Attending Meetings Where I Don’t Feel Welcome

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Stressor

Have you ever attended a meeting that you know you don’t fit in well with the others? That was my day today and I have five more just like it before the school year begins.

Background

Three years ago, Don and I moved to Texas. Shortly after we arrived, I started a job as a 4th grade teacher. Compared to being a special education teacher, I really enjoyed it. I would spend late nights at school to get everything ready for the next day/week.

At the end of the year, the principal asked me (volun-told me) to take a job as a Skills II teacher. A Skills II teacher is exposed to daily chances of getting injured by behaviorally aggressive students. I reluctantly agreed.

Within the first month, I was injured three times on my left wrist and hand. By mid-October, Don was driving me to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. It was discovered that I was having a major panic attack.  Even with IV medication, the doctors could not get my blood pressure below 167/120.

Changes

Though I felt led by God to work with students with special needs in the public schools, God made it loud a clear that His plan was continuing in a new direction. By November of that school year, I had resigned and was given the opportunity to start teaching at a Christian school.

Unfortunately, I had to give up the public school paycheck and all benefits. But my joy came from the middle school students that I was able to work with. Plus I could now talk about Jesus, teach the truths from the Bible, and pray with my students.

A Benefit

In April, the staff was notified of professional development seminars that we could attend presented by the public school system. Being a learning-nerd, I jumped at the chance and signed up for 6 different seminars.

Anxiety develops

Last night I didn’t sleep well because of the anxiety that started to creep up. My brain keep thinking about who I may see at the seminar; the looks I might get for being “an outsider”.

Today during the seminar, the presenter did a great job introducing books,  and describing and demonstrating many apps that could be used with my students. When I opened my laptop, I realized that I could not access those apps because I did not have a district-issued computer.

Also, I couldn’t use my computer because I didn’t have the password for the secured WiFi signal. I felt trapped. I didn’t fit in.

Suddenly, I stopped and prayed asking for God to help me appreciate the learning He provided, and how to use what was presented with what He provides to the Christian school.

As a result, I noticed my wrist (the injured one, which is still far from healed,) where I have one of my life verses tattooed – “Be Still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

I don’t need to fit in with the world, but I need to keep my focus and sense of belonging on God.

Have a blessed evening,

Heidi D

Response to Mental Illness blog

Read the blog below to understand where my response is coming from.

What Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Me, And 45 Million Americans Have In Common

Thank You

Thank you, Becca, for your candid and real discussion about mental illness.

I keep my eyes open for more and more information on this debilitating subject as my daughter suffers from many of the same issues that you do. I cannot say that I “understand” what she is going through as she is definitely SMI, whereas I am AMI.

Mental Illness

The only reason I know that I am AMI is through my daughter’s help. I have learned to slow down and ask questions before just expecting her to go places with me; how to avoid crowded aisles in the grocery store and come back later; how to read her face and body language when her anxiety is high and on the verge of a panic attack; and how to just sit and wait until she is ready to tell me what she needs.

As a result, she has learned to ask for my “squeezy hug” that helps calm her body; tell me in simple terms that she “just can’t today” and we change our plans; to dealing with people and statements that trigger her anxiety and ridding herself of those triggers; to being able to got back to college and hold a part-time job (for now.)

Yearnings of a Mom

As a mom, this is not what I had envisioned for my child. My child should have finished high school in the school building, not from home; attended all the events and had all the experiences that “every” high-schooler should have. She should have gone to college at 18, completed a 4-year degree, and now be a successful adult, possibly married and have a child of her own.

But at 24-years-old, she deals with the after effects of abuse by a cousin, severe Celiac disease, endometriosis, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. She still struggles and will always struggle with these things, but with awareness and proper medical care, she has made strides.

Thank God

I thank God every day for where she has come, and curse the devil for his power over our world and the evil he places on good people like my daughter. Thank you, Becca. I have heard your words loud and clear.