A teacher in Turkey on a healing journey from traumas – interview


A young Turkish teacher, living in Turkey, shared her experiences of social anxiety and health problems connected to traumas and her ways of managing and treating her symptoms, as well as her hopes for the future.

Watching movies with others helps in communication. I wonder how I would react if I was in his place I can not do without thinking. Watching movies or TV shows with ordinary events is boring to me. Because the world we are in is boring and there is no difference. Reading books draws me to other worlds. The world that I want to be or where I should be. While reading a book, I always imagine myself there. Both movies and books keep me mentally calm.

Taking care of animals and cleaning up makes me feel comfortable. Because I’m just focusing on it. And of course listening to music. Music is the biggest part of my life. While listening to music, I find myself living with the song. Dancing amuses me.

I have cats, chickens and cows. Taking care of them makes me happy. Because I know they are with me every moment. They love and embrace me. They can express their feelings just like us. I can notice when something happens to anyone, in the same way, if something happens to me, they can also notice it. I think this is my favourite form of communication. I don’t think of any problems in the fresh air, I just live in that moment. There is a lot of greenery where I am, I really like it. It always gives me peace.

I have friends with whom I am very sincere and I have along with them no problem getting. Because they know me well. My mood or it they immediately understand what I’m feeling at the moment and act accordingly. I’ve been with them I met in the environment and I realized that my blood was warming. There is such a different situation; If I am warmed to a person, I do not break my bond. At the moment I can decide if I get along with a person.

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I had a big trauma and a few more traumas. After breaking up with my boyfriend, he started threatening me and I couldn’t eat for 2 weeks. Besides he tried to make me look bad to my family. I am having trouble sleeping and eating when I am stressed unconsciously. It was 5 or 6 years ago. Constant jealousy and pressure was beginning to wear me down. I started experiencing psychological disturbances. I said I couldn’t take it any longer and wanted to leave. But he kept telling me that I was sick and that I had to get better. After a while, I was completely disconnected from him. I really said it’s over now and I was happy. Then he started threatening me, wanting to denigrate me against the people around me. I was anxious and scared, but I got over it thanks to my friends whom I love and value, they are always with me.

I have friends that I feel close to if I have had a difficult situation. They are always supportive. I am grateful that they really exist. The online world is somewhat inadequate to help. Because they are not with me and I do not know if I can communicate in daily life. I wonder if there are people I can really trust. There are many times when I want to close everything and go.

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I wrote a story about drama and a little bit of love. I shared this story in the form of chapters in a facebook group. But then I could not continue due to my busy class schedule. The draft of my other story was ready, but I did not dare to write it again. In my school the lessons were heavy and I had to find a tool to write what was in my head, so I wrote a story. Since last year I have written a diary regularly, but I left it too. I started writing due to severe trauma and I felt bad while writing.

My first 2 years at university was empty. My 3rd and 4th years were more meaningful and happy. My 4th year was my favourite year. I socialized the most in my 4th year. That year, I realized the value of the friends I have now. Finding friends was difficult in my first year, but later, the more I stepped, the faster I made friends. Later, I found myself in positive communication with people. Of course it was not easy for me, but I succeeded.

There have been many times when I lost my hope. Thanks to the people who always supported me, I got through. But I said I would always have problems and I had to face it. I completely removed this person from my life and said that if I keep my calm, I will surely go. But I always kept my willpower and I kept telling myself that this problem would be over. Time is the best healer. Logic is always guiding.

I was constantly having problems and feeling pressure. I have no problem eating, but I am suffering from hair loss. I returned to my normal life again, but the effects of traumas still continue. When I went to the doctor, instead of listening to and understanding me, he preferred to just give medicine (antidepressant). After taking the medicine for a while, my brother said, quit this medicine, it will not help you. So I thought to myself, can only medicine be the solution for me? Of course, medicine was not going to solve anything. Because he was not talking to me, listening or guiding me. Then I decided at that moment, I quit. We are the most effective medicine ourselves and there is no more effective medicine. Listen to your inner voice, listen to your logic.

I think a lot about whether he (or they) will talk behind me or if I said something wrong. but then I came to the conclusion that this was a delusion. now I’m just thinking if we can really chat. I came to the conclusion that I should always dare. I adopted the idea that the person in front of me is a human and will not always have the same results.

