Episode 3

I was diagnosed with Anxiety almost two years ago after a neuropsych test.  Whether or not MS is the cause, I may never know.  I have been a sleepless, worrier since childhood.  I don’t particularly embrace this trait, but like MS, I must acknowledge its presence in my life.

Granted, I experience anxiety less frequently now that I have retired from the teaching profession.  MS cognitive problems made teaching very difficult.  I could not perform as a teacher with my unreliable memory and weakened problem solving skills.  The fact that my thought process was so dysfunctional led to stress, insomnia, constant worry and depression over sucking at a job in which I once excelled.  Of course, anxiety compounded my problems with cognition.  I worried daily that I would be fired as I began to accumulate many negative job reviews from my administrators.  I was not like this during the first 5 years after my diagnosis, but my job performance did change by year 6 after diagnosis.

As my teaching skills declined, my bosses felt that the best way to “correct” my inadequate teaching skills was by observing me in the form of frequent, unannounced walk-thru observations, and requiring that I submit lesson plans to them at the beginning of each week.  Of course, I had always planned out the progression of my units in a daily, weekly and monthly manner, but the lesson plan submission created extra work for an already busy teacher.  And my bosses were wrong.  Their solutions did not fix any of the teaching inadequacies they noted.  Perhaps nothing could have solved them as the root of the problem was cognition deficiencies caused by MS.

Even though I am retired, I still stress out on Sunday nights.  The fact that I felt this way during the last years of my career is very sad.  For most of my career, I loved starting the work week until MS made my job difficult.

I remember hearing that many retirees experienced depression when they stop working. I probably would have been a depressed retiree, had my teaching career played out normally and was not burdened by MS.  I used to get restless by being at home.  Now, home is my source of peace, and I’m grateful for this career change.

Anxiety is still and most likely will be a constant companion in my life, but I am glad it no longer haunts my Sunday nights and Monday mornings.  Again, I can sleep peacefully on Sunday evening and wake up with excitement over the potential of a new week.