In which nobody is kidding and this shit is real

There needs to be a word— there probably is one, in German at least, but I don’t know it– for simultaneously 1) recognizing how incredibly lucky you are compared to a whole lot of other people, and 2) feeling like you are completely unable to manage your own life. Because … holy shit, y’all. And also a word for I am complaining about this, but I am also not complaining about this because the thing I am complaining about is the right thing to do. That needs to be a word too. I assume y’all understand me.

(Cue absolutely everyone nodding.)

The governor closed down all schools in Indiana until May 1. May fucking 1st. And the mayor– the new one, not the dude who ran for president– put us under a travel advisory today. It’s an advisory only, mind you, meaning that there’s no real teeth to it, but it’s a sign that more may be coming. I am not going back to work for six weeks. And I have to figure out how to educate the proportion of my students who can be counted on to make themselves available for said education for those six weeks, and figure out what to do with the (probably over half) group of them who are not going to do anything at all during that time.

Now, this feels overwhelming, but balance the fact that I’m going to get paid to work from home for the next six weeks against that, and that my wife also has a job where she can relatively easily transition into working from home during that time if necessary, and that unlike a whole lot of people my job is not suddenly going to actually go away, and I really should be outside dancing in the streets at how lucky I am. Because my immediate family, at least, is (within the world of those of us who are not so rich that we don’t have to worry about it at all) basically as set up to weather this storm as we could possibly be.

In the meantime, though, and with that said, I’m trying to figure out how the hell any of this works on the ground, especially since the governor just de facto cancelled state testing, which is kinda legally mandated and has a whole lot of money attached to it, to say nothing of the fact that it’s supposed to be a factor in all of our performance reviews at the end of the year. And, like, school letter grades, which were already a massive mess. The entire window for testing was in April, y’all. That’s done now, and I don’t think anyone thinks we’re gonna bring these kids back on May 1

(we are not going to bring them back on May 1)

and immediately throw state testing at them. It’s just not going to happen. Also, like, every IEP in existence is getting violated right now, because as far as I know none of them are written in a way that acknowledges the possibility of six or seven weeks of e-learning. Those also are all legal documents that we can be sued for not following correctly.

It is, in short, one more huge mess in the thick of all the other huge messes that are taking place right now. The unprecedentedly, ridiculously huge pile of huge messes.

… and meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the US just crossed 10,000, mostly on the strength of New York State starting to take testing seriously and somehow getting a ton of kits from somewhere. Expect that to increase by a staggering amount over the next few days.

I’d say “take a deep breath,” but doing that might trigger another coughing fit, so I’m not gonna. Still sick, and still not with the ‘Rona, if anyone’s wondering.

Stay safe, y’all.

In which this is happening

All four of my mom’s sisters are going to be in my house, along with my brother and sister-in-law, within an hour or so.

As an atheist it feels odd to be asking people to pray for me but I need all the help I can get.

In which I’m not here right now

This song has nothing to do with the post.

I slept last night, at least in the technical sense, and I vaguely remember even being pretty comfortable, so it wasn’t a tossy-turny sort of night, but hell if I didn’t spend the entire night having constant, vivid anxiety dreams of the sort of “I’m late for work/unprepared for class/can’t find my clothes/everything is going wrong” sort of genre, along with a handful of actual nightmares that I don’t remember as specifically. I still owe you guys a post about the training last week and I want to review a game called Salt and Sanctuary that ate a large chunk of my free time last week (and is about to eat an hour of tonight) but I’m going to bed early tonight and I’m going to hope I’m more of a human being at work tomorrow than I was today.

That said, briefly: I’ve had a couple of days recently where I know good and goddamned well that I’d have come home from work and immediately spent the entire evening stressing out and looking at want ads, and since I’ve been on the Effexor … well, the job and the kids aren’t better, but my reactions to them have been a hell of a lot healthier. Like, I can have a bad day at work now and come home and just lay the shit aside and have a nice night with my family. This shit is a miracle drug, which is not something I’d ever have said about Lexapro. I could be writing more fiction, but … well, that’s never not true, so meh.

I’ll try and be more productive tomorrow.

Mental health check

We’re at … three weeks? A month? Let’s say three weeks– on the Effexor, and other than the nightmare week of constant sleep and side effects, I gotta say I’m feeling like I’m for it, all told. My wife remarked yesterday that she felt like I’ve been in a much better mood lately, and while I’m not going to pretend that the occasional urge to quit my job and go live in the woods doesn’t continue to strike me, I think that the fact that I teach middle school means that it’s perfectly reasonable that the occasional urge to quit my job and go live in the woods strikes me.

A couple of things that may or may not be side effects: I feel like my appetite has been suppressed a bit, although given my weight problem that’s not something I’m complaining about, and I think I’ve dropped some pounds since I started the drug but I’m not about to ruin it by weighing myself to check. I’m also sleeping better, which is good and bad, because getting up in the morning has been more difficult lately– and while that’s also a typical reaction to cooler weather setting in, the drive to work has been brutal, and I’ve needed caffeine to reach basic humanity more in the last few weeks than I ever have before. In other words, it being harder to get up isn’t atypical for fall, but this is worse than it usually is, which may or may not be the drug. I’m convinced about the appetite suppression. I’m less so about the sleepiness.

But one way or another, I feel like I’m experiencing more or less normal moods given my lifestyle and circumstances– I don’t feel like the drug has me in a haze or locked in a box, and I’m also not having to keep close tabs on my mood to note when it just might be anxiety and depression fucking me up worse than normal. Things have been better for the last couple of weeks, which is what this shit is supposed to be for. And I’m pretty sure it’s not fully kicked in yet, so hopefully I’m leading to more improvement and not overmedication. We’ll see, I guess? Sure.

I’m (still) alive

And I went to work today! And I haven’t had a nap, and my wife said I was being normal! Hooray!

Seriously though everybody who told me that there weren’t going to be bad side effects from Effexor? I’m gonna need y’all to get in a line and then I’m going to get into a whole bunch of fights, because that was every bit as bad as getting used to Lexapro. The good news is that I appear to be over the hump, and while I’m not certain that the drug is making me better yet it certainly seems to be done making things worse.

But hey. Whatever. I survived. I’ll take it.

Also, there’s an update on Patreon, if you’re into that.