marathoner452: (Default)
If I keep waiting for the perfect first post to pop into my head I'll never write it and this page will stay blank. So here we go.

Up until this past two years I thought I was pretty okay. Not terribly socially adept, sometimes painfully shy and introverted, academically bright, sheltered from most of the problems of the world until the past few years, floundering around trying to find my place in the world like most 20-somethings. Intense and moody and just not getting the world, but still pretty normal.

I was living in New Orleans and had just gone through a hurricane evacuation and started my first year teaching special education in an urban charter school. I found myself with my heart racing, unable to sleep. I found myself on Xanax and in therapy and in a new, safer neighborhood but none of it was stopping the downward spiral. I started wanting to step out into traffic while walking to my coffeeshop. I argued everything on the phone for hours talking nonstop and wanted to run over the academic director of my school with a bus, repeatedly. I was painfully and constantly anxious. I tried to hold out until the end of the school year and made it to the first week of May before the anxiety and what I later recognized as hypomania crashed into depression and that's when I first saw a pdoc (psychiatrist takes too long to type every time) and got on Zoloft. The first of many meds.

I survived the last few weeks of the school year and figured vacation would be my salvation, would help me heal, would get me ready for a new school year at a new school. I drove, and drove and drove and drove. 4500 miles from New Orleans to Maryland to New Brunswick to Maryland to Michigan to New Orleans. In there I wanted to run my car off the road in rural Maine after dark where no one would find me. I told my pdoc this and he switched me to Prozac. In the process of switching I had the apartment to myself one Sunday morning and wanted to jump off a 7th story balcony. I survived that thinking and made it back to New Orleans to start the new school year and three days in found myself right back when I'd been on that balcony, except living alone this time. That scared me, that I was that close and had it all planned out, and clearly I told someone or I wouldn't be here typing this. At that point I decided the jig was up on New Orleans and I moved home to Maryland to heal.

Which hasn't happened as quickly as I thought.

Nine months later here I am, still fiddling with meds and looking for answers. At least I know it's bipolar now and not depression and the lithium does work, for most of it most of the time. I worked as a substitute teacher for six months once I could get out of bed (most days), and now I work part-time for the ARC as a job coach for adults with developmental disabilities. I volunteer my time as a Special Olympics sailing coach and as a mentor for NAMI's Peer-to-Peer course. I go to therapy and pdoc appointments what feels like all the time and pop 12 pills a day to try and keep my head on straight.

If you want to read the rest of my story let me know and I'll give you access to my livejournal, also marathoner452.
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(3/21)  Born to Run-282 pages (11/3247 pages)
(3/24)  Recovered, Not Cured-175 pages (12/3422 pages)
(4/6)    Electroboy-273 pages (13/3695 pages)
(4/11)  Match Day-244 pages (14/3939 pages)
(4/15)  The New Vampire's Handbook-206 pages (15/4145 pages)
(4/16)  Memoirs of My Nervous Illness-259 pages (16/4404 pages)
(4/25)  See You in a Hundred Years-252 pages (17/4656 pages)
(4/30)  Killed in Action-Struck by Lightning-157 pages (18/4913 pages)
(5/9)    Crossing the Gates of Alaska-272 pages (19/5185 pages)
(5/17)  I Never Promised You a Rose Garden-279 pages (20/5464 pages)
marathoner452: (friends need to be punished)
I just cleaned out my friends list for the first time in what feels like forever.  I'm making this post public so you can comment if you want to be re-added.  I haven't updated my journal regularly in a long time so I think the only ones left would be people I wouldn't think of un-friending, but just to be safe here's your chance.

I figure if my friends page is free of community posts that are irrelevant to me, then I'll be more likely to actually read it.  I am not interested in reading the minutae of strangers' running injuries or lesson plans right now.
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(1/5) The Up and Down Life-227 pages (1/227 pages)
(1/12) Why Cant You Teach Me 2 Read?-337 pages (2/564 pages)
(1/24) The Food of a Younger Land-366 pages (3/930 pages)
(2/2) The Snake Pit-278 pages (4/1208 pages)
(2/9) The Pig Did It-195 pages (5/1403 pages)
(2/12) The Center Cannot Hold-336 pages (6/1739 pages)
(2/24) Stones into Schools-379 pages (7/2118 pages)
(2/27) The Gathering-260 pages (8/2378 pages)
(3/6) The Quiet Room-270 pages (9/2648 pages)
(3/14) Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same-317 pages (10/2965 pages)
marathoner452: (Default)
If you would like to bid on the coasters made from melted Mardi Gras beads that I'm offering, with the proceeds going directly to the relief efforts in Haiti, then click here:

