Expended But Not Expendable

Drained.

That sums up my life. Drained. Exhausted. Spent. Burnt out. Exhausted.

I realize that I have not paid much attention to creating any new content on this blog. Truth be told, I have started many different posts. Some I will continue to work on, and most of them have already been deleted by the backspace key. I find the best posts, in my opinion, come when I am just writing on the fly, and just kind of let my brain word-vomit out its thoughts.

But, yikes! My brain is anywhere and everywhere lately. It is nonstop, and more often than I would like, it takes me places I don’t want to be. My last post I came out to the world and acknowledged that I live with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.. which have now turned into just general depression and anxiety. I received so much love and support, and many of you came out and shared your stories with me. I am in awe of the support and following I have with this blog. Thank you unconditionally. I am so blessed to have the backing that I have, and I know I have you all to fall back on, when I am feeling down on myself. But let’s be real, sometimes when we are in that dark place, it is hard to reach out.

Recently, I have noticed my anxiety getting very bad, that it was starting to effect my life. If you feel yourself sinking into a darker place, or feeling anxious, please know, that you are not alone.

With everything going on in the world, there have been a rise in cases of depression and anxiety. We are so used to living in our ‘normal’ worlds, and we try so hard to make things ‘normal’, but let’s face it.. we are living in the middle of a pandemic. Normal is not something that we can expect in all realms of our life. It is all about finding ways to deal and cope, with our current reality.

Life is just exhausting all around. The pandemic, the election, work, family, friends, motherhood, housework. Gosh, I could go on and on. It isn’t just one thing that makes life draining, it feels like it is one thing on top of the other. They are intertwined.

This pandemic is really starting to take its toll on me. I live in a growing hotspot for COVID cases on the rise. Hotspot feels like an understatement. The numbers feel like they are on that part of a rollercoaster that feels like it is taking you straight up in the air, before the big drop.. except I don’t expect a big drop. When they said to stay home.. I stayed home. When they told me to wear a mask, I did.. and still do. Maintain 6 feet distance from people when in public.. done. Don’t gather in large groups.. got it. I follow the rules.

I believe in the power of science. I don’t like to feel like my ‘freedom’ has been taken away, but I know that is not the way to get through this pandemic. There are so many people in my city and area that thinks this is a big hoax.. family included. I walk into the local grocery store, I see people without masks, masks not covering their nose, and my favorite… masks covering only their chin. *Note – I do understand there are some instances where a person should not wear a mask due to a medical condition.. but because “you can’t breathe in it” is not a valid excuse.

The frustration of following all of the rules and having other ruin in for me, is like living my school days over again. I understand people want things back to normal, and things don’t seem bad.. until you know someone personally that has been affected. By then, it is too late.

So many cultures, societies, and civilizations have started out with a community mindset. When did we become so egocentric, that we stop caring about those personal wants, and think about what is best for the community?

Draining.

The political election is draining.

Don’t worry, I am not going to preach at you to vote for one specific candidate or party. I could go on and on about that. But it isn’t even about your political views. No matter your political thoughts, it is draining to turn your head in any direction and see something about politics. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is super important to be informed about candidates and vote, but I despise the way that it turns our country against each other. No matter your opinion about any given topic, people find a way to turn in back to politics.

To me, this election more than others, has turned into a big game of bullying and talking down on the other person and/or party. People have become so obsessed with their pride and feeling like they need to stay on one side, that they overlook things about their candidate of preference.

Its exhausting to go onto social media, read the news, drive up and down my city’s streets, or watch tv/movies/even streaming services that have ads. They are everywhere. It is not even like they tell me much about what they plan to do, it is more about what the other person plans to not do.

Draining.

Work has its moments as well. I love being a teacher and an educator. I love my class. I am teaching 100% virtual this year, as of now. This could change when the burden rate is lower.. much lower. I was able to teach from my classroom, and have all of my materials accessible at the beginning of this school year. I was able to have a routine, get out of my apartment.. that seems to have walls that can close in on me. For about 3 weeks now, I have had to teach from my apartment.. cramped, to say the least. I understand the decision to not have staff in the building, it just brings frustrations along with it. It also has some silver linings. Don’t get me wrong.. it was just nice to have a little ‘normal’ routine. I followed the rules while I was at school, but again, some people did not (in my district) and we had to take that privilege away. Oh well.

Like I said, though, I love my job. I love being a teacher. This year, teaching completely online has been such a learning curve. Some things have really stuck with me, and I have been successful, but there are some things that just break my heart, because it isn’t the same as being in a classroom.

I have kids that have not shown up, but a small handful of times. I have kids that don’t have equitable resources for online learning. I have kids that struggle with online learning. I have kids that thrive with online learning. It is all so different. I would love to be back in the classroom, but I would also love to do so in a safe way. Again, the pandemic playing a role in this.

The thing is, even though things are different, and all educators are essentially starting over with our learning and how we view our teaching pedagogies.. people are still trying to force ‘normal’ on us. We are still being asked to assess the students the same way we would if we were in person. We are asked to give assessments that parents are doing for their kids. I am not saying I blame the parents, but it isn’t telling me anything about how to change my instruction for the kids, when I can’t reflect on the areas they don’t understand, yet. I know parents just want to do well by their kids. I understand. I can’t say that I would act any different if I was in those shoes.

Regardless.. draining.

