My Students Will Know I Have a Mental Illness

The other day some teachers in my school were discussing how the 5th graders have been very into googling their teachers to see what kind of dirt they can dig up.

I’m sure this trend will catch on with the 4th graders soon enough, so just to prepare myself for what my students might find, I googled my name. The very first thing to pop up (besides my LinkedIn page) was an essay my father wrote about why he supports mental health organization Active Minds.

It goes into detail about my battle with Depression and Anxiety, focusing specifically on a time when I was deeply, deeply depressed, to the point where I had to quit my job and move home. It talks about how I couldn’t function. How my brain essentially lost the ability to comprehend the simplest of information. How I was terrified all the time, and couldn’t stop crying. How I was completely dependent on those around me. How I took, and continue to take, medication for mental illness. How I saw, and continue to see, a psychiatrist.

And you know what? Good.

Sure, I could worry about the general stigma and misunderstanding. I could worry about judgement from the students’ parents. I could worry that the children, families, or administration would look at or treat me differently.

But I don’t. At all. The old me would have.

Here’s how I see it now:

Your teacher was really sick and she got better, kids. And she works extremely hard to stay better, even though some days can be pretty tough. But she keeps going. And she has wonderful, strong relationships with caring, amazing people who are there to support her through the darkness and celebrate with her in the light. She stumbles, and sometimes it takes weeks or months to get back up. But she does. And she’s stronger and wiser for it.

I think that’s a pretty great lesson for a 10 year old.

Don’t you?

IMG_1260-6

Now let’s just hope to god they never find my blog. IMG_6871

2 thoughts on “My Students Will Know I Have a Mental Illness

  1. Thank you Emily. This is wonderful. At camp we are working with staff to understand that everyone has mental health just as they have physical health. Everyone has both and that sometimes our physical health is not good we get the flu or we don’t exercise or gain some weight, etc…our mental health has the same ups and downs. Sometimes our physical health is really bad (cancer, broken bone, etc) same with mental health (depression in varying levels). As a society we have to recongize we all have both physical and mental health so that we can take care of both. Thank you for sharing your story. Your students are lucky.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s