Adults, Isolation and Pills

American Falcon was round again this week helping me to teach the adult class, I think I got a tiny bit possessive over them and was perhaps not hugely great at the team teaching lark. I’m not used to being on the ‘experienced’ side of team teaching. Still it’s useful to have her come and let me get used to that, I certainly think it’s improving my teaching practice.

Also it was fun during the writing bit to have someone to pass notes to…yeah the irony of the teachers passing notes in class was not lost on us. It was fun though.

In anycase she and the class have agreed to let her loose on them alone next week and I’ve decided to pay her, she’s adament that she doesn’t need to be paid (and in fact the conditions of her internship suggest that she shouldn’t be) but I’m damned if I’m going to let her teach a class alone, after two lessons of prep without some remuneration. The class is taking us out for dinner in a few weeks too!

The reason that she’s teaching alone next week is that my school have an end of term enkai. An enkai is a teachers party. Which on the face of it sounds as though I am deserting my post to have fun. I am not looking forward to the enkai. I have to go as it is the Japanese way of team building and I missed the last one because it was waaaaay to expensive for me. This one is still fairly expensive but I can just about manage it. I like a good number of the staff, I have a crush on the headmaster and many of them are very nice to me. However for some reason they seem to find me at an enkai an unbelievable chore. I can see why I guess, I mean the enkai is supposed to be fun and most Japanese people of a certain age seem to associate talking English with school and work. They also find my Japanese too slow and stumbling for a good conversation and so resort to telling me to speak English, thus increasing the amount of work they have to do at the party and also my guilt over the fact that my Japanese is still so slow that they have to tell me to speak English.

I don’t mind the lack of conversation so much as I like to listen to try to understand what is being said around me…well actually that not always as sometimes it’s people complaining that they have to sit next to the ALT who is too stupid to speak Japanese. I pretend not to understand when they do say that otherwise they’d be horribly embarrassed. In anycase I do find it amusing in a twisted sort of way that the teambuilding excercise leaves me feeling more isolated than an average day in the staffroom.

It bothers me a little that I build up the enkai in my head to be quite so horrible. I am a little hormonal this week and ended up getting a bit tearful over it yesterday. My tears worry me, they are usually a good warning sign for when I’m letting things get on top of me and I have proved over the years that my ignoring them or saying it’s only hormones really screws me over.

I was depressed for a while. (Putting that in the past tense seems wrong to me, I don’t think you ever really get over depression and the way to cope with it is to realise that it will always be there, a little worm in your soul sitting there waiting to get a hold again.) Someone once said to me or on their blog that defeating depression was all about will power. I would disagree that you can defeat depression in the total sense, learning to live with it and gradually forcing it into remittance or abeyance would seem more accurate to me, though perhaps my will power isn’t all it could be. I would also allow that pills have their place because once the worm has really taken hold it is difficult to see anything past it, indeed the way I climbed over the damn worm was by admitting that it was the only thing and that it was only in imagination that I had created the idea of a world without being depressed but that I was going to play pretend with myself when I could.

Sorry I’m becoming tangential, talking about your own depression is a dangerous thing because the worm feeds upon it. Also it’s dull for other people to listen to you bemoan your own health issues if they aren’t depressed and if they are it sounds like you’re glorifying ‘How I overcame depression’…and I suspect my attitudes are probably the last thing someone needs to hear if they are.

In anycase I agree with the willpower thing, but for me it wasn’t the willpower to stab the worm, for me it’s about making yourself notice when the worm is creeping up on you and aiming you for the cliffs. It used to amaze me that I could predict the cliffs and still head right for them, jumping for the rocks quite happily. I still enjoy the fall. I suspect thats why I treat depression somewhere akin to the way an alcoholic treats the desire for alcohol somewhere inside there is an enjoyment of the misery and melancholia and sense of total lack of control. I think depression is a hugely personal thing, what is true for one person is not true for all, another reason I dislike talking about it.
The tears are a definate warning sign and I’ve tried ignoring them before. It was very silly of me and always results in not niceness for myself and those around me.

Its all something of a balancing act this living lark. I love to be on my own but the feeling of being deliberately isolated, of not being wanted when you have to be in a particular situation is one that leads eventually to the warning tears. I occaisionally accuse doctors of handing out pills like candy when it comes to depression. I definately felt that was the case with me. I don’t think they do so much anymore or at anyrate they do when there are unhealthy situations that life means you cannot get away from.

I can’t escape this problem it’s a matter of working out how to live with it. I certainly don’t want to give up my beloved aloneness anytime soon. I think that the party for ALTs is going to go someway to repairing whatever damage is done at the enkai. So no more dreading, it’s like an injection, something I have to do but theres a treat afterwards. Maybe I should lay in some more chocolate as well.

Even if American Falcon says it’s playing merry hell with her diet will power.

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