself get small. I felt left out. I felt insecure. I felt jealous and worried that this mean teacher was trying to steal my friend away.

I went to my desk and started to fret. What if my friend decided to take the other teacher’s side? What if she doesn’t like me as much as I thought? What if I AM a terrible teacher and my struggling students are struggling because of ME? 

Then a whole cascade of other insecurities came flooding over me: What if my principal hates me? What if they move me grade levels? What if they don’t renew my contract?! What if this mean teacher lady is trying to steal my current teaching partner? What if I end up having to work directly with HER all year next year?

And on and on it was going.

Until…I had a thought. I thought of my therapist who told me something simple: Don’t fight what you are feeling. Recognize it, feel it, and move on.

So, as I sat at my desk, fretting my planning period away, I forced myself to stop.


You are feeling insecure. But…nothing has changed! Your friend is your friend. Her actions and her words show you that. Nothing has shown you anything otherwise. Where is your confidence? Where did it go? You have good evaluations. You are a good teacher.

And…just like that, I decided to breathe and let it go. I was seriously tempted to let it take over, to let it win. To feel less than and bad about who I am.

…But, why? Isn’t that a waste?

Why should I sit there, worrying about everything that hasn’t happened yet, wasting the time that is here?

It is a good question to ask.

As the weeks go on, I hope that I will continue to recognize, accept, and move on. Or, as Peg Streep from Daughter Detox puts it: Stop. Look. Listen.

I get triggered. I feel it. I spiral.

But I can target that trigger. Figure it out. Realize I am doing it and realize why.

And then…then, I can change.


4 thoughts on “Targeting the trigger

  1. jencamb April 14, 2018 / 2:57 am

    So glad it’s helping you too. It is amazing isn’t it?! xxx


  2. jencamb April 14, 2018 / 2:59 am

    So glad it’s helping you too! And you are most definitely brave btw xxx


  3. HerdingChickens April 18, 2018 / 4:43 am

    That’s so impressive! I’m a teacher, too. I need to try your technique. It baffles me that some people prefer to be passive-aggressive rather than direct. I’m sending teacher hugs your way. Good for you, handling it all so well!!


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