This year has been tough. I discovered that I have limits because I pushed myself past them; my commitments, projects and goals became too much as I began to cope with a variety of health concerns in my family, including my own.
For the first time in my teaching career, I was overwhelmed — but it took me a while to understand the reasons why. I neglected the professional goals that I set for myself this past summer because I couldn’t even think about work. In fact, I still haven’t opened the two books I planned to read during July and August. Usually I love diving in to new ideas and challenges have always excited me. That’s not the case right now.
The beginning of this school year didn’t feel the same way as other years; the excitement was somehow muted because I couldn’t seem to fight my way through sadness and anxiety. It felt a bit like being under water while everyone else was on dry land. Sights, sounds and even movement became clouded and murky.
Thankfully, I have had people I could turn to, who would listen without judgment and offer compassion. As much as we hear about the importance of talking to others when you’re struggling, it is a seemingly impossible task when you’re the one who needs to talk.
Look for the silver lining. There are people who are going through much worse than you. Other people are busy with their own problems, they don’t need to hear yours. If you tried hard enough, you would find a way through this. It’s not that big of a deal. There are thousands of ways I could convince myself not to make that phone call to my little sister, or to text a friend. These moments are the hardest: coming to terms with the extent of your problems and needs, and accepting them enough to reach out — and to fight the fear that the person you talk to won’t be able to (or want to) help.
My family and I have begun to focus on our health, something that requires a bit more effort and planning than we have been willing to sacrifice in the past. My daughter and I began working together on a side project that was completely different than anything we had done before. I’ve needed to readjust my sails and rethink my priorities, sometimes a few times a day. Joyful moments are slowly finding their ways back in to our lives and I will do my best to welcome them with open arms.
To my family and friends who support me, thank you. Some of you have held me through some of my raw moments, and your kindness means everything to me.
If you are struggling in any way, and find it difficult to cope, take a moment. Or two. Or as many as you need. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to accept love from others. Don’t forget to talk. A lot.