Because of COVID-19

Because of COVID-19

I work from home 5 days a week and spend 9-10 hours a day staring at my computer
I don’t get to see my co-workers except on a screen
I ache because I can’t offer in person support
I miss kiddos and parents I work with
I can’t concentrate or sit at my desk consistently.

Because of COVID-19

I have missed out on many community activities I looked forward to
I will most likely not get to recharge my soul at the beach this year
I cannot go to church or my book club in person
I will spend my birthday in quarantine

Because of COVID-19

I have to wear a mask to go to any store
I have to ignore the claustrophobia that overtakes me when I wear a mask
I have to hold my temper when someone else is NOT wearing a mask in public
I have to look at masks all over parking lots because people won’t throw them out
I have washed my hands until they are raw

Because of COVID-19

I see people getting sick and some dying
I see people pretending this is “no big deal” or thinking “it’s not real”
I see parents ready to pull their hair out because being a teacher and parent is hard.
I see teachers pulling their hair out because being a parent and teacher is hard.

Because of COVID-19

I appreciate what I had before a lot more
I have seen neighbors take care of each other
I have seen teachers get the recognition they deserve for how hard they work
I have seen meals delivered to our ER and ICU by neighbors wanting to show some love
I have learned to utilize every coping skill known to me to cope.

Because of COVID-19

I feel things will never be the same again
I also feel maybe they shouldn’t be.

Sunday Family Dinner

For the last two weeks my husband and I have not had to go to family dinner. This dinner usually involves myself and my husband, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my niece and nephew who are 3 and 5 respectively. Everyone was sick so nobody felt like doing anything so we all just chilled at home with soup and Netflix.

Yesterday was the first such dinner for the new year. I am seriously considering being permanently sick on Sundays. Truthfully the only thing that makes Sundays bearable is seeing my niece and nephew and snuggling up with them.

My sister in law is perfect. Not in actual reality but in the eyes of my mother in law, her needs are the most important, most horrible, needs the most attention, and needs the most support. My mother in law will agree with anything she says and of course she is never ever wrong. My husband and I are always second fiddle to her and her issues. She could have a hangnail and my mother in law would come rushing over to help her even if our house was on fire.

So we got together and ate one of my least favorite dinners. And my niece and nephew were complaining after dessert that they were still hungry. My sister in law told them they could not have any more dessert and that they weren’t really hungry at which they insisted that they were. This understandably made me a little hot under the collar. But they are her kids so I let it go. For the record I was still very hungry as dinner was not very filling to begin with.

Then my sister in law and my mother in law decided that they and myself and my husband needed to talk about eating healthier and changing our diets because of course that’s the perfect after dinner conversation.

I consider myself a fairly open minded person and usually I can pretty much talk about anything and everything with someone even if I disagree. But my eating habits, my weight, and my health are very sensitive topics for me and I tend to get a little growly and lash out when people try to tell me what to do in this area.

So I hung in there and listened and nodded like a good girl. I agreed to try new ways to add vegetables. But both of them kept pushing. So I decided to push back a little and share my struggles and how this feels impossible. I don’t have a set schedule for work so I never REALLY know when I’m getting home because somehow when I plan to get home at a reasonable hour and cook a decent dinner, there is invariably a crisis that requires me to stay late. And no, I do NOT wish to spend all freaking day Sunday cooking for the whole damn week.

Are these all excuses? Maybe. But I hate this month because everywhere I look I’m told to feel bad about myself because I’m fat. I don’t have money for a Peleton bike or the monthly subscription to go with it and let’s face it, Peleton bikes and other equipment were made for skinny people because I haven’t seen one overweight person in all their commercials. Weight Watcher I’ve tried a million times and it didn’t work. I can’t afford a monthly food thing like NutriSystem and besides when you stop buying their food, you gain everything back anyway. Can someone hook me up to a machine that works out my body for me while I sleep because that seems to be the only free time I have available.

So in response to the attack on my eating, I made my husband drive me to McDonald’s and buy me a cheeseburger as revenge against my in-laws. Except the only person it hurt was in fact me. Stomach cramps, feeling really shitty today, etc. And now I am depressed because I feel very judged at dinner and don’t want to go and I also feel really shitty about my body.