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It was a really tough work experience for me (working as a teacher two years ago). Here I had to deal with constant pressure and stress. I’ve experienced mobbing, acne, hair loss from stress. but the idea that I had to work did not go away. I was subjected to mobbing (internal psychological violence or pressure) by a higher person than me. He wanted me to act like him. He used to say I had to do things he didn’t want to do. I had health problems due to pressure. I continued this business thinking that these times would pass. But there was no improvement and I quit my job.

The better living conditions push me to work abroad. Especially people their understanding and respect impresses me. Staying attached to a place for as long as I can remember makes me uneasy. Because I’m a free-spirited person and being restricted makes me more angry. Continuous I cannot suppress the feeling of learning and exploring. Researching and learning new things are my favorite things. I would like to go to places with lots of greenery and fresh air. It attracts me to get lost in places I have not seen before and to observe it in a unique way. I’ve always been like this, but I couldn’t tell anyone about it. There are so many things I want to tell that I want to talk about myself constantly.

Gizem, April 2021

Reblogged: How I Work a Job With a Mental Illness

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Noragami by Anna Vanes ©

The blog-post linked below provides a variety of realistic advice about coping at work whilst managing mental health disorder symptoms. The blogger, Matilda, a supply teacher who experiences anxiety, OCD, attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression and suicidal thoughts, acknowledges the reality that work may be something that must be endured, “to continue our days of being warriors” but there are actions that can be taken to mitigate the difficulties.

The writer suggests keeping our job in context and maintaining a sense, however theoretical, of inherent freedom and control, as well as our individuality. We may be reliant on a job but it should never own us, physically or mentally. If unwell, we can seek to take time off work on sick leave to receive treatment or to rest. When a particular challenges arises, we can face it by telling ourselves that we are not physically bound to the task or the job: “I can’t stand the mess they (schoolchildren) make, I find the food mess disgusting. But I remind myself, over and over – it’s just a job. I get to go home. After this lunch, it’s over. I don’t need to do this again. Even though I need to do it again, I tell myself I won’t, because as my therapist once said: You don’t have to do anything.”

In completing our job tasks, we should avoid ‘toxic productivity,’ the writer argues: “it’s when you feel the need to be productive at basically all times, and only feel guilty when you relax.” To free herself from this tendency, the writer practices speaking basic actions out aloud: “Things like “Now I’m putting my glass in the dishwasher. That is enough for now. Now I will go and watch a movie. Now I will put my clothes in the washer. That is enough. Now I will go and take a nap.” Treating myself like a child has done wonders for my recovery…”

Reminding ourselves of why we are working and of how we will reward ourselves, again, revives our individuality and sense of having some control. Thoughts the writer reminds herself of include: “This hour I made x amount of money, just by doing this. When this day is over, I will have earned X; I’m doing this for me and my recovery; My bed is waiting for me at home, and it will feel even better to return to it when I’ve worked a whole day; I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I will focus on getting through with this day.”

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Work influences our behaviour at home, physically, emotionally and, simply, in terms of reduced time to ourselves. The writer suggests developed preparation for the workday beyond basics of cleaning, clothing and packing. Mental health disorder sufferers may need greater personalised preparation, whether it is meditation, mental relaxation, counselling, watching T.V, journaling, re-reading ‘thought changing checklists’ or checking work time arrangements.

The writer says that she likes to talk through her work with her boyfriend or mum and to send email confirmations about work times to reduce her anxiety. As a supply teacher, she chooses her own work hours, necessitating, it seems, some administrative work from home. However, implicit in her preparation, especially, her active reflections on work at home, is a rejection of the idea of a strict work time-free time separation. For mental health disorder sufferers, especially, work preparation done at home can be beneficial. However, this should come with a warning that preparation should be empowering and not overly consume free time and become ‘toxic productivity.’ Any preparation should be done for the benefit of the individual and not her employer.

Fundamental to most of the advice provided by Matilda is for the individual to consciously and practically re-assert a sense of control over their employment. They may be economically bound to the job but it should also provide benefits. Moreover, being bound may not be the case long-term, it is not the case in their free time and should certainly not be the case intellectually.

Image designed by Anna Vanes. For stock image credits, click here.

To read the full blog-post at matildaminds.wordpress.com click below.