http://community.livejournal.com/help_haiti/822.html?thread=4263734#t4263734

I may not have much money right now, but I do have time and creativity and more Mardi Gras beads than I know what to do with. :-) I'll post pictures of the coasters I made my family for Christmas later.
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(11/29) Home Safe-258 pages (51/13540 pages)
(12/1) Less Than Crazy-203 pages (52/13743 pages)
(12/18) Touched With Fire-260 pages (53/14803 pages)
(12/28) Get Me Out of Here-436 pages (54/15239 pages)
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(10/8) Seeing Voices-159 pages (41/10927 pages)
(10/12) Shadow Syndromes-369 pages (42/11296 pages)
(10/26) Song Yet Sung-362 pages (43/11658 pages)
(10/28) The Escape Artist-283 pages (44/11941 pages)
(10/30) Undoing Depression-327 pages (45/12268 pages)
(11/2) Darkness Visible-84 pages (46/12352 pages)
(11/3) The Levee-211 pages (47/12563 pages)
(11/8) Moments of Engagement-233 pages (48/12796 pages)
(11/17) Why am I Still Depressed?-253 pages (49/13049 pages)
(11/19) Hurry Down Sunshine-233 pages (50/13282 pages)
marathoner452: (Default)
(8/12)  Baghdad Express-202 pages (31/7862 pages)
(8/14)  Bloodletting-208 pages (32/8070 pages)
(9/9)    Listening to Prozac-313 pages (33/8383 pages)
(9/12)  Outliers:  The Story of Success-285 pages (34/8668 pages)
(9/14)  Turning Stones:  My Days and Nights with Children at Risk-363 pages (35/9031 pages)
(9/18)  Riding the Bus With My Sister-293 pages (36/9324 pages)
(9/26)  The Red Scarf-470 pages (37/9794 pages)
(9/27)  A Walk in the Woods-394 pages (38/10188 pages)
(9/30)  Against Depression-292 pages (39/10480 pages)
(10/4)  The Color Purple-288 pages (40/10768 pages)
marathoner452: (Default)
I will be teaching grades 4-5 special ed at Kate Middleton Elementary School in Gretna next year.
marathoner452: (Default)
As much as I resent how Chicago has treated us this year, as much as I resent what working in that environment has done to my hope and idealism and mood in general, as happy as I am that it is FINALLY summer vacation, it still hurts me so much to think of not working there next year.  Say what you will about the school, we had a good thing going.  Teaching city kids, damaged by Katrina and chronic undereducation the depths of which I could not imagine until I had to confront it daily, is challenging work, but it's also what I signed up for when I chose to become a teacher in New Orleans public schools.  I love those kids.  As a team of teachers we had so much energy, so much dedication, so much support for each other.  I doubt I'll find that wherever I'm teaching next year.  What we had was special, and I hate, truly hate, that Chicago had to screw that up and then they still have the nerve to get up at 8th grade graduation and pat themselves on the back for helping these poor backwards Southerners, these poor Katrina victims who can't help themselves and must need Chicago to rescue them.  The level of paternalism, the level of condescension they showed all of us continues to anger and frustrate me.  They had no right to treat us like that.

New Orleans has enough problems of its own without Chicago importing its own.

It wasn't until the last few weeks, since my sister and neice came to visit, that New Orleans really became home for me.  I have a stake in her future.  I am no longer the wide-eyed idealist I was when I first moved here.  I've learned a few things about myself.  I've learned I'm stronger than I thought and that it's okay to ask for help.  I've learned that teachers often learn more from their students than they teach them.  I know that whatever doesn't kill you does make you stronger.  I have no idea how I survived this school year intact, but here I am and in 3 days I'm out of here 'til the end of July.  Maryland to New Brunswick to Maryland to Michigan then back to New Orleans.

I'm rambling now and Lakeview Brew actually closed 20 minutes ago.  Suffice it to say that I wouldn't give up this school year for anything but I wouldn't want to go through that again either.  We survived.  'Nuff said.
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(6/23)   My Father's Keeper-162 pages (21/5606 pages)
(6/28)   Autobiography of a Face-223 pages (22/5829 pages)
(7/9)     Prozac Nation-362 pages (23/6191 pages)
(7/12)   Awakenings-316 pages (24/6507 pages)
(7/13)   Here if You Need Me-211 pages (25/6718 pages)
(7/18)   Walking Out on the Boys-245 pages (26/6963 pages)
(7/20)   "Don't Worry":  Understanding Anxiety-145 pages (27/7108 pages)
(7/25)   The Frog Who Croaked Blue-139 pages (28/7247 pages)
(7/29)   Prozac Highway-266 pages (29/7513 pages)
(8/1)     TransLiberation-147 pages (30/7660 pages)
marathoner452: (Default)
My Louisiana State teaching license came in the mail today.  I am now officially certified to teach mild/moderate special education, grades 1-12.