Keeping up with family and friends during a pandemic is tough. I am not naive to think that I am the only one that has been taking a mental toll due to the current reality. Some days, I just want to sit and complain about what is going on. Some days, I try to keep a positive outlook and be grateful for the things that I have, presently. Friends and family always want to catch up with you and see what is new. “How are you doing?” “Do you really want me to answer that, or do were you just asking to be polite?” Most of the time, people are just being polite. I am also guilty of this. Some days I don’t mind even the slightest, when my friends or family want to vent to me about the things going on in my head. Other days, I just want to turn off all communication to the outside world. It isn’t that I don’t care.. because I do. It is just that I have to take a step back and focus on what I have going on in my life, and not let the problems of others weigh me down further.

Most days, I feel that I am available. I have tried to be more conscientious of asking someone if they are in an ok place to listen to me vent/complain before I let loose. I have amazing friends and family that listen to me, but I have definitely been more aware of asking first. Doesn’t mean it always happens, but progress right?

Draining, no matter how supportive they can be.

Since I am working at home, I don’t have to opportunity to separate work and home. They have melded together. For those that know me.. work takes up so much of my free time, even before the pandemic. I spend a lot of time working on things for school. It is what I do in those quiet hours once the Witch Baby is asleep. I can get in moods when I focus a lot of my time on silly things I don’t need to do, but would prefer to do. I am in one of those moods. This has led me to neglect some of the household chores that I normally would keep up on.

Laundry. Dishes. Floors. Dusting. Clutter. It is never ending. I tend to just let it pile up. I have to be better about a routine.

I was watching TikTok (one of my avoidant behaviors) and I found a video of this girl asking if she was alone, or if other people could relate to her. She stated that when she is in a bad place mentally, she tends to neglect her living space. When her living space is clean and organized, she is able to be in a better place mentally. She also stated that sometimes she has to force herself to clean and organize in order to force herself to be in a better place, mentally. This really had me thinking, I related so much to this girl’s post. It stuck with me for about a week or so. I was constantly thinking about this video when I would look around my apartment. Finally, I had to get myself motivated, and room by room I started cleaning, but man was it a big chore to get myself to even want to clean and/or organize. I had to self talk and basically force myself to do it.

Draining.

Motherhood can be rough, especially when you are doing it alone and/or coparenting. The Witch Baby is growing so fast. So fast. I absolutely love to watch the wheels spin when he is learning something new. He has taken a liking to reading. It is really such a blessing to be able to be home with him so often and watch his learning progression. With the growth that I have seen, also comes an attitude (that he may or may not have gotten from his mama). Temper tantrums.. he doesn’t even have big ones, or have them often. But man, when he has them, I could pull out all of my hair, and sometimes even cry right with him. I know that temper tantrums are actually healthy for a child’s development, so I understand they happen. It is all about learning that there are boundaries, there are rules, how far he can push his limits, etc.. It also allows him to experience different emotions, and know that he is safe to explore all those emotions with me.

Story Time: A couple weeks ago, when I was completely exhausted, little sleep, overworked, and just beat.. the Witch Baby was also in a smilier mindset to me. He missed his afternoon nap, it was getting close to bedtime. I don’t recall what it was that made him upset, but I know that it was something that normally does not. Whatever it was, he lost it. Folded himself on the floor like a rag doll, threw his toys, and laid on the floor and cried. I laid down next to him and tried to talk him though it, telling him that it was ok. He didn’t want to go that route, so he picked up a book near him, and threw it.. hitting me in the face. Now, I realize this was not intentional, I was just in the line of fire. At that moment, I lost it.. I mean it hurt, but not only that, I didn’t know how to help, and I was exhausted myself. I just cried. I stopped talking to him, and just cried. All of my emotions that were bundled up inside from the whole day (maybe even week) came out in the form of tears. Moments later, the Witch Baby stopped crying, got up, came over and wiped a tear and gave me a kiss.

Moments like these, completely catch me off guard. I know that I have a sweet and sensitive boy. Most times he does not show that side. Not that he is rude or does not notice things.. he is just so independent, that he doesn’t get the opportunity to show that side of him often. But, when it happened, it just kind of made me freeze. I didn’t know what to do. My sweet little boy came to take care of his mama, and make sure that she was ok. In that moment, nothing else mattered. I knew that whatever was going on in my world, it was ok, because I am raising a boy that is caring and compassionate. It was the reminder that I needed that I was not failing. We both recognized that we were not in the greatest head space. We both broke down. We both decided to not let that break down break us. Disclaimer.. I may or may not have teared up writing this story for everyone to read.. such a sweet reminder that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.

But that is just it. I didn’t write this post to only complain about what is going wrong in my life. Even though things are rough, and have been rough, things are also going really well. We are adjusting. We are adapting to our new ‘normal’. It is a reminder that even though things are not going as ‘expected’, there is still so much good in my life. I am grateful. I am blessed. It can be very hard to see those things, and sometimes you don’t see them until you are at your lowest.

My anxiety had been very present in my life. It was starting to effect everyday actives and my life as a whole. It was hard for me to see those blessings. I knew something had to change. I didn’t like the way I was feeling in my life. I had to take a step and talk to a medical professional about what was going on in my head. You are not alone if you feel your anxiety or your depression worsening. Honestly, with winter coming and the time change this weekend, it may even get worse. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to talk about what you are going through. It is all valid. You are valid. Your feelings are valid. Brains have a way of making us think that those thoughts are not valid, but that is just your chemical imbalance playing a trick on you. A mean trick.

I challenge everyone who takes the time to read this post to think of 3 things that are going well in your life right now. When you wake up, think of something you are thankful for. Make reflecting on something positive in your day part of your morning or night routine. If you are forgetful, set an alarm. The world may be changing, but that does not mean that we need to change our positive outlook on life. Spread sunshine in your life, daily. Remember, you are valid.

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