If It Falls Down It Can Be Built Back Up

I apologize I have not really written anything this week. Almost a month later I am still trying to get rid of this infernal upper respiratory infection. I sometimes believe I should go into my doctor’s office and ask if we can pretend this is actually my third visit so we can get the right treatment on the first try. *SIGH*

I have had a lot of time to think over the past few weeks and the thoughts have been swirling around me like a dust tornado making it impossible to see very clearly or to think rationally. I know there are things I need to be doing or should be doing. But instead I stay frozen and immobile. I’m exhausted and I have limited energy right now. I honestly could care less about anything except my family, my husband, and my comfy cozy bed right now. I literally made a fortress of pillows around me this afternoon and took an hour nap. I was exhausted physically and mentally.

I had two meetings this week that were extremely stressful. Both families are extremely difficult to work with. One family has a mother that makes me a nervous wreck because if you do not answer her texts and e-mails immediately (like 20 seconds after you receive it) she flies off the handle. She also tends to scream at everyone involved with her child. The other family has a father that screamed at me so badly two weeks ago that I could barely drive home from the meeting because I was shaking and crying.

Both meetings went very well and nobody screamed or yelled or flew off the handle. The mother at the first meeting told me that she could tell I cared very much about her child and I was the epitome of calm and patience. The father at the second meeting initially was a little bristly but by the end of the meeting was calm and rational and we were able to get the whole family on the same page.

The lead up to both of these meetings (thankfully not on the same day) was horrendous for me. I could barely breathe while driving to the first one and almost had a full blown panic attack before the other. My boss literally had to pull me into a conference room and help me calm down and talk about my fears for the meeting. And yet I still had an overwhelming feeling of dread, anxiety, and a strong desire to run out of the building and find a new field of work. My heart raced, my palms sweated, and both of my arms went numb. I literally thought I was having a heart attack. But I got through it. I survived and felt so much better for it.

I don’t always have the confidence to believe I am capable of doing things that are necessary. I try always to keep the peace and when I sense conflict or an argument because it makes me uncomfortable. But I am starting to learn that if I want to be in this line of work I need to find ways to have confidence in myself even if others are tearing me down because they are scared, upset, angry, or frustrated. I didn’t make the system I just work within it and I will continue to do so with dignity and courage and above all else LOVE. I was torn down but I was built back up by an awesome supervisor who believed in me. May you all have someone in your life who can do that for you ❤

How Snuggles Make It All Better

Hello my friends! I have spent this weekend, which I thought would be spent getting caught up on house work, instead stuck on the darn couch again. Still not quite over this being sick thing. So let me say this loud and clear:


Okay, now that I have that out of the way I feel a little better LOL. But seriously I need my strength back. I need to get back to the gym so I can get my blood sugar down after the steroids sent my sugar into major orbit. I have been getting massive headaches as well.

This morning I was feeling pretty low because all I kept thinking about was the things I needed to get done and didn’t have energy for. My husband, blessed soul that he is, intuitively sensed this and wrapped me up in my quilt and snuggled me close. He didn’t really say much but just his presence and his hugs were enough to ease some of the stress I was feeling.

I have been fielding calls after hours for my job since Thursday. The person who had the on call before me had zero calls for a whole week. Meanwhile I have seven and I’m not done until Thursday this upcoming week. And a few have not been simple fixes. Normally I don’t mind doing this because I get extra in my paycheck but when you’re already feeling sick, dealing with other people’s problems become a struggle. I do have compassion and empathy but when I’m sick I want to be left alone. But we need the money so I just keep going.

We went for Sunday dinner at my mother in law’s tonight, and while I love going because I get to see my niece and nephew who are 2 and 3 respectively, the rest of the time I feel completely inadequate. My sister in law who is my husband’s step-sister is the golden child. She has the first two grandchildren and whether my mother in law admits this or not this gives her special status. So naturally I am expected to be her. I am supposed to have kids, grow vegetables, and be this great Italian wife. But I’m not Italian. And I suck at gardening. And as for the babies thing, well, there’s a lot more to that then I am comfortable discussing right now.

So just as I was feeling pretty crappy about myself for not being this amazing person that I’m supposed to be, my niece and nephew both crawled into my lap and snuggled in. They both told me they loved me and then proceeded to just love me and be with me simply because I was there and I loved them so much my heart literally bursts to overflowing every time I am with them. They didn’t ask me to be anything other then big ol’ snuggly Zia Jenny. BTW Zia is Italian for Aunt.

