Anxiety problems

I survived my first week as a “real” teacher! The main battle that I’m fighting? Myself.

I’ve been having a lot of anxiety, always at night, to the point where I’ve been considering seeing a doctor for help and insight.

I either can’t fall asleep for hours after getting into bed or I fall asleep and wake up at all hours of the night/morning and then can’t get back to sleep before work. During these “episodes”, I have trouble breathing, my chest feels tight, my heart feels like it’s racing (although Tom felt it and said it felt normal at the time), my stomach feels knotted, and my mind is racing.

And I don’t know why!

I am always prepared for the next day’s classes, I haven’t had any overly negative run-ins with students, I get along great with all of my coworkers, and I’m completely exhausted! I remind myself of this while I’m laying in bed, but I only end up stressing more because of how little sleep I’ll be getting (yet again). It’s a vicious cycle.

This weekend was great because I got to catch up on sleep that I had lost last week. But I felt pretty groggy and “off” all weekend as well. I think part of it was because Tom was upstate speaking at WordCamp Buffalo, so I was alone (and admittedly had a slight breakdown the day before he left…more anxiety), and the other part was because my body and mind were recuperating.

I worked out after work yesterday, hoping that it would help alleviate some stress and also make my body even more tired so it had no choice but to fall asleep at night. Oh, and also because I need to get back in the gym because I have been enjoying way too many Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Candy Explosion cookies. Win-win-win situation, right?

To make things even better, last night Tom and I tried Headspace, a meditation app, while laying in bed trying to fall asleep. I felt the exhaustion and was hopeful that I would get sleep I was trying to keep my mind on my breathing and not on work or my sleeping problem but I still felt the anxiety creeping in every time I closed my eyes. So we started up the app.

The guy had a very soothing, calming British accent, and one of his first instructions was to have our eyes open. I tried, but my eyelids were just too heavy – a good sign! And then I started noticing that while he paused in between instructions, I was spacing out, like sleep was on its way!

I actually fell asleep within about 4 or 5 minutes of the app (it’s only 10 minutes long)…but then I woke up shortly after.

Noooooo!!!!

Tom was still awake, which was nice because the anxious feelings came back with a vengeance, and talking to him makes me feel better. He told me how quickly I had fallen asleep and how he was happy for me because he knows that this has been a real struggle lately. And then he told me about the very loud truck that roared past our apartment that was responsible for waking me up.

So we started the app again, but to no avail did I fall asleep this time. I eventually got to sleep, but I’m just so frustrated at myself for not being able to contain or even pinpoint these feelings. And I’m tired. Plus, I’m worried that this will spark a flare-up with my Crohns – extreme stress is what exacerbates the disease for me. I don’t want to take any chances and have another flare-up.

Tonight’s efforts included a cup of night calm tea, so I’m hoping that helps…and that I don’t end up having to pee 37 times tonight.

Anyone have similar issues/problems? How did you get over them and how do you deal with stress? Thoughts on meditation vs. medication? Any help would be appreciated!

Back to school, back to school…

I’ve been seeing everyone’s pictures of their children’s first days of school lately. Well, tomorrow is the first *official* day of classes at my school, and I’m pumped. But I won’t be posting a “first day as a ‘real’ teacher” picture of myself tomorrow.

Instead, I’ll post a few of my “first day” pictures from my own childhood! Even better!

Fun flashbacks! Anyway, the last 2 weeks have been filled with meetings and orientations of all sorts. Technology. New policies. HR info. You name it.

This week, we finally got to meet/see the students, starting with parent-student-teacher meetings on Monday. I was nervous, but everything went really well and I learned a lot about my students whom I’ll be advising this year. Then yesterday and today were orientation days for students, so they came to school during regular hours but they didn’t have classes.

I haven’t been too anxious so far, except for this morning when I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep because my heart was racing, my stomach was knotting, and thoughts about myself as an incompetent and terrible teacher kept running through my head. I ended up laying in bed for an extra 2 hours before finally giving in and getting up half an hour before my alarm (which was originally set for 6).

Sigh. So needless to say, I’m pooped today. But I am excited to finally start teaching tomorrow! Plus it’s nice that we only have 2 days left this week, so it should be a smooth two days.

My room still looks pretty bare because only 2 of my 8 posters have been delivered. My advisory students want a plant in the room to spruce it up and I couldn’t agree more! They also named a couple other things they would like…more posters (on the way!) and a small basketball hoop to put near the recycling bin. I’m going to look into stuff maybe tomorrow or just wait until the weekend.

Or I’ll make sure they meet my demands and can be responsible and respectful teenage boys before meeting any of their demands. We’ll see.

But I’m prepared for the next couple days and have a rough timeline set for what I want to cover next week. And I have stickers, so obviously it’s all good.