I took these butterfly pics at Deep Cut Gardens, a park in NJ, with my telephoto lens on my Canon T1i. Aren’t butterflies SO beautiful and photogenic?
Ok.. to those who just read my post “Some people call me crazy,” I saw a lot of mistakes in the post. Since I am a teacher, I always read and edit my posts after I publish them. So hopefully you can reread it and see that I am not that stupid… lol. Well, I will be sure to edit my posts before I publish them!!! I am sure there are other teachers who proofread their posts too. Well, I realized I need to stop typing so fast to avoid the mistakes. I am sure there are other mistakes. LOL. Hopefully, you can reread it so it makes more sense now.
Throughout my life, I have been called crazy, nuts, and a head case–not only once, but multiple times. I have been told that I am “not all there” and am “off my rocker.” I used to be very offended by those statements, however, presently I do not take the comments personally. I actually consider them to be compliments and I feel sorry for those people who do not understand mental illnesses or disabilities.
Throughout my entire life, especially during my teenage years, I knew that something was not right and I just could not put my finger on it. I struggled with depression, bulimia, anxiety and anger. I just thought it was a normal stage to go through in one’s life or that all teens experienced it. When I was 18 years old, I got so depressed to the point where I was desperate to escape the pain that I was feeling. I know that this may sound completely nuts, but sometimes the pain would be unbelievably unbearable that it seemed to be the easy way out.
As an adult, I would never even consider doing that and it has never once been a thought that has crossed my mind.When I was admitted into a hosital at 18, for a program for teens who struggle with depression, I can definitely say that I learned a lot there. It was definitely a learning experience that I will never forget.
What contributed to my road to recovery was getting to know the other kids that were there and listening to their stories. I realized that I was sane, and that I was not the only one who was going through this difficult time. I also realized that my situation was not as bad as the other kids’ situations. Although some of the kids had better home lives than I did;their depression was worse because some of them would cut themselves. .
This experience made me realize that certain events that I had experienced in my life triggered my depression. I could not deal with the fact that I was adopted, that my parents got divorced, my mom’s death, and the neglect and abuse that I had to deal with from my adoptive mother. I also had to experience being kicked out of my father’s house after my mom died. I look back and see everything that I went through and am very proud of the obstacles that I had overcome and the accomplishments that I acheived on my own without the help of any parents. Many people doubted me, but I wanted to prove them wrong.
I ended up proving those wrong who doubted me by putting myself through college, graduated Magna Cum Laude, paid for my own apartment, worked my butt off and saved $30,000 dollars from waitressing ( I became obsessed with work, especially since I have ADD). I was sick of feeling sorry for myself, worked hard to fight my depression, and kept a positive attitude that life is worth living and that I will be successful one day. I even paid for my wedding, got married and bought a house at 25 years old.
One important lesson that I learned throughout all of this is that if you want something bad enough you can achieve anything. All that you have to do is set your mind to it. I did exactly just that and became a certified Special Education English Teacher, got a job at a high school, and held the job for three years. I was able to help many of my students who were going through the same experiences that I was going through as a teen. I even saved some of my students’ lives.
Although my job unfortunately ended in the way that I did not want it to, I will never let that get the best of me. It only makes me want to work harder towards my new goals. This is because I know that I can do anything despite my disability and mental illness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to help so many of my students’ realize their strengths and that their life is worth living.
This takes a lot of courage for me to write about this online for all of the world to see, and you can think I am crazy if you want..lol…However, if there is someone out there who reads this and it helps them realize that they are not the only one who experiences this, then I will know that I have helped someone. I get very disappointed in those people who associate mental illness with being crazy or a disability with stupidity. What makes me even angrier is when people say to me, “you graduated college, there is no way in the world that you have ADD.” OR “That is just an excuse for not being organized and your inability to complete tasks.” Well, as far as I am concerned that is complete bullshit. I would do anything to be “normal” (whatever that is!). No one chooses to have a mental illness or disability, and I am not ashamed of it.