Tonight I am testifying to the healing power of the snuggle. So please grab someone you love and hold them tight. Tell them you think they are precious, wonderful, and so very amazing. Let them know you love them just as is, faults and flaws included. You may not know it but it may mean the world to them as it did to me today. free_hugs


It Takes Falling To Appreciate Momentum

I have been sidelined from my life for almost 2 weeks now. As mentioned in previous posts I have been really sick with what was determined to be an Upper Respiratory infection coupled with a clogged ear. I am happy to report that steroids, nasal spray, and antibiotics have all congregated inside my body and had a talk with my immune system and I am on the mend. Not quite 100% yet but definitely not stuck on the couch any longer.

As also mentioned before I don’t do well with being sidelined and forced to make friends with my couch. I do love watching TV and getting caught up on shows or watching a few horror movies, but that gets old after awhile. And then the voices start in my head reminding me of the hundred things that need to get done around the house and how I am falling behind and a failure at being a wife and home owner.

I hate those voices. They paralyze me and prevent me from doing anything which of course causes more depression and hopelessness so I do sit around doing nothing because really, why bother do anything if you’re just going to have to do it over and over and nothing is ever really clean or fixed.

But being forced to be still has shown me just how much progress I had been making. I actually *gasp* miss the gym which has never happened in my entire life! I was actually cooking most night and doing well with it. I do not miss processed food as much as I thought I did.

So yes, slowing down does indeed suck as does being sick. However, if we never had to slow down for a minute we could never really appreciate how far we’ve come.


My Couch Is My Best Friend Today

So apologies for not writing the last few days. I have not been feeling well at all and have been knocked on my butt by some kind of virus or cold. Not sure what yet but I go to the doctor’s today to find out.

I hate being sick. I don’t think anyone particularly enjoys being sick but I hate it with every fiber of my being. I have been working hard to stay in a routine of working out, eating better, and staying on top of things at work. Then along comes Mr. Virus and with one fell swoop knocks me flat on my back and now has me crawling to the couch or my bed and holding me hostage there.

I am behind on meetings with families at work. I have not been able to work out now for a week which has caused my mood to dip and my body to feel weak. I am surprised to say that I actually miss going most days. My house is pretty messy right now because I have not been able to clean and with the hours my husband works he doesn’t feel like cleaning before or after work.


I am a tiny bit proud of the fact that this time I did not push through. I did not force myself to go work out despite feeling like I was run over by a truck. I did not push myself to go to work feeling awful just to make people happy. I do not feel guilty for staying home this time as I have for years on end. I was finally able to say yesterday that I matter and it’s okay to rest. That is hard for me. I give and I give until I collapse from exhaustion or illness.

I eventually will feel better. My house will be clean again, I will resume my workouts, and I will get back on track. But for now I will rest on the couch watching Criminal Minds on Netflix until it is time to leave to see my doctor.


I Ate My Feelings And They Were Delicious

Yesterday was a rough one at work. I have not been feeling well the last 5 days and yesterday it took all my energy to get through my work day. I only had one meeting with a family yesterday and it was an intake which is usually a piece of cake. This was not one of those days.

I can’t really go into details due to privacy laws but suffice to say that by the end a mother was crying and a father had reduced me to lower then dirt. I left feeling worse then I have in a long time. I was totally broken hearted at what I had heard and witnessed during that 3 hour meeting (which was only supposed to take 90 minutes tops). I did not cry but rather felt deeply hurt and somewhat angry at what had transpired.

Divorce can be ugly. It rips apart two that have become one and expects them to move on and function the same. You cannot rip apart a soul and expect no consequences and I get that. But the amount of vitriol, cruelty, and just plain meanness that I have witnessed between two different families I work with leaves me stunned. You are both parents. You don’t have to love or like one another but you DO have to co-parent. A child is not a bargaining chip or property. They are a person with feelings and even the most disabled of my children I work with can sense when something is way off. Just because one cannot speak does not mean they are dumb.

So after grabbing some groceries, my husband took me out to dinner. And I was hurting so I decided I didn’t care about my low carb diet, I didn’t care about the rules and my blood sugar and the weight I needed to lose. I wanted comfort and I wanted it immediately. So I ate foods I know that I shouldn’t that were high in carbs and also high in comfort. And my god they were delicious! My taste buds singed and danced at the forgotten taste of a roll and later, ice cream. And today while running errands I continued my stupid eating pattern.

