I Believe In Magic

I’m a grown ass woman and I believe in magic. Not like the David Copperfield (Jezus he’s creepy) kind of magic or even the Chriss Angel kind. Magic is real. It exists; just maybe not the way you are thinking about it. Magic is everywhere.

Example:

When I was pregnant with my now five year old son my husband and I were trying to work through some shit. I had been up for a couple of days and had been crying. My head hurt, my eyes stung and my heart was broken. All day long I wasn’t sure if the marriage would last or if what we were experiencing would be the end. I’m not the praying kind but throughout the day I kept asking the universe to send me a sign that things would be ok. It was a cool crisp beautiful fall day. The leaves were turning and falling off the limbs of the trees and the air had that lovely aroma of autumn. I left work and felt the sun on my skin, a slight breeze on my face and I stood in the middle of the parking lot with my eyes closed focusing on my physical presence. I inhaled deeply and opened my eyes when all of the sudden I saw a leaf falling out of no where. It floated through the air in my direction and as it fell I put my hand out and it just landed gently in my palm.

OkIn that one moment I knew that everything would be OK. I knew that no matter what happened; whether I stayed with my husband or decided to make my exit and embark on a new life alone, I would be just fine. It was like I asked the universe for a sign and it delivered. Instantly I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time and it encouraged me to allow my heart to scab over and begin to heal.

We don’t always need the answer we are looking for to come to a place of peace about our struggles. Sometimes, if we just take a moment and find a place of calm and really listen the universe delivers EXACTLY what it is you need. That is what I am talking about when I say that magic is real.

I feel like people wonder why they can’t figure things out for themselves. What many people need to understand, and I still struggle with is as well, is that we all have this preconceived notion of how things SHOULD be and we try our damnedest to be in control and make our vision of perfection come to fruition. What causes distress and suffering in our lives in this attachment to our expectations because when things don’t go the way we want to what happens? Are we mad? Disappointed? Angry? All of the above? It can truly be a disheartening feeling when your life takes a turn you didn’t expect and you’re left mourning an ideal you had for your life.

But, what would your life look like if you accepted what is and worked to move on? It’s so difficult. I get it. Here is the catch though. So much love, happiness and beauty Acceptance-quote-3happens in your life if you just LET GO and let the universe unfold what is truly meant to be in front of you  instead of trying to grab the universe by the horns and attempting to force it to obey your commands.  When you let go and allow things to happen the way they are meant to it allows you to come to a place of peace, a place of love and you start to appreciate the simple things in your life.

Let me give you an example:

Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. I had a doctor appointment which I experienced high levels of anxiety about due to past sexual trauma. The nurse asked about my anxiety and we talked about the trauma a bit which made me cry but I felt better after I disclosed that experience to her.After that they drew blood and for whatever reason my arm wouldn’t stop bleeding. We didn’t notice this until it squirted all over my shirt and pants. You can imagine how disconcerting that can be.

After I left the appointment I hit an icy patch on the road and began to fishtail. There was trucka semi truck right behind me and all I could do was try to get control of my vehicle. My thought was that my kids were far to young to lose their mama and I didn’t want my husband to lose yet another wife under tragic circumstances. I was so scared! Luckily I was able to pull out of the fishtail but not before slamming into a guard rail on the side of the road.

I made it out alive and well but I can’t say the same for my husbands truck. The shits of this situation is that two weeks ago we just paid it off. UGH!!!! The damage is so extensive that I would be Jacks complete lack of surprise if the insurance adjuster totaled it. I was so hard on myself after that happened.

I was supposed to drive to the cities to have coffee with a colleague and then be at Walk In for clinic hours. I cancelled my clients and coffee with my colleague and went home. I was so ready to be done with the day but I braved the roads and got into my van to make the hour drive to my clinic shift. I made it without incident and my shift was slow so we got out of their early.

It had been snowing but changed into freezing rain. I was frustrated with my wipers because they were absolutely ineffective and I couldn’t see anything. I was driving and trying to see and all of the sudden my wiper just snapped off and flew across the road. My reaction was “Oh, what the fuck!?” Luckily, I was two exits away from a Wal-Mart. I had just had it with the day and was mad as well when I arrived at the wiper aisle and it was a disaster (One of the things I abhor about Wal-Mart). It took a while but I finally found what I needed and paid.

