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Mental Wellbeing 2


Xray the Enforcer
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I’m being an arse again. My mother drove to the city to give me a lift back to the country, and I express my gratitude by silent treating her and channeling all my frustration into one small thing that I’m making into a big deal. And it’s a petty and shit thing with substantial implications but it’s also the kind of thing one just rises above with an eyeroll. 

Why are we all so fucked up in this damned family? 

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Yesterday was my dad's funeral. I had been dreading it - afraid I'd cry, afraid I'd be bad-tempered, afraid I'd find it all pretty horrifying - and in the end it wasn't so bad. I think I was fairly polite by my grouchy standards.

My mother arranged everything. She's Church of England to the bone; I'm an atheist, CofE stuff almost gives me a rash, and I feel tempted to drop-kick most of the mild-mannered, faintly self-satisfied-seeming Anglican vicars I've met into the Irish Sea. But I oddly enjoyed the ride in the funeral car with a woman in a top hat leading the way in front on foot, and I didn't feel much of anything during the ceremony itself, which was good. My dad was about as religious as I am, though he described himself as an agnostic, and I didn't really feel the funeral had much to do with him. Kind of funny, since he was its subject. But my mother loves CofE rituals, and had more than earned the right to them after being his carer for years. 

Today I was able to flee back to my own accommodation, leaving the city of my birth and family home behind me. Although I didn't touch alcohol on the day of the funeral until it was well over, I spent rather too much of last week in a tipsy haze. Looking forward to not drinking anything beyond a glass of beer in the evening now that Christmas + funeral + habitation chez ma mèère are over. Starting to feel I can breath again. 

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The new year has started and I am starting it how I spent the majority of the last year: Having a nervous breakdown about how ineffective I am at my job, frantically trying to put together lessons while wondering where the hell the last 6 hours went and why the Word page in front of me is still empty.

Meanwhile my mother is constantly bustling through the house and even though she can't help it in any way, it makes me extremely nervous and I just... I can't focus at all... I have only this weekend left to do two thirds of my lessons for the week and I'm just going to die so badly...

Edit: And now I broke a book slamming it against my head in frustration. Shit...

Edited by Toth
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I've had a drawn out drama with a now exfriend since we quit being friends in September. I won't go over the details (well, not all, ha)... He sent me a text a few days before Thanksgiving where he called me "loco" for no reason apparent to me. It was harsh and kind of out of the blue. I blocked him after that. We have mutual friends and we all talk as a group over WhatsApp and do stuff together (of course). So it worried me that he seemed to harbor acrimonious feelings towards me since I can't avoid him. It also wasn't helpful for my moving on process to see messages from him to our other friends all the time, and stuff he was doing with some of them that I would have been invited to previously...

I happened to find an automatically rejected phone call record in my phone's call history around the middle of Dec. He called again (to no avail because of the block) the day after Christmas when I was talking to a couple of our friends in our shared WhatsApp group. He left a nice reply to a NYE gif I posted today. I think he feels guilty about being nasty to me.

Maybe I won't bother talking about many situational details. I was mostly over the friendship loss by late October or early November. But events last night left me feeling upset about this crap again. Basically, I think I just feel like he left me (as a friend).

Some of the things he did or said after our friendship loss were just nasty and uncalled for. Even emotionally manipulative (like when he told me I'd been "bat shit crazy" and said he thought I was "loco"). I really never did anything to hurt him. I always just wanted peace and for us to be respectful. I've felt mad about the disrespect again today.

I don't like him now. I don't plan on talking to him over the phone about whatever he was going to say. Frankly I don't care about the apology I think he wants to give. I also don't care to discuss what's happened between us. I'm also partly worried the discussion would backfire like our other "discussions" did. I'm tired of drama, and I think it's understandable for me to bypass talking to him given how he's spoken to me in very inappropriate ways that upset me. I did block him for my mental well-being. I just want him to not bother me again, which I don't think he will at this point.

Edited by Lizard Queen
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[tw - likely suicide of a friend]

I wasn't sure whether to put this in the Death, Covid, or Mental Wellbeing thread.

