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Trusting God--Conquering Depression-- 8 (How I "Conquered" Depression"

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Trusting God--Conquering Depression-- 8

Notice Jonah’s reaction. I tried to word his dialogue to reflect the stages of grief. Any time we’re going through a trying time (death, chronic or terminal illness, job loss, etc.), we go through these stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may switch Stages 2-4 around or even repeat them before finally getting to the last stage of acceptance.

To help me get out of my depression, my counselor suggested that I needed to “mourn” so that I could reach acceptance. She suggested that I put all of the sweet notes that I've received from students in a book. That depressed me even more because after 30 years, I didn't have any! She suggested that I write my feelings in a journal and then bury or burn it as a symbol that that part of my life was over. I thought that was stupid. Finally, about nine months after my fall and not being able to return to teaching, I decided that it was time to “clean up.” I took down my framed National Board Teacher Certification and put it away. I didn't need it anymore. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a National Certification that was started by a former governor of North Carolina. Attaining that level was supposed to mean that you were a master teacher. To me, it meant a 12% pay increase as well. Then I went to my computer. With a couple of keystrokes, I deleted all of my school files. With a few more strokes, I deleted all of my files from my National Board Certification. I cried. That certification was the culmination of nearly 30 years of experience. Thirty years…..I did the math. I've taught over 5,000 students in my lifetime. I prayed that I had made a positive difference in some of their lives. I thought of students who inspired me and challenged me to be a better teacher. I wondered what happened to them. I thought of how old they’d be now and really felt old. I thought of students who were lazy and wouldn't even try and I just couldn't reach. I thought of students that I really didn't like (God’s gift to women kind of attitude and who were determined to cheat). I thought of students who weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer but just beamed when they finally “got it.” I thought of how happy I was when that happened. I thought of the laughter and wisdom of fellow teachers. I remembered my first year of teaching. At age 20, I knew that I didn't know everything, but I was appalled when an “ancient” teacher said that she could just look in the students’ eyes and know what kind of grade they would get. Guess what….now I can do that. I thought of teachers who I've mentored and felt good knowing that maybe I can influence even more students though their teaching. …So, I hit the delete button. That was the end of 30 years. I didn't bury anything or burn anything. I did what best suited me…I hit delete. But, that doesn't mean that my whole life has been deleted. There’s still things for me to do that I can do—just do a little differently though.
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    A blessed day to you.
    1581 days ago
    1595 days ago
    emoticon I did the same delete thing with all my work files as well but not as quickly as you. Its taken me almost 5 years to let go of everything and each item had claw marks on it as God pulled it from my hands, reminding me each time that He was here for me and that there would be new things in my life. It doesn't mean I still don't think about my former life and all the children I worked with for over 30 years but it does mean I trust God that every minute of my life has been for a reason a purpose and every hug, little gift, party, educational experience that I gave with great love mattered! emoticon
    1595 days ago
    You really don't know how you save alot of those students you had. I wish it was a way you could at least ten of them so that they could tell you what a different you made in their lives. God has another teaching job for you but you just haven't ask him what it is. It could be just what you doing now rwaching out to others.
    1595 days ago
    OH my gosh. Right now in my household we really are grieving. DH lost his job and is 61. Don't know what the future holds (but then again, NONE of us does anyway). The stages of grief/grieving are exactly as you wrote: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. For SURE I see that it is not statcs . . . kind of "float" between the first four.

    The biggest point I want to make is to thank you, because with this blog, you've given me hope. I am NOT looney going thru these stages sort of "willy nilly". It is a process.

    You have touched many, many lives being a teacher for 30 years. I think that's wonderful.

    I think your way of letting go is wonderful, too, for the very simple reason that it suits YOU.

    HUGS and thank you.
    1595 days ago
    It will be like other life shifts, confusing, maddening, astounding, exhilarating, terrifying and all yours. Spend a few days talking with the LORD, ask him how you can be of service. Teaching for all those years might have only groomed you for your next step.
    1595 days ago
    Good for you! The precious acts of kindness, compassion and love will continue in the many thousands of students you touched.

    They will remember you even if they do not come back to say so.
    After about 40 yrs, I traced down a 3rd grade teacher and found her home phone though I lived in a different state. I just told her how much she meant to me and the love she always gave me. She was my inspiration for becoming a teacher as well.
    1595 days ago
    You wrote this so beautifully, and because I am near in age- experience and have MS also........................I could "feel" this with you.
    But didn't you ever feel like going back for it? Sometimes when God closes a door, I get depressed trying to go back.
    Thank You for sharing!
    1595 days ago
    What an emoticon testament to your 'personal' legacy! And more important, emoticon for 'letting go'...
    1595 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/6/2013 11:30:41 AM
    What a great career, Ronda-- Thirty years a teacher! Perhaps you will never know how much of a positive influence you have been to your students. I have had remarkable teachers who extended a lifeline to me when I was a teen. One of them, an angel to me, I was never able to tell her. I hope and pray that you can gain peace and fulfillment now with the satisfaction that you served your students well. Bless you!
    1595 days ago
    Maybe you can still mentor kids. I'm not sure where you live, but I know here there is a HOMELESS shelter just for TEENS! Imagine the impact YOU could make there! Good luck. Stop thinking about what you've 'deleted' & start thing about creating new 'files' for yourself. Stay blessed!
    1596 days ago
    Good for you!

    God has given you new purpose!
    Most never do anything for 30 years, except stay alive.
    I admire your strength.
    GOD bless you, Ronda!

    1596 days ago
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