It has been two years since I experienced my "major depressive episode." It is a time in my life I will never forget and neither will my family. What a horrible life they lived because of me. It started in January when my student teaching started. The horrors of my student teaching only added to the stress I was already experiencing without even knowing. This started slowly going down hill until April when everything seems to spiral out of control. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was trying so hard to concentrate on my student teaching but it was getting where I just couldn't have a complete thought. My first teacher constantly reminded me of how she wished she had never taken on a student teacher and she was sure my second teacher would feel the same way. She was correct. The smell of the building was not a normal school smell but more like a poisonous chemical. Small negative comments that I was constantly receiving were weighing on my like a ton of bricks. My second teacher was like a high school student. She would go behind my back and "tell" on me about things I was not aware of to my supervisor. I recorded four pages of negative comments she made to me in order to analyze it to see how I could do things differently. I was called unprofessional on more than one occasion. One time in front of the whole class over a little joke and another for calling in because Chris was sick (he was but really I just couldn't get out of bed). The secretary did not know me even though I had been at this tiny school for four months and I had to yell to her the problem. I was bringing home my problems and because I was so upset I was also getting berated at home. I was getting no help anywhere. What little advice my teacher would give me she would change her mind at the last minute. She would approve lessons and then say she didn't. She told me I wasted two hours of her class time and scolded me because of one child sleeping. The same child that slept the whole time she was teaching that morning that I kept trying to wake up. If I circulated around the room the kids ask me questions and she would glare at me. I was in her way and she had no problem letting me know it. I was sure she would fail me and the way I was now performing I could not blame her. I was unable to find words, I could barely muster the strength to walk to her room. During spring break I tried to clean out the attic and clean the house. Chris said he and the boys did not have time to help me they were going fishing. He was right, they never lifted a finger the whole time. The self time I had seem to make things worse instead of better. I could only see myself as a failure. After returning to school I noticed my words seemed to be slurred. During my last observation my mind went blank. There was nothing. I could see the kids and hear them asking me questions. I kept on like nothing was wrong not knowing what I was saying or doing. Needless to say I made a complete and utter mess of the whole lesson. My supervisor was livid. I was already imagining a fatal wreck on the way to or from school. From there it went to planning goodbye letters to my boys. After all, why should they suffer because I could not get it together. From there it was non stop crying, I could not even find the strength to put my clothes on. Chris was at his wits end. I had to call my supervisor and tell her I just could not go on. YEARS of preparations just gone, wasted. I had now caused a financial downfall for my family by not graduating and having all those loans to pay off. My supervisor realized what was happening to me and went to bat for me with the administration. She told me she had requested prayers for me at her church. I knew I needed help by then. Prayers and medication was the only thing that could get me through. I was surprised when I was not sent straight to the hospital after going to the dr. He immediately began medication and got me into a psychiatrist as soon as possible. After days of misery for myself and my family things were starting to get back to normal...well the new normal. Most days are a battle and more times than not I win. I finished my student teaching but not with flying colors. I had lost all my confidence, began having anxiety attacks, and felt insecure with the teacher I was with. We did not make the connection I feel we would have it had not been for my illness. I still wasn't me. I did not grow the way I wanted in my teaching, I knew this, my teacher and supervisor knew this but I also knew I could over come this and I feel I have. Now we are back to April, the anniversary of my life changing experience. At times the echoes of all the negative comments about my teaching haunt me so much that I can't sleep. Prayers got me through this and they will continue to help me. I now know that I CAN make it. My doctor tells me there is a chance this will happen again. I know it could. I live each day using all my energy to prevent it TRYING to be positive. The not knowing what life has in store for me is hard at times but is OK because the Good Lord will see me through it.
I don't share my story for pity but in hopes that my story will let someone see there is hope even though it feels like there isn't any. If you know someone who you think is depressed please encourage them to get help.