Tonight, I am a mess.
A struggling, emotional, scared mess.
As a teacher, I recently had a few weeks off for the holidays. Days were busy–a combination of Christmas, traveling, and getting back on track with workouts. (Because, you know, I have somehow gained more weight than I want to admit). Somehow, in the chaos of it all, I began to forget to take my antidepressant.
Last Monday, I woke up and had to go back to work. As I went through my usual morning routine, I suddenly realized that it had been at least a week or a week and a half since I last swallowed that little pill.
I teach little people every day. Seven and eight year olds, to be precise. This year, I have one friend who can be particularly challenging. He is a boy on the spectrum, not in control of his emotions and easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli and frustrations.
He feels best right next to me. Getting one on one attention. Holding my hand. Hugging me. Being up in my bubble. Each day, I do these things for him because he is also a child of poverty and neglect and it is my job to love and take care of him while I have him.
The other day, we were walking together. He had been having a rough day, and his signal is yelling, “I hate (whatever is bothering him).” Often, it is me, or a friend, or school, or his mother. My response is typical–“I’m so sorry you are feeling that way right now.”
After having numerous breakdowns that day, he held my hand and calmed down as I led him on a walk. He squeezed my hand hard and asked me, “Do you like me or do you hate me?”
I looked this sweet boy in the eyes. He held my gaze for a second, and looked elsewhere, uncomfortable with direct eye contact, as I said to him, “I don’t hate you at all. I love you.” He took a deep breath and relaxed, ready to go back into the classroom. Continue reading
I’ve been avoiding writing lately. Why? I do not know. Other than, it is always easier for me to write–or really, necessary, for me to write, when I am depressed or hurting.
And, perhaps, that it is it. I am not depressed and hurting any more.
Don’t get me wrong. My stress level as of late has been pretty incredible. There is no tired like end of the school year tired. My days have been a blur of field trips, field days, graduations, assemblies, parties, and behaviors.
It has been EXHAUSTING, and I have been in total survival mode. Continue reading
I have spent the last four years working at elementary schools in various capacities. I have known, for awhile, that education is the career for me. It just took me some time to take the leap and go back to school to earn a second degree.
School was a safe place for me. Growing up, when life was crazy, chaotic, and traumatic, school represented a place where I could go and be free. Loved.
Throughout my schooling, there were a few individuals who saved me. The teachers who saw who I was, and encouraged me to do my best. The teachers who embraced me and made me feel loved and supported. The ones who saw beyond the messy hair or messed up clothes. The ones who didn’t care that my parents didn’t show to parent/teacher conferences and told me I was smart anyway.
Life is messy. Life is complicated.
My early childhood was no exception to this rule.
Nowadays, we refer to the difficult things that children experience as ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences. An ACEs score generally reflects how awful and rough a person’s childhood was due to factors like abuse, neglect, or family dysfunction (think drugs, mental illness, etc.). My ACEs score is a 5–too high. Continue reading