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Resigned from my teaching job. Devastated.
Canada111
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 10:41 AM
Joined: 8/22/2016
Posts: 263


I've been away for some time. It's been very rough.

I've resigned from my teaching job. I thought I couldn't do it any longer.I walked the 3 blocks to the school, and told the new director that I was undergoing neurologic testing and was advised by my doctor that working was too stressful at this time.

 I was wrong and now it is too late. It was the one thing that was keeping me going.

I am home and do nothing but my blog and Lumosity games. No appetite. My husband leaves me labeled meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, when he is at work Tues-Thurs. He is here on Monday and Friday. 

Once the professionals got involved I was not able to fight the decision to quit.

Devastated at my own stupidity. Nothing to live for now. No friends and no life.


dayn2nite2
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 12:02 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3467


It seems to be a slow day on the board today.  I'm sorry you're in this situation.  Please don't do anything to hurt yourself.  Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you're alone at 1-800-273-8255 to talk, they will help.

Are you on an antidepressant?  This is definitely a situational depression and might need a little chemical help to try to get on top of in this crisis.

For what it's worth, I don't think you've made a mistake in resigning.  I think it was probably the exact right thing you should have done.  Much better than possibly getting fired for poor performance - this way you've gone out on your own terms.

Is there an Alz Assoc chapter near you you could volunteer your time helping in the office?   Or volunteering at a hospital, a library, how about an elementary school?  I know my local schools have a need for people who want to be a "friend" to students at risk, just to talk or to help with some homework, etc.  Is any of that possible where you live?

Please use the phone number if you feel in crisis or contact your husband to take you to the nearest emergency room if you feel like you are a danger to yourself.  I'll say some prayers for you.  How about hanging on hour-by-hour?  The solar eclipse is almost here, let's look forward to that right now.


Unforgiven
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 12:23 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2659


Dear Canada, any life change is devastating, and I feel your pain and dislocation.  A good friend once told me, after I suffered a loss, that when Life shuts one door another is opened.  You're grieving your job right now, but soon you will feel the breeze from that newly opened door.  Follow it when you feel ready.

You still have friends right here, and life has something new waiting for you.  Something without the stress of performing on a job.  I'm sending cyber-hugs.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 12:28 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4460


I am sorry to hear about how you are feeling. While I know it is hard right now I do believe you did the right thing. Now is the time to reinvent yourself and find something new that is meaningful to you. I also felt that way when I lost my work but now I have a new mission. Soon you will have one. 


feudman
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 1:03 PM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1591


Canada, my wife did volunteer work in the early stages, but one by one, her jobs evaporated, as she reached the point at which she could no longer do the work. She was more upset by being let go than had she knew when to leave, and that was HER regret. Be proud you did it right.

Do you realize how much better off you are than most PWD? Not many are able to participate on these forums...or even read and comprehend. You can still be a guiding light here and provide needed support to others in your situation. Just as they will support you.

Yes, this is a major change in your life, but you will find your path from here... take a step back and be patient...please don't be so hard on yourself. What about learning a new hobby? Do you have a pet? They can be very good friends.

Best wishes to you.

 

 

 


Sayra
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 1:10 PM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 4057


Canada,  so sorry that you are having such a rough day.  Hope you are blessed to find peace and that soon things will look differently to you.  

Sara


Crushed
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 1:37 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 7445


Dear Canada please PLEASE PLEASE do not give up .  My wife was diagnosed with MCI in 2010.  She was 58.   EOAD in 2012 She was a physician computer expert with a world reputation.  She could no longer do her work but we determined to fill our lives  with love and joy and pleasure.  And we have. 

The world is amazing and it only takes some simple adjustments to be able to enjoy it .  We are all here for you >>>

Also I am an academic.  Teaching is EVERYWHERE.  Teachers are priceless.  You are valuable.  its just a question of finding the place. 

 

 


EmancipatedToes
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 2:13 PM
Joined: 4/25/2017
Posts: 104


What a hard decision you had to make! I imagine it will take a lot of getting used to...but I think that it was the right choice to make. I think in your shoes I would feel devastated too; changes are hard, especially giving up something you so clearly love.

I don't know you well, but I have seen your posts on this site, and I think that you are very valuable to this community. I hope that in time you can change your focus, and realize that you have so much still to live for. You can continue to make a difference in lives, and make the world a better place. Keep sharing your journey with us, and let us help to lift you up in the way you lift up others here.

Maybe when the rawness of your decision wears off, you can find an appropriate volunteer job? In the mean time, keep showing up, keep sharing your story, and don't give up!


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 2:35 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18513


Canada, I thought you had resigned in the spring at the end of the academic year.  I must have been mistaken.  It took me a long time to accept not being a doctor any more.  Being a saver of lives was such a part of my identity for so many years and decades, then, no more.  But I do accept it.  At one time I fell into a deep depression.  I finally decided, that if I did have dementia, I was not going out like a victim.  I decided to FIGHT for my life!  I decided I would do whatever it took for me to fight dementia.  Sharing on this board is one of the ways I fight dementia.  


You will find your own ways that have meaning for you.  As said above, when one door closes, another door opens.  There is life for you.  You should not be alone now.  What happened to your student who was going to visit you?  I think it would be better for you to get out, rather than to work on your closet, right now.  


You were thinking about attending a support group in NYC earlier.  Perhaps your student could travel into the city with you.  I believe there are many resources in the city.  Memories in the Making is in the city; this is an art-related activity for PWDs.  Can you google this?


Don't sit alone at home.  It's not helping you.  Do something for yourself.  You will feel better, and discover that you still can do for yourself.  Your life will be different.  But you can set your own terms.  

Think about what you want for yourself.  What will be meaningful in your life.  Then make it happen.  It won't happen overnight, but it can happen.


Iris L.



 


Iamnumberfour
Posted: Monday, August 21, 2017 7:45 PM
Joined: 2/29/2016
Posts: 1265


Hi Canada. I don't know you, but you have my utmost sympathy and support. You have made a very difficult decision. I am sure that as a teacher, you felt that you needed to bring your best self to your work every day. Your days as a teacher are not over. Your eloquence is such that you may be able to make others understand what this disease does and you can be an advocate. Iris is an example; I learn from her every time she posts. Please don't give up.
llee08032
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:44 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Oh, (((((((Canada))))))))!

This is really huge and major! Really, really hard to do. Don't be hard on yourself and don't give up. It is going to take time to seep in and adapt to a major life change such as giving up your career. I think what you did took courage! Good advice here even though you may not be feeling it right now. 

I would suggest calling the AA Helpline as many times as you need.


 1.800.272.3900.


Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:32 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Dear Canada,

I do hope Jean O'Brien responds to you. She so very recently went through the same thing.
I was diagnosed at the post-retirement age so I did not experience what you are. However, I do know the effort a good teacher puts out both with the students and in prep. Know, that even though you'd rather be in the classroom, what you did was best for your students.

 

You have received lots of good advice. The pity party is OK, briefly, but then the fighter/Alzheimer's Pioneer steps in. You have already joined us on-line and did your best to organize an on-line discussion group.  Maybe you could take up that campaign again.  
Do get involved with your local chapter. 

 

The Early Stage Advisory Group began this year in July.  Think about applying for next year's group.  Only twelve folks are selected each year, but you might be one of the twelve.
We are all thinking of you.  Please do call the help line: 1-800-272-3900 just to talk.

 


julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 9:37 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Canada, I am sending you major hugs... You need to talk right now and calling the help line will be very good for you.. They can give you ideas on how to get through this stressful time.. I send you my very best..
obrien4j
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:49 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Canada, I am so sorry to not have replied earlier. I too, have been away from the boards, sometimes it's the best way for me to deal with this. Yesterday would have been my 35th year of teaching, an entire lifetime. But I want to share some things that some members shared with me that were helpful.

One- allow your time to grieve, to cry and scream and throw things if you must- this disease is devestating, no question about it. It has changed your life forever.  But then pick a date to stop mourning and really start living- this is all you've got to do now- get your affairs in order and really truly live.

Two- I was reminded, as well, that my students deserved the very best of me- as our own children deserve- and I wasn't giving them my best. I was mediocre at best , and the stress was killing me. I felt like there was this black cloud overhead, following  me everywher, my deep dark secret. I knew once I mentioned the word dementia I was out- and as much as it upset me, it was the BEST decision i could of made. Did you hear me, Canada? The best decision! I know it's painful, but that job did not define you as a person nor should dementia. We are STILL living, breathing, thinking, doing human beings. My daughter had a meltdown the other day and said that I was losing my mind. The words, for the first time, made me stronger, rather than beating me down. I told her that I may have dementia, but I'm not losing my mind today, and probably not tomorrow either. We have a lot of life left and now begins a new chapter in our lives, a new calling. My dr told me the best thing I could of done for myself was retirement- only us teachers know the work and stress involved with teaching. Now if you had a smoother job, maybe you could of stayed longer, but not in teaching. I too, have gone thru the same doubts as you, but I know, deep in my heart, that I had to leave.

So now you have to begin the acceptance process- it is what it is, my friend. You can either live it up and do the best at being happy for whatever time remains or you can shrivel up and die sooner than expected. If you sit around and do nothing, you're sure to go sooner. I'm not saying it's easy and that I don't go thru the same emotions as you, my roller coaster goes up and down all the time. But I try to focus on the positive, even if it kills me! I swing back and forth at times, cry like never before, but it helps to cleanse my soul and deal with this. 

I've decided to have the time of my life while I'm dying. I try not to think about it since the reality is quite grim. Why focus on what we've lost and making ourselves miserable? I want to look back at my life and say they were the best years of my life, even if I am dying. Crazy, no? 

You have so much life ahead, even if it doesn't look like it now. My dr told me a bunch of things to do- stay as active as you can, exercise, esp strength training. She wants me gluten free, sugar free, dairy free- hope it's not taste free! I'm reading this book "the grain brain" and how certain foods trigger inflammation and cause disease. She also told me about Bulletproof, a new way of looking at food and energy. 

You can't give up , Canada, WE can't give up- there's so much "teaching"out there that you can do- we need to find a new purpose to live.Even though you may be devastated today, tomorrow will be better and the next will be even better than that. We're here for you friend, we'll get thru this together. Lots of love!


JJAz
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 1:00 PM
Joined: 10/21/2016
Posts: 2878


Canada,

I'm so sorry for what you're going through.  It's a grieving process, just like any other major loss.  Give yourself time and space, but mostly find some diversions.  Diversions are so important.  Try to make yourself get out of the house.  Go to a support group, go to a garden club meeting, or volunteer.  Check Meetup.com for something that might interest you.  But most of all, just go.  It's hard to do, but you will feel better afterward.

Blessings,

Jamie


Laurention
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:21 PM
Joined: 11/4/2014
Posts: 413


Hey Canada ....Hugs from Canada  ; )...

My DW was DX..EOAD at age 55... While I really don't know for sure what your feeling, I have some idea.

You've been given some great advice from the other folks here. Please call the help line.

   Mike 


Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:46 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


O'Brien,

Your reply was great.  Thank you! yes 


grandmalynda
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:09 PM
Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 374


Offering friendship and support to you Canada.  The advice offered here is heartfelt and honest.  Please read and reread o'brien's reply.  She knows your pain and is giving you suggestions based on her personal journey.  You are loved and accepted here.  Please accept the support that is available here.  

((((((Canada))))))

--Lynda

 


Canada111
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:07 PM
Joined: 8/22/2016
Posts: 263


I can not express enough my appreciation for the outpouring of support and understanding. Thank you all who have written and posted. You have no idea how meaningful it is for me.

It was interesting to see how the initial responses to my post yesterday were from caregivers, spouses and children of parents with dementia, followed today by my friends, who have gotten to know me since I joined the forums last year, around this time. It clarified for me that many who are caregivers and children of PWD and spouses of, are reading what we, who can still communicate well, have to say. That is heartening. It means that our words and emotions are taken seriously and read by more than those of us who are sick. That is a source of validation.

Thank you to my younger onset friends here who have offered your insights and encouragement into how and why life must go on. For today, I choose to live and have a voice, because of your encouragement.

 Jean, I thought somehow that I would be different and that progression would not take me out of my career so fast. I was always so goal oriented. As you know, the complexity of teaching, preparing and delivering content, and encouraging students (some of whom I could not remember their names from one day to the next), and the physical and emotional strain of holding it together, while not being able to tell anyone what was going on with me, was simply too much. I started experiencing profound symptoms of the disease around 2 years ago, and at that time was coming off a period in which I had been in the most productive and happiest phase I had been in years. I had many students who I was mentoring through advanced placement art history, producing stellar portfolios and gaining acceptance to some of the top universities in the country. Then KABOOM, I started to go downhill fast. All of my cognitive, physical and emotional faculties plummeted- fast.

 I have read that those with a good deal of cognitive reserve, sometimes unravel faster (contrary to popular belief that cognitive reserve keeps us well longer). Anyway, that is what happened to me, how my brain and body have been affected. The many balls I was juggling crashed. I was the chair and a full time art and art history teacher in a private school for gifted students grades 5-12, along with teaching a university course at a top NYC school, along with screenwriting, and was progressing in my effort to produce another film I began as an American Fulbright. I was also producing and directing a play, and running a household.

There are no funds for traveling or enjoying life to the hilt now. That will have to be ok. The disease has affected my ability to sequence and organize and day to day life is hard. Short term memory is more and more affected now, as I lapse. I do not see things that are in front of my face. I have to go slow. Neuro-psychological testing revealed much slowed processing and speed. Now I am easily fatigued and have sleep breakage. There are many physical manifestations that tests have not revealed reasons for beyond AD. The cluster of physical, cognitive and psychological symptoms are not easily parsed and addressed.

My financial situation is not great, actually pretty dismal, but I have a roof over my head, and that is more than the many homeless have that I see daily on my walks. There is certainly a spiritual dimension to falling off the mountain in this way. There but for grace of G-d go I.

 I will be seeing a lawyer who specializes in SSDI with my husband at the end of this month. I taught in a private school and do not have much in the way of savings or a cushion. I don't have long term care insurance. I have to be thankful to my husband for his commitment and carrying on with his job, which is what we are relying on to carry us. He pays all the bills now, begrudgingly. It is what it is.

Was it the right decision? I was no longer able to push and handle the stress and complexity of a job I formerly enjoyed and was proud of, and which was such a huge part of my identity. As some of you noted, it's better to get out before being asked to leave, or having to quit mid semester. There is some dignity in that. All of your input has helped me to get through today. Sometimes it is a minute at a time, an hour at a time.

I am currently trying to become more independent and my goal is to travel by public transportation to a support group at the hospital where my neurologist is a director of research. I have traveled the world with students, and by myself. How ironic that I am working with a woman at the hospital who is am an expert in cognitive remediation, and who is utilizing strategies to help me become more independent and simply take public transportation or get into an Uber myself (this is due to the level of panic and anxiety). I have not been able to deal with traveling alone in this way for over a year. The disease has robbed me of independence, and I will have to fight and build courage to get that back through immersion. Attending a support group (I've finally been accepted to one) and participating and observing is currently my goal. That along with drawing and writing for my blog Suddenly Mad: My Journey Through Early Alzheimer's-

 www.suddenlymad.com

 


Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:05 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Canada,

 

Thanks for writing again. You  sound so much better than you did this morning.

 And yes, the wonderful thing about this site is that once a person has posted a few times, we get to know each other and are there for support.

 If you can swing it financially, Uber sounds like the better choice. Can you get someone to ride with you the first time or two? A friend?  A parent of one of your students, if you are willing to come out to them. I came out after diagnosis but I was retirement age. PersonallyI think it would  be nice to let the parents know why you aren't there. Others will tell you don't.  Your choice.


jfkoc
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:58 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21248


Many read and post here who are not PWD. 

I guess we have become a team. It's a very good thing!


obrien4j
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:44 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Girl, you got this- it's all in the attitude! You have served hundreds of students in the most humble and dignified way of being a teacher.We thank you for your dedication cause you sure as hell didn't do it for the money! You have given of your heart and soul and our hearts break along with you.

