Sunday, February 22, 2015

You Know You're Screwed When They Start Bringing You Casseroles

What I'm dealing with right now is pretty much what I've been dealing with for the last year and a half or so.

*Changes in my job that should be exciting and energizing, except that the increased focus on evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores means that my love of teaching the "hard" kids is affecting my job performance ratings, which stresses me out and takes my focus off mastering the new developments and curriculum I should be working on.

*One kid who loves me to pieces and can't go to sleep unless I'm home in the evening, and who has trouble giving me personal space when we're both in the same room.

*One kid who struggles mightily with rules, friendship, reading, remembering, and sitting.  Who went from ELD to IEP to BED classroom.  Whose moods are unpredictable and for whom various medications seem to have no effect on.

*One husband who is severely depressed, which means
  1. I worry about his well-being.
  2. He spends a lot of time in bed and/or hiding behind screens, leaving a lot of parenting and general running of the house to me even though I am the sole breadwinner of the family.
  3. He needs my time and attention as much as the kids do.
He has also developed a serious noise sensitivity issue meaning our kids' normal voices sound like screaming to him, and their noisy voices make him either hide in the room or make them go outside to play.  Basically, he spends a lot of time either avoiding or scolding the kids, and very little time having positive interactions with them.

He feels so crappy about all of this that he has trouble believing I would actually care about him.  He feels worthless and full of despair.  So much so that last weekend I took him up to the hospital and told them I was concerned for his safety.  Now he is in an outpatient psychiatric program for the next month.  Being the eternal optimist that I am, I am hopeful now he will get the help he needs to make the changes that will improve his life.

But really, other than the fact that the Winemaker is at this program during the day while they kids are at school, our situation looks and feels very much like it has for a long time now.

And yet, in the past week...
My "work spouse" brought us a casserole and salad.
My mother-in-law has babysat the two days our son was out of school so the WM could still go to his class.
My sister came by the other day with food for two meals plus snacks, had a picnic lunch with me and the kids, and then did my dishes.
Another friend brought us homemade cinnamon rolls and strawberries this morning and sat and talked with me over coffee. 
My other two sisters have called to check in repeatedly.

And it is helpful.  Getting the jumpstart on my kitchen spiraled into me actually vacuuming the damn floor for the first time since removing the Christmas tree (which, granted, was a long time after Christmas).  Having food brought in helps not only in the basic "yay, food" sense, but also takes off some mental pressure.  Having people come to my house, not judge its state, and sit and chat with me makes me realize how hard it is for me to socialize right now, with my family needing me so much. 

We are getting all this support right now because we are "having a crisis."  Yet actually, I think we're in a more hopeful place than we've been in a long time.  Seeing our life through others' eyes makes me realize that we've been living, not having, a crisis for awhile now.   No wonder I sleep too much, eat too much, and lose my shit too often.  No wonder I'm not able to put enough energy into my classroom  in order to do the job I think I should be doing.  No wonder my house is a mess, my kids are glued to screens, and I am incapable of reading anything besides YA fantasy.  People are bringing me casseroles, and I'm all, "But this is just how my life is.  Why do I get food just because we're trying to do something about it now?" 

Or maybe the question is, "Why the hell didn't I ask for help before?"