It is approaching the end of the summer. For those of you that don’t know, I am a high school teacher. I too, was under the false impression that summers were reserved for trips around the country, binging on Netflix series and waking up at 5pm from hangovers. This summer has been the furthest thing from that.
This week is the first week back for teachers. And although I’m excited, I’m also saddened. This summer whooped my ass!
Yes! Whooped my ass!
What had happened was…….
I started teaching later in the year. Most teachers begin the year at the end of August. I didn’t get offered a position until mid August. That being said, I didn’t start teaching early enough to disperse my payments throughout the twelve month pay schedule and had to settle for the ten month pay schedule.
Now fast forward to the end of June. Thanks to a few scatterbrained folks who shall remain nameless (y’all know how I am), I was under the influence that I’d be paid my final check at the end of June.
So when June rolls around, I wake up with full intentions of paying all of the bills.
But when I looked at the bank account, my stomach dropped into my ass. A solid $200.
I struggled holding conversations for the rest of the day.
Avoided eye contact with everyone.
Had a panic attack followed by a full blown meltdown.
All before I could pull my shit together enough to figure out why.
Well turns out May was the final paycheck and there was some “miscommunication.”
My mind: I’ll knock all this shit over
The rest of the summer went downhill from there.
My car broke down.
Had some outrageous family issues.
Fell short on rent and car note (and had to fully rely on my support system).
I had a book launch coming up and hadn’t purchased a single book to sell.
The one relationship that seemed hopeful crashed and burned.
My body started shutting down and I had a medical situation that required me to have a catheter in for a little over a month.
The uncomfort of it prevented me from adequately training for my part time job.
I quickly spiraled into a heavy depression all while walking out of the house with a smile on my face. Not because I wanted to, but because I HAD to.
I couldn’t let anyone see. Cause who wants to see sad people? So on my way home from driving Uber til 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning…..I would just cry. Not just any old cry. That “what is life” cry. That “I think this is the end” cry. No matter how many songs I added to my “You Got This” playlist, nothing seemed to help. The advice of friends was always supportive and positive but when you are in such a feeling of powerlessness and helplessness, even that encouragement goes in one ear and out the other.
I tried to drink it away.
I tried to write it away.
Instead of fighting the depression, I decided that this time I just needed to go ahead and allow myself to go under. I always come back up right? I had nothing else to lose or prove. It was probably one of the best decisions that I could make for myself at the time, especially with everything that I had going on.
The day I went to have the catheter removed, the nurse asked me about any depression. And I lied. Like most people do. Like most women do. Like a majority of black women do.
It reminded me of a time that another nurse said well it looks like you’re happy so I’m sure you’re not depressed. Telling people that they can’t be depressed because they look happy happy is such an ugly stigma.
So when I say that this breakthrough is personal it is overcoming my obstacles is super selfish I take so much pride in knowing that I’m tougher than I think and way more temper then I gave myself credit for and now that I know I have all the tools and resources to be stronger I feel that I have a better grip on how I can control my depression.
I have a much deeper understanding of who I am and how I got to this point there’s also a list of things and thoughts that I need to decondition myself from.
I know who my friends are and who my friends aren’t.
Always being the lender and never the borrower makes it hard as fuck to ask for help when needed.
Your support system can legit make or break you.
Hustling is mad uncomfortable. I legit didn’t think that my body could function on less than 6 hours of sleep. But here I am….functioning and shit.
The feeling of powerlessness and helplessness is only in my mind.
I needed to break down. I needed to fall apart. I needed to sit down. I needed to be lost. I needed to find myself again.
So while I didn’t get the summer that I wanted, I got the summer that I needed.
A not so hot girl summer.
P.S. If you’re in this boat. Reach out. You’re not alone. I promise. People just aren’t transparent because it’s painful to admit. You’re loved. You’re valuable. And most importantly, You’re more powerful than you think!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline