Friday, February 27, 2009

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

I can't believe I let so many days go in between posting! My week wasn't any busier than usual--just the same old stuff--so I guess I don't have a good reason for not blogging. I've been reading everyone's blogs, but I haven't been commenting much. Hmmmmm. I need to get back into the swing of things!

For any fellow Catholics out there, you know that Lent is upon us. I totally flaked out this year. Missed out on the Ash Wednesday services AND ate meat. It looks like I'll have to abstain from meat on a different day to atone for that. I also didn't come up with anything to give up for Lent. I try to be good every year and give up one thing, but also resolve to DO something during the Lenten season. Again, I just flaked out on it.

I met with one of my co-workers today (a fellow therapist) for some chit-chat time between appointments, and she told me that she thinks I have a really, really bad case of compassion fatigue--aka burnout. I agree with her. I suspect it's time for me to take a little time off. REAL time off. Not one of those vacations where I spend the entire time cleaning the house and whatnot. I e-mailed my sister recently to see about visiting her for a few days in the spring. She lives in D.C. and I had a blast when I went last year. We'll see about setting up a time for that. Things will be nutty for me until the end of April when the semester finishes, but that's not too far off.

Anyhoo...it's late and I'm tired. Have a good weekend!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daydreams

I've been blogging on and off about how tired I've been, sharing some of my feelings of burn-out. I think I'm reaching a critical point.

I had a fleeting thought today of closing up shop and finding a new career. Granted, it was a fleeting thought, but it was so vivid and just so...dominating. I ended up daydreaming about what I would like to do if I could do anything I wanted. That'll be a separate post all by itself!

I've worked in the mental health field for ten years. Yep. Count 'em. Ten years. I know people who've done jobs way longer than that, and they're genuinely happy. And that's what's throwing me off. How are those people so incredibly lucky (or so incredibly intelligent) that they went into a career they really wanted and have been able to stay with it and not have it feel like work?

Understand that I don't hate my job. I really don't. I truly enjoy helping people, both staff and clients, and I enjoy the relationships I've formed over the years. I like that I've had some great accomplishments and that I've made a difference in a lot of lives. I just don't feel convinced that I want to keep doing it. I mentioned in an earlier post that I've given myself the assignment of being caretaker of the world, but I'm not sure how to go about un-doing that. How can I? How can I suddenly start doing less when people are used to me being the way I am now? Is there a way for me to feel less, to absorb less pain from the people who trust me with so much? Tough questions. Tougher answers. Tougher answers that I'll be contemplating over the next few weeks.

I still feel called to help others, just in a different way. I need to spend some time figuring out what that "different way" is and then determine how and when to move forward with it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Snowy Saturday

I'm really hoping that this is the end of winter. I like winter, I really do, but waking up this morning to six inches of snow is making me long for spring. A few weeks ago, it was in the 50s-60s, and then it plunged back down into the teens and 20s. I'm especially irritated because the warmer weather started coaxing my snow crocuses out of hibernation, but now with it being cold again, I think they're going to go dormant and never bloom. Errrrr.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I got a new cell phone and I love it! I'm getting the biggest kick out of sending texts and I've figured out how to check my e-mail from my phone. Now, I just have to figure out how to get songs onto my phone and use them as ring tones. Technology today is pretty wild.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Overwhelmed

It's exceedingly difficult for me to admit this, but (deep breath) I'm in way over my head.

It turns out, I'm really not Super Woman. This is leading to a serious identity crisis. So much of what I do on a daily basis is handle problems--one crisis after another, whether it's a client's crisis or an administrative crisis or an educational crisis--and I barely have enough time or energy to handle my own problems, of which there are many. I'm too tired to keep doing it all.

I keep trying to figure out when it became my responsibility/role to handle everything, no matter what the cost. Now I'm seeing it's a role I gave to myself and I'm the only one who can take it away.

I think I need to resign from my position as caretaker of the world and everyone in it. The hours are too intense and I'm drained...drained physically, mentally and emotionally. It's after 8pm and in 22 hours, I'm supposed to be lecturing graduate students and answering their questions on the Social Cognitive View of Career Choice and I'm not prepared. It's not like to me to fly by the seat of my pants and I despise feeling so unorganized. Sitting in front of the computer tonight has been a huge wake up call, in that I realized that yes, I'm supposed to be lecturing in 22 hours, but right now, I'm too tired to care. I don't feel guilty about blogging instead of organizing my notes and Power Point.

I heard a quote recently, something like this (and I'm sorry, I don't know who said or wrote it originally, but if anyone knows, I'd be happy to provide a proper citation)..."The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference."

I am indifferent to most things in my life right now and I'm afraid that's a precarious position to be in. Do you suppose it's just good old-fashioned burnout? Maybe it's my chronic lack of sleep? All the pressure I'm putting on myself? All of the above? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm giving myself until exactly 10pm to finish my notes, and then I'm going to bed. Worst case scenario is that I let the students out a half hour early tomorrow night. I'm sure none of them will complain...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No title for my post today. I'm planning a quiet day here at home. Spent Valentine's Day just hanging out, doing the usual weekend stuff. The evening was nice--I curled up on the couch and watched "Chocolat" and drank orange juice. I really enjoyed the movie. I hadn't seen it before and the story line appealed to the side of me that believes in magic and romance.

