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.