Twisting My Tummy: An Anxiety-led Tuesday

I had my hair cut today. And I had lunch out. Then I came home and I played with my doglets, watched ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and child the little dude.

Then I tutored some awesome kids and made really yummy dinner (no-one has reported any adverse effects yet either!).

Today was a good day.

I am lucky because I can take some time. I’m on leave from work and when I do go to work, I’m part time. I get time out from school and the other work I do is flexible, movable and really blooming interesting. That is a privilege.

I also had to take today and make it a good day. If I hadn’t taken today, I’d probably have been down, tight in my tummy and feeling wobbly. And I’d have felt tired. So very tired; I’ve not been sleeping well.

I have anxiety. Anxiety that has been medicated at times. Anxiety that rips my stomach into shreds when it’s in its full throes. Anxiety that wakes me up at night and twists my brain into horrible contortions. My ‘Anxiety Monkey’ can hit me when everything is good, when everything is horrible and at any point in between. It’s not situational and it is situational. It can be everything and it can be nothing. But whatever the underlying reason at any point, there is no denying that I have anxiety.

And it sucks.

I am by far from the only teacher with anxiety (or other mental health difficulties). It seems endemic in the profession and the question is why? What makes it that way? But I am lucky that, for now, I can take time and have a ‘Helen Day’ to reset. Others are less fortunate and don’t have the wriggle room in their lives to do that. People (read: Helens) shouldn’t have to drop hours and reduce FTEs to make wriggle room in life. Jobs shouldn’t do that to people, but in teaching, they seem to.

We need to start to say no. And be able to get a haircut and a good day without guilt-led anxiety eating our stomachs.

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