Numb Stage

I know there are stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Though I am not personally dealing with a loss, I do feel down. Maybe it is a kind of depression, a kind not associated with loss. And I wonder, are there stages to depression? And if so, what stage might I be in? I think I’d call it the Numb Stage. I usually am an optimistic person. When a student whines, “Do we have to do that?”, I reply with an encouraging smile, “Yes, you GET to do that!” I see tasks as fun. I see collaborating as fun. And I always get positive energy from helping someone else. At least I used to.

Lately, I find myself being more annoyed than excited. I find my push to be helpful slowed to a point where I feel I’ve been injected with Novocain.

It could be because I live outside of Washington, D.C. where local news is also White House news. For the past eight years, my local news was filled with hopeful Obama government-sponsored  stories. Now, it is the opposite and somehow feels 100 times worse. I’m embarrassed by my government leadership. I find myself dreaming about moving to a better country. But also I’m wondering if there is one. This makes me numb.

It could be because this is my 26th year as a teacher and I’m just getting tired. I can feel the shift. I am feeling set in my ways of doing things that I know work. I do get annoyed by others, especially when their way may be better for them but I know it isn’t better for kids.. Also, some younger teachers lack the drive to figure things out. If I read another question posted to the TCRWP Units of Study facebook page asking a question that can actually be answered by just searching the TCRWP website themselves and/or reading the unit of study books themselves, I’ll scream. I’m embarrassed that they are asking something, that to me, seems they should to able to figure out on their own. Yet, I guess I could not be so annoyed and instead, be moved to help them. Yet, I’m too numb.

It could be that I attended the TCRWP MS/HS Book Club Institute and was placed in a Vietnam War Book Club. I spent time yesterday reading more of Walter Dean Myers’ book,  Fallen Angels. The horror he describes. The horror that still occurs today on parts of the globe. So much horror. It is a lot to take in. It makes me numb.

But today is a new day. . The sunrise adds lovely pink stripes to the pale blue sky. The brisk fall air as I walk to work numbed me but as soon as I enter my school building, the heat thaws me. Today Middle Schoolers make me laugh. Today I keep going. Maybe the numb stage is ending.

15 thoughts on “Numb Stage

  1. Ramona says:

    “Today middle schoolers make me laugh.” So glad that your post ended at school and with the words, “I keep going.” It is a difficult time, so we have to search for the good and celebrate it when we find it. I’m celebrating your middle schoolers.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. mbhmaine says:

    Thanks for sharing so honestly, Sally. It’s tough to be upbeat and encouraging when inundated with negatives and feeling down. I hope that your positive outlook returns and that you’re able to notice and celebrate all the positives in your world. I’m sure they’re there, even if they’re a bit camouflaged right now. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ureadiread says:

    Sally, hang in there. You aren’t alone. Lately, the sense that even though it’s hard, at least we’re in it together has helped. I’m not always able to solve problems for colleagues, but sometimes being there alongside matters, too. The #TWT and #SOL communities are here with you.

    P.S. If your heart needs a little hope, try Wishtree by Katherine Applegate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tammy Place says:

    Wow, what a timely post, but in a weird way for me. My 32 week old, perfectly formed grandson was born and passed last Monday. It is a grief I had never before experienced. I have gone through several stages already–rage, anger, overwhelming sadness, despair, and numbness.
    To add to your experience, my husband is a Vietnam combat veteran, and also a published author. Writing about combat was more than difficult for him, and now this loss has his PTSD raging after a few years of quiet.
    Tomorrow I return to school. I support a new 7th grade ELA teacher, and meet with him and his students first thing.I need those crazy distractions that his students will display…


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      You have such connections to my post. Yet, my feelings feel silly compared to what you are dealing with. I do hope work gives you needed distractions. Though we are only virtual writing friends, I will send my good thoughts and prayers your way. I hope writing and reading can offer help too. Hang in there…


      • Tammy Place says:

        Thank you for taking time to send kind words. I appreciate it!
        I am not a daily writer, and I wondered if writing would help me, but my grief is too consuming right now…and the numbness stops me from even picking up a pen.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. John says:

    maybe you should just become a librarian when you grow up? : )

    I so get you
    just striving to be with where I am at
    and what I can do
    even on the days when I think I should be doing more

    learning to let some of the big picture stuff
    and the little things go
    and be more in the moment
    like your pink clouds
    in a blue sky

    we are getting closer to wisdom…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jarhartz says:

    We are surrounded by a malaise that threatens to extinguish bright lights like yours. Keep writing and connecting. Thank goodness for beautiful fall mornings, heat and silly middle schoolers.


  7. Terje says:

    Writing so honestly shows that you dare to be vulnerable, and that you haven’t given up to get the spark back. Writing helps. Finding ways to fill your cup helps. Gratitude helps. Finding someone who listens and understands helps. You might try mindfulness. I hope that this week has held and will bring many beautiful moments for you. And I hope that when you are reading this comment, your heart and soul are filled with calm but not numb.


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Terje, Thanks for your kind comment. It is now Friday and I am feeling calmer. I do keep writing. And I am so grateful to be part of the TWT/SOL community. It helps to reflect and realize that numbness does go away! Have a great weekend. I plan to!


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