Swimming with Swamp Monsters

Evette Gallardo, Staff Writer, Editor

…but let’s face it, I haven’t been normal for quite a while, I text one of my close friends. 

Distance learning has been both a blessing and a curse, especially for me. If you don’t know me then you wouldn’t know the countless internal battles I’ve fought, the swamp monsters I’ve allowed into my mental home, and you wouldn’t know that my depression is the epicenter of my being.

It is not easy having to deal with a mental illness in a time where you feel so alone and disconnected. An article by PR Newswire states, “About four in 10 teens (42%) feel “more lonely than usual” right now—nearly the same number as those who say they feel “about as lonely as usual” (43%). Girls are more likely than boys to say they feel more lonely than usual (49% vs. 36%).”

I started off this school year fairly strong, so far it hasn’t been anything too bad. Nonetheless, I still find myself struggling with it all. There are days where I’ll be so focused on what I’m doing, on these days I engage in conversation and get my work done early. Other days I find myself barely even remembering what we were supposed to do for homework let alone what the teacher was even talking about.

Now I know being a teacher isn’t easy, especially right now. Nothing has been easy this year, I understand that. But it’s nice to know that your teacher genuinely cares about your mental health and not just your grades and participation because sometimes that’s all it feels like.

We’re living in such a strange time and it’s easy to fall back into old habits–some of us probably already have. And while I give the teachers out there so much credit for being able to do what they do, I don’t think they realize sometimes what it’s like for us too. I know it’s hard to keep track of the 100 students you teach daily, but just to show you’re there means a lot. I’m not asking for the world, I’m asking for the reassurance that my teacher is going to trek through the same rivers as me, or at least be there to guide me through the white waters. 

I’m asking that you press pause on being a teacher for a minute and just be human. No label to stop you from expressing empathy and compassion, no degree to stop you from crouching down to a student’s level to give them an embrace; don’t let anything hold you back from your heart. We just want to know that you’re in the same boat as us too–that you battle swamp monsters and drown in the deep end of your emotions. 

I’m just, I don’t know. This was an absolute mess and so am I but hey, we all fall off track once and a while…that’s the beauty of life, isn’t it?