I'm celebrating with pecan pie down at Lakeview Brew, enjoying free air conditioning.  Heat index of 103* right now.  Iced chai latte is delicious.
marathoner452: (Default)
Issued by The National Weather Service
New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA
11:20 am CDT, Sat., Jun. 20, 2009

... HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING...

DAYTIME HIGHS IN THE MID TO UPPER 90S... COMBINED WITH HIGH HUMIDITY READINGS WILL CAUSE HEAT INDICES IN THE EARLY TO MID AFTERNOON TO REACH BETWEEN 105 AND 110 DEGREES. THESE CONDITIONS CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS... STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM... STAY OUT OF THE SUN... AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. IF POSSIBLE... REFRAIN FROM DOING OUTSIDE WORK DURING THE HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY. IF YOU MUST BE OUTDOORS... WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT... LIGHT COLORED CLOTHING... DRINK PLENTY OF WATER... SLOW DOWN AND TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS. &&

More Information

... A HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND COASTAL MISSISSIPPI UNTIL 7 PM TODAY.

.HOT WEATHER WILL CONTINUE OVER THE REGION TODAY AS A STRONG HIGH PRESSURE IN THE UPPER LEVEL OF THE ATMOSPHERE REMAINS CENTERED OVER THE GULF SOUTH REGION.

marathoner452: (new orleans teacher)
This post is just to show off my new New Orleans teacher icon.
marathoner452: (Default)
(4/22)  The Fortune Cookie Chronicles-293 pages (11/3128 pages)
(4/30)  A Hope in the Unseen-390 pages (12/3518 pages)
(5/4)    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat-233 pages (13/3752 pages)
(5/9)    An Unquiet Mind-219 pages (14/3971 pages)
(5/20)  Reading Lolita in Tehran-343 pages (15/4314 pages)
(5/24)  The Genius Factory-258 pages (16/4572 pages)
(5/28)  A Leg to Stand On-222 pages (17/4794 pages)
(5/30)  Girl, Interrupted-169 pages (18/4963 pages)
(6/6)    Saving Louisiana?-180 pages (19/5143 pages)
(6/21)  God is Red-292 pages (20/5434 pages)

goal is 50 books for 2009
8 of 10 Caribbean books read (10/21)
25 of 100 Modern Library's Best 100 books read (6/30)  
3 of 10 New Orleans books read (2/11)
marathoner452: (airplane)
My sister will be here over her spring break, March 14th-16th.  Alas, this time she will not have the opportunity to catch a cabbage.
marathoner452: (St. Charles Streetcar)

Start off with a drive up Esplanade to Carrollton to Canal and have lunch at Mandina's.  Then walk all the way around City Park on a crystal clear day that just doesn't happen too often in New Orleans, just warm enough and hardly any humidity.  The New Orleans Museum of Art is right there and it's free to Louisiana residents, so check that out for awhile.  Then hit Rouse's for file powder and head back down Carrollton to Basil Leaf for a delicious Thai dinner, during which you watch the streetcar rattle by and after which you walk the rest of the way up Carrollton to the Riverbend levee.  Walk along the levee for awhile, with the river on one side and the city on the other and stars shining bright overhead, only to get cut off from the rest of the city by the train.  Finally, end up at Creole Creamery for dessert of chocolate chicory ice cream in a waffle cone.  Waffle cones taste like fortune cookies.

Thanks[info]ekaterinn.  I needed that.  We both needed to not be teachers for a day.

marathoner452: (Default)
I have free parking for my car in the school parking lot, just blocks from Endymion.  I can fit 5 in my car including me.

Only in New Orleans...could you finance the 8th grade spring trip to DC by selling parking for Mardi Gras.  At our faculty meeting this afternoon when we were discussing logistics I could only think that they'd never be able to have this conversation in Chicago.  And that is yet another reason why I don't think I could ever leave.
marathoner452: (Default)

I got a little mini-promotion today.  No extra money or anything, but I am in charge of the 504 students at my school.  In plain English, those are the students who qualify for testing accomodations like extra time or a small group setting but not for special education services.  I have to call their parents to find out if they want accomodations for LEAP (Louisiana's standardized testing) since most of the IAPs are way out of date, as much as 4 1/2 years old.  That's what evacuation all over the country will do for a kid.

They must be starting to trust me and give up some of their control.

We also had two new teachers start today, 2nd and 3rd grade.  We're now fully staffed.  Hopefully that lasts.

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May 2010

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