I am a high school teacher and adjunct college professor and have worked over the summer for my entire 17 year career. This is the first summer that I have had entirely off. It wasn’t my choice…coincidentally all the classes I normally teach did not run. I was nervous at first, not so much about the money anymore, but more about all the idle time. The saving grace is that my sister and my newborn niece live 2 miles away and I have been with them- and my mother- almost every day. This is also one of the rare summers where I don’t have any trips planned. I assumed that my anxiety level would be on the lower side because of not having to travel. I guess that isn’t how anxiety works, because I feel like I have regressed a little over the summer. When I first started having anxiety in my early 20s, it was really linked to my health. I was very much a hypochondriac. In fact, it was my gynecologist who strongly recommended me seeing a psychologist. Over the years, that type of anxiety subsided and was replaced with the travel anxiety and agoraphobia tendencies. This summer, though, I have gone to a doctor a half dozen times. I joke that I am like a retired 85 year old woman…like my grandmother who went to the doctor at least once a week (*I am not even 40 yet). To be fair, one of those visits was due to having really bad poison ivy, so that one shouldn’t really count 😉
I can tell my anxiety is bad because some of the physical symptoms that bother me have been exacerbated in the past few weeks. My boyfriend has been really overwhelmed at work and he doesn’t have the best stress management skills. He tends to bring his work home with him and when he is stressed at work he also drinks way too much. His behavior- and drinking- has been affecting me more than I have acknowledged- to him or to myself. My cat has been sick, which has also been stressing me out…I know that sounds kind of silly, but I do not have children and my cats and dog are extremely important to me.
I think that when I go back to school in September and get back into a routine, the anxiety will subside (I hope!) It is just sad that I was really looking forward to this time off and I feel like I have kind of squandered it by focusing so much on negative things and feeling unwell. I still have four weeks off, so I really am going to try to relax and enjoy them. When I go back to school and all my colleagues ask me what I did over the summer, I don’t want my only answer to be that I went to the doctor 15 times!!