Bristol 14.3.19

I’ve just had 2 days off. There wasn’t any work but it’s been a blessing in disguise. The jangles are back. No surprises there when I look at my recent record – 3 long nights last week and bits in between. I take comfort in the fact that I know when I need to address it and go into detox mode. This week no alcohol and no benzos. I suddenly noticed that I had been taking Xanax every night for how long? Certainly regularly for the last 6 months. Monday morning at work I thought I was experiencing withdrawal. My nerves were frayed like old rope. I was getting frightened by loud voices and noises. And had the fear of the unknown going into each lesson. Lest I forget, I must remind myself that I have been a demon in the classroom of late even when making the best of someone else’s lessons.

Monday night was like a voyage in a storm. Being bounced between moments of wakefulness, semi consciousness and intense, short, highly visual dreams involving friends and loved ones in strange settings. Glemham had become a vast palace like Blenheim full of grand, beautifully decorated rooms, not the faded old lady that she is reality (I love her really). And characters flitted about like shadows while I travelled between each story and place alone. I woke up exhausted at about 6 and couldn’t decide whether to rain check it or not. I went with it.

Last lesson P 5 I had that feeling of dread as a sea of boisterous year 8s swept up and down the corridor outside G32. Took me a while to get them lined up. 5 minutes later they were good as gold. Knowing how to pitch it right: calm, firm and kind. It was English too so at least I wasn’t pretending to know what I was talking about. A trainee was in with me being overly strict with 2 boys who were just slouching a bit while we were reading. I remember that feeling when you first start teaching of not quite knowing how / when to deal with behaviour – when to react, when to not. It was one of those lessons which gave me that sense of exhiliration and achievement. It’s like the feeling you get with so many things – like hitting a tennis shot just right or catching a wave or writing an article or playing an instrument when you know you have got it just right and that knowledge sweeps over you, bringing calm satisfaction. It’s been a while.

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