An Old Poem I Wrote

Prayers are wishes
Thrown to the Almighty above
Asking for things
We shall never know

Wisdom, peace, knowledge
These are all fleeting
On a planet
Condemned long ago

Love does not exist
Without pain to coincide
Nor grace
Without condemnation preceding

Have faith whispers the masses
As they ignore the broken souls
They trample on Each and every day

Just believe
Thunders the man behind the pulpit
Ignoring the reality
Beyond the stained glass doors

What if instead of service
Predictable and sure
We took the hour to really listen
And be honest before friends and God

How many pews would we fill
How much money in the plate
If we allowed the Spirit to lead
Instead of the charlatan.

Jenny Hansen
Originally Written 05-04-13

I Quit: Poem About Social Work

Today I quit my job
I’d had it up to here
I was tired of all the stress
The crying and the tears.

I went back the next day
Just as I knew I would
Because I know I’m needed
To bring some love and good

Tomorrow I’ll quit my job
Because of this or that
Paperwork piled high
But I always somehow come back

Why do I do this silly dance
Round and Round I go
Soaring with the few highs
Crashing often in the lows

Am I madwoman
Doing the same over and over again
Or do I just stay in this work
For the totally incredible friends

Some days I lose my ability
To love, to feel, to care
As the stress piles on and on
And becomes too much to bear

I eat chocolate to ease the pain
Color when I can
Get lost in good books
So I don’t have to think about it again

I show up early
Work late most days
I do it for the idea of hope
(Definitely not the pay)!

So if I can spread kindness
Give resources here and there
Show others it’s not hopeless
Then I guess I really do care

So here’s to a broken system
We do what we can do
I’ll show up early tomorrow
Bring hope, healing, and a little love for you

The Wheels In My Head Go Round and Round

Most days I get done work and I think, today I really need to write about [insert interesting thought I had during the day]. But I don’t. I spend all day looking at a computer screen writing notes, making calls, doing video conferences, fending off crisis after crisis and when I’m done…I’M DONE.

My mind is a constant whirlwind of thoughts and it doesn’t slow down unless I read a book or do something else that captures my total mind for a short time. I am worried about everything, solving nothing, but still going to work every day claiming “I’m fine” when people ask as they pile more stuff on for me to do because “I know you can handle it,” or “You got this.”

I DO NOT GOT THIS…..

I do however have an endless supply of mental confusion, irritability, tears, insomnia, and headaches. If you are in need of those, I have them in spades. I am normally very organized, very on top of things and today I literally just froze because there were too many tasks and not enough brain power to figure out how to do it all by the end of the week. Then I get told I’m training new people which I do love, but not when I am managing two care loads of children because a co-worker is out.

I worry I’m not doing anything to support the black community. I invited my brother over for dinner tomorrow because I’m so afraid I’m going to lose him and everyone I love if I don’t see them RIGHT STAT NOW. It’s ridiculous but now I am having tacos with my brother on a night I really don’t have time for it but I felt like if I didn’t see him and his girlfriend and my niece then something bad was going to happen and I would never see them again.

I worry I’m not doing enough to grow my faith. I’m not doing enough for my church and for my community. The sky is falling and I’m chicken little screaming and running all over the place except nobody can hear me.

My anxiety is on a roller coaster all day long and so is my depression. I am up and down and I want to get off but the clown at the controls says sorry kiddo you gotta keep riding. I think if I wasn’t on medication right now I would have a full on mental break.

I know this is all first world problems. I’m not starving, homeless, or anything else really terrible. But I am overwhelmed. And the fear and the feelings are real. So I just needed to vent a little in the only private place I have in my life right now. None of my friends or family know about this blog but I do have a small family of friends on here who care and that helps on nights like tonight where I feel like I’m falling apart.

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.

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?

 

 

Super Explosive Glittery Happiness

Today I did something that was really difficult for me. I sucked up my pride, my anxiety, and my terror and went to see a Nurse for Diabetes Education and a Dietician today because my Diabetes/Health/Blood Sugar/Mental Health are all out of whack at the moment and I feel that I am in a place where I am finally ready to do something about it besides whine, make excuses, and generally beat the crap out of myself about it.

I sat in this office from 1:15pm-4:30pm asking every question I had about my medication, testing my sugar, complications I have been experiencing, which foods I thought were “bad,” and mostly my feelings of failure every time I test my sugars and it’s not where it should be. I had honestly given up trying to test because it felt pointless and demoralizing to see that number every day.

THESE WOMEN WERE AMAZING!!

They listened to my concerns, explained my medications, explained certain symptoms, gave me suggestions, told me all my next steps, gave me samples, gave me REASONABLE expectations for eating, and just generally made me feel like a good human being again. PLUS!!! They said I was not eating as bad as I thought and that I actually have A LOT of muscle mass despite my insistence when I came in that I was 99% fat mass.