And where did all this delicious, although harmful, eating get me. So much sicker then I already was. Stomach clenching pain and other gross details you can probably guess at. So the comfort, in other words, was short lived. Now I could beat myself up for not only not getting to the gym this week while also eating like crap yesterday and half of today but I’m not going to do that. I messed up, it’s time to move on. I already feel crappy physically I don’t need to add mentally to the mix.

So my feelings tasted delicious in the moment but later were like a poison. I guess I’m going to have to continue to work on talk about my feelings instead of eating them. Let’s see how it goes.

Dementors Are All Around

I have noticed a lot of deaths by suicide lately. As a worker in the field of mental health this is very disturbing to me. As a person with depression I get it. I see the appeal. Days, weeks, months, years of mental torture, public stigma, gallons and gallons of medication that never quite make you feel normal. And you could end it all in an instant. One action to end all the pain. But then there are those you’ve left behind. And they are left with shattered hearts, feelings of guilt for not knowing (because we who are depressed and anxious often hide it well from the world, at least until we can’t anymore).

My heart aches for all these families who have lost incredible people both celebrities and those we will never meet. I wish, just like in Harry Potter, I could send out an endless supply of chocolate to chase away the dementors that plague others. For those who have not read the series, dementors are creatures that suck the soul out of someone and when they are around intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair are felt.

We need to connect with one another. Not over Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We need to turn the computer off and physically go and talk to people and REALLY listen instead of just waiting for a chance to get our two cents in the conversation. There is too much me me me lately instead of we and us.

Please spread some love today. You could literally save a life.


Can I get a letter up in here?

Letters of Love

My online friend Stephen recently wrote a blog about the way we communicate nowadays and how he and others miss getting letters in the mail. You can read it here You should just read his blog in general because it is really fabulous!

I too miss getting letters in the mail. All I get nowadays is bills, magazines, more bills, junk mail, and credit card offers. When I finished 8th grade my parents and I moved from Philadelphia, PA to New Jersey. I literally had to leave all my friends behind and it felt crappy. I was going to start high school not knowing anybody. So to get through the summer we all wrote back and forth to each other. It helped me to still feel connected even though they were so far away. We would decorate our letters and envelopes with pictures and silly drawings. I still have some of them tucked away.

I know we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and we can connect that way, but it’s not the same. So I am going to extend the same challenge Stephen did. Reach out to a fellow blogger and see if they want to exchange real letters. Decorate your envelope. Go wild, be creative, but most of all connect. I think in today’s age we are way too disconnected from one another. Get to know someone better. A little love and connection can mean the world to some. I am completely open to writing to anyone who would like to receive a letter. Send me an e-mail and I will get back to you with my address.

Can we get real for a minute?

Getting Real

Yesterday I did not blog . I wanted to because I had much to say but I needed time to get my emotions in order so the words I had to say made sense.

I’ve been watching a series on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why. The first season dealt with a girl named Hannah Baker who took her life. Each episode of the first season deals with one person who she feels played a part in the reason for her death. She recorded cassettes before she died and everyone on each tape has to listen to all 13 tapes then pass it on to the next person. It was heartbreaking and so real.

Then seasons two comes along. **SPOILERS AHEAD** The season deals with the aftermath of Hannah’s death from season 1. The memorial for Hannah, the parents breaking up because the father cheated, the ongoing bullying, the school totally being responsible and yet not getting blamed in court, rebellion, all out fighting in the school halls, vandalism, guns, and of course lots of drugs and alcohol because hey we’re dealing with teenagers right?! The coverups and the lying. SO MUCH LYING!!!

And then there is Tyler and Bryce. These were the characters that bothered me the most throughout the second season. Bryce is a rich kid with parents who constantly leave him home because they are always off in the world doing something or other and they have been doing this most of his life. He is a sick bastard who rapes girls, drugs girls, and even takes pictures of all his conquests. One of the girls finally stands up to him and takes him to court. And you know what this bastard gets?! Three freaking months of probation. NO JAIL TIME!!! Seriously WTF?! But we all know it’s because he comes from a rich family. His former best friend Justin gets 6 months in juvenile detention for knowing it was going on but not doing anything about it!! Naturally it’s because Justin is poor and comes from a broken home. Again WTF?!


