Trying NOT to feel Guilty for Taking Care of Myself.

I called in Sick for tomorrow.

I have been burnt out for the past couple of weeks.

My body is exhausted. My mind is exhausted.

I’ve been wanting to take a day off, but I felt like I was just making excuses to not take a day off.

But the longer I waited, the more it began affecting my mental and physical health.

Last week, I was very irritable. I felt like I was angry at my students more than being patient and comforting to them. Because I was soo burnt out and exhausted. I felt so guilty at the end of the night for how I talked to them.

I started having a headache yesterday. I could feel an aura coming, and I knew that I was going to get a migraine soon. I wanted to take today off, but I was so conflicted on whether or not it was the best choice. I kept on thinking about my students and how it would affect them. Then it was too late to call in. I went to work today and my head kept on throbbing. At some moments, I was irritable. Then I was very out of it. It felt like I was in a dream-like state, like everything didn’t seem real. Then, as I was driving home. I was at a stoplight and it turned green. For some reason, I just stared at it and didn’t react quickly that it was the signal to drive. And the loud honk from the car behind me, reminded me that I’m not living in a dream-like condition. Then as the sun was setting, I also realized…I didn’t put my headlights on and it was getting dark.

That’s when I knew that my mind needed a break.

My headache started getting worse at the end of the work day. And then when I got home, the nausea started. I took my prescription for migraines. And it didn’t really help. I used my essential oils, that didn’t help. Then it felt like everything else in my body just gave up. I got anxious about a relative getting COVID (I haven’t had any contact with them, everyone is worried about him, so my anxiety went up)…then I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. Once I realized it, then even more I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Then all of a sudden, my sinuses hurt and of course it hurt more, when I started thinking about it. The anxiety made me have physical symptoms. Then thinking about my physical symptoms made me feel worse. Oh and my head still hurts and I still feel nauseous.

That’s when I knew that my body needs a break.

As I came to the decision of letting my director know that I would be out tomorrow.

I got really anxious. For some reason, I thought of the worst possible responses for taking a day off. Which I never really take a day off.

And then, I started feeling guilty for taking a day off. How it would affect my co-teachers, my students and everyone else.

My body is literally telling me that it needs a break and I feel guilty.

I texted Crisis Text Line. And the first thing the counselor told me is that I shouldn’t feel any shame for taking a day off to stay on track. My mental and physical health should be a priority.

And she’s right.

My therapist talked to me about this, a couple of weeks ago. She knew that I was depressed and burnt out. And she said that if I’m not feeling good (mentally and physically), then I should take a day off. I knew I need a day off, but I never did. Now I’m suffering the consequences from it.

I know that going to work tomorrow will either: make my head feel worse or make me more stressed that I’ll be more frustrated and angry at work.

I’M DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR ME, MY MENTAL HEALTH & MY PHYSICAL HEALTH. I SHOULD NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR THAT.

-MEL

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