Has anyone ever made you feel bad about your body or your weight? Have people offered you unsolicited advice about your diet or nutrition? How did you respond or cope?

 

A Wedding, An Adventure, and A Conqueror

One of my husband’s close friends got married this past weekend to a lovely young lady who I hope to spend more time with in the future. She looked stunning, all the groomsmen (my husband included) looked so handsome, and let’s just say the people in Antarctica may have lost some ice caps because the groom’s smile was about 1000 watts.

Since my husband was a groomsman he was naturally a part of all the day before and day of events involving the bridal party. This meant that I had to drive, alone, in a place I was unfamiliar with. In short this was about as terrifying to me as being asked to bungee jump off a bridge, speak in public, watch a horror film alone in the dark, or be in a room full of snakes and spiders. In short terrifyingly scary. I may or may not have been a jerk the whole ride down to the motel we stayed in as I tend to get angry rather then admit my fear to anyone.

But I love my husband so I agreed to do this thing that scared me most because this day was not about me, but our friend who was getting married. So in the morning I drove to a hair salon to get my hair braided. This went well and I was able to shop and get breakfast all in the same shopping center. I was feeling confident and good. I drove back to the motel and started to feel better because I had now driven twice in an unfamiliar state and not gotten lost or in an accident.

My confidence was short lived. See what I didn’t mention so far is that this wedding encompassed me driving in two states (the night of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner we were in 4 states in one day)! So when it came time to head to the church for the actual wedding I was feeling a little confident that I could do this as we had been at the church the night before and I has some sense of landmarks that would be familiar.

This is when my GPS laughed silently and evilly to itself. If it had hands it would have rubbed them together saying “MWAH HAHAH” or something equally evil sounding. It decided to take me a completely different route then the night before. So I wound up on a highway that involved a toll road that I did not have money for. So now I’m facing a $50 fine for not being able to pay the toll. And I was lost.

So naturally I do the most logical thing I could do and I call my husband (hands free) screaming slightly hysterically into his voicemail because of course he didn’t pick up the phone. I was on my own. I was scared. And I was upset because the wedding was in about 20 minutes and I had no clue how close or far I was from the church.

Then I took a few deep breaths, put on my local Christian radio station, calmed down, and focused on following the GPS very closely. I missed a few more turns and had to back track about four times but I made it to the church just as the bridesmaids were about to walk down the aisle. Literally just on time. The wedding was beautiful and the priest was one of the most lovely human beings you could meet in a church.

During the reception, a few of the groomsmen made jokes about me being lost in about 12 states. My husband told me he had no reception on the limo bus and that was why he hadn’t picked up. We danced, we laughed, and all was well.

Looking back on this weekend I am a little glad my husband did not get that call. I was forced to face one of my biggest fears head on and there was no getting out of it. I couldn’t pull over on a major highway, I couldn’t just park in the middle of the road and just cry (very tempted though LOL). I had to get through it and while it was scary, uncomfortable, and upsetting, I made it and I didn’t die from my anxiety. This made me realize I may be able to face more then I think possible.

 

 

 

Life Goes On

So it’s been a few weeks since my father in law passed away and I am doing a little better. I can’t say the same for my mother in law, but she’s taking it day by day. The evenings are hardest for her and it truly sucks I can’t do anything to ease the pain.

This latest death has me thinking, really thinking, about my life. I mean let’s face it, anytime someone close to us dies or even a favorite celebrity dies,  it makes us consider our own mortality.  If I were to drop dead tomorrow for some reason I’d like to think I left behind a legacy of kindness, support, and genuine love for those I encounter. I would like to be remembered as a patient person, who tried to never give up on others, even if I didn’t extend that courtesy to myself.

The truth is, I don’t know how anyone else sees me. And you never really can truly know because most people aren’t going to say to your face the things they really truly think. When I look deep into myself I see a lot of fear. I see so many chances not taken in order to have a sense of safety. But in that safety is disappointment, and it’s not a fun place to live. I want to be bold. I tell myself to fling myself head first into something, ANYTHING, at this point because I am not really living so much as existing at this point. But then fear tells me no, don’t do that, you’ll get hurt, you will fail, people won’t like your idea or you. And I shrink like a flower caught in a cold breeze.

