Thursday, February 28, 2013

It’s Time to Talk About Depression

You all know that I like to keep things light on my little blog; it even says so right on my About Me page. So most of the time I share life’s little absurdities as well as life’s little irritations, but I don’t delve into the more serious areas of life. Today, however, I feel that I need to explain my sudden absence from my blog. (I hope someone somewhere has noticed that there’s been a sudden absence!)

For several months now I've been fighting off a bout of depression, an illness that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Depression is a treatable illness, and most people’s symptoms can be alleviated with medication and/or talk therapy.  Some of us who suffer from long-term depression (dysthymia) keep our symptoms under control most of the time, but even with medication, it rears its ugly head from time to time.

What brings it on? Everything. Or nothing. One of those. 
By Constance Marie Charpentier Creator:Constance Marie Charpentier (Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The problem with depression is that it’s a liar. The depressed person (I) begins to feel down, just kind of “blue” or not right. Her (my) energy begins to wane and the negative feelings deepen. She (I) begins to engage in “negative self-talk” which causes further feelings of sadness and despair, which causes more negative self-talk. Medication doesn’t cure the illness, but it makes it possible to think clearly enough to see through the lies of depression.

Lately I’ve been believing the lies: I’m not a good enough teacher, a good enough wife, a good enough blogger, a good enough mom. I’m just not enough.
depressed woman
By Eliseo Sala (1813 – 1879) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Like other depressed people, when I begin to believe the lies, I see supporting evidence all around me. I won’t go into all of the areas of self-loathing, but I had evidence that I’m not a good blogger. People quit commenting. If they aren’t commenting, then they aren’t reading, and if they aren’t reading, it’s because I suck. There’s no other possible explanation.

Well, I’m just to the point where I’m entertaining the possibility that there could be other explanations. Maybe.

Depressed people tend to treat their feelings as evidence of what’s real. I feel worthless; therefore I am worthless. As I said, medication doesn’t make the symptoms go away, but it makes it possible to see through the lies. I’m trying really hard right now to “feel” like the negative thoughts are lies, and not reality.
Heinrich Hoerle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The first step to feeling okay is to act okay. So I’m back.

I’m getting some help, and I’m feeling my way back to normalcy a little at a  time. Even writing this out has helped.

It’s funny. When I sat down to write this post, I thought I would do some research and share facts and information about depression. I really hadn’t intended to write so much about my personal situation. Once I started writing, it just all came out.

Tomorrow, I’ll share that research. Today I just want to let you know I’m back, and I’m better, and I’m enough.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things I Have Been Asked Lately

I truly love my students. In fact, when I'm not wanting to rip out their voice boxes, they are a source of never-ending entertainment. Junior high is that interesting age between Cute Little Kid-dom and Too Cool for School.

One of the more interesting parts of teaching is coming up with answers for some of the questions I'm asked. There are a lot of times when I just give the kid a blank stare because I have no idea what to say.

Let me share some of the things they've asked me lately. For some reason the best questions always start with, "Mrs. Meents..."

"Mrs. Meents, Chris wants to know if you're a boxer because you're wearing an Everlast shirt." 
Yep. That's how you can tell.

"Mrs. Meents, do you want a garbanzo? How about a kidney?" 
I  have to quit letting them eat lunch in my classroom.

"Mrs. Meents, what's your favorite dinosaur?"

"Mrs. Meents, how come if you say south (sowth) you don't say sowthern?"
. . . 

"Is it possible to have 'soft' handwriting?"

If you've got a good answer for those last two, would you let me know? I'm blank!