Back to School Anxiety

Every year before school starts, my church has an event called “Blessing of the Backpacks”. Children bring their backpacks, filled with school supplies. During worship service, a special blessing is said, and later, the school supplies are given to children in need.

I wonder: if they did this when I was a kid, would it have helped me to know my backpack had been blessed? That there was a congregation full of people that witnessed its blessing? That I could touch my backpack anytime I started to feel anxious? That there was a physical, tangible something I could clutch onto and remember there were people wishing me well?

Similarly, my church gives a special prayer for our college students before they return to campus. I think I would have cut out this announcement from the church newsletter and kept it in my bag so I had a visual reminder that my church was praying for me and will continue to do so.

Did my parents wish me well every day? I can truthfully say they did – they have always been supportive. But having an outward showing of community support – an event, a ritual – takes the ordinary daily routines and makes them stand out. I’m not suggesting this could alleviate anxiety, but it might be one of the things that brings comfort to a child as they go through their day.

A friend of mine pins a ribbon to the inside of her son’s pocket. While at school if he gets nervous, he can simply put his hand in his pocket and be reminded his mom cares about him. We could never use too many things that are outward symbols of loved ones supporting us.

Jesse Jackson Jr. suffering from depression

I saw this headline today on Yahoo!: Jesse Jackson Jr. in Mayo Clinic for depression

My heart goes out to him and his family.

It’s also interesting that one of today’s top 10 trending items is “depression”. It made me think – are people looking up depression to learn more about what Jackson is dealing with, or are people who have been suffering motivated to get help in light of Jackson’s news?

I think this is an important idea to consider. There have been many public figures with mental illness: Abraham Lincoln, Terry Bradshaw, Catherine Zeta Jones to name a few. You might find one of your favorite icons here: Famous People With Depression. For us private citizens, these people can be an inspiration. Not because they are simply “famous”, but because these people have been productive and even successful while dealing with these problems. 

I’m not saying we should strive to be as highly-regarded as someone like Lincoln. But just knowing his story helps give me confidence to be the best “me” I can – to strive to be a hard worker and a good friend & relative to my loved ones.

Who has inspired you?

Looky What I Found @ Work…a little blue friend with the same problem as me!


It’s Panicky Smurf!

He was just hangin’ out at my co-worker’s desk, minding his own business…panicking.

I don’t remember him from my Saturday morning cartoon-watching days in the 80’s. Do any of you?

It’s too bad really, I would have related much more to him than Gargamel, or his mean cat.