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.

Baby Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

wordle-depression

Happy to report that after two weeks of safety quarantining in our home both my husband and I have not experienced any symptoms of COVID and can rejoin the world outside our doors.The sun is shining and there is a beautiful breeze outside today. All is technically well. And yet both myself and my husband are struggling horribly with depression right now.

We both have gained a significant amount of weight due to being home and no gym to speak of. We sporadically exercise when we have the motivation (which is not often). People say we should just go for walks. Good advice except he has back pain and I have back and foot pain (thanks heel spurs). So I work and bake and we snack ourselves into momentary bliss, then feel like assholes when we’re done eating.

I love my husband more then life itself, but I cannot make this better for him and he can’t make it better for me. His mother keeps making snide comments about our weight and her being disappointed in him that he’s not working. Then we discuss his sister’s upcoming divorce and all this serves to make everyone miserable. Then we discuss the current state of our State and everything crumbles.

I feel like I’m sinking in quicksand with no way out. I feel the darkness closing in around me as it always does when I am depressed. It wraps me in its invisible bubble and though I can’t see it, I feel it. It literally colors everything more gray and dull. All enjoyment to be had is sucked away.

I know this will end but I am tired of these cycles of depression, recovery, more depression, etc. I feel I have no right to these feelings. I am working. I am paying my bills. I have toilet paper for crying out loud. My kitties love me and snuggle me daily. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Yes I know chemical imbalance….need to change your thoughts…eat better….get some sleep…practice mindfulness…etc…etc. But honestly right now I would like to crawl under the covers and never come out again unless I can get a brain transplant. And a total body makeover.

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.

 

 

Lost In The Darkness

Friday, September 27th, I said a final goodbye to my Aunt Marie. She lost her fight to a rare lung disorder that snatched her up faster then a kid grabs a cookie.

My heart physically hurts. I have been crying on and off since the viewing on Thursday and the day of the funeral, naturally, I was a tearful mess. I went through 2 packages of purse tissues. My husband hugged me and didn’t say much which was exactly what I needed at that moment.

The priest for the funeral looked and acted like someone had woken him from a nap to go and perform a funeral. He actually fell asleep at one point! Then he wound up going to the wrong cemetery so the funeral director wound up doing the grave side service. In his defense, this priest was new to the area so I guess we give him a pass.

My job does not give time off for aunts or uncles, only parents or grandparents (including step-parents and step-grandparents). I took off Friday for obvious reasons and Monday because I need it. I need to be able to wrap my head around the fact that she is gone along with my Uncle Peter a few years ago.

Every time I think about going back to work, my heart pounds out of control, I feel sick, and I start shaking. I feel the same fear I would feel if someone was chasing me with a chainsaw and not because they were excited to get to my lawn. My job has literally driven me to the brink of insanity. My boss changed my time sheet without even consulting me before turning it in which in itself made me angry. Then there are the twenty or so e-mail waiting to tell me how wrong I am in everything and how I’m not doing enough. Just typing this I feel ready to burst into tears.

I know it is long overdue for me to leave this company. While I love what I do, the pressure to complete more and more within the same amount of time per week is overwhelming and exhausting. It has caused me to spiral into a deep depression that I can’t seem to get out of. All I want to do is sleep or kill myself.

I’m tired of losing people, I’m tired of bills, I’m tired of going to church and feeling so empty and hollow inside. I’m tired of feeling like a failure. I’m tired of not having any energy to do anything, even things I love. I am just tired of life. And I’m really tired of trying to explain depression and anxiety to people that don’t understand and think I should just “snap out of it” “think positively” and my favorite “you just need to have faith.” My faith is dead. I know God is there but I don’t think he cares about me anymore. I have no more faith that things are going to get better and I’m too tired to try to get off the ground. If I wind up dead it is because I gave my all and I couldn’t give anymore. I feel that I am doing the world  a favor by going away.

But  I don’t even think God would be merciful enough to let me die. He’d rather watch me be miserable and hurt and cry. Sometimes I think he gets enjoyment out of it. But maybe I’m wrong. Sorry if this is bleak. This is my only safe outlet to say these things because I work in the mental health field and you can’t talk to your co-workers about it, definitely not your boss, and all my friends are busy with their children and their own lives. Nobody wants to hear this because nobody knows how to fix it. So if you read this thanks for being there.

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.