Then I proceeded to stand in a mush puddle in the freezing cold rain trying to put the new wipers on my van. It was SO cold that my fingers were numb and I didn’t have a hat with me (True Minnesota faux pas) which made it that much more difficult to get the wipers on. I was cussing so hard!!!

I got home and my husband wanted to talk about my adult son. All I wanted was to be held and comforted. I just started to cry and all the things I’d been holding inside came spilling out. I cried for a good three hours before I cried myself to sleep. I woke up today feeling a lot like I did in the story at the top of this post. My head hurts, my eyes sting and my heart ached but I got up, played with my babies, played with my dog, cuddled my husband and then got ready for work.

I walked outside and it was so bright that it made my head scream. I put on my breathesunglasses stood there for a second. I don’t know if you get snow where you are but there is just SOMETHING about fresh snow. It makes everything look new and dampens noise plus it has this smell of pure cleanliness. The way the sun shines on the snow makes it look like white puffy clouds and the sky when not covered by clouds is so intensely blue. I stood there for a second with my eyes shut and inhaled very deeply. Once I exhaled I suddenly felt very ok and once again just knew that everything was going to be ok – No matter what.

Magic happens every day. You just have to be still and mindful enough to notice. It can happen in a single breath, the laughter of a baby, the breeze you feel on your face, the hug from a friend or the look your lover gives you. Magic isn’t just illusion and mystery. In fact, one of the definitions of Magic is “Wonderful; exciting.” It takes practice to notice these small cues from the universe so I encourage you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, be still and when you open your eyes be aware. Magic is all around and if you take a moment to notice the small things around you’ll catch it. When you do, your heart will be full.

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I’m Tired Y’all

If you’ve been watching the news lately or been on social media I am sure you’ve heard about the shooting in Florida on Valentines day. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you that we need to ban guns or that the people who do this are mentally ill but things need to change. My  middle child is in Kindergarten and it gives me great anxiety sending him to school knowing that these things are happening.

I’m so tired of seeing grief stricken parents burying their kids. I’m tired of other kids witnessing people they know and love dying. I am also so so so tired of the lack of compassion and empathy towards these people who’ve lost loved ones especially by saying that one of these massacres didn’t happen.

I don’t understand why we value to right own weapons over the safety of our citizens. Where our politicians are so crooked and greedy that they prize lining their pockets over doing what is right for it’s citizens and not representing those who have elected them to do so. I’m tired of lobby groups being more powerful than having a decent moral compass.

Everyone keeps pointing to places like the UK and Australia that have banned guns and say “See! This worked there, it could work here too!” but I have to ask; could it? Our culture is so different than those countries. It’s hard to explain to people who have never been to Europe but in many aspects the United States is still very much the wild wild west. We are so much more uncivilized than other European countries. I don’t know if that’s because in terms of age we are still considered a younger country of it we are just the kind of nation that thumbs it’s nose at others who are different and gets all “In your face” about it.

Let me also talk about the mental health aspect of this situation. I am getting REALLY tired of hearing people say “Oh these people are mentally ill and that’s why they do these things. Watch for the red flags and report it to the authorities.” Here are the problems I have with this mentality as a mental health practitioner:

  • What does mental illness mean? What is your definition? If you don’t work in the mental health field your definition is probably vastly different than mine. How do you know if someone is mentally ill? Is depression and anxiety enough of a mental illness to commit this type of crime?
  • Why are all white people who commit these crimes labeled as mentally ill but if the person is black they are a thug, or Muslim – terrorist, or Mexican – bad hombre. Why is mentally ill a label reserved for only white men who commit these crimes?
  • Labeling the perpetrator of these types of crimes as “mentally ill” creates even more of a stigma around mental illness than already exists. It’s an uphill battle daily and these types of labels make it an even steeper slope to climb to get people the help they need.
  • “Should we create some legislation around people who are mentally ill and guns??” I mean, it wouldn’t hurt but let’s talk about that for a second. Again, define mentally ill. In my eyes this is a slippery slope. Can we speculate as to what diagnoses would create a situation in which a person would become ill enough to commit a crime of this magnitude? Would mandating that specific diagnoses not have weapons impinge on those peoples rights to autonomy?
  • Let’s talk about “red flags”. I work for a crisis team and I’ve been here for almost a year. One thing that I’ve learned while working here is that a crisis for one person isn’t a crisis for another. Crisis presents so differently for each person that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to watch for red flags. As a mental health practitioner I am sometimes still caught off guard by how a crisis can present in a person. I am a trained professional and highly educated. So to ask people who are untrained to look for red flags is like an urban myth.
  • Do I think we need a vast overhaul of our health care system? YES!!! Especially when it comes to mental health. I don’t know if socialized healthcare is right for our country or not but what I CAN tell you is that what we are doing now……it’s not working. So many people are either victimized by the system or are completely failed by it. There are so many people that are hurting that just can’t get the help they need for a variety of reasons. We can and need to do better.