When I met my husband, that is when my life started to get better and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. He has always been supportive and has always believed in me. He has accepted me for who I am and says that he loves me “craziness and all.” In my early twenties, I refused to go to counseling or take medication, this is because I was in denial that I had bipolar and ADD.
During my first year of teaching at the age of 25, my ADD and bipolar took the best of me since my workload increased. You see, being a first year teacher is difficult in itself, now throw on having ADD and bipolar! Talk about total chaos. The workload caused me to have bad anxiety, which led me to becoming depressed. On top of that, I dealt with criticism from my coworkers because I was “always on the go” and spoke very fast. I hated the fact that they would always tell me to “Calm down,” and asked “are you ok?”I just wanted to scream “I am fine damn it! And I do not want to f*&*Ng repeat myself!”
I would consistently be gossipped about and received dirty looks. When our budget did not pass during my first year, I feared losing my job. I even heard that teachers were saying that I should get fired because I am unorganized. I thought “wow, that’s low. They should get fired for being complete As#$*&#@.” Thankfully getting fired did not occur and it was my breaking point. I would not let my coworkers’ get the best of me because they do not understand mental illnesses and disabilities. I truly felt sorry for them because they never EVER tried to get to know me as a person. I thought to myself, “How the hell can they be in the education field when they do not understand differences?”
With the daily stress that I encountered as a Special Ed. Teacher and my own struggles, I needed someone to speak to. I used to speak to the school psychologist for advice when I was dealing with anxiety and depression. He would always be there waiting to listen with a box of tissues. He was the one who said “Jess, do not take this offensively because you are a hard worker and outstanding teacher, but were you ever diagnosed with ADD?” I told him that I was not but informed him of my depression, anxiety and struggles throughout my schooling. He said “intelligent and creative people such as yourself, struggle with these symptoms as well” He then suggested that I speak to a psychologist outside of school for a diagnosis.
At first, I was offended and thought to myself “who is this guy to tell me that I should get a psychological evaluation?” “What does he think I am, crazy?” That night I put a lot of thought into it and realized that I was in denial and that he was only trying to help me. I knew that he was always there to support me and helped me to believe in myself. It was the first time in my life that I chose to seek help. At 25 years old, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD, and Bipolar I disorder (manic depressive).
I then was put on an antidepressant and ADD medication. I have never EVER believed in medication, but let me tell you, it has changed my life. I can achieve more throughout my day. I do not care what other people think of me, and I worry less. My mind was always consumed with thoughts of worry, suspicion, hopelessness and anxiety.I always told myself that people were out to get me and that they did not like me. On the medication, I started to take better care of myself, became much more confident, and my depression and anxiety went away. I even stopped crying at the drop of a hat.
Medicine has changed my life completely and it has helped me to feel “normal.” For once in my life, I can actually say that I love my life and look forward to the next day. It truly has changed my life and solidified that I do have a mental illness and disability. Although the medicine does not change my rapid speech, inability to be organized, and arriving to places on time, I would take that over anxiety and depression anyday.
I am extremely thankful for the day that the school psychologist gave me that advice and for my husband for dealing with my angry outbursts and the days where I went “Crazy” and cursed at him and punched walls and threw things. Not at him of course. LOL. I know…. pretty nuts right? He is a gem among gems and I can never thank god enough for having this amazing man enter my life. For the past 9 years he has supported me and is the most loyal person I know. I hope that if there is anyone out there who is reading this that does not understand ADD and mental illness, I hope this gives you some insight and a better understanding. I also hope that some readers find that they can relate to this, and that it helps those think twice before calling anyone crazy.
Well, this took a lot for me to share, but if I can help one person out there, then it is worth it and I have achieved my goal. Thank you to those who took the time to read this post. It means a lot to me.
OH, and by the way… You are not crazy! lol
~ Jess ~
I have been interested in working online. Does anyone on here know of any paid online jobs? Since I am a certified English teacher, I was looking into online teaching/tutoring. I would also like to sell my homemade jewelry online too. If anyone has any or knows of any online jobs, please let me know. Or even if you know of any good sites for selling handmade jewelry/ crafts. Sometimes it is difficult to weed out the scams vs. legit sites.
