We've been having a hard time over here, and you can only act like everything is normal for so long before it's time to just come out with it.
Three weeks ago Greg resigned from his job at the high school. He will continue directing the school musical through November, but he is done teaching regular classes. It was a decision that was a long time coming and very difficult to make. Greg has been working through some depression and anxiety, and ultimately teaching rowdy 17 year olds wasn't allowing him to heal and get better the way he needed to. He resigned in order to focus on his family and work toward getting healthy and happy again.
I don't want to say much more than that about Greg's end of things because it's not really my story to tell. I appreciate Greg letting me share this... I think it is very brave of him to do so.
I'm sure that some people think that Greg and I are very irresponsible and stupid to let him just quit his job like that. Others have been kind, saying that it is brave and smart of him to focus on his health and our family. I switch off between the two. One day I think we are so stupid and the next day I think it is brave and right of us and then that night I'm back to thinking we're just a couple of idiots failing at being adults.
It is hard to know what to share and what to keep to ourselves in a situation like this. There's a couple of things that have led me to this post. One is that yesterday I saw headlines that Hayden Panetierre has taken an indefinite leave of absence from filming her hit show "Nashville" in order to seek treatment for postpartum depression. I like that she gave a voice to her suffering. I imagine it is extremely difficult for someone in the public eye on that level to quit such a public job and take the time out that she needs to heal. Depression is not like a physical disease. A physical disease is well known and safe to talk about. It is socially acceptable. But there is a certain stigma with mental illness, a certain shame almost, attached to it and that makes getting better harder. It is hard to admit that there is a problem. I guess for me, seeing that Panetierre is going through this right now gave hope to me in a I'm-happy-someone-else-is-experiencing-this-but-I'm-also-sad-someone-else-is-experiencing-this sort of way. There is hope in knowing that we are not alone.
The other thing that led me to share this today is this stupid little headline story I read on People magazine a few weeks ago. Jackie Collins, who died from cancer last month, kept her illness a secret for years. She said she "didn't want anyone's sympathy." Well, that made me blue as hell. She suffered in silence because she didn't want sympathy? What's wrong with sympathy? And what about all the other people who were also suffering? Surely she could offer them some kind of hope, or at the very least, company? If we can't share and ultimately help others with our suffering and pain and struggle, what is the point of it all?
So that's we arrived to this post about quitting jobs and depression and big adult stuff. Truthfully, it's been very sucky and very hard for us. It is also very difficult (and absolutely exhausting) to pretend like everything is fine and dandy when something like this creeps in. Finally admitting to our families what was happening, and then our friends and work crew, and finally this blog, is a huge relief and burden off of us.
Although it has certainly been a trying time for us, these are some things that have helped:
1. Support from family and friends. My only regret is not cluing people in on what was going on earlier. We tried to pretend for too long that everything was normal. Now that Greg has resigned, some people definitely think we're crazy. But most people are very kind and offer support and love. It has been interesting to see how many people I know who have gone through similar struggles with mental health, (or whose spouses or kids have) but have never shared so until now. I wish this were something more people felt safe to talk about.
2. My job. I have felt immensely grateful to be able to teach during this time. It gets my mind off the hard stuff and lets me focus on fake people's problems. Hamlet's got problems, yes, but they are fictional problems and that is easier and even kind of fun. Additionally, my students are sweet as sugar this year. It's like the school scheduling gods knew the year might be a bit tough, and they sent all the big fat sweethearts straight to room K201. I feel so grateful to be surrounded by these teenagers.
3. Junebug. June is the absolute light of our lives. Sometimes I feel like I should pretend like she's a hard, cranky baby so other moms won't hate me, but that's just stupid. I struggle plenty in other areas in my life, but being June's mom is not one of those areas. June is this huge bright ray of sunshine in our life. The only thing that hasn't been hard about this year is June. I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough for sending her to us.
4. Therapy. Well. Kind of. Our therapist up and quit on us. But I think it was helping while it lasted? We're therapy noobs but it certainly feels like we need someone to help us sort through a lot of this stuff. So we're in the market for a new shrink if you know of a good one who won't cost us our entire savings account.
5. This blog and our jewelry business. In other words, you guys. Our income has obviously been cut dramatically with Greg resigning, but we have been able to cover our expenses on my part time teaching salary and the money earned from the blog and Hey June. You do not know how grateful we are for this. I kind of get wonky emotional when I think about how much this blog means to me and how much you guys, the people who comment and click promoted links (like this one and this one) and read sponsored posts and buy necklaces, do for my family. I know there's a lot of negative ish out there on the internet, but what I see on my little corner is goooooooood, and I'm so grateful for that. Thank you for being nice strangers who are really best friends and who have done so much to support and love my family.
6. Anonymous flowers. Still trying to figure out who sent those bad boys.
A lot of people have asked me "So is Greg looking for a job?!" Right now the answer is not quite. The priorities for now are 1) Getting Greg better and 2) Focusing on family and relationships. Greg is also auditioning for commercials, films, plays, etc... getting back to what he loves the most. Our financial and work situation right now is not ideal, but there is hope, and that is worth something.
The hardest part for me right now is saying goodbye to Greg at the school. It is much harder for me to give up than it is for him to give up. To me it feels like the end of a dream... the perfect set up of mom, dad, and baby all at the same school together. The drama teacher married to the English teacher and lunch together in the faculty room while the baby is downstairs with loving caretakers waiting for her parents to pop in and say hello. even looking back on it, I can't believe a system like that existed for my family, even for a year. It is so hard for me to let go of that, to say goodbye to it. On paper, it was perfect. But I have to remember that it wasn't perfect in real life, as much as I wanted to force it to be. I think letting go of the dream for me is harder than letting go of the reality.
Now the key is for me to remember that letting go of that silly little high school dream will let us make room for another dream- a dream that is bigger and better and just right for our family.