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Thursday, April 21, 2011

sabbatical thoughts

I took a sabbatical off teaching for the week because I had a not-too-good depressive episode on Monday. I don't know if I will be well again next week to resume my paying work, but this arrangement will have to do for now.

I feel helpless... The work I do - teaching - is something I have been doing for over a decade and I truly like being with teenagers. And being able to say things like, "I hate maths too, but we can be good at it!" which makes me click just right with their sentiment. I feel even more discouraged because after I declared my sabbatical, my mood lifted, which meant that my depression relapsed-within-a-relapse because of enjoyable work commitments.

I did always suspect I was allergic to work because I so often fall ill when overworked, but truly, I love working. I am a workaholic in remission. That's because I always find career choices to make that are in line with my destiny, my skills and my passions, one or all of the above. True, work is a way to make money to survive and live my life but it is so much more than that. It is fulfillment. I love achieving days where I work from morning till midnight.

This week, I spend time instead on the stuff I need to do to run my cat rescue group, and in just taking things easy and on the down-low. To remember the words of my loved ones that I should take things easy and that they are on my side.

But the thing is, I already work very little. I don't teach enough to make a living, truly. I am totally dependent on rental income and J's income. I don't have money of my own most of the time and my bank account even closed off because moths had gathered in it. They say tuition teachers earn a lot but I can't do even half of what a full-time tutor does to earn shitloads of money, and so am nowhere near sustainable income-wise.

Depression is this debilitating. It takes away things, it makes things temporally impossible for you to do, and on bad days it would good enough if you can get out of bed to go to the loo. Blankets are a necessity for hiding under in a panic attack or to cry uncontrollably. We pop a lot of pills that make things normal, without them we are a train wreck on the ledge of a building wanting to jump off because the pain is so bad we just need it to go away.

Things improve, then they retro-spiral into the darkness that is symptoms of depressions again, then they improve, repeat ad infinitum. It will end one day, but during the years I have depressive episodes I don't remember what happens and time gaps land in my memory.

Will this end one day? Yes. Depression can go into full remission. No cure, just remission, like cancer. But it does happen. Just that for this week, I will remain in furlough to recharge for fighting the war against the disease that threatens me in some way, every day.