I am so frustrated that there has been absolutely NO movement at all in the form of gun legislation. Whenever anyone attempts to talk about it all we hear is “It’s not the time to talk about this.” Well, when is the fucking time? If it’s not after Sandy Hook and it’s not after Pulse Night club or after Las Vegas and it’s not after San Bernadino and it’s not after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School then I just have to ask….

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First Impressions

First impressions are usually wrong.

Just giving you a heads up.

Here is how I know.

There have been many times in my life when I’ve met someone or had some interactions with people that gave me a certain impression of them. At times, these impressions  have left a bad taste in my mouth and soured me on that person. Still, I am an adult and in my profession I don’t have the space to avoid people like that.

I had an interaction at work in which one particular woman called me a “bitch” one day and “Hilter” another. Now, before you get all Judgy McJudgerpants I want to tell you a secret  about this woman. Are you ready? Shhh…… She’s a human being. She’s not perfect and those moments when she said those things to me were not shining moments for her. What I have found is that when a person acts like that they have something going on in their lives that create a mind space where interactions like the above happen. Please note: I am in no way shape or form saying that this kind of abuse is OK. I’m simply offering an explanation as to why these interactions may have occurred.

Love-and-compassion-are-necessities-not-luxuries.-Without-them-humanity-cannot-survive.I sat down with her and asked her what happened after she called me “Hitler.” She shared that she wasn’t even sure what happened. She also disclosed that she felt so shitty after she said that to me and she continued to feel shitty about it all weekend. She said she was glad I brought it up because she didn’t want to be the elephant in the room. Know what I said next? “Is there any way that I can support you?” She nearly cried. We were able to talk it through and I asked her to stop the name calling and she agreed that she would stop. We’ve been OK since that moment.

I also work with a guy. He’s around 6′ 3″ and he’s big. He has a big body and a larger than life personality too. When I first started at my job one of the first things he said to me while I was getting to know him was “I hate women.” My immediate thought was “Oh boy, there’s a story behind that statement!” At the same time I felt small because of that statement. I am a woman so therefore by all logical reasoning, he must hate me too.

About a month later I was training in a new employee and she asked me how to complete one of the sheets. I was explaining it to her and he kind of sauntered over to us and said to her “If  you have any questions let me know.” I was kind of taken aback by this. It just felt really underhanded and misogynistic. First of all, she wasn’t asking him and once I explained it she got it. I looked at him and nicely said “It’s pretty straight forward and she’s pretty smart. I’m sure she can figure this out.”

He lost his shit.

140416-Eckhart-Tolle-Quote-Where-there-is-anger-there-is-always-painHe yelled at me in front of the whole office. Then he sat down in his chair and twirled around to face me and said “I’ve been in this field for 12 years!” I just sat there looking at him and thought “And?” but I didn’t say anything.  I figured anything I said would be akin to waving a red flag in front of a bull. So I let it drop. Later I talked to my supervisor expressing my distress about the interaction. She asked me think of reasons why he might have reacted that way and she encouraged me to talk it over with him.

I sat down with him later that evening when we were alone and explained to him that I think I said something that got under his skin. He apologized for yelling at me. He said that it was part him and part me and explained why he had that reaction. I told him that I am a strong person with a strong personality and that I know I get under peoples skin. I encouraged him to talk to me if that occurred and he said he would.

After that though, things remained strained between the two of us. At one point during an interaction about a board game he told me he didn’t like me. I said nothing to him. I just turned around and walked away. He called me back to give me my phone and said “You know I’m only kidding, right?” I took a deep breath and just said “Ya know, I know that not everyone is going to like me and that’s ok. If you don’t like me it’s no skin off my back.” I turned and walked away from him.

