I will not quote statistics. I will not rail against the NRA. I will not explain to the close-minded. It’s all been done and said before. And it does no good.
Instead. I will tell you what I do in my classroom.
- Answer 11 year olds’ questions about the shootings (every time)
- Explain my plan in case of an active shooter
- Practice my plan with 30 11 & 12 year olds
- Hold part of it back because I don’t know who they might tell.
- Explain that NO is an acceptable answer.
- Allow them to conclude that women, POC, nonbinary, and LGBTIA+ are people
- Discuss anti-violent solutions to problems
- Role play difficult social situations and discuss the various options
- TALK to them and KNOW them
- Be an adult worth trusting
- We read about mental illness & “differences” to normalize it
- We study world religions and their similarities
For the last 14 years I have taught kids to love one another and to save the world from itself. My kids are out there. They’re still learning and now some of them are teaching their own kids.
I have not been back to school since the Great Blood Pressure Incident of 11/29. The administrations’ thoughts and prayers were not well-received here because they came with 0 plan of action to help me or my students. I finally got in to see the psychiatrist today (by no fault of her own – this is a very busy time for mental health professionals) and was told that I do indeed have PTSD (duh). Basically, what’d happened is that the therapy and self coping I’d developed decayed due to my work situation. (duh)
- rage attacks
- panic attacks
- generalized anxiety
- high blood pressure caused by these things
- night terrors
I’ve been placed on an antidepressant and will not be returning to work until the second semester. By then, these new meds will have kicked in and hopefully they’ll do the trick. We will reevaluate the drug situation in 6 months to a year.
Best thing said to me so far, was when I left the ER two weeks ago and the nurse caught my attention on the way out. He said, “Hey, you’re not crazy. You’re not.”
I bawled. It hit me in the human side of me that’s still capable of emotion.
TLDR: I am starting this journey again. Thanks for your kind words and concern.
I thought that last post would be my last on this topic – at least for a while. Since then, I’ve had two more really bad PTSD days and a couple of just real bad days. I leave for work in the dark – about 5:30 a.m. and have conversations with myself about how would be the best way to wreck my car so that no one else gets hurt – just so I don’t have to go to work and be stuck in a small room with 32 kids for 6 1/2 hours. I have blown up and yelled at home a couple of times. I came close to punching someone in the face because they appeared behind me, speaking almost in my ear. I spent an hour on the floor of my closet with my dog for quiet solace and crying.
I currently have three coping mechs:
Shutting down without speaking for long periods time
I have 22 days until my appointment. And that’s at a civilian center, because I would be dead if I had to wait on the VA. Besides, going to the Dallas VA sends me over the edge to start with. The place is packed to the gills with people much worse off than me. I won’t take their spot.
But I feel like a failure. I haven’t had to take meds before. I’ve been able to shore myself up against the darkening storm. I’ve made myself OK. I willed it to be so. I’m just out of time.
In 22 days I could be a silent, broke alcoholic or worse.
TL,DR: I am falling.
Part of my problem is the job. There are TOO many people in my space. My processor slows to a crawl and I fight the urge to just walk out and never come back at least twice a week. Jamming 33 people and desks into 21 by 25 foot room will do that to me. I can’t remember shit. Any request for help has been met with adding teaching assistants to my already over crowded space. That is not the help I need.
This weekend I had a full blown episode. Couldn’t breathe. My heart jackhammered my head. It’s like being punched in the chest, like a hammer blow to the sternum. Like being physically attacked. On the way to a party, my sigoth had to pull the car over so I could get out. Had to STOP the MOTHERFUCKING CAR so I could get out RIGHT. NOW. My body shook. Tears. And then to the party where I slammed a couple of beers before I could feel right again. I’ve seen this path. I know where it leads. Statistics can eat my whole ass.
Yesterday I found a psychiatrist that specializes in PTS and anxiety in combat vets. Couldn’t get an appointment until December, but that’s OK. I’ll limp through until then. I’ve trained for fighting wounded.
If we’re friends and you notice a change in my behavior, please – PLEASE- document it. You don’t have to say anything to me, just hang on to it. I’ll ask people to email their observations right before I go to the appointment.
I love me some @MykeCole. And on one of my downward spiraling days he posted that a friend had told him “we are the stories we tell” in regards to complaining. Now I’ve let that simmer a bit in the back of the brainpan and I would both agree and disagree with him. Sometime we need to vent. It’s for our mental health. And it’s also one of the main ways military personnel know they’re still alive. There is a long and rich history of soldiers bitching about everything. EVERYTHING. Yeah, that too. Seriously. EVERYTHING.
But when it becomes the only thing you do, then there’s a problem. Sometimes it takes another person to tell you to shut up or do something about it. That’s where I am now. I am definitely doing something about it. I’m retiring.
Whoa, now. Dry your tears or put away the party favors, whichever one you’re thinking. I’ve got a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10. Putting the expiration date on the day job has done fucking wonders for me. This job, my third career, will not kill me. I will not die in the classroom waiting for someone to come relieve me so I can relieve myself.
And then I can feel a little better about giving time to my writing. It won’t be taking time away from anything or anyone else.
Meanwhile- go check out the new short story in Witches and Warriors for the Sirens Anthology.
TL;DR: Check yourself. If you’re bitching more than fixing, somethings wrong. Also, retirement – FUCK YEAH.
If you’re worried about Russia and North Korea or just want to feel a little more on top of things, I get you. I really get you. Doing some prepping is never a bad idea and sometimes even makes you feel a little more in control.
No space for a bunker? No money for sniper training? Me neither.
These are a few of the books recommended by The Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and the ones I’ve downloaded.
Another Bloody Century
Leaders Eat Last
The full reading list can be found here:
The Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List
Gather information that isn’t just a scare tactic. Be as self reliant as you can. Stay away from slanted social media that’s aimed at scaring rather than being helpful. Anything less is a Rook mistake.
The last time I went to a fireworks show was in the days before Facebook. It was just a small gathering on the lawn …in front of the Washington Memorial. I don’t want to get too into it because it was not a happy experience. It was hot and crowded and I was arm-twisted into attending. Add full dark with strangers everywhere then throw in explosions and a very, very abusive spouse sharing my blanket and it was a recipe for the perfect panic attack.
So, you know what? I don’t go to fireworks show any more. If I hear them out in the country, we’ll sit on the porch and watch from a distance. If I hear them in the neighborhood, I’ll call the cops because I’m that asshole. Your happy-fun explosive times are not worth the fire damage you could cause to my house or the damage to my calm.
Man, the older I get, the more awesome I become.
TL;DR: Keep fireworks where they belong and you won’t bother people. Also, you kids get off my lawn. Anything less would be a Rook mistake.