Goodbye, cake.

I have felt like a drug addict waiting to go to treatment ever since I decided to sign up for the Fitness Challenge at the gym.

I have eaten everything I could get my hands on since I made this decision. Each meal, inching ever closer to my quit date…

My last supper.

I haven’t worked out in ages. I’ve quit going for walks. Sometimes I still do yoga, but not the kind that makes you sweat. I am officially out-of-shape.

I have a very stressful job. And when I get stressed, the only coping skill I have is to eat cake. And for the last year and a half, I have eaten a lot of cake.

I am writing this letter because cake and I need to break up. Cake doesn’t make me feel better. Well, maybe for a minute, but… just like drugs, it doesn’t last. And afterwards, I feel worse.

So, today, we are breaking up.

I have joined a gym. I have weighed in. I have been measured. I have proven to myself that I am as out-of-shape as I have ever been in my life. I can’t even do one push-up. It was ugly.

So, at 205.5 pounds, I am stopping the madness. I have to find other ways to de-stress… to de-compress… after work… and not just after work… whenever I am tempted to use food to change the way I feel.

I have written about this before. I have tried this before. I am not going to let that stop me. I have got to do something different and why not this… why not now?

Goodbye, cake.

Welcome to the Gun Show.

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Recently, I have engaged in several discussions regarding gun ownership.

More specifically, should I?

A few years ago, when I was seriously thinking about getting a job as a Probation Officer, I had to consider the possibility. Due to a recent overhaul of the policies governing probation, a P.O. is now required to carry a sidearm.

At the time, my brother posed a very serious question…

If I had a gun, was I prepared to use it?

I ended up switching from Criminal Justice to Human Services/Substance Abuse and the gun-toting issue fell by the wayside.

I never really had to answer my brother’s question.

Recently, the topic re-surfaced.

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This time the idea was floated to me by my husband.

And I have been considering the question again.

I know that I would have a lot to learn. I know that I would want to be responsible.

I also know what it feels like to think that someone is capable of killing you.

Could I shoot someone whom I believe wanted to kill me?

Something to think about.

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You’re afraid of black people.

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Last night, right as I was getting ready to leave work… to go home and get ready for a fancy Valentine’s dinner with my husband… after a very full day at work… one of my clients tells me that there is someone outside.

That someone was an older man, dressed neatly in blue jeans, a button down shirt and grey suede shoes. The man reeked of alcohol and said he was looking for help.

I asked the man to come in to waiting area. It was bitter cold outside and I had done this countless other times. I asked him what was going on. He was shaking… his eyes were bleary… he said he was afraid that if he didn’t get some help that he might go into dt’s.

I asked if he needed an ambulance. He said no but he said needed detox. We don’t do direct admissions… I can’t drive him because he is not a client… so I called Mobile Crisis to see if they would come get him.

He was calm. He was well-spoken. He was neatly dressed. I was not afraid.

I called Mobile Crisis. The woman who answered the call said she was about a half an hour away but agreed to come. I was nervous that he might not be able to wait that long as his tremors seemed to be getting worse.

I asked him again about the ambulance but again he felt that wasn’t necessary. He agreed to wait.

He asked where she would be taking him. How long he would be there and what would he need. When I mentioned that it would be 3-5 days, he wanted to go home and get a few things.

I had to let him go. He wasn’t a client and I couldn’t make him stay. I got a phone number and the address from him and told him that we would call him if he didn’t come back. I was worried, but I recognized the address of a boarding house very close by.

I went and told the tech on duty what was going on and that I hoped he would come back.

I checked the clock. I was beginning to worry about the time. Dinner was at 8… in Greensboro… I was still on Burlington and waiting for the man to come back and for Mobile Crisis to get there.

I went back to work at my desk while I waited. The waiting area is right outside my office… I would know when either one of them got there.

At 620, I was beginning to think he wouldn’t come back. I called Mobile Crisis… she tried to call him… the call was answered with a message about only being able to receive texts… she wanted to call her boss… and call me back.

He came back.

I ran to call her back. One of the residents escorted him from the door to the waiting area and left him there.

She was on her way.

He said loud enough for me to hear in my office, “I smell red. Something smells like red in here.”

Then he called to me from the waiting area while i was getting off the phone.

“I need to tell you something.”

I was nervous. He told me not to be.

He told me he was schizophrenic and that he needed to be in a hospital.

He told me about his background. He told me about his family. He told me about his jobs. He told me about his diagnosis and when things changed for him. He told me what it’s been like living with the voices.

The voices that tell him that he’s bad. The voices that tell him to do bad things.

He changed. His look. His tone. He told me about the Assyrians. He recited a lengthy passage from the Bible. He told me about the Angel of Death.

He told me he had something for me.

Something about the tone. Something about the look. Suddenly I was very afraid.

As he reached into his coat, I knew that he was reaching for a weapon.