I'm hoping to make it to church today. I still haven't been feeling great and ended up having to re-start the antibiotics which is resulting in an unhappy tummy, but there aren't really any other options since this respiratory infection just won't quit. It's been weeks since I got sick, two weeks tomorrow since I ended up in the ER and this thing is just lingering. I'm hoping once it's gone, I'll be healthy for the rest of the year.

I've also decided that I need to bring myself up to speed with the world of technology. I haven't had a cell phone in four years and I think I'm going to jump in today and get another one. I've decided that I want to join in on texting with my friends. After a long day at work, I have no desire to sit in front of a computer to e-mail or chat on the phone, so texting seems like a good option. I'll do a little shopping around before making up my mind.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I'm happy because my office is closed tomorrow, so I'm planning on enjoying the extra day off. More nonsense later...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wet Wednesday

Weather in the Midwest is just unpredictable. Went from mid-60s yesterday to drizzle and 50s this morning to freezing rain tonight. It's a wonder that all of the Chicago area isn't stricken with pneumonia.

To add to that, the heat in my office building went a little bonkers today. It was 87 degrees in my office. I was so hot that I didn't bother to put on my coat at the end of the day. Imagine my shock when I walked out into the 30 degree cold. Yikes!

Enough about the weather. I'm feeling absolutely terrible because I ran over a bunny on my way home from class tonight. It was an accident, but I'm just miserable about it. Poor bunny. Right now, I'm going to wrap it up and call it a night. I am so incredibly tired and all I want to do is sleep.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Five

I'm snagging a really quick break at work and wanted to share some happy thoughts...

First, I firmly believe that every morning has the potential to be good, thus leading to a good day. So, a long while ago, I decided that I need to think about five things that I'm either happy about or grateful for each morning. It guarantees that I get out of bed with a smile on my face. Here's my Friday Five:

1. My kiddo woke me up at 2:30 this morning just to give me a hug and tell me she loves me. Then she went back to bed. This by itself is enough to make me smile for the next week.

2. Blue sky and sunshine. Woo-hoo!

3. After a lengthy battle with being sick, I can breathe through my nose again.

4. I got up early enough and had enough energy that I decided to do 20 minutes of Pilates before work.

5. Warmer weather is on its way!

I also wanted to share my good deed for the day. Totally NOT looking for any acknowledgement, but I like sharing good things. I was on my way into work and at a busy intersection, I saw a boy, maybe about 16-17 years old, trying to turn left into the gas station. His car had obviously died and he was stuck out in the lane and couldn't get into the gas station parking lot. I pulled over and offered to help him push it as cars were whizzing by, blaring their horns at him. He was terrified and at first wouldn't even roll down his window to talk to me. Apparently, my jeans, sweater and boots make me intimidating! Anyway, after I convinced him that I'm harmless, he and I started pushing his car, but it was a steep driveway and we were struggling. Around this time, two other gentleman offered to help and we got his car up and into the parking lot. One of the gentleman asked me if I ran out of gas. I just said, "Nope, not me. My car's over there." I pointed to it with a smile on my face, then called out over my shoulder as I walked away, "Thanks for helping. Have a good day!" The two men and the boy stood there dumbfounded. Why? I have no idea. All I know is that goodness is contagious and I've felt great all morning!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Late Night Rambling

If you don't fall down and feel the hurt, you'll never know the wonder of getting back up and the relief that comes with the fading of pain.

That's what I thought while I was driving home tonight. I have no idea where that thought came from or why it popped into my head. I was just driving along an empty road after class tonight, looking at the snow covered fields when I had that thought. Or heard the words in my head. I don't know how to describe it. The words were just there. A gentle prod from God, maybe? The rushed thoughts of a too-busy, sleep-deprived woman? No idea.

Happiness and joy seem to be contagious. When people feel good, they tend to share it. But sometimes I wonder where pain goes...pain that runs so deep and courses so viciously in one's heart, that there aren't enough tears to express the depth of the emotion behind it. How does something so real and tangible just go away? Certainly there's a freedom that comes with letting go of old hurts, releasing all that emotional energy. But where does it go? Does God just take it and blow it away like a puff of smoke? Does it turn into a vapor in the wind? Was it ever really there to begin with, or was it just imagined?

Late night thoughts and rambling. A clear sign that I need to go to sleep...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Funny Thing...

I went to the ER this morning. I've been dealing with what I thought was just a vicious cold, but this morning, I started coughing up blood and rather than wait for the doctor's office to open and try to get an appointment (or have him paged, and just have him tell me to go to the ER anyway), I dragged myself to the hospital at 6am.

The blood is from a torn blood vessel--apparently, it tore from all the coughing I've been doing. And I don't have pneumonia, thank goodness, but there is a wicked infection and my lungs were so full of gunk that when the results of my chest x-rays came back, the ER doctor just looked at them and said, "Whoa!" That better be medical jargon for something darn good, because my co-pay is $250 and I'd like to think my money is better than just a diagnosis of, "Whoa!"

I'm off work until Wednesday. Lots of antibiotics, lots of fluids, lots of cough medicine, lots of rest. And then I have to try to cram five days worth of work into three. Lovely.