I recently read a book called My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. It is a fabulous read about a young lady, much like myself, who is constantly living in fear of doing anything. So after seeing a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt in a local cafe (“Do one thing every day that scares you.”) she takes it as a personal challenge to do so. She takes acrobatic classes, she swims with sharks, and she does a lot of other little things. The book culminates with her climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it.

Until I finished the book I did not realize that this was a memoir and that this was a real person that did all of these things. For about five minutes I thought about doing something similar. But after those five minutes, financially and physically I realized that tackling some of my fears would be next to impossible. Still it got me thinking that maybe it’s time I just tackle some of them. I can write and submit my stuff to places. I can reconsider school again. I can reconsider becoming a foster parent again. Maybe I can’t do one scary thing a day but I can do some scary things.

So with that I will say my goal for the rest of the year is to simply try. Try to do some things even though they are terrifying. Put myself out there just a bit more. We shall see what happens.

eleanor

What Would You Say: A Poem

*WARNING* Some parts of my poem below are pretty graphic. I apologize to anyone who is offended ahead of time. This is how I get through my depression. *

What would you say
If I told you that every day I want to die
That every step, every breath, every daily requirement
Is total torture and requires the strength of Superman
Just to get though 24 hours in one piece

What would you say
If I told you that I cry but tears never dot my cheeks
It is an internal maelstrom of rage, and hatred
Frustration, fear, anxiety, and so much more
All directed at myself but silent
So no one is bothered

What would you say
If I told you that I hated my friends all pregnant and plump
Parading their bellies full of babies like some trophy
Some unattainable prize I will never win
And that some days I just want to rip my uterus out
Because it is defective and so am I

What would you say
If I told you that I fantasize about sending letters
Full of cruel words that are stuck in my head
To parents I try to help but who are never satisfied
A system that is broken
And politicians who only care about the bottom line

What would you say
If they found me at my desk bleeding and pale
Because the expectations were too high
The pay was too low
And the praise was never enough.

You will say nothing
Because I will never say anything
And we will all pretend it’s okay
Until one of us collapses underneath the weight
Of a world too heavy to bear

My Word For The Year Is…

I know it’s been awhile but vacation, holiday parties, gatherings, traveling and eventually getting back to work all kind of got in the way of my writing. So for you happy few that read this, I am glad to be back.

For the past few years I have been attending an incredible New Year’s Day Yoga Class that helps start my year off right. Jill Blumenstock is the teacher and she is AMAZING!! We start off meditating for 30 minutes on what we want our upcoming year to be like and things we would like to accomplish. Jill helps to guide the meditation and keep us focused. Then we try to narrow down all those intentions to a single word or two.  Then we do 45 minutes of Yoga followed by 30 minutes of deep relaxation. You leave there feeling strong and refreshed and totally peaceful (at least until you get home LOL).

So I thought my word for the year was going to be brave. I really wanted to be braver this year and learn how to stop letting people walk all over me. Instead the word that came to me was Decisive.

I am probably the least decisive person you will ever meet. I struggle with ordering food out at a restaurant and usually wind up regretting what I ordered (total diner’s envy). I make major decisions on our finances with my husband which I think is just good marital compromising and good form so to speak. We’ll have been married this year for nine years so I’d say it’s working. I hate being the deciding vote or deciding voice for literally almost everything because I know somehow I will be disappointing at least some people. So to have this word pop up as my word for the year was surprising but it definitely feels right.

I am in the midst of some major life decisions that basically once I make a choice, cannot be undone. If I take one path, another will close forever to me. So I’ve pretty much wasted the last 5 years frozen in terror of making a choice. But not making a choice I guess became a choice.

My career is going nowhere. I help kids and families and I know that is my calling in life. I absolutely without any doubt know I am in the right area of work. But this job I am in is literally draining the life out of me. I have been severely depressed as of late (which also may have had something to do with not writing) and I know my job is the cause of it. I know it’s time to move on but with the economy being the way it is, the benefits I have, it’s hard to move on. We have an idiot in charge of our country who is just making it worse because he’s acting like an overgrown toddler having a tantrum. But I digress…

If I stay in my job and don’t go to school, I will not really have any other great options available to me. If I do go to school I will eventually have to quit my job to do all my internship hours. I will not be able to work. My husband is not currently working so this is a major problem not to mention that I carry the health insurance through my job.

