WHEN_____, THEN I WILL FEEL____.

These past couple of months have been….sh*tty.

Y U P. No surprise there.

If this year has taught me anything, it’s that we have no idea what the future holds.

When the pandemic happened, I kept on thinking about different “future” scenarios and how it will make things better.

My thoughts went like this:

When ________, then I will feel______

“When my co-teacher comes back, then I will feel less stressed”. Well, he didn’t come back & I felt the pressure of being the only teacher for months.

“When my new co-teacher starts, then we can split the work and I can feel the weight off my shoulders”. The week before she was supposed to start as my co-teacher, they split my classroom into two. And without any notice, we wouldn’t be working together and would each have to manage a classroom on our own. We each have our own challenges in our classroom, that we have to do on our own without each other’s support.

There are many times in my life when I anticipate for something to happen, then it happens. And I discover it didn’t give me the long-term satisfaction that I was hoping for.

When I graduated college, it was a huge goal for me. I worked hard and I couldn’t wait for the day when I walked across that stage. It was the happiest day of my life. And then the next day happened, and I immediately went into a deep depression. I accomplished a great achievement and then I thought….now what? My life at that point was getting to graduation and then it happened. And I didn’t know what to do next.

When I received the offer for my current job, I was so excited and relieved. I thought this job was the answer to all the unhappiness that I felt at my previous job. Then I started this job and I felt like I was lost myself. I wasn’t creative in my activities and lesson. And I lost my passion and spirit for teaching. I thought the workplace at my previous job was the reason why I lost my passion for teaching. But I guess, it didn’t matter where I worked.

When I finally met up with the guy I was talking to for months, it felt great to finally see him in person. But immediately after I left, I was feeling very insecure. I had anxious worries and thoughts that appeared in my previous relationships. I discovered that I had trauma from previous relationships and years later, it still left a mark on me. We don’t talk anymore but I still think about him …

It’s easy to feel hopeless, when these things happen.

Why should I feel excited for something to happen, because my experience tells me that I will be disappointed or upset afterwards.

So I’m not going to do that…

I’m not going to think that things will be better, because _____ will happen.

I’m not going to think about the future. Not what will happen in 10 years, 5 years, next year. Not even what is going to happen in the upcoming week.

We didn’t know that we were going to be in a pandemic this year and that our lives would be turned upside down.

I look back on past photos and memories and think how much our lives have changed since then.

There’s no point in worrying about the future, because we have no idea what the future holds for us.

NO expectations. NO disappointments.

-MEL

Finding the Positive in the Negative.

It’s finally August 1st.

July was a f*cking hard month.

Mentally, Physically and Emotionally.

I turned the page on my calendar from July to August.

A calendar where I write down one positive thing that happened in the day. If it was a hard day, I made myself find one positive thing that occurred. Many of those hard days, I typically write “survived the day”.

Many of those dates of July said “survived the day” or “going home”. To be exact 10 “going home” and 5 “survived the day”. 15 out of 31 days.

Days before July started, I was already in a battle with my mind. I made myself feel “not good enough” for one person. Additionally, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be in a relationship. And what’s worse was that I had a week off with my mind.

Fortunately, I started therapy on the first of July.

After my week off, work changed drastically every week.

The moment I walked into work after having a week off, my classroom literally changed from one classroom into two. Before my break, I was finally having a co-teacher and we were both so excited to work with each other. Then we each had a mini classroom and couldn’t work together. That first week of a divided classroom, I still had to work by myself in the afternoons. My co-teacher had not started working full time yet. And it was difficult to keep 9 kids in one small classroom for a week.

The next week was interesting, I spent the first half at work and the second week in quarantine. It was the first week of having two classes and we had 5 new/returning students. It was chaotic. Our schedule was rushed and we barely had any materials since they split the toys and materials into two. Then Thursday I woke up feeling so weak. I was trying to just take the day or half a day off. But with COVID, I had to call my doctors and see what their opinion was. Many of the symptoms of COVID are symptoms I experience many times, way before COVID. With anxiety, I already have a hard time breathing and get sore throats. Also, I get headaches all the time. I had to go to a Respiratory “Urgent Care” (aka tents in the parking garage). I got a strep throat test and COVID test. My vitals and breathing were healthy and the doctor had no concerns. However I had to be in quarantine for 3 days while my test was being processed. No complaints there. (Oh it was negative, by the way).

I came back from my unexpected 4 day weekend worried about what happened while I was gone. It was the Floater’s first week there and she already had to sub for me. From what she told me, everything went well. However that 4 day weekend didn’t help with my challenging student’s behavior during nap time. All my progress with him regressed and he was back to hitting and kicking me, along with the floater and my co-teacher. And after the third day in a row, I had a panic attack and was ready to quit. Thankfully, that week we had a Staff Development Day and was closed on Friday. I spent time talking to my director and we tried to come up with ways to see if we could switch students around, which was impossible because that one student has conflict with so many other students. I was stuck.

It was affecting me so much mentally. I felt like I was failing as a teacher. I was so frustrated and got so angry at work. I raised my voice at students and took away so many things. I cried on the way home from work one day and the following day going to work. THIS IS NOT THE REASON WHY I BECAME A TEACHER.

I had therapy this week. My therapist could tell how I’m letting the behavior of my challenging student affect my self-worth and my quality as a teacher. And I was…

I barely slept or ate in the past couple of weeks. And that is probably why I’m feeling very fatigued and weak.

This week, I changed my perspective on my student’s challenging behavior during nap. Instead of making him lay on his mat quietly and wait until the last 45 mins to do a quiet activity. He had to earn the quiet activity. I made him a visual schedule, something I’ve learned while working with children in special education. He is helping wiping the chairs and tables after lunch to get his energy out. Then he has to rest for 30 mins, then read books. Afterwards, he has a quiet activity and a “mystery activity”. But if his voice is not quiet or his body is not calm throughout each activity, he cannot get the next activity. He has to work and earn it. Hopefully this will be the answer to my problem with him.

Along with problems and challenges at work.

I had a couple of scares with my mom going to the ER twice.

I found out that my next door neighbor committed suicided. (Hearing someone commit suicide is a trigger for me.)

I had about many migraines. More than I typically have in a month.

Really bad migraines that: made my vision blurry, was a pounding and unbearable pain. It also made me feel nauseous for days.

Additionally, I realized through a trauma coach and therapy….I have been experiencing trauma from past relationships.

Some positives about this month:

  • HAMILTON!!!
  • Finally got a haircut
  • The days I had off. Due to: my vacation, my unexpected 2 days off and getting off at noon on my staff development day.
  • When one of my students told me, “Ms. Melissa, you’re so beautiful everyday”
  • Coffee.
  • A negative COVID test
  • Videos from Instagram making me laugh.
  • Organized and decluttered my desk.
  • Finally finished errands I put off for months,
  • The amazing floater who barely started. But she has helped me with my class, my students and comforted me when I was having a panic attack.

So yea…

That was my month.

I’m glad it’s over.

I’m starting this month with a positive perspective.

Hello August.

-MEL