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.

A Creeping Loss of Normal

The week of March 15th-22nd  was the last time the grocery store  I shop at had its last full shopping ad. Now it is a one page double sided ad with very little on sale and even if it’s not on sale, not much can be found. Pasta is wiped out, canned goods are gone, finding toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and any kind of disinfectant has become like a search for the Holy Grail.

March 17th was the last day I remember being able to work in my office. Now I work from home. I do video conferences with parents who are going out of their minds trying to educate their special needs children and also get them to sit still long enough to do anything. It’s nice not to have to drive all over the place but I miss seeing my parents and kiddos in person.

Also on March 17th there were 267 people in my state diagnosed with COVID-19 and 3 had died. As of today, April 12th, there are 61,850 people diagnosed and 2,350 deaths. It took only 26 days for this virus to get so out of control. That’s not even a full month yet.

On April 4th I saw a lot more people wearing masks and gloves in the stores while shopping. Initially it was only older people who were doing this but now more people around my age were wearing them. It was unnerving to say the least. There were taped lines you could not cross. You got warned to not step over the blue line to order your food from the deli. They had put up plastic barriers between the customers and the cashiers so we didn’t breathe on one another or God forbid accidentally sneeze on one another. People with allergies were never so hated as they are now.

This past week you were not allowed into the store unless you had some sort of face covering. My husband and I shopped wearing bandanas over our faces. You also had to wait to get into the grocery store because only a few people were allowed in the store at a time. It only took about seven minutes of waiting but it was weird to stand in line just to get into the grocery store. I saw my friend in line while I was there. I couldn’t even hug her because we all had to be SIX FEET APART AT ALL TIMES (said the booming voice of the security guards by the entrance.

I am a total introvert by every standard of the word but I miss being able to go out into the world to eat out, to go to the library (WHY is a library not considered essential when we are all stuck in our houses?!), literally any reason to get out of the house. My husband and I walk a few feet from the house to get the mail during the week because it has become the most exciting part of the day where we can get out of our house and breathe fresh air.

We are not prisoners. We are allowed to be outside and take walks but I don’t feel safe doing that. I want to be outside but at the same time I feel like everyone and everything is contaminated. I feel like I am contaminated and if I so much as breathe on anyone I am going to kill them. I know that sounds ridiculous but when I see the numbers I freak out. And there is so much fear being spread that I don’t know what is true or false anymore.

I don’t know if things will ever go back to normal even once this crisis passes. I think it is going to leave an indelible mark on all of us. Some for the good. Some for the worse. But nobody is going to come out of this the same as they went into it.

Please stay safe my friends. Wash your hands, cover your face, but above all be kind and be true. There is a lot of fear out there. Be a light in this dark time.

Corona Craziness in New Jersey

COVID-19 also known as Corona Virus. We are all talking about it. If you want more details about what it is, how it works, and why it’s such a big deal, please go to a reputable site like the Center for Disease Control or your local government website.

In the past month I have heard so much about this virus I feel like I am a scientific expert on it even though I am clearly not. It has caused the world to talk about it like a celebrity the likes of which we have never knows. It’s all over the radio, the internet, the news, Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc.

Initially, I will be honest, I was getting more and more anxious about it the closer it came to my home. I mean initially it was halfway across the world in China. Then it started to creep into other countries. Then it arrived on the West Coast of the USA. Now I was getting worried. Slowly it made its way across the US and into NJ where I live. It started in the north and crept its way down to where I live.

But now that it’s actually, truly here, I have a strange sense of calm about the situation. Maybe it’s because I’ve been fed medical facts by my husband and our CEO at work about what is really happening versus all the fear mongering going on. But I think the biggest reason I don’t feel afraid anymore is because of a message my pastor sent out right after it was apparent that we were not going to avoid this crisis. He said God has this under control and He will take care of his children. So simple but it hit my heart and soul in a way I can’t really describe in words.

I’m not telling anyone what to believe, I’m just saying for once in my life when everyone else is panicking I actually feel very calm and still. Is my job super stressful right now? Sure. Am I worried about running out of groceries and toilet paper? Maybe a little. But my neighbors have been banding together to help each other so I’m not too scared about that. I have seen some real love and kindness shine through all of this.

