I feel like I’m not myself anymore

I feel like I’m not myself anymore.
My life has been taken over by someone, something else.
The way I eat, work, and interact is dictated by the outside.
I don’t know when I last got enough sleep.
When I didn’t have to worry about the loads of work in front of me. Emails in my inbox pile up – messages from dear friends waiting for an update, and all I can give them is a “I’ll get back to you as soon as things calm down.”
But when is that?

My kitchen looks like a battlefield, I stumble through it in the morning to make a cup of coffee and hope there’s still some food left in the fridge.
I don’t even want to get started on the rest of the apartment.
Piles and piles of paper, clothes, pens.
The air smells of heavy thinking.
I look at this mess everyday and think, “I really need to get some order into this.”
And yet, time runs by far too quickly and I have no energy left to pick up a single sheet of paper.
I want to meet up with friends and share my struggles, but often I feel like I have no ounce of emotional strength left in me to carry a conversation.

© B. Mahler, Fotograf, Berlin

I feel like a grandma when I see my roommate go to a party at 9.30 pm and I start getting ready for bed.

What happened?
Well, I started working.
Welcome to the life of a new teacher.

I haven’t moved, I still speak German, I still surrounded by many familiar things and faces.
And yet, I feel as if I had entered a new culture.
The land of adulthood and working.
The land where clocks ring early and demand full-on responsibility.
A whole new world of terms, people, schedules.
And it takes time to learn them.
There are courses to prepare you for birth, marriage, driving…but why does no one ever

prepare you for work and all the changes it brings to your life?

Another transition.
Not geographically, but mentally, cognitively, and emotionally.
My sense of time, sleep, work, and social life has been uprooted and replanted into a new environment.

There’s the honeymoon phase.
I do enjoy new experiences, like meeting friendly colleagues, entertaining students, teaching epiphanies, and earning some money along the way.
There’s the depression phase I wrestle with at the moment.
The overwhelming feeling of defeat, exhaustion, and hopelessness.
The impression of being lost in your day’s schedule, tasks, and identity that no longer seem to be your own.
The inability to manage my life around this new omnipresent force called school.

© positivepressagency.com

And eventually, hopefully, there will be the readjustment phase.
When my roots are firmly replanted on this new soil of adult work life.
When I find the right balance between work and social life.
When I learn to say no to things so that I have time to enjoy the things and people I have said yes to. When life has found a new routine and I can carve out space to let in joy, peace, and people again. When I discover a new sense of anticipation for what will come next.
When I listen into myself and find that I am still there. I might have been lost for a while, but my identity – my self – has always been there after all.

Author: Katha von Dessien

Teacher. Believer in the Wilderness. Third Culture Kid. World Traveler. People and Food at the Table Lover. Writer.

8 thoughts on “I feel like I’m not myself anymore”

  1. Praying for you, my friend, as you transition into adulthood and settle into your teaching life! It's on of the most rewarding and challenging things you'll ever love!

  2. Life transitions can certainly be challenging! There is a lot of wisdom in looking for 'balance' in the midst of all the changes. Congratulations on your new job!

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