Mental Wellness Challenge Day #18

I’m mentally exhausted.

I’ve got a cough that won’t quit.

I’m tired.

I’ve forgotten why I’m doing this.

I’m going to sleep

Here’s a picture of a sunset for you to look at:

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Mental Wellness Challenge Day #14, 15, 16, 17

So I missed a few days.

I could tell you what it feels like to be sick. But you already know what that’s like.

I could tell you how horrible it is to be so sick you can’t leave your room, the light killing your eyes like a million needles.

But that’s passed already.

Let me tell you a story:

Once there was a little girl who liked to be clean. She took a bath one night before bed, and after the bath ran down the hall and slipped in a pile of garbage juice left over from bags of leaking garbage that was sitting there too long.

This little girl probably cried. She was probably mad and frustrated at the things she could not control. She probably wanted to take another bath and feel clean again.

Now, this little girl is all grown up. She showers fastidiously every night. Sometimes, she washes her hands many times a day. She’s convinced she doesn’t have OCD. She just likes being clean.

She still has issues with control. She controls what she can in life, and the things she can’t- well, she feels helpless.

My nephew came to our house, the old house where we used to live. And he said “ew” when he saw the kitchen. He said the oven was dirty. And it was. It really was. It was caked with years of grime and dirt that nobody bothered to clean. And I felt a stab of hurt by his words. Because I cleaned the house before they came over. It just wasn’t enough. There was no way that house would ever be clean. And I reminded myself that 3 year olds are not hurtful. They’re just honest. My nephew just said what he saw. And it’s not a mean thing to say.

But then, why does it feel like a shameful little secret I’ve been carrying around my whole life? We lived in a dirty messy house for as long as I could remember. That’s just a fact. We were never taught how to keep a house nice. I don’t think my mother ever knew how.

Okay. So here I am today and we finally got a nice house. Determined to keep it clean, we hired a cleaning lady to come once a week. After she leaves, I breathe a sigh of relief. It looks nice again.

During the week, I try to sweep occasionally. But it’s not enough. And I ask myself every day, “what do normal people do?” And I have no idea.

We got beds and we set up our guest room. Or rather, I set up the guest room and assembled the beds, all while horribly sick and unable to move much.

But I felt accomplished. I hung up some art. I put flowers out. I thought, if I were a guest, what would I need? Of course, I forgot about a clock. But I tried.

I was proud of myself. It felt good to invite someone into a home that we can take pride in. Look! Look at our nice clean house. Look at the nice guest room. Look at us acting like normal people.

One lady at work was talking about how she does inventory once a week, takes stock of her cabinets and pantry etc. I look at her in disbelief. I’ve never been good at upkeep. Maintenance. I can start something but I can’t sustain it. Plus, my sister does all the shopping so I’m sure she has lists.

But did you know that people have cleaning schedules of when they clean major appliances in their house? When they mow the lawn or rake leaves or dust the lights? I don’t know any of this stuff. I wasn’t taught. I didn’t know it existed.

I still don’t. Mostly, I don’t care. I want a nice house without the effort.

But I’ll tell you this: waking up from a nap on Shabbos afternoon and seeing my brother and his friends having a nice time sitting at the table, eating and talking and laughing- I feel like we’ve finally made it. We finally have a nice place where people can come and feel welcome, where we feel like having people over because the place looks nice.

I don’t think we’ll ever be “normal” people, but we’re sure as hell gonna try.


As to my mental journey, I try to keep things simple. Keep the stress out of my life and deal with the things in front of me. My sister came home for the week, she has spring break from college. Since she doesn’t live here regularly, she doesn’t know our system. She doesn’t know that certain things on this shelf in the fridge are mine. She pokes around and touches stuff and disrupts the balance.

Be nice to her, people tell me. She’s your sister.

So what? That doesn’t mean I have to be nice to her.

But I had a realization. The way I treat her is the way that I was treated when I would come home from high school for vacation. Like this is not your home. You don’t belong here. You are not wanted here.

I understand. People are uneasy when their carefully built system gets disrupted. But I also know it didn’t make me feel good to be treated that way.

I’m also having difficulties at work with a boss who calls me at home just to tell me things he could write down and tell me tomorrow. He micromanages and I don’t work well like that. I’ve also never had a job where I was expected to give a report every day on what I did that day. I find it disconcerting. I believe a good boss will allow their employees the leeway to do their job as they see fit, and check in only occasionally. If you trust someone to do a job, most of the time they’ll meet your expectations.

For so long I felt like I was merely treading water in life. Just trying to stay above the waves. But now I feel more calm. Like I’m getting a handle on things. And hopefully, going forward I’ll start working on an up- instead of maintaining, actively working on making my life better.

