Teaching has mostly consumed my life. I started writing a post about my anticipation for the upcoming Thanksgiving break but found myself disinterested with the conversation I was having with the page. Honestly, If I am going to enjoy writing, I need to separate it from my work. Writing about teaching helps me process my goals and expectations. However, I feel that the job has already enveloped most of my social and personal life. I would hate to see it consume my hobbies and passions. So today, I’m not going to write about teaching. In fact, I won’t even mention the “T” word for the remainder of this post.
My creative pursuits have been on the backburner for the last few weeks. I am finding less time to dedicate to band practice or writing. Although I wish I could invest more time into my passions, I simply can’t always make room for it. Rather than feeling guilty for my declining post frequency, I need to acknowledge that I will never be able to meet all of my own expectations. Accepting that I am a flawed human being is necessary to resist falling into a self-critical, depressive slump. Even with my efforts to circumvent depression, It still seeps through the cracks in my mind.
I watched the latest installment in the miniseries, “The End of the F***ing World,” with great amusement. The musical arrangement for the show captured the emotional displays of the scenes to significant effect. I can’t explain why, but something about the series resurfaced a lot of repressed memories and trauma. After finishing the show over the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel a connection with the characters and the overall themes. I identified with the teenage apathy, the escapism, and the confusion of young relationships. It stirred up some unprocessed feelings of past relationships and hardships. I remembered what it felt like to feel utterly alone. I spent some time reflecting on those memories and still feel as though closure will never be attainable.
It’s easy to shelve your trauma, to tuck it away somewhere high and out of sight, to neglect it. Until one day, it falls to the ground and shatters into dusty shards. Leaving you to pick up the sharp broken pieces. I guess a therapist would be a broom or a dustpan in this metaphor, but I currently don’t have a therapist. So here I am, carefully cleaning up the shame of my past, cutting myself of the shards of tattered memories of monumental mistakes. I must resist the urge to sweep it under the rug, lest I be painfully reminded when I gash my foot at a later time. I suppose that getting help seems more feasible with my current health plan. In my previous job, mental health was a luxury that I couldn’t afford.
Perhaps it is time to give therapy another chance. I took advantage of the counseling while I attended university, but the sessions were infrequent and limited. Finding a therapist that will work for me is a task that will require some time and effort. I want to develop healthy coping mechanisms, but I have already ingrained some bad habits. I should prioritize this over my upcoming break so that I can begin the painstaking process of finding the right therapist. I don’t believe that therapy will solve all my problems, but I am willing to try anything to gain some perspective on just what exactly I am experiencing.
I have never been fond of prescription medication. In the past, I was prescribed Prozac when I was severely depressed, and I had a very adverse reaction to it. Somehow the pill had the opposite effect and amplified my cynicism and suicidal thoughts. I also believe that I should be capable of dealing with my mental illness without changing my brain chemistry. I’m sure a psychologist would say be screaming at the notion that I want to learn how to deal with these things on my own. After all, a significant portion of adults are medicated for various mental illnesses, and sometimes they achieve great relief. If I was offered a pill that would cure my depression but also numb the part of my brain that processes shame, guilt, and empathy, I would decline it. I have accepted that my mental illness is part of who I am, it is not something that I want to remove from my personality.
It’s not a bug, It’s a feature.
After all, masking the symptoms of an underlying mental illness is no different than putting it high on a shelf. A place where It will gather dust and be forgotten. Until one day, it crashes down, peppering the floor with shards of fragmented memories that I will be ill-equipped to sweep away.