Then we have the issue of children. I am going to be 37 this year. I have major lady issues and if I want to have a baby I have to undergo some major changes to my medication regime. Which is scary for my mental health. I am surrounded by pregnant women and I want to have a child too but I’m not sure if it’s just because I want to fit in with my friends who are all leaving me and my husband because we are not parents, or if I could genuinely handle a child right now financially or emotionally.

So my options are to not have a baby and close that chapter of my life. I can consider adoption (which is very expensive) or being a foster care parent. I am still exploring this avenue but I’m not sure.  I don’t know if I could give a child back after caring for them. I also would have to have surgery to take care of the lady problems permanently and I’m not sure I’m ready to do that either.

At this point I am still in the information gathering stage. I have appointments with doctors and specialists. I am going to talk to adoption agencies and also the foster care system to see what that looks like.

So whatever the resolutions or decisions you make this year I pray that they bring you peace and happiness. I’m hoping for the same for myself.

 

 

 

 

Merry and Bright: How To Cultivate More Social Media Friends

I have discovered the formula for having as many friends on social media as possible. If you would like to know how do this please follow these simple rules:

#1 This is the number one rule and pretty much plays into every other rule. Post lots and lots of pictures and videos of yourself merry and bright! Full makeup is a must at all times if you are a woman. Can’t show that we may actually have blemishes, wrinkles, crinkles, freckles, or anything else marring our perfect skin.

#2 The only sad or emotional things you are allowed to post are things about children dying, cancer, abused animals, or your team losing the big game. Don’t you DARE post anything about being depressed, anxious, worried, scared, lonely, frustrated, or bitter. Remember step one? We’re supposed to ALWAYS be merry and bright!

#3 Avoid politics and religion at all costs. God forbid someone has a different opinion then you! That might make you not so merry and bright and nobody wants that right?!

#4 Unless you are posting ADORABLE pictures of your child do not talk about them. Someone might parent different then you and again this may lead to you not feeling so merry and bright. And if you get sad you might ruin your perfect makeup.

#5 Make sure you post pictures of your home perfectly decorated for all the holidays. You must ensure that there are no socks or shoes laying around. The more like a perfect portrait it looks like , and not an actual home you live in, the better. After all perfection makes us all merry and bright, right?

#6 Don’t post pictures of food unless it’s a wedding cake or some other important food based celebration. Pictures of other food items such as the bagel you ate for breakfast with the perfectly spread creamed cheese and cut strawberries does not make everyone merry and bright. Think about those that are allergic to dairy or strawberries. Don’t be cruel to them.

#7 Post lots of funny gifs and memes because they make others merry and bright. Doesn’t matter how you feel. People love that stuff and besides you’re looking to build your friendships not real relationships right?

#8 You can be sad about the death of a loved one but not for too long. If you keep posting about it, then people will start to get annoyed because remember we are all supposed to be centering on MERRY AND BRIGHT!!

#9 Do not argue with anyone or stand up for what you believe in. Just accept the truth of the day and ignore your own intuition and gut feelings when something doesn’t seem right to you. After all we need to keep everyone MERRY AND BRIGHT!

#10 Completely lose all sense of self, blend into the crowd and you too can have millions of Facebook friends which hopefully make you merry and bright while you are simultaneously alone with no real friends to speak of.

Disclaimer: This is me, venting after a long day. DO NOT actually follow these steps unless you truly do NOT want any real friends. Another day I will talk about real relationships and friendships and how to build those.

I Am Lost…Can You Find Me?

I am lost…..Completely…Totally….Lost.

I am 36 years old. It is almost Thanksgiving and if you believe all the radio stations and stores around here it’s also almost Christmas. My husband is working on Thanksgiving from 4:15pm to 1:15 am on Friday. So no Thanksgiving together for us. I now have to have Thanksgiving with my sister in law who I am convinced does not like me, along with her husband, my adorable and lovely niece and nephew (who make the whole ordeal worth it), and my in-laws who I adore but can sometimes be a bit much when everyone is together. Then I get to dash off to my aunt’s house with my brothers to have dessert before dashing out the door again to go shopping for everyone. I am tired just thinking about it and would like to spend the next 8 weeks hiding under a cover so I did not have to decorate, bake, wrap, shop, or even think about how the hell I’m getting through all this.

