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Saturday, July 11, 2009


I am trying desperately to find a way to counter and neutralise my stress about working. (Even though I am not working very much lately, if ever in these past two years.)

My doc advises that I need to take things slowly. I need to focus on things that I enjoy and not pressure myself over things that induce my panic attacks. If thinking about and preparing to go out for my teaching assignments stress me out, then I need to find out what is it that stresses me. Do I not enjoy teaching?

I don't really enjoy teaching per se. I enjoy art, I also enjoy being with teenagers. I am somehow good at teaching, my students enjoy it, and it is an accessible form of work for me, that is why I do it.

I tried to think again about what stresses me about teaching, and all I could come with was that I didn't know. All I could think of was that when teaching some of my students, it means that I have to put on a whole other persona, the educator's persona, which needs to be strictly donned especially when with younger kids.

When I was asked recently, "What makes you get up in the morning?" I could only think of the answer, "To feed my cats." It is not that I would enjoy working in the animal or pet industry, it is that I am motivated by need. I enjoy feeding my cats, preparing their food, cleaning up after them, because these are simple tasks. These tasks help my inertia going, escalating me into tasks like cleaning the house, doing the laundry. These things were hard for me before, until recently.

Everything revolves about my being at home - I feel safest and most functional when I am at home.

Maybe I am simply not ready to do complex, people-oriented work. Maybe I should do isolationist type of work, like writing. I update my cat blog everyday, and I enjoy it. I enjoy writing, and I have a crazy retention rate of what I read, to the point where I can write about anything that I learn with just a short frame of information absorption. Writing does not make me ecstatic, as I am unable to feel ecstacy, but I do recognise that what I feel when I write is probably enjoyment.

Either way, I feel terrible, about letting my students down, and their parents. About letting so many people down because I am unable. I don't know how I can get my income, I don't know when I can be fully rehabilitated to the point I am functional and able to work.

Even right now, my brain feels fuzzy. Things that were usually easy and fun for me because they were complex, are now, just too complex. My heart races when I try to think straight. My logical processes are minimal when I am in a state of panic, which is often.

The things that I want to do, that would fulfill me, working in missions or in an NGO, I will not be able to do still, for some time. It will take a long time. My intelligence is in cold storage.

I am at a loss. As to finding my work stress triggers and countering them. As to finding alternative means of function apart from playing house. As to finding alternative means of work if teaching is too stressful.

Teaching used to destress me, especially when I was tutoring as a sideline; spending time with my beloved students helped me forget the real world.

But not anymore. I panic in anticipation of my teaching days, the scheduled hours, to the point I am incapacitated in panic, to the point I cannot speak nor respond nor move, to the point where I break down and cry.

Am I well? No. I try to celebrate small successes, like being able to care for my cats, like being able to do household chores again, by being able to take the bus (with J) sometimes, by being able to tolerate crowds better now even if not completely. But small successes are nothing when I am financially unsafe, when I am unable to provide for myself, when I am constantly letting people down, when I am still having breakdowns and panic attacks.

I have come far in my recovery, even if slowly. But my livelihood is hanging by a thread, my brain is in shreds and I cannot function as well as I could, my body is in an aberrant state of betrayal against my will to be normal.

What is the next step from here? Buy flowers and clean the house? Find some other, easier forms of work? The former option needs money, the latter is too complex for me to figure out on my own. It is 6 o' clock: time for the cats' dinners.