Tyler is kind of an outcast and he finally finds some friends at school that are also outcasts who initially support him against the jocks who are bullying him. But eventually Tyler goes a little too far and the crew abandons him. Tyler is sent away to get some help. He comes back seemingly doing better. But the kids he was friends with before being sent away still don’t want to be friends, and the girl he liked was now dating someone else. Tyler told the truth in court about the bullying going on in school. Naturally because of what Tyler did as well as some other students he is still a target when he returns to school from this program. So on his first day back some jocks grab Tyler and shove him into the bathroom. They hit his head against the sink and then shove his head into the toilet several times. Then they hold him down while another jock shoves a mop handle up Tyler’s buttocks as far as it will go.

I was not prepared for this scene.

Honestly I thought they were going to drown him in the water or beat the shit out of him. I was not expecting this and it really shook me to the core. I’ve been a victim of rape and sexual assault unfortunately more then once. I am not ashamed to share this because I have survived these attacks and become a more compassionate individual and advocate because of it. Do I wish it had never happened? One hundred million times over YES! I have chronic anxiety and it is very difficult for me to go out into the community alone. I am making progress but it’s still scary.

I can handle watching shows like Law and Order Special Victims Unit which deals with sexual assault crimes. I love Criminal Minds which deals with serial killers and why they do what they do. But for some reason this shook me to my core. I mean I literally was crying, shaking, and felt like I was going to vomit. It triggered so many emotions at once I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t even put into words later how I felt when trying to explain it to my husband. I felt so violated watching that.

And then Tyler goes home from school and DOESN’T TELL ANYONE!! And you know why? Because he did the first time and NOTHING CHANGED! In fact it made it worse. And unfortunately this is the reality kids face today. There is no break from the bullying. You go to school, it’s there. You go out in your neighborhood, still there. Online bullying is sometimes worse then in person because people feel more empowered behind a screen. I wish I knew the answers about what to do for these kids now. When I was growing up I was bullied unmercifully both verbally and physically. But it stopped when I got home.

The show is excellent and I highly recommend it. I would definitely be careful watching it if you are easily triggered by self-harm, suicide, or discussions about or viewing sexual assault. I strongly recommend watching with someone who cares about you and who you can trust.

Diabetes is a bitch and sometimes so am I

Two days ago I made a blog post that today I’m kind of regretting. I thought about taking it down but in life you can’t just undo things you said so I figured I’d leave it up and learn from it.

I had a great time at my friend’s BBQ. We caught up and talked for awhile since we haven’t seen in each in forever. This was the friend I was griping about with the peppers. It seems so stupid now that I made such a big deal about something so stupid and insignificant. But unfortunately this is a habit that I am working on breaking. I start finding reasons I should not go out and not engage and so I make tiny deals bigger then they need to be to use them as an excuse not to get out of the house.

I love actually seeing my friends, in person, and not just online. I almost always have a great time. But right before leaving this great fear rises up in me and I become shallow and petty and like an animal backed into a corner. This is because I have been hurt so many times that I think subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) that everyone is going to hate me or take advantage of me. I’ve been pushing the boundaries and forcing myself to get out of the house and do things I like such as belonging to two book clubs. Tonight I went to a family success center and we made pillows. Mine looks more like a fluffy taco instead of a square pillow but I was pretty proud of the thing. And two women I know from the book club were there so it was nice to hang out with them. I am learning there are safe spaces to be where I don’t have to be afraid and I can just be me and be accepted. But actually getting out the door was a huge hurdle.

In our one book club we are reading a book by Brené Brown called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. It has been challenging to me and we’re only on chapter 4! One of the questions in the book is “what would you do if you were guaranteed to not fail?” I have rephrased it for myself as “what would I do if fear did not get in my way?” Oh the answers are plentiful. I would write and publish a book. I would take a photography class. I would have a baby or at least look into fostering/adopting. I would already have submitted my grad school application for my MSW.

But fear is a real and powerful enemy of mine. It stops me dead in my tracks and I cannot and will not move. I actually have a fortune cookie taped to my computer that says “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just stand there.” It’s supposed to motivate me to not stand still. I’m making progress but it’s hard. It is hard to put yourself out there with a very real chance of failure emotionally, financially, and vocationally. But it also scares me to stand still and do nothing with my life.

One day at a time, one step at a time, we can all succeed in some small way every day even if the accomplishment is getting out of bed.