I left that office very tired but also feeling like a super glitter bomb of happiness just exploded inside my chest! I have not felt hopeful about my body, about my weight, or my ability to manage this illness in YEARS!

heart explosion

I want to sincerely thank those women for giving me back hope, for giving me an action plan, and also for treating me with dignity. It meant the world to me.

My advice is no matter how many crappy doctors, specialists, or experts you encounter you should never give up. It took me years to find the right people who believed me, saw me as a whole person, and listened to what I had to say. So please if you are reading this, don’t give up. Keep fighting and keep trying. You may be one appointment away from

Super Explosive Glittery Happiness!!

Be Attitudes

Recently our church has been going through the Beatitudes one verse at a time every Sunday for the last few weeks. These are instructions from Jesus on how to live our lives and arrange our priorities so that we can live lives that are pleasing to God. If you would like to read them yourself, you can click here.

These beatitudes are completely backwards from the way the world wants you to look at life. The world says “get it all” Jesus tells us to “give it all.” The world says “get your revenge” and Jesus says “be nice to those who are nasty/mean/cruel even if they are never nice to you in return.” The world says “Nobody will ever know,” but Jesus tells us “God knows and sees it all.” But the amazing part is God sees it all and still loves us. I have said and done some horrific things to others in the past and despite God seeing that cruel, vengeful, hatred filled person, He still loves me! That blows my mind.

This series has been really eye opening for me.  I know I need to change some priorities in my life but if I’m honest, #1 it’s really hard, and #2 I like being really comfortable. Like today I know I should have gone to the gym after work to have a healthy body which would give me more energy to do for others, but instead I only got dressed in my workout pants and never made it out the door. I know I should stop wasting money on unnecessary food and snacks so I will have money to give to the church instead of my local convenience store, but I keep screwing up.

When my pastor said this past week that whatever you give the most time, attention, money, and thoughts to, that is your god, that felt like a smack upside the head. I constantly think about money, my body, and food. Like almost every freaking spare minute. It’s really bad, sad, and embarrassing actually. I’m always worried there will not be enough to pay my bills or do things I want to do. So then I stress and I eat. Then I curse my body for being so weak. But the Bible said we should not worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear because God will take care of all our needs.  Verses Here

So each day I am trying to do a little better and to focus on God a little more and a little on myself less. I want to do things that please God because I love God and not because I have to but because I want to and they are things that will help me and others.

More later my friends. Have a great night!!

The Twists and Turns of the Past Month

Early October, my husband calls me at work saying he doesn’t feel well and is going to Urgent Care. The doctor there says he looks okay but wants him to go to the Emergency Room because he can’t get a full breath in. Turns out he had a massive blood clot in his lungs and another in his leg. One day later and I would have lost my love and best friend. He’s now on medication and doing fine but three days in the hospital were very scary for me. I got a taste of what it would be like to live alone, without my best friend, and I definitely did not like it. There was much sobbing and fear.

On the same day my husband went to Urgent Care, I was sent home from work early because I was totally and completely burnt out. I was snapping at my boss, crying, stomping around like a 2 year old, and engaging in much muttering under my breath. Thank God in the long run she sent me home because then I was able to deal with my husband. But at the time it made me angry because I had SO MUCH WORK TO DO!!

My boss has finally realized driving her team into the ground was not working so as a team we came up with expectations that seem more reasonable. This has lifted a load off my shoulders in the best possible way because I felt like I was drowning and would never recover from the stress of it all.

Last weekend I went to an Apple Festival with my mother in law and a bunch of people from her work. It was the most wonderful weekend I had in awhile. There was  crisp fall breeze, the scent of fresh apples in the air, beautiful leaves that were changing color, craft vendors, and of course fresh apple cider which is literally one of my most favorite drinks on the planet. The whole day was a big soul refresher and for the first time in months I fell asleep contented and did not wake up once.

Also in the past month I have joined two Bible studies. One is for people struggling with mental health issues called Hope and Grace. They meet every week and its a great group of people. I am making my husband go with me for support but it’s actually helpful to him so YAY! I also joined a Bible study about Romans which is very difficult because the book they are using is written like a college text book and is very hard to get through. But the people are nice so I’m going to keep trying.

My church has been doing a sermon series on the Beatitudes (Matthew Chapter 5 in the Bible). It has been very helpful in giving me insight into what God is looking for in a person. I also finished reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. That book blew me away! It really made me question how I am doing things when it comes to my relationship with God and also some strongholds I have in place that are getting in the way of my relationship with God which has been tough.

My fellow blogger, Jenny Lawson, also opened up her own book store which I was really excited to hear. You can find her blog here. She is one of the most hilarious writers I’ve ever read and you should definitely read her books. I would love to meet her in person one day.

Well that’s it folks. My mental health is back on track, I am no longer wallowing in despair and I hope to be writing more often.