Nacogdoches special needs teacher overcame extreme shyness, depression

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – At one time or another, even the most outgoing person has experienced some degree of shyness.

Fewer people are so shy it prevents them from functioning at all.

One Nacogdoches woman overcame her shyness and the depression it created following mental health counseling from Burke.

Violet Porter is tonight’s Survivor.

It’s difficult keeping up with Violet Porter, a certified teacher of elementary children.

“Oh I love it,” Violet said.

Violet barely comes up for breath while on her way to the classroom.

“Usually I work in this portable,” Violet said.

The Stephen F. Austin State University alum is winding up the school year working as a long-term substitute teacher for special needs kids.

“It’s like the best thing,” Violet said.

One would have a difficult time knowing that Violet copes everyday with anxiety issues.

“I still have good days and bad days. Like today was a bad day,” Violet said. “Today was kinda a wreck for me. But I survived!”

Violet survived because she has learned the coping skills for avoidant personality disorder. That’s shyness so bad it can prevent social functioning and lead to depression. Anxiety can create panic attacks. Violet knows the warning signs.

“When I do have problems with anxiety I kinda do this with my hands,” Violet said. “And sometimes I rub my face if I’m particularly agitated.”

Violet ordered a fidget cube. She’s also discovered benefits of the “calm room.”

“If I sort of regulate my breathing, that helps me an awful lot,” Violet said.

The isolation space manages sensory overload for her students, but it’s helped Violet, too.

“I was in there today,” Porter said with a laugh.

Violet is out of a shell which kept her from experiencing so much as a teen and young adult.

“Very fearful and like not sure like who to trust when,” Violet said.

A year ago, Violet chose to trust Burke therapist Stephanie Knott who told Violet …

“We know what it’s like,” said Stephanie Knott, a therapist at Burke. “We want people to know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to struggle in this by yourself.”

Following a three-day stay at Burke’s Mental Health Emergency Center Violet began regular therapy sessions with Knott. Violet graduated from the therapy, but knows it’s there if she needs it again.

“Knowledge is power,” Violet said. “I find the more I know about myself, the more power I have to make those changes in order to allow myself to get better.”

Violet is a survivor who wants others to follow her achievements.

“Hopefully, like thru this broadcast or thru other means then I can help somebody else,” Violet said. “That’s the whole purpose of me doing this is for other people. It’s not for me.”

Violet Porter recently applied for a full-time teaching job of grades K thru sixth grade. Violet says she is at her happiest when surrounded by children who are eager to learn.
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