A friend died today (or last night, developing). He was a bar regular in my hometown for decades. If anyone knows that life, he was one of the absolute class acts - everyone loved him, and he made nights better if you walked in and he was there. The shutdown really threw him for a loop. He was a major Covid denier, vehemently anti-mask. As with so many, it was for selfish reasons - the shutdown took away the place he was a rock star. He was a lonely fellow despite having friends up and down the stools - a common story for that world. A story somewhat similar to my own, further in the extreme. He spent the last several months on facebook posting angry rants about liberal agendas, then wonderfully touching messages about friendship and compassion. I certainly disagreed with his stance on the virus and shutdown, especially as he was an older and unhealthy person.

In December, he contracted the virus. I was so angry and scared to see that - I've mentioned before how my town is full of vocal freedom-loving anti-mask types. My friend was a wonderful soul, but terribly confused about the science of this pandemic. His last facebook post a few days ago mentioned his mild symptoms and that he'd see us all in 2021.

You can perhaps guess why this is in the mental wellbeing thread. A mutual friend just spoke to him yesterday afternoon, apparently. Everything is unconfirmed and possibly won't become public, but it sounds pretty clear that this was a self-inflicted tragedy, not one of illness related to Covid.

Whether the virus had a direct effect on his depression, I cannot say. I have read something along those lines. I believe that having to spend the holidays in solitary quarantine instead of in a bar full of loving friends was a heavier burden on him than any of us realized. Regardless, I only wish I'd known how hard a time he was having, and had reached out with a phone call instead of a clink of a pint. I hadn't seen him in a few months, alas. And, perhaps I'm just venting to an internet forum, and will find out he passed peacefully of natural causes. I am, nonetheless, headed for a long walk on a cold, dreary day.

If anyone here I haven't ever even spoken to is feeling particularly lonely and wants to speak about anything, I think this is a wonderful place for that, whether on threads like this or via PM. I don't post too often in these threads, but I certainly will listen.

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I believe I've been hormonal -- I'm feeling sad right now after feeling mad almost all day. Earlier I was alternating between feeling like being alone and then feeling needy, hahaha (that's a new one). 

Edited by Lizard Queen
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I'm so sorry to everyone in this thread who is dealing with loss.  This past year, it seems like we are wading in it and I'm so tired of it.  Just tired.  Anyway, sending tons of prayer, good thoughts, and energy to each of you.  

I'm in a sort of okay place (I wrote 'pretty good' and deleted that) but feel myself ready to topple off into depression at a moment's notice.  Between my dad's health, the news, and all the people I know who are dying from covid or have lost loved ones to covid, I'm just doing the best I can.  My dogs, cat, birds, knitting/crochet, friends, and precious husband are getting me through right now.  I'm taking better care of myself, and trying to avoid those things (like the news) that I know will trigger anxiety and depression.  

So today, I'm hanging in there.  

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I feel like talking about how I let out a lot of emotions to process them a few days ago, but the whole thing sounds weird :P. I think I'd unintentionally bottled up many emotions over something that's played out over a few months, and I'd also been upset on and off about something that happened on NYE that is connected to it. I had a moment a few days ago where I just felt emotional and tried to deal with it in a different way than how I had been. I Googled about emotional detachment because it was a technique that had been helpful for me in the past to process emotions. Found an article on "dealing with difficult emotions" that ended up being very helpful. As to detachment, it suggested saying something like "this is [emotion]" as you otherwise let yourself emote. I followed the other suggested steps (I did cry). I felt better afterwards, and didn't realize I still had pain over some of the things I emoted. I'm not really upset about the NYE thing anymore, and it hasn't pained me to think about some of the things I was sad about (with/without realizing it) from months ago. Well, I felt angry about the latter drawn out situation over the past few days, but I think that was probably healthy and normal as I move on...

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Damn it. I think today was one of the most horrific days I ever had, period. And it's all so fucking irrational because there was absolutely no trigger for it. The whole day ever since I woke up I was just sliding from one anxiety attack to the next and it never ever stopped. I managed to only prepare four lessons over the course of the entire day, I was awfully slow and couldn't focus at all. And the worst part is how insanely vulnerable I was to noise. I was constantly agitated by the clatter of my mother bustling through the house, frightful when she walked in and riled up by her usual use of baby-speak to me.

I cannot remember I ever reacted this extreme and this physical to all of this. Just a couple of hours ago when my mother came in again I ended up dealing with a burning sensation in my heart and my arms uncontrollably shaking. My chest still hurts when I inhale deeply. This is... I don't know what this is, but it for sure isn't a good sign. Shit, shit, shit...

