COVID and Elections: Hell In A Cell

When I first started dating my husband he was very into wrestling and loved to watch shows like Raw and Smackdown. For the uninitiated the WWE is a soap opera for men with pretend fighting that looks real and sometimes can actually cause real injuries or even death. I’m not a huge wrestling fan but it doesn’t bother me if it is on.

One of the most interesting matches I would watch with him was called Hell In A Cell. Basically the two combatants would be in the ring and a 24 foot high steel cage would descend from the ceiling and cover the ring. The only way out was to pin your opponent. But everything went in this match and there were no disqualifications, pretty much anything went. It was brutal and definitely not for the faint of heart (I know it’s fake but sometimes you honestly forget that when a huge man is jumping down on someone from on top of a huge steel cage).

Ever since March I feel like I have been part of a Hell In A Cell match with COVID. I have ducked, I have dodged, I have occasionally fought back but COVID is a strong opponent that keeps changing tactics. Faucci, public opinion, masks, no masks, sanitizer, gloves, death, hospitalizations, etc. It was enough to drive you mad. But eventually I kind of got to a place where I could sort of breathe (with a mask on of course!).

Then came election season. The tag team partner of COVID that hit me over the head with a brick and then whacked me with a steel chair while I was down and has not stopped hitting since.

I have never, in the 38 years of my life so far, EVER seen anything as destructive, divisive, corrupt, cruel, or soul sucking as this election has been. There have been mud slinging campaigns at election time. There always will be because people are people. But this took it to a whole other planet of attack.

People I love, people I care about, who I thought I knew well are ripping each other apart over this election. I can’t stand it, my heart and stomach both literally ache. Oh and don’t forget I get to go to work and hear how COVID is tearing families and communities apart.

Yesterday I attended church via online (still not comfortable going back yet even though they’re allowing up to 50 people inside). The topic of the sermon was “A Nation Divided.” The first 3/4 of the sermon were great. We should not judge others for their choices. We are not going to tell you how to vote. But use the Bible as your guide to how God wants you to vote.

And then….
it fell…..
completely apart…

I was told that as a Christian I should vote for someone that (fill in four political agenda points). I’m not going to share what they were but suffice to say that I did not agree with those four points and therefore felt shamed into thinking I was not a good Christian woman.

I spent the whole day on a serious rage spiral because I felt attacked on such a deep level. It did not help matters that I am in the middle of a medication change which has left me feeling like an exposed raw nerve every minute of every day. I screamed, I yelled, my husband consoled and validated me and eventually (as always) rage turned into depression and I slept a good portion of the day away until we had to go to his mother’s house for dinner.

Today I took a mental health day from work. I literally laid on the couch for the majority of the day trying not to cry or scream (I failed at not crying). I felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my very core. The hate I’ve witnessed, the fear, the frustration, it all came to a head in the last two weeks and I could not even muster the energy to move until about 4:30pm.

I love God so much, I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that because I believe he died for my sins, I am forgiven by God and will get to go to Heaven one day. That is enough for me. That is my faith and I’m comfortable with that. So for someone to come along and say that this is not true because I don’t vote a certain way hurt me in my soul. My faith is important to me and has gotten me through some rough times. To say I’m not a believer if I don’t do [fill in the blank] is to attack the very core of who I am as a human being. And that hurt.

I have asked my pastor if we can talk about this as it was one of our elders in the church who preached today and I did not feel comfortable talking to him directly as everyone was patting him on the back and telling him what a great sermon it was after it ended. I am waiting to hear back but I feel he will be able to hear my side and not judge me for it. He’s good like that.

So today was simply a venting of frustration, hurt, and pain. Please pray for me or send good vibes my way. This pandemic is killing us in the helping professions and unlike docs and nurses, nobody gives us any credit for the hard work we do (not saying docs and nurses who are killing themselves fighting this don’t deserve 1000% credit, but don’t forget parents, teachers, counselors, and social workers who are feeling this just as hard as they are).

Thanks for listening. Hopefully the next post will be a bit brighter. Spread love not germs ❤



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!!

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

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!

 

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 ❤

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.