I am interested in online jobs for : tutoring, teaching, writing, selling crafts or blogging
I am kinda desperate for work since I just lost my job! My ideal situation would be to work online so that I can start a family.
I hope some of you bloggers have some suggestions! Anything would be greatly appreciated!
I have always loved the old Volkswagen Bugs…..I have been searching online for one that I can afford, and that I adore.. If anyone reads this, will you be so kind enough as to keep an eye open for me? I am looking to spend between 1000-2000 dollars. I know, I most likely will not find a great one at that price, but you never know! I especially like the convertible style…
Ever since I received notification of my non-renewal and not being granted tenure, I felt sorry for myself. I have felt like a failure and depressed; especially since these are feelings that I have dealt with throughout my entire life. When you have
ADD, you always have to prove yourself, work harder than most people and have a difficult time fitting in.This has always been my experience, and I feel like that may have contributed to their decision.
Since I was not given a reason for my nonrenewal, and being that I have to finish my contract until June 12, I become more and more sad as the year comes to an end. This year, was by far my favorite year. I love my students and have an excellent rapport with them. They are definitely an amazing group of kids. Being non-renewed with excellent observations, and no negative letters in my file, has left me surprised beyond belief. As well as numerous parents, students and faculty.
I saw this coming when a director, out of nowhere, told me I was screwing up, and that I need to learn how to listen and stop interrupting people. I took it upon myself to tell him I was diagnosed with ADD. Then a coworker of mine was spreading rumors that I showed a parent her negative comments about students that she posted on her Facebook Page. First of all, I do not have Facebook and second of all, I have better ways to use my time. This particular teacher made my life miserable my first year as my mentor and continued to do so during my second year. I know for a fact that I am not the only one. She is also friendly with this director… hmm.. Can we say politics? Oh yea, and this teacher, who is tenured, did not get into trouble because she has tenure.
Besides all of that crap, I keep obsessing over coming up with different reasons why this has happened. I think “What could I have done differently?” “Did I do something that I was not told about?” “Why do they not like me?” “Did I not work hard enough?” I mean, I know I taught Special Education (high school, nonetheless), taught the extended school year program for three years, tutored for the district and served as a Student Government Advisor for two years. I guess I needed to do more?
Today, I came to a new realization. Yes, I know I made small mistakes along the way. Small mistakes that have nothing to do with my classroom teaching. I know that teachers make small mistakes along the way, but I feel that this director was just out to get me. Despite that fact that I tutored any student that he wanted me to tutor, no matter the disability or level of difficulty. I tried to please him in anyway, and was always up for the challenge. I feel like they just used me for three years; which was solely based on one person’s opinion of me (someone who has never read my perfect reviews, and has not even seen me teach) and then decided to not renew/ nor grant me tenure.
To me, it is not the “not getting tenure” part that bothers me, because I could care less about that aspect of teaching. This is because in a way, I think tenure protects bad teachers. There are some bad teachers in my school, and I am not mentioning names or my district but there are, and nothing is ever done about it. A teacher made fun of students on Facebook, a teacher is known for showing movies, and a teacher arrives late or shows up whenever she pleases to school. I know of a teacher in my school who belittles the Special Ed. students and gossips about other teachers. ETC.ETC.ETC. The list goes on.
In my school, the teachers are broken up into cliques. It reminds me of being in high school. There are the jocks (the history teachers who coach sports), the “popular girls” who hang out with the jocks and also coach sports, there are the teachers who gossip to fit in, the nerdy teachers, the loners and the outcasts etc. Personally, some teachers have made me feel like an outcast and never took it upon themselves to try to get to know me as a person. I decided to avoid the teacher’s lounge because of the endless amount of gossip that goes on, and the cynical teachers who hate their jobs.All of that gossip and cynicism about other teachers and students just makes me plain old depressed. I enjoy eating in my classroom and I keep my door open for those students who want to study, get extra help or use my computers during my lunch. I would rather have my students come visit me than any of the teachers.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends. A select few who have never labeled me, excluded me or made me feel like an outcast. They have entered this profession for all of the same reasons that I did. Not for the summers off, or to leave at 2. If you are a good teacher, you know that your job does not end at 2. I also entered it to teach kids and touch their lives. I have formed bonds with about 5 teachers that I can trust and go to for support, which in itself, is enough for me. I wish there were more nonjudgemental people in this world like them.
