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.

I Have No Words

I did not know what to say for the last few days. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow, my anger, my frustration, and the ache in my heart. I am watching the country I grew up in, and loved, tear itself apart.

I am seeing hatred on levels I never thought possible in my lifetime. I am seeing destruction and chaos. I am seeing broken families, broken people, and broken lives.

I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then 2020 proves me wrong again. I have watched videos of people I respect sobbing, and hurting, and raging. And I can’t do a damn thing for them.

Or Can I….?

I can stand up for people who are being treated as animals and not the beautiful people they are. I can open my mouth. I can protest. I can demand change.

And most of all….

I CAN LOVE PEOPLE JUST AS THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAMILY!!

I personally believe that God made each and every person exactly who they were made to be with skin tones that vary, and heart and souls that may be different from our own, but still beat and are capable of working together. I believe everyone is my brother and my sister and I will defend them and love them because we are one big family.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!

I am crying as I type this because my heart hurts for Mr. Floyd’s family and all the other families who lost a sweet soul for absolutely no reason other then pure hatred.

Please be kind. Please share some love today. It is so needed. And to all the friends I said I didn’t see your color when I looked at you, I apologize because I did see it, I just never saw the difference it made until these last few years. I see you now. I love you. And I stand beside you in respect and solidarity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corona Craziness in New Jersey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are you handling the Corona Crisis?

Victorious Agony

Well dear friends I made a promise I could not keep. I was supposed to write a blog a day leading up to this challenge at my gym. I have failed. My job has kept me from one of the few things I enjoy and I’m good at.

This past week has been absolute hell. From being betrayed by the very people who were supposed to support me during a difficult meeting this week and being thrown under the bus, to having a mother break down today while her three bitches of Eastwick (“supposed” professionals) decided that they were giving up on working with the kid because he was “too dangerous” but demanded that I get the kid into an out of home treatment facility ASAP, I have had it. My stomach is a mess, I’m not sleeping well, and naturally I have resorted back to the one thing that can ALWAYS bring comfort, at least temporarily, and that is food. This is not good considering I’m about to go into a weight loss challenge.

I don’t know how I am going to get through this challenge. I feel like I’m buried under a mountain of responsibilities and I can’t keep up. Is this really what I want the next 40 years of my life to look like, because let’s face it, the odds of me retiring are non-existent strictly from a monetary standpoint. I am at my breaking point. My doctor wanted to put me out of work but as always I decline because all that does is back up my workload so when I come back from resting everything is just 10 miles high. I took Xanax earlier and it barely made a dent in the anxiety and stress I am feeling. Technically I could take more as prescribed but all that does is make me loopy and tired and I can’t think.

I want to go into a freshman classroom of Social Work hopefuls. I want to tell them the truth of the field and see if they still want to go into this hell of a job. YES it can be rewarding. YES some days my heart soars when a child and family makes accomplishments. But those moments are so few and far between that I fear I may never see another one. I want to go to school. But I can’t do that and keep this job. It is physically impossible. There are not enough hours in the day. We have to double and triple document things and it’s just too much. I feel like I’m failing at all levels of my life from health, to work, to being a good wife and kitty mommy. I have been screaming, yelling, cursing, and having zero patience. I’m going to have a stroke in my car because of all the yelling I’ve been doing. I need a break but I can’t take a break because then I will be behind. Even when it’s supposed to be down time I am STILL working just to stay afloat. I can’t wait for Saturday.

 

Burnout