Although my pdoc (psychiatrist)has never given me an official diagnosis, he has mentioned bipolar disorder. This makes sense. My father is bipolar 1, so I think I’m bipolar 2. I have severe problems with anxiety and depression. The first time I sought treatment was 10 years ago. I started on Zoloft, but unfortunately, I had a mental breakdown a couple weeks later and was away from my job for a month. I was a 3rd grade teacher at the time. By the time I went back, I was able to cope better, but I still wasn’t thinking rationally. I resigned at the end of the academic year without even consulting with my wife. For the next two years I was a substitute teacher since I didn’t know what else to do. In the spring of my second year substituting, I decided to take an eight week assignment for a pregnant teacher to see how I felt about teaching. The eight weeks were great and I felt like I did a really good job (self-confidence had been a major problem when I taught previously). I did not have many problems with anxiety and I was able to do all the things I needed to do to perform the job. At the end of the eight weeks, the other 3rd grade teachers asked if I would consider a full time job with them the next year. I was flattered, but I was not yet ready to return to teaching. Instead, I took a job at the same school as technology assistant. I did that for three years and loved it, but it just didn’t pay enough. So I took a higher paying job in local government. It was that job that convinced me after about six months that my true calling was teaching. I began looking for a teaching job. I was with the government job for four years before I finally secured a teaching job. The first three years I didn’t look as hard as I could have, do in no small part to my anxiety problems. However, in November of last year, my pdoc hit upon a combination that I felt was working very well. I was taking (and still am) taking Vibryd, Welbutrin XL, and Lamictal. Most days I felt pretty good with only the occasional anxiety attack. This last summer, I worked hard at securing a teaching position. I dropped off 102 resumes in four weeks. I walked each one into the school. A year before, I would not have been able to do that because of anxiety. It paid off and I interviewed for a teaching position at one of the schools where I had dropped off a resume. I accepted a job teaching kindergarten, a grade I had always shied away from in the past. However, after the interview, I just felt like I belonged there, so I took the job. Oh, boy… I began having problems almost immediately. I’ll admit that I am not used to kindergarten and that it is quite a bit different than 3rd grade. I began struggling with classroom management, something I had never had a problem with before. I had problems being organized, something I have always had a problem with. I began having bouts of depression and anxiety at work. Whenever these hit me, I of course didn’t have the confidence I needed to control my classroom. We are ten weeks into the school year, and in many ways, I feel like I am not doing any better. Incidentally, I have been putting in many hours outside of class, including several hours on the weekend. And no matter how much I prepare, I almost never feel ready. My first evaluation by my principal had so many categories below proficient that I was put on a “growth plan”. My evaluations as a 3rd grade teacher 10 years previously had always been good, so this had been another blow to my ego. In the last 10 weeks, our Instructional Specialist has been in my classroom several times to help me teach. I saw that as helpful and felt like I learned a lot from it. I also observed many of the other kindergarten teachers at my school. A couple weeks ago, I had a conference with some parents. They were upset about the fact that I had not sent home many papers (something I take full responsibility for) and that their daughter didn’t seem to be progressing at the rate they thought she should. They were angry, and while they had some valid criticisms of me, not all of them were valid. I was supposed to start sending her complete work home every day, which I did. I was also supposed to start her on a behavior plan (which I felt she didn’t need), which I did not do. My organizational skills definitely led to this as well as my tendency to avoid things I find stressful. Yesterday they asked to have her taken out of my class, to which my principal agreed. I also got a slap on the hand from my principal (which I deserved) for not starting the contract when I said I would. By the way, the conference was about one and a half weeks ago, so they did not give me a lot of time. I think their minds were already made up. Teaching is stressful in and of itself, as is being in a grade I am unfamiliar with. Ever since I started this job, my anxiety and depression problems have become severe, to the point that I am afraid I may lose my job. This week and last I have been cycling rapidly between anxiety, depression and feeling okay, sometimes in the same day. I am crying a lot. While I can be an emotional person, I don’t usually cry as much as I have lately. Monday I told my principal about my condition which I felt was the best course of action. That same day I went to see my pdoc to see if I could get medication for anxiety or to see if he would suggest something. I did got to see him about four weeks ago with the same worries at which time he said I should give myself time to transition to the new job. Four weeks later and I didn’t feel any better so I went to him this last Monday. I talked about my anxiety and the stress I feel I am under. I talked about my problems with organization. I talked to him about how I felt my thoughts were always racing. He asked me if I isolate myself at home, which I often do. He recommended that I try Adderall for ADD (20 mg). He suggested I take one in the morning and then half of one no later than one o’clock in the afternoon. I am willing to try anything at this point, so I agreed. Today is the first day I have taken it. I can tell a difference although I am not yet sure if it will help me with my racing thoughts and my organizational skills. I think I should mention that one of the ways I deal with stress is through avoidance. For example, I may have a list of things I need to do for my classroom the next day. However, I will inevitably push some of the things I need to do out of my mind and not deal with them. Then, when I don’t have the things ready that I need to have ready the next day or whenever I feel more stress and anxiety. It is a vicious cycle. This has also affected my personal life in the past. I have had both water and electricity cut off, not because I didn’t have the money to pay the bills, but because I just avoided thinking about it. Yesterday, the Instructional Specialist told me that she would be teaching my class all the next week while I observed her. Then the next week we will co-teach. The third week I will teach while she observes me. What this says to me is that I have about three weeks to get my act together or I’m out of there. I believe this and the removal of the child from my classroom are what led to what happened this morning. I woke up and got ready for work. (By the way, I had not taken the Adderall for the first time yet.) My breathing started becoming fast and I was fighting with myself over whether I should go to school. My anxiety was at an extreme high. My wife asked if I was okay and I broke down crying and told her I didn’t think I could go to work today. In teaching, it is really very important that you be there so this also added to my stress. So I’m here at home right now, writing this. I keep telling my wife that this all feels like some sort of cruel joke. I believe teaching children is my calling. When I took my current position, I felt like I was meant to be there. Now I just feel like a failure. As I wrote earlier, I felt great when I taught in the third grade class for eight weeks. What has happened between then and now to make me feel like this? So I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job. And I feel like that will pretty much kill teaching as a career for me. I felt so sure about this job when I took it, now I feel anxious all the time and confused. Losing this job would not only be a hit financially but also a blow to my already fragile ego. At this point, I feel like I’m doing everything I can to help myself. I have been seeing my pdoc when I need to, and I am going to counseling today. Ten years ago, when I sought help for the first time, I thought I would start feeling more like a normal person. Ten years later and I feel no closer to feeling good about myself than I did then years ago. I don’t know what else to do. Will I be able to go to work in the morning? I won’t know until I wake up. Thanks for reading. PS I've considered quitting the job, or hospitalizing myself.