LOVE YOUR WHOLE SELF

What good is a size 2
When all that you do
Is obsess about the gym and your food

What good is skinny
When you haven’t any
Friends because you drove them away

What good is thin
Now that you’re in
Way over your head and drowning

What good is low cal bread
When you’re heart is dead
And your soul has withered dry

Love the chocolate
Love the curves
Live the life you know you deserve

Be healthy
Be wise
Awaken the beauty you know is inside

~Jenny Hansen

Lets Ratchet This Up a Notch Shall We

Today was supposed to be a blog about all the questions running through my mind while this COVID-19 overtakes the lives of everyone, everywhere but I’m going to put that on hold because today I am totally and completely FREAKING OUT!!

Yesterday I went to the grocery store with my husband. Our mutual friend works there in the dairy department. He was looking horrible and has been losing a lot of weight probably due to the 70-80 hour work week he has been having for the last almost two months. So I decided he needed a hug because hey everyone needs some love.

Today that same friend called my husband and said that his mother, who lives with him and his son, tested positive for COVID-19 and he had a fever as well. I may have had a mental panic bomb go off in my head as I started asking a thousand questions like:

“Is she okay?”
“Is he okay?”
“How did this happen?”
“What if we get it?”
“What if we give it to [his] mom?”
“What about work?”
“What if one of us dies?”
“What if you die?”
“Will you be able to cope if I die?”
“Do you know how to balance the checkbook and pay the bills if I’m down?”
“Do we have enough food for two weeks?”
“I have a fever. Does that mean I have it?”
“My chest hurts. Is that anxiety or am I going to die?”

When COVID-19 first appeared on our country’s radar I felt like it was “over there.” Then it hit the USA and ever since I feel like it’s a stalker trying to find its way into every crack and crevice it can find to infect people. It was in NJ but it wasn’t here in my neighborhood. Now it has crept its way into my home and my mind. It found me despite me trying to hide and cover my mouth and nose so it could not creep its way into my body and destroy it like the Death Star destroyed Alderaan.

I know that there is a high probability that I don’t have Corona Virus. My anxiety is on overdrive right now creating psychosomatic symptoms probably. But my stress is real. The fear is real. So I’m going to do more coloring today to try to be rational in a very irrational world right now. Stay safe friends.

Credit for art below goes to Alireza Pakdel from Iran.

Coronavirus Art

Sometimes Not Knowing The Whole Truth Is A Good Thing

Today was exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. My cats decided that 5AM was the perfect time to start rampaging around my bedroom and knocking things over. Tried to give them 3 changes to calm down then kicked them both out. Got basically a total of 4 hours of sleep.

So on to work in my home office which is drowning in paperwork and various debris related to work. I put in some notes about how crazy all the parents are feeling, how stressed and how despite this they are doing their damn best. I feel like there should be a gold star options in my notes to say THIS ONE IS REALLY TRYING so that the state can see how awesome these parents are at taking care of their children with special needs during this pandemic.

Then 9:30AM rolled around and it’s time for our Team Meeting. I was looking forward to this as we all decided that today will be hat day and I was rocking my Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship hat from the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl. We had fun, we got caught up with each other, we laughed, we learned…and then…

Our CEO joined our team meeting towards the end. Apparently she was supposed to be there the whole time but was having technical difficulties. After praising us for all our hard work she proceeded to tell us that we will most likely not be returning to our office for about 6-8 months. My jaw dropped and I was stunned, but because I am now a Team Lead, I have to maintain a modicum of dignity so I silently stared at the screen and smiled stupidly. The meeting eventually ended and we all logged off to go work for the rest of the day.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to break down and scream and yell and stomp my feet like a two year old and scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!!” until I was blue in the face. Why? Because I miss my co-workers. I miss real human interaction. I miss hugs and laughs and real connection. Most days I just kind of float through work in some kind of haze. I don’t even know how I get to my end time some days. It’s just work, work, work, and no interaction other then work related stuff. I want to walk down the halls and visit our secretaries. I want to see my co-workers all over the building laughing and smiling and rolling our eyes at some new thing a parent said or did or a new policy that has been rolled out.

I know I am lucky I am still working. I know I am not a doctor, nurse, or grocery store employee. But my job is essential and I feel myself and my co-workers deserve some recognition. We are providing mental health services to children all over the state and helping families cope with all of this. We are teaching kids how to feed themselves, how to be potty trained, how to communicate. Without these services many of our children would fall apart. We have dedicated therapists that still go into these homes and work with children that are tired, cranky, hyperactive, bouncing off the walls, suicidal, homicidal, abusing drugs, being abused…the list goes on and on.

I don’t even really know the point of this post. I just really miss real live people.

 

 

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?

 

The Middle Of The Room Is Better Then The Back

Tonight I took Zumba for the third time this week. I have decided to take the advice of the trainer I had during the gym’s challenge and do things I love instead of forcing things I hate and that are tedious to me. Not to say I should not lift weights but maybe more Zumba with some weight added in.

ANYWAY…

Tonight I decided to be brave and workout in the middle of the room. There were not that many women there tonight so I felt fairly safe in moving up a little. Mostly so I could see the teacher who, by the way, is made of the same material as Tigger because she bounces like it’s more natural then walking. Mostly I hide in the back where my uncoordinated self will not hurt anyone else or myself. So though to many this may seem like no big deal, to me this was huge. It meant I could see and be seen and was taking a chance of my very large self being noticed.

I…HAD….SO….MUCH….FUN!!!

I cannot even express to you the joy I found tonight. Was I any less uncoordinated? Nope. Did I still find myself going left when everyone else was going right? Yup! But for once I did not care. I got swept up in the music and the fun and let myself have a good time. Yes I said good time and the gym in the same sentence. Miracles do indeed happen. My legs and ankles are killing me but it was totally worth it.

I think my challenge to myself moving forward is to try to take small risks like this one and to stop holding myself back because of my fear of someone making fun of me for my weight. Tonight was hopefully the first of many such nights where I just accept where I am and push through anyway.

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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

 

Finishing Even If You Crawl There

Today was day #3 of my Edge Challenge. Today was not a good day. I did not sleep well last night and so I didn’t get to the gym until close to 10:30am. My husband and I had a lot of errands to run today so I decided to take a Zumba class instead of doing weight lifting today. Zumba is basically a dance class where you do a dance routine to very upbeat and bouncy music. You jump a lot, spin around a lot, and generally act like a jumping bean. Coordination is very helpful. I am not coordinated.

I won’t say the class was a disaster. I had fun even if I was going left while everyone else was going right and I can’t jump because of my knee and foot. So I made up my own moves. I shook my hips all over the place. I refused to give up even if it meant collapsing at the end. And I made it. All 50 minutes of it and I actually did not die. The teacher, Sandy, was awesome and encouraging. She said she hoped I would come back next week.

For the rest of the day my legs ached, my feet throbbed, and I generally felt exhausted. This getting fit stuff is not for the weak. But I will get up and try something else tomorrow. I am determined not to fail.

My teacher Sandy was awesome!

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This is Tina. She took the class with me. We killed it or it killed us. Depends on perspective LOL!

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