Everyone’s doing it but no one wants to talk about it…
It amazes me how many times in private conversations teachers will tell me about their extreme anxiety in dealing with situations that the most well-adjusted person would have difficulty coping with. I suggested to one such person that they take some time off to recover and get their health back. She said “I can’t do that. If I take leave for mental health, I’ll ruin my career within the district.” I didn’t think that was true, but that belief felt very real for her – and it is very real to many teachers.
This stigma makes many teachers suffer in silence.
Everyone who teaches knows how stressful it can be – so why the stigma? Why are we, as a profession, reluctant to name the issue and heal it in our selves and in the schools?
It is seen as a weakness to not be willing to deal with very real stress and dysfuction and affirm one’s own wellbeing, but a strength to endure in silence in situations that lack any sense of wellness or health? A strength to go along with all that is wrong, a weakness to stand up for what is right?
Why do we accept stress as normal? Why do we resist finding a less stressful way to live?
This nonsense just makes it all the harder to deal with stress. It makes you feel isolated to begin with, feeling stigmatized prevents you from seeking help or connecting to people who also think the stress is ridiculous.
And do you know how many people that would be if we were to be honest? I’d guess that a lot of the very people who stigmatize those who suffer stress are the most stressed of all. Maybe there is a bit of the ” I had to deal with this same stress and no one helped me, so suck it up and deal with it” syndrome…
I always try to encourage people to not give into the stigma and stay silent. But to surround themselves with supportive people, make a case for their wellbeing and pursue their right to heal from stress.
Job stress takes up a big part of life – how do you want to be living your life?