Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Why?

It’s because of days like today that I started this blog.

I’ve been so tired for the last week or so, and that’s been causing my mood to plummet. The weather hasn’t helped. It’s so cold that I just want to hibernate.

I’ve fallen behind with my lesson plans and evaluations. My tutor’s coming in on Friday. I wasn’t worried about this. Now I am. He expects to see all of my documentation up to date. Which is just about doable. Maybe.

I’ve just had some pretty shitty lessons. Year 13s telling me that they’re not in the mood to work and that I’ve given them too much homework. Some of them who haven’t even done last weeks homework! They had 20 minutes at the end of the lesson. Nobody got past the second question. It was literally reading a number from a formula.

Year 9 was even worse. They wouldn’t listen or settle. I’m typing this us whilst waiting for them all to appear and repay me my 11 minutes of wasted time. I also collected their homework in and planned to mark it now. Only 7 of them had done it. Seven! The rest hadn’t even finished off the scattergraph I’d got them to start in class, a 5 minute task.

I’m wondering why I want to do this. There are so many other jobs I could have gone into. There must still be stuff I can do. I just can’t imagine doing anything other than this.

I hate feeling like this, because I know that when it goes well, I really enjoy teaching. It’s just, not going well. And that’s hard to deal with.

At the minute, I really want a cuddle and a sympathetic ear. I’ve got a long wait for either.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Coming out

To add to my list of deviancies I'm bisexual. This isn't actually relevant apart from it's link to the phrase I'm about to use;

I have found coming out infinitely easier than "coming out" as having depression and CFS.

I think part of it is that bisexuality is losing it's stigma. And I'm proud of who I am. Mental illness has not gone as far in losing it's stigma. And, far from being proud I detest the fact that I suffer. It makes me feel weak and useless.

This post is prompted by the fact that I had to tell my mentor today that I was on anti-depressants and had CFS (my tutor at uni suggested that it should happen, just so she was aware). She didn't seem sure how to take the news. Possibly my own fault as I very deliberately mentioned it in between other things without much time for pause, dismissing it with a "but I'm alright, I'm coping". For once, that's the truth. But I wonder if I would have said any different had I been struggling? Experience tells me the answer's no. Reflection on how I feel tells me that the answer's still no.

People keep reminding me how hard, physically and emotionally, being a teacher is. I'm aware of that. I think that what I am doing to cope is enough. At least for now.

What am I doing to cope? This for one. This allows me to write about how I feel and explore how I feel without feeling embarrassed or like I'm wasting somebody's time. I'm also making an effort to get some exercise. It may seem counter-productive initially but exercise is encouraged for depression, and for CFS where it's possible. On top of that I'm resting. Lots. To the point where it's driving me up the walls! I sleep for a couple of hours minimum when I get in each night then sleep for the majority of the weekend.

Sometimes I wonder if it's worthwhile. I contemplate dropping out, getting a little part time job somewhere. that isn't very demanding But I couldn't do it. At the very least I need to feel stretched intellectually. Teaching provides opportunities for that to happen. It also fills other needs as has been mentioned before. I firmly believe that teaching is a vocation and not a profession. Bad teachers are those who don't have it as a vocation but a job.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

CFS

This time last year I was diagnosed with CFS.

I'm still not entirely sure that the condition exists.

Part of me wants to tell myself to just get over it.

The other part grunts in sleep and rolls over.

On reflection I'm not sure which is harder to deal with; the depression or the CFS. I think it's hard to separate the two - especially as I have never suffered with CFS alone. They certainly feed off each other. After all, I feel tired so feel useless, which makes me feel sad, which uses energy, which makes me tired, which makes me feel useless etc etc etc.

Most days I wonder why I even bother.

So what is this?

This is a blog, mostly written for me, looking at going through ITT whilst suffering from depression and CFS. If I find it helps, it well expand to going through NQT year and so an ad infinitum.

Of course it may not.

In case you're reading this and you're not me, I'll give a little bit of background.

I'm nearly 22 years old. I have a good degree from a top quality university. I got ok A level results and good GCSE results. My subject is maths. The interconnectedness of it all pleases me. People have told me I'm slightly autistic. I don't like change. I do like patterns. I think these are all reasons that maths is my subject.

I have always known that I want to be a teacher. I used to use teacher training days to go and help in primary schools, I ran clubs and went into other lessons as an assistant at my own secondary school. I got a job at a holiday club. I simply cannot imagine my life without teaching in there somewhere.

During my second year of A level I developed depression. I kept this hidden from everybody for as long as I could. I was ashamed of it. I was strong, I didn't need help. Only weak people and lazy people had depression; they just needed a kick up the arse and to get on with it. Soon, I was self-harming on a regular basis, drinking vodka from the bottle whenever I felt down and losing all ability to concentrate. Friends noticed. I was made to go the doctor. He dismissed me. I felt worse than ever; not only was I actually suffering, but this suffering had been dismissed as trivial and unimportant. Luckily I received outstanding pastoral care at my school. The head of 6th form put me in contact with a free counselling service.

The counselling sessions I had with them were a joke. The counsellor seemed more upset than I was by the answers I was giving to her questions, she made me move rocks to represent my family and other silly things. I felt that it was beneath me and was glad when the six sessions came to an end.

And so I headed off to university. There I faced what was possibly the worst year of my life. I could not concentrate, I could not focus, I drank too much and usually drank alone (often waking up passed out on my bed) and I ended up in A&E due to self harming. That, and a dinner I had attended without remembering (having been so drunk I didn't even remember getting ready to go, let alone the meal itself or being escorted back to my room to stop me making a fool of myself) was the wake up call I needed.

At the start of the year I met the person who is currently my fiance. They have been amazing, and without them I couldn't have coped. It was they who escorted me to those first appointments with both doctor and counsellor, who looked after me when I was feeling at my worst and celebrated with me as I got better.

I'm currently on 60mg of Citalopram daily. The effect appears to be wearing off slightly, and my new doctor is monitoring my progress.

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