There was another time where he was complaining about some of our clients and I gently chewed him out about having compassion towards them. He also complained about where some of our clients were coming from. I brought to his attention that he doesn’t get to decide who is worthy of coming to utilize our services and that the people coming from this particular place have co-occurring disorders. I could tell that my statement had upset him and he left. About twenty minutes later he came up to me and said “You are right. I shouldn’t judge them. Thank you for calling me out.” A small breeze could have literally knock me over. At first, I didn’t know if he was being a sarcastic ass or if he was being sincere. He assured me he was sincere.

In the midst of all this he shared some personal stories with me and it was then that I realized the depth of his pain and that his struggles (or ACES for those of us in the field) had a direct impact on who he is, how he perceives the world and how he processes. It helped me have some compassion towards him and his experiences. It aided me in understanding him and for the first time I wanted to give him a hug.

A few weeks ago he came back to our unit later in the evening to complete some paper work . We chit chatted politely and I asked him how he was doing and he seemed genuinely happy to see and talk to me. He left about an hour and half before my shift ended and when I got in my car he had written “Hey you” on the back window but backwards so it looked right in my rear view mirror. I was like “Did he do that?!”

I texted a co-worker who is also a friend of his and asked her “Do you think he likes me?” She confirmed that he did and then said “YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!” She makes me laugh all the time and she is one of my favorite co-workers.

I started texting him and now we are friends. I have found many things that I think he is amazing at when he’s at work and I have come to realize that he and I are a lot alike. My impression of him at first was that he was a misogynistic woman hater. On second look though he’s just a man who’s been hurt and was afraid to be vulnerable with new people. Plus I feel that I misunderstood him. I am so glad that I didn’t let my first impression impede a friendship like this. We grow from our experiences with other people and I feel that this was most definitely a moment of growth for me.

During some of our conversations he said that he didn’t like me when we first met because:

  • I am a strong woman with a strong personality
  • I stand for something and I’m not afraid to share it and even if it’s not accepted by the masses I stick to it

But….

  • I gave him “the business” about compassion and it changed the way he saw me
  • I am strong, opinionated and caring and that made me interesting.

It was really nice to hear that someone appreciates my candor. I’m not always an easy person to get along with because of the above attributes but once people understand who I am they like me a lot….or they don’t. Both reactions are ok.compassion01

My whole point to this story is that if someone, upon first impression seems awful or leaves a bad taste in your mouth….Look again. Have some compassion and give them a second chance. After all, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you? I know I do!

I think THAT is how we change the world!

The Struggle Is Real!

*TRIGGER WARNING* This post discusses sexual assault.

Lately I’ve been struggling. Many things are going on that contribute to this like my kids being sick on a near constant basis, working evenings full time and never seeing my husband yet trying to keep up with the house and then there is the sexual assault scandals as of late.

I am a survivor of sexual assault. I’ve been assault many times over my life starting at age 8. It’s been hard growing up feeling like my body is the object of desire for men even when I was a little girl. A LITTLE GIRL FOR FUCKS SAKE!! Ugh…see, now I’m getting mad. I don’t like to get mad. *inhale*exhale* As a result of having been sexually objectified from the age of 8 I don’t like people looking at me and going to the gym causes me so much anxiety that I feel like I’m choking on my tongue.

This time of year is especially rough for me because I was assaulted by my step dad starting at age 12. He used to sit in his robe with no underwear and open his legs to expose himself to me. I thought it was just me but then my younger brother asked me about it and he mentioned it to our mom. My step dad stopped doing it to him after that but kept on doing it to me.

I was terrified of him. He was 6′ and a very solid man. I saw his temper flare on more than one occasion and I never ever wanted to be on that end of it and because of this…I kept quiet. Soon he started pulling his sweat pants down just enough to expose his junk to me even when my mom was just in the next room. I remember sitting on the chair near the Christmas tree admiring it and then looking over to see him exposing himself to me. I tried to pretend like I didn’t notice but how do you NOT notice this? Each time it made me feel sick and small and like I was suffocating.