I work as a case manager for children with disabilities to find them and their families resources to help with their needs and authorizing therapy. Most of the kids are sick because it’s that time of the year. The parents are always upset, demanding, and sometimes downright cruel. I am slowly losing my love of the job and want to both cry and scream while simultaneously putting my head through a wall. My other option is to fake my death and run away forever.

I am Diabetic, have high blood pressure (100% from the job I do because when I’m off it’s totally normal), and recently have been told my cholesterol is high. Lately my heart has been hurting and so I have to find a cardiologist to go see. I want to be a mother but I don’t know if it will be physically safe enough for me to do so because I take way too many meds for my health and it may not be safe to be off them and also I have some womanly struggles that get in the way. So I will know more in January when I go back to the OB/GYN doc. I gave up school for this because I felt it was the more important goal at the moment. Now I’m doubting myself.

I have recently gone back to church and feel absolutely nothing when I am there. My pastor is awesome and a good friend of myself and my husband. The people at my church are warm and welcoming and lovely people. It really is a great place to be. But I come in, I listen, I leave and I feel nothing. No happy, no sad, no love, no hate. Just another freaking obligation. I’ve tried reading my Bible, praying, but nothing is working right now. But I’m going to keep trying because I really do love God even if I suck as a Christian most of the time.

I have completely failed at the fitness challenge I joined 8 weeks ago and am too embarrassed to go to the ending party on Wednesday because let’s face it I am the biggest loser ever and didn’t even lose like 2 pounds. So super failure right there. Total waste of time, money, and effort.

Nothing makes me happy right now. I feel like I’m just going through the motions of being alive on a daily basis. I feel empty, numb, tired all the time, constant slew of headaches, and just sick of life. I feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. I even went back to therapy for a few sessions and it has not been helpful at all.

I really miss my family. As much as my mother wasn’t the greatest person in the world we always had good holidays together. We always had fun as a family. I miss Christmas mornings together with my brothers and my dad and having cookies for breakfast and reheated McDonald’s sandwiches we bought the day before. I miss decorating the tree with them. I miss board games Christmas night because we always got a few new ones every year. I miss Thanksgivings at my aunt’s house when I was a kid and all the cousins were over. Now everyone is too busy, too far away, has their own family, etc.

I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I feel adrift in a sea of feelings I can’t sort out and with work don’t have time to do so. I feel so alone even when I’m surrounded by good people. Hugs are physically painful because they make me feel like I’m going to shatter into a thousand pieces. I have been retreating from everyone who loves me because I can’t take it right now. Isn’t that awful? The one thing that could make me feel better is probably sitting down and talking to someone and yet I can’t seem to do so.

I’m sorry this is such a bummer of a post. I just needed to vent. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a better one.

 

depression

So Much To Say…So Little Time to Say It

I have been absent from this blog for a bit. I’ve finally realized I am never going to be a daily blogger. I would like to, but life at this point does not allow it. I have so much I want to say but so little time to say it.

I have made some decisions regarding my life and I’m still reeling from those decisions. I completed my grad school application for Social Work. All I had to do was make the payment and I would most likely have been accepted. But….I couldn’t do it. I tried, I stared, I cried, I argued with myself, but in the end I did not complete the payment. After much thought, reflection, a talk with my pastor, my husband, and a few close friends I trust my life with, I have decided that I am going to try to become a mother.

I……….AM…………TERRIFIED………….

I was miserable the day I made the decision even though I knew it was the right one. When I thought about grad school all I felt was anxiety, fear, and more fear. There was no peace about the decision, mainly due to being worried about affording it and also moving around my work schedule to accommodate all the work I would have to do. When I talked to the people closest to me and they all agreed I would completely regret not becoming a mother, I knew this was the right choice. I felt it deep in my soul. This doesn’t mean I was thrilled. Going to grad school has been a major dream for me for the last 5 years. But motherhood has been a dream basically my whole life.

