I have to say that I am incredibly fortunate to have mental illness issues in the 21st century. There is less stigma (plus I don’t have issues with what people think of me for the most part, which is why I’ll tell almost anyone), plus access to good mental health care is greater than before. I am so fortunate to have good medical insurance. Plus, I think therapy and medication have come a long way since the old days.
That said, I’m still not rocking 100%. I don’t exhibit signs of depression anymore, but I do exhibit irritability and annoyance. I’m concerned that I qualify myself as “ready, fire, aim” since it means, to me at least, that I must always be aiming and ready to fire. To be honest, I think that’s the truth.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am still not clear of some baggage I thought I’d left behind. I think I do a good job of ignoring it, or even leaving it behind, but somehow it always seems to be delivered back to me — like one of those cartoon hand grenades. Lately it’s become clear that in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY JOBS, I’ve been asked to do the hard thing — toe the line, make sure stuff gets done well, on time, and follows the orders I’ve been given. In every one of those jobs, I’ve been punished for doing what I was instructed to do. I’ve been punished for not doing other people’s jobs, and then for doing them.
I can remember knowing a policy would lapse the minute it was delivered and working hard to get ANYONE to listen to me and fix it. No one would touch it, and I kept being told promises were made to the agent. I let it deliver KNOWING the insured would have no insurance DESPITE POURING A LOT OF MONEY INTO THE POLICY. No one who had a higher level than I was willing to stop it, so I decided not to as well. Low and behold, guess who got into trouble? Yes, not the people whose jobs it was to do everything right, but the lowly person who tried to stop it and was told to deliver it “no matter what”.
I have been instructed to do x, y, z at a school site only to have the same principals who demanded the towing of the line back down from parents who complained about it. I’ve been told to “write students up” (as was every other teacher in the staff meeting) so we have a record, only to find out that I was being trash-talked about doing so and that they weren’t keeping records. The records made us look bad.
It seems that I put myself into the situation of being a “good soldier” only to be vilified for being one. When my therapist asked me why I felt it was my job, I realized that my core belief is that if I don’t do it, no one else will. Unfortunately, this belief tends to be supported by the number of support staff who explain to me “I’m glad you did something about that kid. He/She is a terror and nothing seems to be done about it.” They see it, but the powers who want the front line defense are unwilling to actually support us.
I’m trying to find out why I keep doing this. Why can’t I just give in and let things happen? Why do I try to head off trouble and to “sheepdog” the students into compliance? Why can’t I follow the other adults in their politically correct versions of “it’s not my problem” or “it’s not my job”? Why can’t I pretend that discipline doesn’t come before punishment and that it’s unfair to students to watch double-standards where they need not exist? Why can’t I just say, “I’m not fighting that battle.”? Why do I swim upsteam?
Fact is, I’m still having difficulties despite having a wonderful class. No one tells my class how nice they are, or gives them accolades for trying hard. No one has offered to give me extra money despite my extended time three days a week. Sure I can GIVE it, but I won’t be RECOGNIZED for it. If my kids make it, great. But really, I don’t think it’s expected so why bother giving any kind of extra support beyond the “intervention program.” Sigh. It makes me sad.
I guess I want to know why the 90% good I do is ignored, but the 10% screw ups are magnified, vilified, gossiped about, and used to “keep me in my place”? Why is it that I’m not supported? What is it about my personality that says “expect everything, give nothing”?
I’d like to know because it’s been going one a long time.
Worse? I think I finally realized why I don’t hand out rewards every time you turn around. I don’t get them for doing the right thing, so why start training my students that they will. Why lead them to believe that their good deeds will be acknowledged when my personal experience knows better.
I’m still working on finding out what’s wrong with me so I can fix it. It’s become a bigger job than I expected.