After a while he’d start jerking off in front of me. We lived in a home that didn’t have AC and only had one air conditioner so my mom and he would drag their mattress into the living room and we’d all sort of lay around where ever. I laid on the couch and he made sure to sleep on that side of the bed. I’d wake up to him staring at me jerking off. After a while I started sleeping in my room to avoid it, heat be damned.

At some point my mom and step dad separated and I was SO relieved when he moved out. He had been gone for about 6 months until one day my mom shared with us at family counseling that she was thinking about getting back with him. My stomach sank and the room literally spun. I started crying and just said “If he moves back in I’m moving in with my dad.” which I knew wasn’t even an option.

I had called my dad several times crying telling him I wanted to move in with him. When he asked me what was going on I couldn’t say anything. The words would get caught in my throat like a bad piece of meat. As a result he would just say “I don’t think now is a good time for you to move in.” What I read into that was that it wasn’t a good time for his wife at the time. Rejection is hard for a teenage girl.

When my mom shared this and I said I’d move in with my dad the counselor looked at me and my mom asked “Why are you reacting like this?” I just said “I will move and that’s that.” We kept going round and round until the session was over but I stood my ground. I was not going to live in the same house as him ever again and I meant EVERY. SINGLE. WORD!

We got into the car and my mom just LAID into me. She started off by calling me an ungrateful bitch and extolling the virtues of this man (who cheated on her, gave her a permanent STI, raped her, and couldn’t keep a job to save his life) saying “He’s never done anything but to try and provide a place for us to live (We’d been homeless as a result of him twice) provide us with food and to try and create a good life for us. Then she looked in the rear view mirror and said “What’s he ever done to you!?”

That’s when I lost my mind and I just yelled “He masterbates in front of me!!!” She got quiet and then looked me in eye the from the mirror and said “You’re a liar! You’re just saying this so that I don’t allow him to move back in!” I don’t think I’ve experienced anything more painful than hearing the one person who’s meant to protect me call me a liar. I sat back feeling a cold breeze pass through my body and just cried quietly. I felt betrayed and alone.

Then she said “Show me how he does it.” so I did. Then she believed me. She then told me that we were going home to confront him. I told her that if she brought me home I would kill myself so she dropped me off at my friends house. She went home and confronted him and he admitted it. By this time I was 15 and he told her that he had been wanting to have sex with me since I was 12 when the abuse started.

Needless to say he didn’t move in and my mom made a report to the police. As a result I was asked things no 15 year old should have to think about. The interview itself was traumatic. I felt scared, naked and small. They told me since there was no penetration that they could only charge him with a gross misdemeanor. Isn’t that fucked up? He fled the state the day I went in to the interview. Good riddance.

Part of the reason this time of year is so difficult for me (fucked up family relations aside) is that I told my mom right around this date about my step dad. I had to be interviewed by the police around the end of December and my mom made me spend Christmas day with him because my youngest brother is his son and he wanted to spend the holiday with his son.

It’s took me until I was about 40 to get to a place where I didn’t feel extremely anxious during this time of the year. I would constantly say “I hate Christmas.” and my mom would gasp and say “I’ll never understand why you hate Christmas so much!” Um…how soon we forget.

When I was 18 the FBI called me to question me about him. It seems that his step son had gone missing and he was a suspect. Since he was a suspect he’d absconded and they were looking for him. I had NO idea where he was but I had no problem telling the agent that I hoped either he was in hell or that they found him and charged him so no one else could be harmed by him. I’m sure they contacted me due to the report I made with the police.

The last I heard about him was in 2002 when my mom called to tell me that he’d gone missing. No doubt he’d double crossed the wrong person. I was told he went camping and they found his campsite and all his effects but not him. He hasn’t been found since. At the time I said that I hope he died a painful death but since that time I’ve come to a place of peace.

I’ve forgiven him mostly because I know through my education that men like this aren’t just born this way they are created through the abuse they suffered. Apparently, his dad abused him as well. Physically and sexually. It’s sad. I’ve moved on with my life. I have a fantastic husband and four gorgeous boys. I have been working hard to teach them about having respect for women and that no means no and that even no response means no whether that woman is passed out or not saying anything. Both of those responses equal no.

Many times over the years I’ve asked myself if this is considered sexual assault. It was bad for sure but was it really sexual assault? According to the Department of Justice Sexual assault is defined as “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” So according to this I would say yes. This does fall under sexual assault.

