It’s been a while…

… Well, to be precise, it’s been a little over 11 weeks since my last post. A little longer than I had anticipated when I last wrote.

It’s not as though I haven’t wanted to write, but with starting a new teaching position my attention has been pulled elsewhere and in a number of different directions. I just didn’t have the headspace to write anything outside of either lesson resources or emails to colleagues at work. However, I recently had a week’s holiday and certainly by the end of the break I was feeling suitably rejuvenated, so much so that I wanted to read and write as much as I could, and generally take stock of the previous few months.

The first six weeks or so at my new job were a whirlwind of new policies and procedures, learning new names (for colleagues and students, and I will admit there are many that I still don’t know), understanding new examination structures and specifications, countless online ‘systems’ for things like class registers, reports and for data, and of course, who could forget – the office politics. It gets everywhere.

I felt as though I was getting into my groove just as the holidays arrived and so starting back may take a little getting used to. However, with reports due to this week for a couple of year groups and a parents evening, there is no time like the present to get things moving quickly again.

Whilst visiting family and friends over the break a number did ask me if I am enjoying the role. A straightforward question but requires a multi-layered response. Yes, I am largely enjoying it. From a subject perspective, I enjoy teaching my psychology students and the change in course specification. The students are keen, inquisitive and usually complete most of the work set, providing a perfect combination of analysis and debate.

Furthermore, due to the nature of the position, I am also teaching a number of subjects outside of my subject specialisms, some of which caused me a degree of surprise when I first saw my academic timetable for the year. This, I am finding more difficult to get my head around. Not so much the content at this stage, but more the adjustments in my own mindset that I need to make towards the students I am teaching. I haven’t taught younger students (11-14) year olds for over three years. And as pathetic, irrational or as melodramatic as that may read, I feel as though I am having to re-teach myself on how to actually teach. Even the basics such as setting up routines (getting students to line up outside the classroom for instance) feels a million miles away from where I have been for the past three years.

There are definitely some teething concerns in respect of how ‘things get done’ (in other words: organisation) at the school, but I see these much like teething issues that occur at every single school let alone every company around the world. It takes some time for the dust to settle.

I’ll get there and I am going to try and stop being so hard on myself in the meantime. At least I have been able to go crazy on some new stationary for the new academic year.

Advertisements

SWITCHING OFF FROM SWITCHING ON

Things have been quiet on the site for a little over a week as I have been away on holiday. The break provided me with what might seem like one of the latest Windows updates, including the swirling circle indicating ‘come back later’ and also having no clue of a definitive timescale of when the update will be complete. However, I now feel as though I am rebooting back to someone I vaguely know. I feel awake for a start.

A number of things take a hit when I experience periods of chronic fatigue; I skip the gym, my diet switches to dishes that require little thought or preparation on my part (so mostly fast food then) and I don’t have the mental energy to even think about writing. There were various moments last week where I felt as though I was having out of body experiences as I was struggling to focus or build enthusiasm for many tasks outside of day-to-day teaching. All in all, I was ready for some time out.

However, one of the things that I noticed over the course of the weekend was that I was still struggling to switch off. For example, one of my first thoughts on Saturday morning was that I needed to check my inbox… I didn’t as my partner wanted to head out for an early morning walk. A strategic diversion on his part? Not quite, more of a well-timed walk along the beach to watch the sunrise.

IMG_4884

I have a few more days before I head back to work and so I hoping to use the time to catch up with friends, get to the gym and to do something that I have missed dearly in this relatively short period, writing.

LIFTING THE FOG

I have found it difficult to write over the past few months.

Although I don’t want to link it entirely to my mental health, I feel as though it has been a significant contributing factor in the steady reduction in the quantity and quality of my writing. Any writing for that matter.

These are some of the words I wrote in my diary only two weeks ago:

It’s Sunday and I have woken up early and I feel that familiar heavy feeling inside. A multitude of emotions are consuming me that should be oh so recognisable that I shouldn’t question their presence as I have grown so used to them over the years, but that doesn’t help. I am sluggish, teary, and angry at myself. I thought that by now, I would have some gotten my shit together and have some fucking strategies in place: is this the best I’ve got? To spend the day alone? Again?

That was it before I spent the rest of the day driving myself insane (and experiencing a mild anxiety attack in the process) as a result of intense self-loathing.

During this time, work had been all-consuming to a degree that I couldn’t manage in a healthy way and therefore I felt myself slip into some familiar and unhealthy routines in my personal and professional life: excessive rumination, shutting myself away from others, skipping the gym, eating one too many takeaways, and just generally being the cause of my own frustration. My gremlins and the cloak of fog that they pull down over me took hold of my shoulder a little over a month ago, though I know they’ve been lingering in the background for longer than this, and despite my best efforts, they are real fuckers at letting go. But also, I was also feeling incredibly lonely. The ‘work’ I am working on and hoping to move on from next year, but the loneliness is a whole different animal. I knew that at the time there were people I could turn to when I go through this, but when I have decent to some of the lower depths of my mind, I truly can’t see this.

So I really was ready desperate for a break.

Some time out has done something remarkable in a short space of time (despite gaining a cold almost as soon as landing in the UK), I already feel re-energised. Quality sleep, good food, fresh air, exercise and seeing family and friends are all helping with lifting the fog.

In contrast, yesterday I spent practically the entire day writing when I wasn’t with family. It was heaven.