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Lizard Queen has some good tips, Toth. 
There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety, so I would try to find a couple of techniques that work for you. There are auditory, visual and kinesthetic methods, but generally, pick a few, ( some of them take a few seconds) and test them out on a non lesson plan day. Practice them often and it will reduce overall anxiety. Labeling. sensing, tracking your emotions in a neutral way would help. The Rumi poem about the guesthouse can be helpful. Is there sadness, fear, anger, hope, hope?


Here are some methods, breathing with a long slow out breath can stimulate a relaxation response. Orienting by slowly naming objects in your environment helps( I believe that it changes ones focus from ones own disturbing thoughts and feelings without blocking them entirely) . Doing even one yoga pose can help, as long as it’s not too difficult. Tai Chi is great but there is a learning curve. Ordinary exercises like a runners stretch might help. Mindful walking is neat, but just interrupting your thought with some exercise or body attention can be grounding. Some animals “ shake it off” . Really. There is writing about how animals shake after trauma to reset themselves.
Listening to music that matches your mood can give you a sense of attunement. Play angsty music and as your mood changes, be willing to listen to something else. Moods always change, even a little. 
Images can help, if something comes to mind. Letting air out of a tire, is an example.


Here is something that works for me. Try a relaxation technique in the morning, find some tiny ones to use as needed. Write a “to do list” which includes some easy things that you would do anyway. You might think of some self care things. Cross them off as you finish. If you did anything towards that goal give yourself a checkmark. Think” progress not perfection”. 

if you have any notion of something greater than yourself, it is time to employ that. It can be as logical as recognizing the Fabric of Space/Time. I believe it relieves negative rumination.

There is an idea about using your positive qualities( I would give you a lot of credit for creating lesson plans on an off day.) Use reinforcers...on yourself! You know yourself best.

When you are feeling up to it, you may want to come up with a plan and problem solve with your mom, so you won’t be interrupted. No rush. We can’t control what other people do, but there are usually steps to be taken. Non violent communication skills are tricky but worth learning. I can’t do this well, but it helps!

If you are too jacked up, strategies may not work well that day. That feeling of  helplessness is frightening all by itself.  No one needs a specific reason for anxiety these days. There is a lot of global and personal threat to get through. I wish you well:)

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My psychiatrist believes my depression and anxiety may be related to untreated ADD.  We're going to work on it and maybe see how I do on a low dose of meds.  Meanwhile I will keep seeing my therapist as well. 

Psychiatrist has prescribed Wellbutrin and recommended 'bright light therapy'.  This appears to be a...bright light that you set up above or off your field of vision.  It's supposed to affect peripheral vision and help with depression.  Not sure if I am going to do it.

Lastly and most importantly...my sincere condolences to all experiencing loss as has been described in this thread or kept personal and private.  Also support and strength to everyone in the thread and elsewhere trying to work out these issues. 

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2 hours ago, The Great Unwashed said:

i don’t know why I’m talking about it here, except that I haven’t been able to tell anyone about it. I don’t even know if anyone close to me would believe me.

It's totally okay to talk about it here, that's what threads like these are for :)

It also sounded like you needed to tell someone, which I think most people will understand. Good luck with the tests and appointments and I'm sorry about your friend. :grouphug:

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On 1/14/2021 at 6:26 AM, HoodedCrow said:

Lizard Queen has some good tips, Toth. 
There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety, so I would try to find a couple of techniques that work for you. There are auditory, visual and kinesthetic methods, but generally, pick a few, ( some of them take a few seconds) and test them out on a non lesson plan day. Practice them often and it will reduce overall anxiety. Labeling. sensing, tracking your emotions in a neutral way would help. The Rumi poem about the guesthouse can be helpful. Is there sadness, fear, anger, hope, hope?


Here are some methods, breathing with a long slow out breath can stimulate a relaxation response. Orienting by slowly naming objects in your environment helps( I believe that it changes ones focus from ones own disturbing thoughts and feelings without blocking them entirely) . Doing even one yoga pose can help, as long as it’s not too difficult. Tai Chi is great but there is a learning curve. Ordinary exercises like a runners stretch might help. Mindful walking is neat, but just interrupting your thought with some exercise or body attention can be grounding. Some animals “ shake it off” . Really. There is writing about how animals shake after trauma to reset themselves.
Listening to music that matches your mood can give you a sense of attunement. Play angsty music and as your mood changes, be willing to listen to something else. Moods always change, even a little. 
Images can help, if something comes to mind. Letting air out of a tire, is an example.