Have a good week all!

Mental Wellness Challenge Day #13

Freedom

I feel caged in. I feel like everyone is trying to hold me back.

Just let me go! I have better ideas. Let me do what I want. Let me breathe.

Today, one of my coworkers told me that her husband celebrated 30 years at his job. Imagine that. I’m not even 30 years old, and I’ve also never been at the same job for more than two years. I can’t imagine. Every day going to the same job.

Doesn’t it kill you?

She said, take it one day at a time. Today, you’re here. Tomorrow? Who knows. Just stop thinking so much.

But I can’t. I really can’t. I don’t want to stop thinking. I want the freedom to think and to do as I please.

My boss is a micromanager. He rules with an iron fist. He changes his mind a million times a day. In the beginning, I was amused. Now, not so much.

People need room to work. They need freedom to make decisions without being questioned and told what to do all the time.

I’m so sick of people telling me “that’s how much you make? We’re paying you too much for the job you’re doing”, and then using me as their slave to do whatever they want done.

I’m driven. You cage me in and I’ll break down the cages because you can’t contain me.

Give me freedom and space and watch me do amazing things.

Micromanage and breathe down my neck and wonder why I’m chaffing. Wonder why I can’t stand you. Wonder why no one likes you.

People wonder why I switch jobs so much. Once I see what a company or a boss is really about, I can’t unsee it. I can’t stop feeling like I would be better off somewhere else. Somewhere where I didn’t want to punch someone every day.

But in therapy, they teach that it’s all in your mind. You imprison yourself, and you can set yourself free.

I know. I know, and knowing doesn’t help. It helps sometimes. It helps in little bursts. I can only bite my tongue so much until I want to bite it off.

So how can I contain myself? How can I control myself? How can I reign in my fire, cage my ego to suit your needs?

How can I learn to live in harmony with the world when I just want people to let go of me and stop holding me back?

I’m straining at the binds and I just want to break free.

Mental Wellness Challenge Day #12

Battle Ready

I forgot I was doing this.

I started out hoping to get 21 days of positive thinking, but haven’t stuck to the regiment.

Regardless, I’m still blogging and I think that’s worth something in its own right.

March is National Nutrition Month. I did some research on it for the health center where I currently work. They usually come out with a theme, but this year chose to do no theme, and instead have “National Nutrition Month” be its own theme.

So, for my mental wellness journey I’ll allow this blog to be its own theme.

Today I felt pretty crummy. I couldn’t sleep but I was weak and tired and the more I tried to sleep but couldn’t sleep the more tired I was.

On the advice of the Nurse Practitioner I saw at the urgent care on Saturday night, I bought Elderberry liquid. It has been known to help lessen the length of a cold, flu or upper respiratory virus, and have many other health benefits.

I took a teaspoon as soon as I got it (from Amazon, of course.) I mixed it with the pomegranate blueberry juice I’ve been drinking.

Suddenly, it felt like I was being punched in the gut from the inside out. Then I felt nauseous. I googled the side effects of elderberry and nausea was definitely one of them. I drank some ice water, thinking it was a bad idea to try a natural remedy without knowing how I’ll react.

I got really cold all of a sudden. Like there was a frost coming off of my body. Then, I got really hot and sweaty.

Then just like that, I felt better. This is a true story and I wasn’t paid to advertise. I’m serious.

It felt like I was a tree just opening up its branches.

Now I feel so much better, like the healing process has sped up tremendously.

This is my takeaway: viruses and colds are sucky and yucky, and there’s not much we can do to stop them. But, we CAN arm ourselves with healthy habits to ward off a cold before it starts, and to help shorten it once it comes.

Same with life. Things will be hard, we know. We can’t stop that. But, with some tips and tools and support from good people, we can make the hard times easier and shorter and much more endurable.

Thank you for listening. Good night.

Fine, since you want the link to the magic potion, here it is: https://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-733739048523-Elderberry-8-Ounce/dp/B0041VQ9CW

Mental Wellness Challenge Day #11

Mental Break

Today I was going to talk about taking a break. We all need a day off once in awhile. Not “playing hooky”, but taking a “me” day. A mental wellness day.

For me, I decided to skip therapy this week. Sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is talking and it’s not helping anything. I just need a break. To stop thinking about everything so much.

A mental break could be to read a good book. Or take a walk in a pretty place. Or even watch a funny tv show. In moderation.

I need a break from work to remember why I’m doing it. Some people take breaks from their relationships to refresh and recharge.

Sometimes a break gives you perspective. Helps you learn about yourself, reflect in the quiet.

