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The Reactions I Faced as a 'Small Town' Teacher Who Was Hospitalized for Mental Illness

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“I heard you went to the ‘looney bin!’” a student yells in front of the entire fifth grade art class. Bursts of spontaneous laughter follow.

It’s my second day back at work after being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. I can imagine that my two-week absence at the beginning of the school year may be quite suspect.

I can feel my heart beating frantically throughout my entire body. How does this student know? Did my closest colleagues gossip about me within earshot of their students?

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