Friday, July 20, 2012

a struggle for self-care

I've been more than a bit remiss about posting as of late, and a large part of that centers on today's topic. This has and continues to be a hard subject for me to wrap my head around. Or maybe I simply don't want to see what's in front of my face. And it's not about food. Sorry.

I spend a good part of each day doing a job I used to love. I felt that I made a significant contribution to my students' lives and education. I took delight in almost every aspect of this job, down to paperwork and telephone calls. For years I worked with a delightful mix of teachers, support staff, and administrators. Then the sky fell.

I won't go into all the sordid details. They're painful and boring. I will say that I am not alone in my frustration and near hopelessness in this. Virtually all of our staff at my school and others are facing almost the same issues. We have all in essence been told that we do nothing, provide no value to our students, and are not paid to think. I kid you not. Our daily schedules have been reworked adding 4 to 5 hours of structured assignments without removing a single other responsibility. All that we valued about our contribution to our students has been removed from the program. Teachers who could, have retired, many others are looking for different positions, some have decided they'll stay home with their families for a time. It's that extreme. Others of us, of course, are staying. At least for now. Or until the Prozac runs out. (Just kidding there. At least for now.)

Taking care of myself right now is a daily an hourly struggle. The weird thing is, I'm usually so good at this. I (usually) meditate, I (usually) pamper myself a bit. I'm a bubble bath nut and would happily spend hours relaxing there, and yet lately, I've had to consciously remind myself even to bathe. It's been awhile since I bothered to put on makeup. This may sound silly, but I recognize signs of depression setting in, and it's scaring me. I am not up for taking care of myself right now. When I go to work each day, I have no idea how I will manage taking care of the teenagers who need me to be there for them.

As I began this, I fantasized about reaching a wonderful conclusion, about telling you how I was going to make this work, find the silver lining. Now I know I am not there, probably not even close. I am lucky to have and thankful for a loving family's moral support. I have friends who care and listen. I am not alone. I am at a loss, still. Thanks for letting me share.


  1. I'm sorry it's so bad - I hope you figure something out really soon.

  2. Thanks, Pam. I can't believe I actually admitted this. I have been alternating between head in the sand and Pollyanna, I'm afraid.

  3. One of the best things that has happened to me in the last couple of years was getting laid off from there. I've had to quit jobs that had started sucking the life out of me like this one is doing to you. I loved our students; I loved my clients; it has been some idiot of an administrator who represents so much of what I believe is wrong with this world who destroys the situation. Of course, I'm not referring to Mr. Y at all! I'm sending you my prayers for strength, guidance, wisdom, love, peace, and comfort...and whatever else you may need.
    I've been a bit too crazy the last few weeks to get into my bathtub too, so I say we make a pact to take a long, hot, luxurious bath sometime this weekend..or else! :D
    Peace out!

  4. Thanks for the thoughts, Kim. I like that bathtub pact idea.
    I, too, have left jobs for those reasons. I'll fight the good fight here for awhile. After that, I just don't know. Appreciate all the support a lot.

  5. Pam, it's really great that you wrote this post for yourself. It helps so much to get one's feelings out in the open. There's a sense of relief for one thing. But more importantly, it's usually after we state the issues out loud that the answers seem to come. Often the answer is to go down a different path because there are no ways around the current situation. As a former teacher and one with many friends as teachers as well as a sister who is still a teacher, I greatly sympathize with you. In the words of Christopher Robin (aka A.A. Milne), "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”


  6. Hi Pamela,
    Life sometimes has its challenges and we like to quickly wrap them up with a pretty big gold ribbon. But it's messy, and takes more time than we sometimes think it should. I have no doubt that you will find a way to find peace in the mix, or find a situation that better honors your gifts.

  7. Thank you, Cheryl and Shirley. I know I am fortunate to have such great support in my life. I appreciate your being a part of that. I so want that pretty big gold ribbon, as do my coworkers, but I know better. Sharing makes it lighter, most definitely, so thanks to all of you again.

  8. Thank you for having the courage to share this, because you will not only help yourself, through this, but also others that are in similar positions.
    It's not easy to put those feelings into words, but through it, you have opened up the door for support - support that you might not even know existed.
    I am praying for you and wish you all the best, and if you ever need a friendly word or a pat on the shoulder, I am there! Hang in there!

    1. Thank you. I do feel supported and a bit more confident today than I did yesterday. I still like the idea of running away to a tropical island for, say, 10 years, but I now feel more like I may have the capacity to get through this without doing that. Thanks again.


We'd love to hear what you think about this?