This week I started my job.  After miraculously receiving an appointment to get my fingerprint taken and all my paperwork turned in I walked into my new class Monday morning knowing absolutely nothing, not even if I was supposed to be at the school Monday.

Turns out no one was expecting me until the next Tuesday…

But I pretended like I didn’t feel weird at all walking into the unknown, and thankfully I was welcomed by what has to be the most supportive high school staff ever, so my act quickly became reality.

Oh my how the past three days have been crazy while getting to know a new place, new people, and a new way of teaching.  Yesterday I sat down to meet with the lady who will be helping me through my first few lessons and that’s when I felt my worst and longest enemy return again: anxiety.

For those who don’t know, I struggle with anxiety.  I’m not ashamed of it, but I tend not to bring it up in casual conversation (ya’ know, because it could be awkward…).  Without knowing it, for many years anxiety controlled me and kept me from meeting my full potential.  It wasn’t until this past year that I learned that the tight feeling in my chest and what I now know are panic attacks are A. not “normal” and B. not my fault.  I always assumed that as long as I did everything right then I wouldn’t have to face this dark mean monster inside me, that it was only when I messed up that I would have to feel bad.  So I tried to do everything perfectly, always, which probably just made things worse.

This year I learned that there were two causes for my anxiety.  The first was a lack of serotonin reaching my body, because apparently my brain was too busy sucking it all up for the rest of my body to be informed that disaster was indeed not around every corner.  The second cause was the way in which I was processing information (very doom and gloom as you may intuitively be gathering).   With the help of my miracle medicine sertraline and some great counseling I have learned to process through my anxiety and gain control of my own life.  The anxiety and stress will still be there, but now I can process through it where as before I didn’t stand a chance.

Again, I feel no shame in showing how human I am.  My anxiety actually serves as a continual reminder of how glad I am that this life isn’t everything, that one day, if not in this life, this battle will be overcome because the war has already been won, and I’ll go home where I never have to deal with this again, ever.

However, it still sucks now.  Really sucks.

I don’t know a night that goes by that I don’t pray that God would lift what feels like oppression from me, that I could be free to live without fear and to serve Him without reservations.  However, everyday I accept and trust Him if the anxiety rises, even if I’m not happy about it.

The past few days have been very hard on my heart (literally, panic attacks like crazy).  Because of the counseling I received I have a handle on how I think in spite of my anxiety, and so though my mind has remained completely sound, I will at the same time have a heart that is in panic mode.  My mind will honestly be confused because it’s thinking yes there is a lot to learn, yes there is a lot to do, but you’ll get it done, you always do, just one day at a time.

One day at a time.

I have learned to embrace this idea of taking everything one day at a time.  Yet at the same time, my heart can’t stop freaking out! Oh my gosh these students are depending on you, you need to make a lesson, you need to follow standards, where do you start?! WHERE DO YOU START! If this lesson isn’t perfect and you can’t manage the classroom… there will be a coup.  The students will band together and there will be a freaking military coup in my classroom!

Oh what a battle it has been. Mind and heart, on completely different pages.

Tonight Tim helped me to look up more exercises to help when panic starts to rise (One of his favorites involved asking me if I was teaching currently (as in right this second) and when I responded with “no” he exclaimed Then Don’ Worry Bout It!). He let me lie down and rest while he cleaned the kitchen, whistling to the tune of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” the entire time.

It is a blessing to have a partner who is willing to labor alongside me and fight for me, especially on the days when I feel like I’m losing.

Though times like these make it hard for me to communicate with God, He has been faithful in so many ways.  Not only opening up doors to get me in the classroom sooner so that I have more time to prepare, but also giving me a truly incredible support group while I work to figure things out.

This year is going to be far from perfect, but Lord, I will make it through, and in the meantime, I long that the kids see through me, to a Love that changes everything.  It changed me, it saved me, and it continues to heal me while I journey to the place I belong.

This is my fight, I have accepted it, and with a strength that is not my own, I will finish it.

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