Sometimes it doesn’t help at all. But at least you got some free time.

My idea of a mental break is not thinking and worrying.

But instead, it gave me the space to mourn. And to remember that my feelings of sadness are still there, on the surface, bubbling slowly, just waiting to boil.

And it’s ok. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to think sad thoughts. Because they won’t drown me. They won’t kill me.

Now I know.


It feels like there’s a heart shaped hole in my chest, where yours once used to be.
No one will ever love me like my mother did.
I feel like if I let go of the grieving, I’ll let go of you forever. And I’ll never be able to find you again.

Mommy, I was a badass today at work. You would have been proud of me. You would have called me a chuzpah, but you would have been proud.

I miss seeing you at the table with your reading glasses on, looking through the classifieds.

I miss your excitement getting ready for every kid’s birthday.

I miss the smell of your face with Curel. Interestingly, you always wore unscented.

I miss watching you light your candles.

It’s all fading away. The last Friday when I ran to help you light your candles at the top of the stairs, because that’s as far as you could crawl.

The last time I had a conversation with you.

The last time I helped you into the car for your appointment.

The last time I heard you laugh.

I didn’t know there would be so many lasts.

We weren’t done yet. You weren’t done.

No more Purim costumes with Abba.

No more family simchas.

No more fights. We can’t even fight anymore.

Mommy sometimes I don’t think about you. Because how can I. I don’t have enough room in my heart for all the pain it would cause me.

But sometimes I do. And I can’t stop thinking.

I miss Shiva in a way, because I was allowed to sink into my grief. Just sink. I didn’t need to float. I didn’t need to fight to survive. Everyone knew. They understood.

Now, I’m supposed to live my life again. Just live a normal life without my mother. Grieving has no place here. Just like when you’re sick, people give you passing sympathy. But they don’t really get it. Not unless they are experiencing the same pain as you at the same time. And even then, “my pain is greater than your pain”. No one knows what it feels like.

I don’t know how the days, months, years will look like without you. I just know that we tried so hard, you tried so hard, you were in so much pain, and for what??? To leave it all behind?

The play is over. Go home. Go home.

We have no idea how it ends.

It just ends. There is no conclusion.

There is no happily ever after.

There is no “lived a full and happy life”.

She died in pain. She cried because she couldn’t breathe. I was exhausted from helping her and she was the one in pain, and STILL she apologized saying it must be so hard on me.

It wasn’t hard on me. It was hard for me to see her like that and not be able to help her.

I’m sorry Mommy. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you more!

Mental Wellness Challenge Day #10

Day 10

Not much to say today. I spent the day in pajamas sleeping on and off. I decided to make the effort to get up tomorrow and go to work permitting I’m feeling well enough. Being sick physically is hard.

Interestingly, unlike in the past, I didn’t let it stop me from getting stuff done. I filed my taxes. Yay! And took care of some other stuff I’ve been meaning to do. And did some reading.

Working on coming out of TV shows more and into my surroundings.

I made a lunch for tomorrow and I’m in bed early. I call that a successful, albeit sick day.

Mental Wellness Challenge Day #9

Physical Health

I’m at a local Urgent Care. I feel sick. Like maybe I have bronchitis. I don’t self diagnose, but I also don’t normally go to doctors for minor symptoms. I’m uncomfortable. I’m in pain. I’m achy. So here I am.

Maybe they can help me. Maybe not. Having anxiety means I try to guess what can happen, and then give myself answers as to why I shouldn’t bother because it won’t work for me. What if the doctor is incompetent? What if they misdiagnose me? What if there’s nothing wrong with me?

The thing I keep coming back to is trust. Who or what do I trust in? Sometimes I don’t know. Because trusting in people means you will always be disappointed.

But trusting in God, if you believe in that, means knowing that there’s a reason for everything that happens and that what happened was exactly what was meant to be.

It’s letting go of control and realizing that you don’t need to be in charge all the time, because someone else has your back.

When you’re physically sick, everything else is down. It takes a greater effort to be on top of your mental game, but it can still be done.


My niece was bugging me today to come play with her because she was bored. I just wanted to sleep. They want me to pick them up and spin them around. I give preferential treatment to my baby nephew because he’s extra cute. He’s also physically lighter. I don’t feel like putting in the physical exertion to throw them around. Plus, I do it once and they immediately want more.

But they’re mostly cute. We played hide and seek and I picked the best spot, hiding in the bathtub with my nephew. It was hard to keep him quiet, him being 2 and all. But we did pretty well and managed to hide for awhile, until my niece finally found us and it turned out she didn’t realize she was supposed to be looking for us.

#kids