I’ve mentioned a couple times already that I am a worrier. I worry that I have forgotten something for school. I worry that if I don’t drink my tea early enough in the morning I will have a migraine headache. I worry that I will get lost on my way somewhere, or my car will break down, or I will be late. I worry that I have a brain tumor. I worry that a lesson I have planned (or worse, not planned) will go terribly wrong and students will be sitting around NOT LEARNING ANYTHING.
I know that most of these worries are illogical, non-rational, and that they can be debilitating. I know, rationally, that I really DON’T need to worry about these things
I HAVE forgotten my school keys more than once! I can borrow what I need from other teachers. On Sunday I slept in until 9 AM and I didn’t get a migraine. The current car has never shown any signs of breaking down (it is only 2 years old) , and I have a cell phone now. The last time I had a car breakdown I didn’t own a cell phone. Being late is NOT the end of the world. I show absolutely no signs of having a brain tumor, but I heard an NPR story once by a guy who DID have a brain tumor and it started out as a lot of migraine headaches. I plan well, and when things go wrong I can talk to students for many many minutes about all sorts of topics, plus there is a whole cupboard full of videos at school just in case.
Along with the over-worrying, I experience anxiety every September through June. Starting with the night before the first day of school, when I have a lot of trouble sleeping, I go through the school year on edge. I feel jittery, nervous, and tense. The muscles of my upper back become knotted and sore. I don’t go out with my friends because I worry that I won’t have enough time to get my schoolwork done, and then I fritter away the time I should be doing schoolwork because my anxiety paralyzes me into inaction. Sundays are the worst, since it is on Sunday that I take stock of all the things I ought to do for school before Monday, and it is usually a lot of stuff. This has been going on for years.
A month ago, my doctor diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’ve known for a while that I had it, but one reason I had never been diagnosed is because you have to have it for 6 months in order to be diagnosed. By the time I have been anxious for six months, the school year is more than half over, and I feel like I am too busy with school to go to the doctor. But this year, I DID go to the doctor, and I am very glad.
I am in therapy with a very nice lady who has been very helpful, and my doctor prescribed an antidepressant that is also for anxiety. A week and a half ago I was feeling terribly stressed and anxious, and this week I feel so much better! Despite all the lab reports I collected last week, I had no problem going out on Saturday to help friends clean out a house that is being sold. I didn’t worry that I would get lost or be late, and I didn’t worry that I ought to be home doing schoolwork. The difference in how I feel is partially due to having gotten through the end of the school marking period and the end of the college semester for my online course simultaneously–having grades due plus taking an exam and having five homeworks due at once was too much all at once! But I think there is also a difference from the antidepressant and the therapy.
Unfortunately, not worrying about it is still not the same as getting the schoolwork DONE. So I still have a lot of labs to grade, which I will be working on for the next couple of days. I am still very good at procrastinating, and I don’t think there is a pill for that. I will be experimenting with Joanna’s method of telling myself I have to do X for a certain amount of time Y, then doing it. Then I can switch and do something else for some amount of time Z. And the labs will be graded by Wednesday, so I can give a quiz on Thursday!