Here is something that works for me. Try a relaxation technique in the morning, find some tiny ones to use as needed. Write a “to do list” which includes some easy things that you would do anyway. You might think of some self care things. Cross them off as you finish. If you did anything towards that goal give yourself a checkmark. Think” progress not perfection”. 

if you have any notion of something greater than yourself, it is time to employ that. It can be as logical as recognizing the Fabric of Space/Time. I believe it relieves negative rumination.

There is an idea about using your positive qualities( I would give you a lot of credit for creating lesson plans on an off day.) Use reinforcers...on yourself! You know yourself best.

When you are feeling up to it, you may want to come up with a plan and problem solve with your mom, so you won’t be interrupted. No rush. We can’t control what other people do, but there are usually steps to be taken. Non violent communication skills are tricky but worth learning. I can’t do this well, but it helps!

If you are too jacked up, strategies may not work well that day. That feeling of  helplessness is frightening all by itself.  No one needs a specific reason for anxiety these days. There is a lot of global and personal threat to get through. I wish you well:)

Thanks :) (this is the article I followed, if anyone is interested: https://www.gottman.com/blog/6stepstomindfullydealwithdifficultemotions/)

And thanks for your own tips (they were directed at Toth, but of course anyone could use them)!

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What is it with me and Mondays, recently?

I feel so exhausted, I just... can't...

I managed to get outside for a walk for a few minutes both Saturday and Sunday, but it was a goddamn effort. Of course my mother once again panicked and tried to frantically stop me. "You can't just go out after being inside for so long, you will get sick immediately!" Took me several hours to make up my mind and ignore her, but of course even when walking around the neighborhood I couldn't stop the ruminations. And I lost so much time! I'm extremely behind schedule, I still have to prepare four lessons despite having to correct everything from yesterday now. Though... I suppose there isn't too much to correct.

I spent the whole day yesterday answering questions about the days lessons even though the majority of students didn't bother to do them at all, especially those I specifically invited last week to use the goddamn chat because utter silence and then just saying "I don't understand it" two minutes before the deadline expires isn't helpful in any way whatsoever. I'm just so mindnumbingly bad at this job... and once again I several times got the accusation in the mails of my students that I don't "do real lessons" because I'm not trying to do video conferences, justifying their lack of engagement. I can't exactly admit that I can't do video conferences because of how much anxiety I'm suffering from at home and that I would cross a line I shouldn't cross for any reason whatsoever if I decide to expose myself at the place where I'm the most vulnerable.

And then come the technical problems. Yesterday night I was trying to scan two book pages for tomorrow's lessons, it took me five hours and ended with no scanned pages, a permanently disconnected scanner as I messed up reinstalling the drivers and a broken book that I threw to the ground in frustration before punching my head until I felt dizzy and then listening to my mother's mockery half an hour later at 12 pm why I'm not working anymore if I'm complaining about my lack of progress. I went to bed at the brink of crying and got some thrown awake several times thanks to really weird nightmares involving egg sacs filled with maggots infesting the whole flat... and me trying to carry them outside without harming them. XD

On 1/15/2021 at 10:53 PM, Lizard Queen said:

Thanks :) (this is the article I followed, if anyone is interested: https://www.gottman.com/blog/6stepstomindfullydealwithdifficultemotions/)

That's... that's written with couples in mind, huh? I must say I squinted quite hard at the checklist. I am already extremely self-reflecting to the point of defeatism, so I don't see how being aware of my emotions isn't going to make things much worse because I am painfully aware of my feelings and where they are coming from.

On 1/14/2021 at 1:26 PM, HoodedCrow said:

Listening to music that matches your mood can give you a sense of attunement. Play angsty music and as your mood changes, be willing to listen to something else. Moods always change, even a little. 
Images can help, if something comes to mind. Letting air out of a tire, is an example.

I was using music kind of a lot these last weeks, but I mostly used it to try and drown out the background noise of my mother that drives me constantly crazy, but instead the music distracted me as well, so I don't think it's a good idea. I don't need more distractions, I need focus to get onwards with my work in a humanly possible manner.