So please wash your hands, take a deep breath, and realize it will eventually be okay. I’m not saying it will be perfect, I’m saying we have gotten through much worse and we survived. Maybe this is the time we need to band together, not just as a country, but as human beings in this world, and realize that we need to slow down and take some time to appreciate what we have and stop chasing what we think we need or want.

Please be safe and I love you all so much. Also if you are going stir crazy I recommend coloring, exercise, reading, and anything else you love to do at home.

How are you handling the Corona Crisis?

Finances, Anxiety, Depression and Adulting

This evening I filed my income taxes which should have made me happy. One more annoying task done in the long list that is adulthood. Instead it has added to my ever increasing depression about our finances and how much I suck at sticking with a budget. The prices of everything keep going up, but my paycheck does not. So I get depressed and comfort myself with food, which makes me bad because of my diabetes, so then I feel worse and I just don’t even want to eat anymore.

Work is a disaster right now with every time you come in there is a new change, a new policy, a new skill you need to know RIGHT STAT NOW!! People are quitting, people are being moved around, there has been a lot of yelling and crying and basically it has been full on bedlam right now.

I was so damn depressed by our staff meeting on Thursday (not to mention having a stupid sinus infection) that I called out sick on Friday. It was a full on mental health day emergency. Literally all I did on Friday was lay on the couch, watch TV, and fall asleep on and off. This naturally led to a night of insomnia since I slept so much of the day away.

Can I just tell you that insomnia and depression are not good friends and they should not be allowed to hang out together. It’s like one is bad enough on it’s own but when they combine in my life they usually bring anxiety to the party and then it’s full on hell in my brain that won’t shut off. I took my meds, I tried deep breathing and not a damn thing was working. I even prayed which usually always works for me because talking to God is soothing. But I couldn’t stay focused. So then I felt I was making God mad because I could not stop jumping from one rabbit trail to the next.

I applied for a Team Lead position at my work and while I was only halfheartedly interested, I figured I’m already doing most of what is required so I might as well get paid for it. So the morning of our staff meeting we were told to come in at 11:15am. So naturally I did not look at my e-mail until around 9:30am figuring I had plenty of time. At 6pm the night before, someone from upper management e-mailed us requesting 6 additional documents for our applications and told us to be ready to interview after our staff meeting. Seriously?!?!

So instead of having a nice relaxing morning where I actually got to enjoy breakfast, I had to rush around the house to get to the office early to print all the documents then again rush to where the meeting was being held (we have two offices).  I was so frazzled that I forgot to change into dress pants for the interview (we’re allowed to dress down for staff meeting day).

When I arrived at the office my supervisor started flipping out because I was not fully dressed up. I told her I had just gotten the e-mail this morning because we had been told when the work day is done, to not check our calls or emails unless we were on call. She proceeded to tell me I should have checked at 9AM and I said that we never have to work the morning of staff meetings. Then I left the meeting area and went to the kitchen to give myself a minute because of course I was crying. A few peers helped me to calm down and I returned to the meeting but honestly I just tuned out some of it because I’m so damn tired of the “You guys are great! We appreciate all your hard work!! Now here are 25 things you are doing wrong and you better fix it right now because the state is breathing down our necks.”

I need a break but every time I take a break something else happens at work and the work keeps piling up. And I’m so damn exhausted that I don’t want to talk to or see anyone because I am so damn tired of people. I just got made a deaconess at my church which involves a lot of interaction with people and especially the women of the church. I am happy I was elected but honestly exhausted just thinking about the next few months. I spend so much time during the week talking and catering to peoples needs that by the time the weekend rolls around I just want to curl up in a ball and avoid all human contact. Isn’t that awful?

So then my interview. Thankfully I was with colleagues who know me and make me feel comfortable. I had to answer a bunch of questions about leadership and what my areas of strength are and where I can improve. Honestly at that point I was so depressed and sick I couldn’t even be nervous. Some other me showed up to the interview because at one point it was like another person was speaking through me and I felt very disconnected from my body but at the same time knew what was going on. The other me must have done good because everyone looked happy at the end of the interview.

This was mainly a venting post but if you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions they are always welcome. How do you cope when life gets too overwhelming?