Tomorrow I move into a new flat (still rented, still Folkestone). And I have today off work because I a m f r e a k i n g o u t.
The past month has been fun, but a lot of upheaval. I submitted some writing to Mslexia and I have a work-in-progress for Sexy Little Pages. I missed the deadline for Dear Damsels and I’m indecisive about B¡tch (mainly indecisive about my pitch). I started another blog about my research into static caravans – it’s over at caravanmaam.edublogs.org.
I started my More Pathways to FE placement and I am in love with the role. But it is hugely challenging. The levels of alertness I need is quite exhausting, and as a person with regular bad mental health I am finding the balance difficult. I am happy with exactly half of my teaching/support ability; half of the groups I work with seem happy and engaged and half of the time I feel present in the moment. The rest of the time I am fighting off the urge to withdraw because I don’t know what I am doing or because I’ve reached out to someone only to have them deflect my support.
One of the things I am constantly questioning is the line between encouraging someone who does not feel confident and acknowledging their feelings. As a creative person, and a person with mental health difficulties I appreciate the need to reflect on my feelings – even the bad ones! But as a person who cares about others, I want people to feel good. So when someone is hard on themselves, I have conflicting drives – a drive to tell them they are more than the obstacle they are facing but also an understanding that we feel the way we do and sometimes we need to sit with it for a while.
Another thing I reflect on is independence. If someone doesn’t want to interact with me and they seem content, I feel OK. I feel like they are doing well. But then I have an awareness of how unequal I divide my attention between learners; I feel that one group want my input but that other group don’t. So you could argue that I am giving both groups the attention they have signalled that they want. However, I am aware that it might look like favouritism and I am aware that just because someone has said they want to be left alone that it doesn’t mean they actually feel that way.
Of course I know there are no answers. I just need to become more resilient.