Black Dog / depression is known by many names to many people. It affects us in different ways and we have different ways that we manage our own condition. Sometimes this works and at other times life overbalances and we are ill. Since September 29 when I suffered a “breakdown” I have been working at redressing that balance so I can function again amongst others. I am almost there, it will take a bit of time to phase my back into the lifestyle and daily demands but, and most importantly, I want to be back in my classroom, teaching classes, developing the department and continuing the work I started last year.
Have I learnt anything? Yes again I have had to step back, rebuild my self confidence and resilience and look at ways that the role demands more from me than I can give and maintain a sustainable lifestyle.
I will be developing, alongside my counselling, new routines, checkpoints and activities that mean that my life will not always be teaching led. I have discovered and embraced a new hobby that does not link to work and involves socialising with a range of other people, most of whom do not teach or work in education. I will use my breaks in the working day to switch out and not be available all of the time. I will set time limits for the week and stick to them. I will not be weight lifting at the end of long tiring days and the plastic box in the boot of the car will cease.
Will I complete everything, all of the time? No. Will I aim to be in work consistently motivating, sharing learning and developing the young people I work with – pupils and staff? Yes. There is a stark choice here – play to an ever increasing demand while workload and work-life balance are bandied around as terms but not adhered to OR manage my workload and work-life balance so that I stay healthy and continue in the job that I love and want to continue doing.
As the image shows from my first sketchcrawl at Borough Market on November 7th, sometimes we need to let the bustle of life pass us by and focus on one thing at a time. Take time out occasionally as I did here to answer the lady’s questions about sketching in such a busy environment. On this day I knew that I was getting back to being ready to work in the school environment.