After obsessing over this predicament, I have decided to look at this in a much more positive light. I think that this may have been a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is god’s way of telling me that there are bigger and better things out there for me. Maybe I was only supposed to be a teacher for three years, and now it is time to move on. I know this hurts, but sometimes I have to trust in god. I was never a religious person until my mom passed away, and when my life at that point as a teenager, started to snow ball into a series of difficult circumstances. However, I look back and I see all that I have accomplished on my own and it has only made me a stronger person. If I was able to overcome losing my mom at 18, being homeless, living on my own, living in a house with fleas before my mom died, having an emotionally/verbally abusive boyfriend at the time, and always having to deal with Dyfus, I say that I turned out pretty good. I strongly feel that this was god’s plan and he watched out for me.
I think at this moment, I need to trust in him. I need to trust that he has a new plan for me. I know that I put 150 % into my job (which is much more than most teachers put into), and so I know, and many will agree, that this was the result of politics in education. God probably feels that this effort should be put into a new profession or school where my efforts will not be taken for granted/ go unrecognized.
This most definitely has to be a blessing in disguise, and I have to learn how to prevent myself from over-analyzing the situation. I need to look ahead more positively and trust that god will lead the way. I am going to finish out this school year to the best of my ability and look towards the future. I am sure that I will overcome this obstacle and will be able to look back and be proud that I overcame the situation. I also need to realize that I had no control over it. Yes, one person may have been out to get me, however, not everyone in life is going to appreciate your hard work, but I am sure that there is someone who will someday. Whether it be a boss, a class, or a new employer, there will be someone who deserves and will not take my dedication for granted.I will not look at this as a loss, but as many lessons learned, and three years of experience. I will also know that I touched the lives of many amazing kids.
I have been trying to convince myself that things will eventually get better for me, and that this is just a small “bump in the road.” However, it just has not gotten any better. It has gotten much worse. I have cried while on hall duty, skipped cafeteria duty to sit in my room in the dark with the lights off to recompose myself. I have cried to my husband, myself and my mother in law. I have driven myself crazy trying to figure out what it is that I did wrong.
I have slept for hours and have forced myself to finish my contract–this is for the kids.Then I realized that I feel so strongly that I am being wrongfully terminated. Yes, this is clearly what it is…..
I have been told by my supervisors, that I am charismatic, energetic, creative and empathetic. I have also been told that I am an excellent teacher and that I can connect with my students. They have even told me that I am dedicated and hardworking. OK, so… What is the problem here?? Aren’t these all of the qualities that make a teacher outstanding??? I guess all of that clearly does not matter.
Right before I found out that my contract was not going to be renewed, I put a lot of thought into this. A week or two prior to this, I told the director that I have ADD. You see, he was yelling at me on the phone that I do not listen, interrupt people and do not get along with coworkers. Yes, I have the tendency to interrupt and it may seem as though I am not listening, but I know I get along with my coworkers. And I do, in fact, listen. Don’t let me forget that I handed my time cards in late for tutoring, and was screamed at for that, even though I asked for extra time. All of these symptoms combined are a part of my ADD.They clearly just DO NOT care!
Well, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, “An individual with a disability is defined as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment” (www.ada.gov). I am an individual with a disability and it does limit me from being able to complete tasks at work at the same rate as other people.
The A.D.A also states that it ” requires that employers to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities” (www.ada.gov). Oh, really? Well, I have been denied being provided with accommodations such as extended time. And being that I am a Special Education Teacher who knows the laws that protects individuals with disabilities, all that I have to say is, they are screwed.
I am sick and tired of my principal saying “You need to listen” and “stop interrupting me.” I am sick and tired of it. I have worked so hard and am a well respected teacher, that I feel like that just does not matter at all.
You would think that a public school would be more understanding and willing to accommodate you, but no, they just look at you as a hindrance to their “business.”