Saturday, March 4, 2017

Breaking Point

Along with 1 in 4 Americans, I face clinical depression and anxiety. I recently came perilously close to dying. I suffered for weeks with severe physical symptoms of anxiety, including stomach problems, headaches and insomnia. I longed to escape these symptoms and was irresponsible with medication. My family intervened, saving me from myself. I feel ashamed and guilty that I scared them. I share to help others. I also write this to help myself work through my feelings.

Leaving my job at Balfour Elementary, where I was the media coordinator for almost 13 years broke something inside me. New administration at the school and district level changed, which led to me taking on the duties of 1.5 people in addition to my job, and no funding for library books. I felt that position was so tied to my identity that I felt I lost who I was. It seems ridiculous to my intellectual side; people leave jobs all the time, many after longer than 13 years. However, life through the lense of depression/anxiety often does not make sense. My decision was for the best; why stay somewhere where I was devalued in my position and by some as a human being?

I got offered a job this summer at the elementary school I attended as a child. I had a hard time getting references from my former district, despite receiving several excellent evaluations. I spoke up against poor treatment from my administrator before and after I left, and I have known other people that have struggled after leaving. Even getting references from my so-called friends has been difficult. I get politics, but why not just be honest or simply say, "I can't provide you with a reference."

I received a position as a media assistant, and was treated wonderfully. However, the salary would not  sustain my family, and I haven't been there long enough to qualify for the leave needed to recover from this mental health setback.

Overall, I think I need to just move on. North Carolina's public education system in broken. I will do my part to keep fighting for the rights of students and teachers as a parent and concerned citizen.. I plan to pursue a degree in Accounting. I feel hopeful for the future.