BUT...today you are back with a vengeance and are gonna take on this Alzheimer's thing with grace, courage and determination, perhaps to accept your new life, to forgive others or to appreciate all that you have. Many beautiful lessons here, you are open to happiness and you know, everything s gonna be alright. And if it's not alright, then that's ok too. We've got our network of love going on 24/7- Keep it on speed dial, friend.


obrien4j
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:05 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Mimi- I sent an email to the staff, telling them I have dementia. I wanted them to know that I didn't just disappear, as some staff members have done. I was a coordinator and therefore, involved with everyone - I feel it correct to tell them the reason why, along with providing them some information. That was my moment to educate! I wanted to end my career on a high note and celebrating with the kids, was the absolute highlight. Boys cried, girls huddled around me- it was then that I knew I was leaving my mark on their hearts forever. That's all that mattered- no test scores or GPA's- pure and simple love. I have forever touched these kids, along with hundreds more-as they have touched my life- I  can hold my head up high- as you can, Canada. 

I did tell a few parents and in my small school district that information probably has gotten around town. I have told several friends and former colleagues as well. 


alz+
Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 3:45 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


There is no other place (that I now of) with this kind of support system, experience, and range of helpful experiences.

The comments here made me cry with relief. 

Many of us have had to figure out the surprise energy that comes when we give up something, and assumed we would have that energy for what we gave up. I still do it every day! The reverse is having a bad day or week or month seems to also convince me I will never recover, then I do more or less.

Well done to all of us.

Canada - thank you for teaching today. There is an awful lot of reinventing the world going on here.


llee08032
Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 6:16 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


((((((((Canada)))))))))), so good to hear back from you! 
Keep It 100
Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 8:01 AM
Joined: 2/26/2017
Posts: 586


Canada, oh my gosh, your blog is amaaaaazing. You have such a beautiful gift, your writing is truly magical.

I can see how you were a fantastic educator and must have been such an inspiration to so many youngsters. And leaving that was hard, I know, (I have seen my husband suffer from feeling cut off from his career in which he thrived, and loved....) but it seems you truly made the right decision. 

And with this GIFT that you possess, and this wonderful blog, you will continue to educate and inspire....Your work is not done. There will be so many who can relate to so much you are dealing with. Your daughter...my husband's son...different in detail, but similar. I get it. 

You should be published. I read Greg O'brien...you are just as good, if not better. 


KML
Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 1:06 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105


Canada:

I hope you can feel the love and support.  You will find your way, no matter who we are, what is going on in our lives, it is always about adjustments, constant.  I have faith that you will find your way through these adjustments.  Keep coming back as you need to to this website and you'll find support, suggestions and love.  We hold each other up.  Your voice will inspire others, you have much to offer and give.

 



MPSunshine
Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2017 5:38 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2012


Canada, Even though I don't know you and I very rarely post on this board, and it's a terribly tough time you are going through right now, I want you to know that your blog is amazing and I do hope that you can find some activity that can keep you feeling more happy and involved. My grandma, even when she was kind of forgetful, would still relish her connection with young children and so she would volunteer in the Head Start programs to read the big books out loud to the kids. I wonder whether there would be a space in your old school for you to give an art lesson or two. Even if you had a connection like that on a weekly basis it would give you something to look forward to and plan for, even if it took longer than before. I will tell you if I were a principal I would try to include you in my school! But I'm not. I'm another teacher servant. Trying to lift up my kin though.  Once a teacher always a teacher. You are teaching me through your writing. Keep on.
Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:06 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Canada,

How are you feeling today?

I am so impressed with your writing, both here and on your blog.  You say that is your main outlet.

It is my opinion that the larger community could be educated about the early stages of this disease by reading what you have written.  I am wondering if some of the publicity people at the National Alz. Assoc. would have some connections. 

Or how about our readers. What do they think would be good places for submission.

When you compare your art work with what you were doing five years ago, has there been a change?  Worth an article?

Would you be interested in participating as a leader in an art program such as "Memories in the Making."  I am thinking of a program for folks with dementia based on us enjoying the process of art and where the final product is not at all the purpose.