I met with my therapist and we talked about it. I admitted that I was afraid I was going to lose my identity and just become so and so’s mother. Not even a name anymore, just “that kid’s mom.” I told her I was afraid I would never have time to do anything I love again and that I would never get back to school. I’m afraid I will turn out like my mother and be an abusive, miserable, life-ruining mother. I’m afraid we will become homeless because we won’t be able to afford a kid and all that comes with one. My cousin in pregnant with twins. What if that happens to me? How will we manage in this house?

Work has become hell on earth and I have multiple families that are so rude, so entitled, and so abusive to me I have taken days off of work to recover. We are now required to do something called “The Magic Seven” which I refer to as Seven Levels of Hell. Basically you have to visit with each child twice a month and call their parents every week you don’t see them, then call at least three other providers working with the child. So with my current careload of 16 children that is 32 visits, 32 calls to parents, and 42 calls to various other people connected to each child. Also every child must be seen by the 15th of the month at least once. While that may not seem too bad, keep in mind we are not supposed to work weekends (although with the time limits we get I always do), all notes must be in within 48 hours, treatment plan meetings take about 2-3 hours each then putting plans in takes another 2-3 hours. Parents like to cancel, not pick up the phone, or monopolize you for about an hour as they relay all the struggles their little darling is putting them through. You have to squeeze in supervision, team meetings, and one day a month a staff meeting during which you are not to do any work. Do you see my issue?!

I love kids, I love social work, but some days it’s too much. There are never enough resources for the kids I work with. The parents are NEVER satisfied. Success is infrequent and small at best. And yet I want to bring a kid into this whole messy, rude, crazy world. What am I thinking?!

Oh and as for the challenge at the gym. I have given up trying to win. I have achieved my own personal goals. I lowered my blood sugar levels and my A1C. I can now wear one of my bras without an extender! My jeans are fitting a little better. I am actually starting to love myself through this. So yeah I’m not going to win but I feel like a winner anyway!

 

Falling Off The Face Of The Earth, And Climbing Back On

I know it has been roughly 2 weeks since I last wrote a blog. Things have been hectic around here at home and I have been so stressed that I could barely get myself through the door and onto the couch most nights. So here is a recap of what’s been going on.

I have all but quit the Edge Challenge. I was so excited. I thought this would finally make a difference for me. But sadly a few blows to my self-esteem occurred, along with a doubled workload at work (naturally without an increase in pay), and then I decided to take a group exercise class and hurt my back so I’ve been unable to workout since last Saturday. I also decided (stupidly) that I would go to the first weigh in for the challenge and found out I had only lost 0.6 pounds. After almost 2 weeks of busting my ass at the gym. Then yesterday the standings came out and a bunch of people have already lost 8% of their body weight so I feel like why should I bother trying? I’m going to wind up a loser just like I always am.

My trainer, Morgan, said we are going to have a chat tonight when I go to the gym (if I go to the gym). I know she’s going to be all peppy and tell me not to quit but I honestly feel like what’s the point anymore? This has been a battle I have been fighting with myself since I was six years old and discovered my love of all things chocolate. Why is this so freaking hard. The pounds pack on so easily, why is it so hard to get them off? Why is this such a freaking emotional battle?

Food is a friend who has turned into an enemy. Food is comforting, it takes away my pain, and it makes me feel better when I’m stressed out and just want to stop feeling my feelings for five minutes because they are so intense I can’t take it. But then after comes the shame and the guilt and the feelings of failure. So that brief reprieve is followed by hours of guilt and body shaming.

Is there an end to this? I don’t know. Tonight I went to Cold Stone Creamery, which is an ice cream place near me, to have ice cream tacos. This is why I am up at 4:30am instead of sleeping. I would like to just get outside my body for one day and be able to objectively look at myself and my life and figure out a way to help myself and stop beating the shit out myself. Can someone please invent a machine that does that?!

My doc increased my depression meds and gave me B-12 shots to take every 2 weeks to boost my energy levels. I’m hoping it helps. I just feel like I have no more hope at all. Life is going to be this endless cycle of feeling bad, working to get by, and never truly being happy at all. Mental illness is a bitch and I hate it with my whole being. But I will keep trying to fight the good fight.

Ta Ta For Now