Since this happened to me I’ve been assaulted several times including by and older man in the back of my store (he grabbed me and rubbed up against me and then told me he’d be back for more) and I was raped by an ex boyfriend. Both times I asked myself two questions:

  1. Did that really just happen?
  2. Is it really assault?

In both cases that answer is yes. I find it sad that as a woman when these things happen we have to ask ourselves these questions. We’ve been brought up in a society in which we are constantly told that the things that happened aren’t traumatic that we are making it up or over reacting. It’s not just sad it’s infuriating.

All these stories of women coming forward is encouraging because I hope that it indicates a new dawn where women aren’t slut shamed when they come forward with allegations of rape or assault. It’s also very difficult to hear these stories and realize this is SO prevalent as well as triggering, I hate that I have to use that catch phrase about myself but it’s true. I’ve had several nightmares about these assaults recently and I have to surmise that it comes from this being so heavily in the news. Especially the allegations made against Louis C.K. and Matt Lauer.

After I made the report to the police my mom made me go to intensive psychotherapy. I DID NOT want to go. I refused to cooperate for a full three months before I began to open up to my therapist. I saw her for 2 years and I am SO grateful that my mom made me go. I have friends who had similar things and things far worse than what I went through happen to them and they didn’t get the help they needed to work through it and I see how hard they struggle in their lives with drugs, alcohol and abusive men.

Counseling does work and I am living proof of this. These examples are just a small reason why I went into psychology. If you are or have experienced sexual trauma I highly recommend finding a good therapist and processing your trauma. It really does help.

Can We Just Stop Judging?

I have kind of had it with social media as of late. I keep seeing all these articles about people who’ve done something wrong or not socially acceptable and then….

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Just like that the offense takers, judgement makers and perfect people start in on what this person should have done or judging this person for a situation they know NOTHING about and (and this is my absolute least fave) name calling. Honestly.

If you recall, in 2016 a gorilla was shot in a zoo when a toddler fell into the enclosure.  The boys mother literally turned around for a second to tend to a baby and the toddler (Let’s be honest…they have a mind of their own) climbed into the enclosure. She didn’t do anything that any other mother hasn’t done a million times over and yet people were just nasty. I remember people saying awful things about this and even calling into question the past of the mother. Why is that necessary? At the time I had a three year old son and was pregnant with twins. I’m going to be honest here. I could see how this could happen and it was one of my biggest fears.

The most recent example that I can think of is a situation where a family in Utah accidentally left a 3 year old at a corn maze. I have to admit that this does sound negligent and awful but I withheld my judgement because I am not familiar with the family and I don’t know the circumstance behind what happened. If you have no idea what I am talking about you can find the article HERE and if you have ANY doubt as to the viciousness of the judgments and comments just scroll down to the bottom and take a gander at the cesspool of the comments section.

I even had friends that posted this article on Facebook and were awful about this situation. Today I saw THIS article posted on Facebook and the comments were so bad that it made me mad. So…I commented on it and the backlash I got…wow. Just wow!
image1 (003)I guess I don’t understand why it’s so easy to sit back behind the anonymity of our computer screens and judge other people who are just as flawed as we are. How is it ever ok to say the things people say online? Would they ever say these things to someone’s face? Previously to 2016 I would have said no but now everyone seems so emboldened and brazen that they can say anything to anyone anywhere.

So, here is my story as a parent. A bit of background first….

I became a single parent in August of 1994. I was 18 and in NO WAY prepared to become a parent but I don’t believe in abortion for myself (even though I am pro-choice) and I took responsibility for my actions.

When my son was a year old I moved into a house with my mom who helped me parent at the tender age of 19. At that time my youngest brother was 8 years old. He has severe ADHD and ODD and as such he was on many medications including Clonidine and Desipramine. Because he had to take multiple doses a day my mom had his meds separated out in an organizer much like this one. One day my mom, sensing I needed a break said that she would take my son outside to play in the yard while she did some gardening. I laid down on the couch to watch tv and snooze not thinking anything of it.

Only…

She forgot to tell me that she wasn’t going to take him out with her and just left. So my son who was about 18 months old was left unsupervised and I had NO idea. She had left my brothers meds on the table and my son got a hold of them. He opened all the pill compartments and started eating them one by one.

