On Wednesday I had a meeting with a teacher who was (finally) appointed to be my mentor... 6 weeks before I leave the school. It was a good talk, particularly because he was pretty straight with me and gave me answers to my questions that weren't, "I'll deal with it later." However, when I asked him about the possibility of taking Friday off, he was reluctant to encourage me to stay home and recuperate. Rather he thought that it would be percieved better by other teachers for me to come to school and show my support (Friday was a School Spirit kind of day with activities and crap). We talked about me getting the train and being able to sleep on the way here and then he would drop me home (all this time and it's only now I find out there's another teacher who lives 15 minutes away from me!!! Dammit) and it would all be ok. I was positive about it and said that's what I would do.
When I got home I started thinking about it. I talked with my boy about the pros and cons and finally decided to take the day off instead of going in. Aside from the fact that I wanted some time to work on my final uni assessment (of which I only spent about 3 horus on anyway), I decided that it would be in the best interests of my health for me to relax and sleep as long as I could, rather than spend the day running on adrenalin and seeking out naps wherever I could take them. I wrote an email to my mentor teacher explaining my situation. I thought about the the 'perception of support' that he talked about and I wrote, " I can't change what people think of me - if they want to ignore my commitment to my students, performances and program development that I have demonstrated over the year and instead focus on the few days I have taken off for illness, then I can't do anything about that. I can only do what I believe is best. Narcolepsy is unfortunately an immensely difficult illness to live with, as most people either don't understand it or don't know what it is, and it generally leads to people perceiving me as lazy, or bored, or rude... and it's so difficult to explain that, really, all I can do is just decide what's best for my health and go with it and let people think what they want. I teach well, I play well, and my students like me and learn from me... and to me that's really the most important thing."
Sometimes I think I have to keep reminding myself of this fact. I'm not a bad person, I'm actually pretty friggin good. But sometimes I just need to stop... and go to sleep. I'm wondering if I will ever get to a point where I feel like I don't have to justify my actions?
My partner has suggested that I/we create a handout thing for me to give to future employers about narcolepsy, rather having to sit down and try to explain it. I think it's a good idea... except maybe I'll do it after my enormous soul-crushing final assessment of death is due.