There probably isn’t much in this world that’s more embarrassing than sitting in a classroom full of teenagers and being utterly unable to stop tears from pouring down your face. Except perhaps doing it twice.
What triggered it? Who knows? Sleeplessness, exhaustion and relentless overwork, more than likely. Whatever the cause, the descent into marking and reporting hell put me over the edge this semester. My brain, over-tired, decided that if I wasn’t going to give it a break, it was going to take a break of its own.
When I couldn’t stop crying, my head of faculty sent me home via the doctor. The doctor put me off work.
I didn’t cook a single meal for myself. I rarely ate. I slept a bit. I babbled inanely on Facebook, just to have some communication with the outside world, to prove to myself that I was still compos mentis (because everybody knows how much brainpower Facebook demands, right?)
I decluttered the house, but couldn’t declutter my mind.
I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think straight. I still had to get my reports written. It took me about four days to churn out some embarrassingly bad reports (wonder if I can get four days of sick leave restored? Hmmm, probably not. And unfortunately I now have no sick leave left.)
I’ve been back at school for 5 days now and I’ve cried almost every day. I feel like a ghost, drifting through the days and trying to hold it together. Some days I manage better than others, but I have to show up for work every day for the next 3 weeks; have to supervise and mark exams, proofread reports, go to meetings; have to listen to the very public digs of a bullying boss. What the hell am I doing to myself? A job is not supposed to reduce a person to this, to strip a person of their sense of self worth and turn them into a gibbering and inadequate wreck. I’m better than this.
An hour ago I marked my last essay for the year. Can I have my brain back now, please?