I had no idea this was going on until I got up to go to the bathroom and happened upon him on my way there. I felt sick and dizzy and angry all at the same time. I opened the door and shouted to my mom for her to come in immediately. She came in and saw what was happening and the color drained from her face. I asked her why she didn’t take him with her and she said she forgot to tell me she wasn’t going to. We called 911 and because we lived close to a hospital they said to get in the car and drive because we could get there faster than an ambulance would be able to get to us.

We drove like hell and got there in 10 minutes. The hole time I watched him from the front seat and saw him starting to pass out. I kept grabbing his foot and telling him not to fall asleep. We got there and they were READY for us. We were run back into a room and told very quickly that they were going to have to pump his stomach and then give him activated charcoal to absorb whatever they weren’t able to get. They advised me to leave the room because it was going to be very hard to watch. Umm….leave my baby alone in a room full of strangers doing painful and awful things to him??? NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!!! I stood there holding his hand while he screamed and gurgled and gasped for breath. It was so awful.

Imagine the headlines!!! Imagine the comments calling me a bad mother and calling for my son to be taken away from me or even for me to just kill myself. These are some of the comments I’ve seen on these sorts of articles. The second article about the boy in Utah explained what happened and having had my mishap with the medications I can understand how these things can happen and how they can happen so easily. Especially when there are other family members involved.

Can we just admit that as human beings we are not perfect? Can we take a moment when we read these articles to take a step back and think that there might be more to the story than what the media is telling us? Can we have some compassion and empathy for the people featured in these articles? Can we at the VERY least try to place ourselves in their shoes? Can we ask ourselves as parents (If you are a parent) how we would feel if this happened to us? How would we feel if someone made the comment others were making before WE make the comments?

Also, how about those of us who notice this behavior take a stand to people who are like this to let them know that it’s not ok?

It’s NEVER ok!

Bullying…Not Just for Adolescents

These days if you’ve spent any time on social media you have either seen bullying, been bullied, bullied someone or felt the effects of bullying personally. Sadly, it’s not just something that kids encounter and it seems like it’s becoming more frequent.

I have been feeling the effects of bullying over the last 4 months at my job. It started subtly but has become more and more “In yo face.” as of late and has had me calling my husband near tears and contemplating finding a different job. Let me make this clear; I love my job! I love the patients I work with and I love the company I work for but unfortunately a few bad apples have left more than a bitter taste in my mouth.

About a month ago I had my 90 day review…no, let me rewind for a moment.

I graduated in May with my masters in psychology. This was a major accomplishment for me. I mentioned in my last post that my family is dysfunctional and part of that dysfunction was tearing me down and making me feel like I wasn’t valid, that I wasn’t smart, I didn’t count and would never do anything worth while. Additionally,  I have ADHD inattentive type and a learning disability in math. All of these made success in my life seem insurmountable. It took me 32 years of my life to gain enough confidence and motivation to begin my journey to success in my life.

When I graduated I had a GPA of 3.95. I worked DAMN hard to get to that point and when I graduated I had already looked, applied, interviewed and accepted the position that I currently have. I felt like I ROCKED at life. I had so much of my life figured out and from this I had gained even more confidence. I started the job and was continually told by my supervisors that they were glad I was there (Aside from my supervisors I am the only staff with clinical experience) and that they appreciated what I brought to the team. Coming from my background of no self-esteem all of this bolstered my confidence.

Now…let’s get back to this review. The supervisors pick a few staff members and send them an email asking for feedback on those who are getting reviews. Here is the positive things that were said about me by my co-workers:

  • calm and assertive presence when working directly with patients
  • Takes initiative well
  • Fast learner
  • Brings counseling experience with her to our team
  • Knowledgeable
  • Patient centered
  • Has quickly caught on to centers protocols

These are all very kind things to say. However, what came next was things I could work on. A majority of the feedback was that I came across as the know it all and one even went to so far as to say “She thinks she knows all things (name of center) but she doesn’t know all things (name of center).” These things hit me hard and after that I couldn’t focus on anything else. I went home and cried. I felt like 42 years of working hard to gain my confidence only to have it torn down in a matter of 25 minutes by people who don’t even really know me.

I came back to work the next day and sat down with my supervisor who assured me that I didn’t come across as a know it all to her. She told me that she hired me because I had counseling experience and that I was confident and knew my stuff (and was confident in what I didn’t know as well). That helped ease things a bit and I decided to move on.