And then there are moments where I just feel like giving up. I'm a complete failure anyway. What have I achieved with my life? I'm three months away from my 28th birthday and I'm still stuck with my mother, still don't know how to have sensible relationships with people, spend every wake hour worrying about my job and still loose track of the mails I haven't replied to two weeks ago as more urgent work piles up constantly, only make lessons that make my students hate me because I'm drained of all creativity that I still had three years ago when I still had fun brainstorming cool learning situations and there is no way out of any of this for me because I don't have any off-days whatsoever and whenever I do have some holidays I cram them chock-full with all the stuff I wished to do all year long so I end up doubly exhausted AND despairing about how I should have spent the time preparing my lessons.

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@Toth I’m very sorry to hear that the situation hasn’t improved. It is entirely your decision how you handle these issues and you obviously have the most amount of information about the context. Still, if you don’t mind my unrequited advice, I think that saying no is a great thing. To your mother, to your students, to your employer.
It does not benefit anybody that you work 16 hours a day to manage your workload. It is also not shameful, unprofessional or in any way wrong to need and ask for assistance if there’s too much work, and from what you describe, it clearly seems so. Maybe they could take a little off your shoulder, or supply you with tips and tricks how to reduce the time spent on these tasks? 
Either way, I hope you find a way to improve the situation in any way that’s helpful for you. Great to hear you went on a walk!  I personally find walks incredibly beneficial both physically and mentally. 

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Well, thanks and sorry that you have to read this nonsense.

2 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

It does not benefit anybody that you work 16 hours a day to manage your workload. It is also not shameful, unprofessional or in any way wrong to need and ask for assistance if there’s too much work, and from what you describe, it clearly seems so. Maybe they could take a little off your shoulder, or supply you with tips and tricks how to reduce the time spent on these tasks? 

The thing is that it is entirely on myself that I need so much time for my work. Other colleagues deal with the same workload or more and it's just me being an idiot that prevents me from finishing this stuff in a timely manner.

And then the quality... I guess I become more and more aware at my current school how much of my self-worth I'm getting from the job I'm doing. Which... is kinda logical, given how I have nothing else, really. Having a positive impact on people is all that I crave and it's getting to me that all I'm getting is outraged mails about how my lessons are too difficult and instead of engaging with my offers to ask questions in the chat, some just demand better tasks and leave it at that. I know I'm at a difficult school when it comes to the catchment area and it just shows how much I fail at accommodating that with my preparations.

Anyway, enough complained for today. Another break that I didn't need. I need to get going.

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5 hours ago, Toth said:

Well, thanks and sorry that you have to read this nonsense.

There’s no need to apologize at all. The purpose of this thread is to unload one’s shoulder and there’s no judgement passed on how sensible that load is. Simply put, vent away, it helps. 

5 hours ago, Toth said:

Other colleagues deal with the same workload or more and it's just me being an idiot that prevents me from finishing this stuff in a timely manner.

This is exactly what I meant when I said they might be able to help you with HOW they manage to do the same work in a shorter time. Just methodology or time management or technical assistance or short cuts, best practices, synergies. It’s entirely up to you, but I can’t imagine that discussing the challenges with colleagues couldn’t help. It’s up to you of course. Good luck and I hope you find a way to make things easier!

 

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Overloaded is not fun, Toth.  My physics teacher wanted to talk about the theory of relativity, but instead he taught the basic curriculum, and gave bonus readings that counted. That’s when I read the paper given to us and felt a little slow for reading it twice before I got it. I felt proud too! There was a bonus question on the exam of the variety “ who ages faster” and some conditions. The sweat hogs remained untroubled.
Several classes did it that way. 
 

My high school librarian was very pleased by my taking out classics.Even a high school library I could look up chemical formulas, read all Austen, etc

perhaps you could hand out supplementary material liststhat is only for keeners. I liked that my writing classes had lists...so that we could read and compare techniques.

I don’t know if that is your style.

There are a few teachers in my family and it was good that I knew about all the extra effort. There can be a lot. It does get easier and you will find out lots by trial and error. 
My most fun class was probably the one where our favorite teachers debated the character of Prince Hal. It was great to here other points of well argued points of view.

When the pandemic is over we will not have that awful fear on top of everything else.
I don’t know what you teach, but more power to you.

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