Maybe I watch too much TV.

Maybe I knew he could kill me.

My reaction only seemed to anger him.

He told me that I shouldn’t be afraid of black people.

He was angry. He was agitated.

I didn’t know what to do. I was scared.

Someone called my name.

An older black woman came around the corner.

The woman from Mobile Crisis had made it!

I met her in the hallway.

I told her he was agitated.

She entered the room.

She had forms to fill out.

He answered her questions.

He told her I was afraid of black people.

I left him with her.

I returned to my office.

I wanted to go to dinner.

I broke down and cried.

I was painfully aware of my inexperience.

I was afraid.

Taking the Day.

I work too dang much.

I’m on call every other weekend and that generally means I end up working at least one of my days off. This only feeds my compulsion to work more and more often.

And unfortunately with all the best intentions to use that time to catch up, I usually end up getting caught up in something else entirely when I go in.

Yesterday, I intended to go in for a few hours, do some catching up, and get out.

Just like Groundhog Day, I got there and it was the same ol’ same ol’…

Detox was crazy and then things jumped off in residential and hours later I realize that I haven’t done anything I came in to do. I’m still behind, I’m really stressed, and I don’t know how I will possibly get it all done.

So I left. But right before that, I did something different. I told my boss that I needed tomorrow  (now today) OFF. I knew. I was down to a nub. I keep hearing all these folks telling me I need to take better care of myself. I know. And for once, I did.

Yay!

So far, I’ve gotten my car fixed.

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I’ve had a tasty breakfast.

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And I’m free until 530…

then it’s time for school.

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Haha.

OK. So I put in for a day off on Friday too.

We’ll see how that goes.

Pass/Fail

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Yesterday was pretty darn crazy. After taking a three-hour test and then heading work, it felt like the day would not end.

Thank god, I passed the certification exam.I probably could have done a whole lot more to prepare, but there are just not enough hours in the day.

At least, that’s how it has felt ever since I registered to take it… not with the hours that I’ve been working and trying to stay in school…

Let me backtrack here… for the curious…

While I am currently employed as a substance abuse counselor, I am not yet certified. In the state of North Carolina, you can practice under supervision for a time while you get your own certification.

I am in that process still.

But, passing the Certification exam is a big deal… and one more requirement I can check off my list! Whew!

Now, I can get back to feeling overwhelmed about work, neglecting my schoolwork, and wondering how I got in this mess.

All these feelings aside, I did not eat any stupid stuff. It would have been real easy.

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A little help from my friends.

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I am thrilled by the response to my first post. I’ll be honest… I believe that I got exactly what I was looking for when I decided to put my situation out there.

Thank you to those of you who were willing to make suggestions and those who were willing to share a little about your own experience.

Since Saturday, I have had some excellent conversations, gotten some great ideas, and done some things differently.

I’ve still got my work cut out for me.

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But I believe that with your support, I’m up to the task.

I have already taken to heart one of the most important  suggestions.

Some of you have pointed out that this isn’t necessarily about food…
Food has been the quick fix.

I need to take better care of myself.

I work way too much.

It’s easy to do in an environment where there is so much need and such limited resources. But the end result has been to feel burned-out and not much good to anyone including myself.

…too tired to exercise… too stressed to make healthy decisions about food… too distracted to make meaningful connections with others…¬† too burned-out to take care of myself the way that I suggest to others to take care of themselves…

You’re right.

So right it made me cry. But maybe I needed just that.

Thank you.

Thank you for being a friend.

Thank you for being a friend enough to tell me what I need to hear.

The jumping-off place.

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What is a watershed moment?

A critical turning point.
What it is actually is a moment in time where everything changes. A point in time when nothing after will ever be the same as before. To call it a turning point technically is true, but it is an overly simplistic definition of the phrase.

The figurative meaning comes from the literal meaning of a point, or division in a river, or stream where the river is split into two distinct paths that will not intersect again. (from Answers.com)

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This is the most I have weighed since before I got married eight years ago.

I have a gym membership. I don’t go. If I go, I don’t stick with it.

I have a weight watchers membership. I even go to the meetings pretty regularly. But, I don’t track my food and I have not consistently cut back.

It’s not working.

Some things have definitely changed. I recently discovered that I am in “early” menopause.

Some things haven’t. I still work all the time. I don’t take the time to eat right. I don’t take the time to exercise. I make plenty of excuses.

It’s not working.

I have gone up a jean size. or two. I am uncomfortable. I don’t want my picture taken. My feet and my knees hurt.

This can be my “watershed moment” … my “jumping off place” but only if I do something different.

I don’t want this to be an “f’ it” moment.

I am already dealing with the consequences of too many of those… too many “I’ll start over over on Monday” moments.

I need to start now.

It’s not going to be easy.

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I need help. I am asking for suggestions. I am asking for support.