At my job we have a high turn over rate mostly because it doesn’t pay well and the hours for new people are pretty heinous. So, we had a new person start about a month ago. The first couple weeks is basically online training and attending shift exchanges. Then for a few weeks they shadow the day shift crew and then they shadow the evening shift crew for a few weeks before they become “Legit.” So on Friday the new person was doing her first evening shift and it seemed that we got along well. She asked me for my number so she could text me and I gave it to her. We began texting back and forth and she sent me a pictograph she couldn’t figure out. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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In her defense I don’t think she was trying to be rude and more than likely she had no way of knowing this was a sore spot for me but in my mind it seemed like someone told her about me coming across as a know it all. She did shadow the day shift crew for a few weeks and she is friends with two of my co-workers as they worked together at another facility before they came here. I know in places like this it can be ripe for gossip.

When I left work on Friday I was so pissed off. I called my husband and was shaking, yelling and crying. I told him that I wanted to quit because this was tantamount to bullying and at the very least it was extremely unprofessional. It felt absolutely insulting to me that people wouldn’t just let her decide what she thinks of me. It also made me feel very sad because I feel like people have been marginalizing me my whole life making me feel like I am weird and that my ideas have no merit and that I am over reacting anytime I have feelings.

Due to the fact that I am working towards licensure I have two supervisors who are providing education to me. One is my supervisor here at work and the other one is an external supervisor. I talked to my external supervisor on Saturday who validated my feelings and encouraged me to talk to my supervisor at work about this issue. So I did. Today.

I had supervision scheduled for tomorrow but asked her if we could talk since it seemed like we had some down time. She was very open to my feelings and validated them. We talked about my family and how this feedback resonates with me on many levels that hurt to the core. We talked about the lack of professionalism here (not everyone who works here has a formal education) and how some people are poison and that you’re going to have that no matter where you work. She also shared with me that she has gotten feedback recently from some people who were harsh towards me to begin with who had changed their tune about me. She said that some of them had told her recently that they have come to enjoy working with me.

Both supervisors encouraged me to lean on the people I know I can count on to be there for me and to steer clear of the ones who are toxic. I just find it saddening that I am 42 years old and three simple words can bring me to my knees emotionally but when you’ve been bullied by your family your whole life sometimes things are skewed.

I write this in hopes that if this is happening to you where ever you are in life that it has brought you solace in the knowledge that you aren’t alone. Your feelings ARE valid, you are NOT weird and your ideas have merit! You are amazing!

 

Why The Polished Turd?

So, I’ve had many blogs before but this time I paid for this site so I’m going to use it dammit! I know I’m going to get asked why I named this blog The Polished Turd so I thought I’d just address it straight away.

We are all as human beings turds. None of us are perfect and we all do shitty things to each other. We like to get an education and do things to make us look or feel better such as volunteering but we all have moments where we are assholes. I am not exempt from this. So my term for what people to do to make themselves feel or look better is polishing the turd. We are all polished turds unless we’re just straight up assholes and I’ve met a few in my lifetime. So that is why I named this blog The Polished Turd.

A little about myself.

HI! My name is Heather. I am 42 years old and I live in central Minnesota. I just graduated with a master’s degree in psychology which makes me look at things a bit differently than most people.  I have also had my own struggles with depression in the past which also helps me look at things differently. Both of these things also make me feel very awkward as an individual as well. I am married and have 4 kids.I now work in the mental health field helping people the way that people helped me. Some of my hobbies include hiking, ghost hunting, going to concerts, baseball, sleeping, hanging out with friends and baking.

I come from an extremely dysfunctional family and I am considered the black sheep. I’ve been to counseling for a number of years and have learned to set boundaries, I don’t drink and I don’t participate in the drama so I am often left out of family functions. As you can imagine this is a source of pain for me so I will be blogging about them once in a while.

My aim for this blog is to be able to have a way to vent my frustrations about some of the things I see in the news, in the world, within my groups, and just to express my opinion. My other goal for this blog is to hopefully be a source of encouragement for those struggling with depression or dysfunction in their lives. It can be helpful to see other people who are on the other side of recovery.

Please don’t be afraid to leave a comment saying Hi.