It's been a long time since I've been here, catching up with your lives and my favorite stories. I've missed you.
I had originally written out a light, breezy bulleted update on what's been going on here lately, but then deleted that sucker. I don't feel light. Or breezy. I feel tired.
As in, tired in my bones.
Nothing new in the helping profession, I know.
I've been running at top speed for several weeks, working 50 hour weeks.
(And before I get the well meaning advice of "Don't do that" and "You have to take of yourself," please, loves, let me just say I know. And let me just say that there are certain peculiarities to this job, including draconian fidelity measures, that make that impossible to do for several weeks at a stretch. What would be more helpful are things like, "Hang in there" and "You're doing a good job." Also relatively not so helpful and even more tiring are things like, "That's why I left social work." That's a good choice for you, and I'm glad you made a choice that was good for you.)
So. I'm working all these hours. And my families are in remote, remote locations where there is, at times, a lack of: cell service, law enforcement, running water, electricity, flush toilets (oh, yes, this still happens in rural America). I now know all the park port a potties and park flush toilets in the county. That is a very helpful think when you spend three hours providing in home services for one family and then drive an hour and a half to do the same thing with another family.
(Side note? Drive me crazy when I attend urban trainings that address "safety." Sometimes urban discourse is quite unhelpful for rural practice. There is no McDonald's for me to duck into to use the bathroom. My cell phone doesn't work at 85% of the homes I'm in. Several of my families have lived at least 60 minutes from law enforcement, whom I would be hard pressed to call without cell service.)
Also I would LOVE to share some of even the most light hearted, non clinical anecdotes about my day, but because this town is 10,000 people without the students, I feel limited in that. Even if I were to change identifying details, I still feel like my clients could be identified.
And then there's the not fun things that come with a job of providing in home family therapy to high risk families. In the past 6 months, I've seen some stuff, y'all. Stuff I haven't seen in the last 12 years of providing bachelor's level social work, which says something. I've been around.
I've also seen a lot of healing, growth and change, to be fair.
So there's that.
Then. I had this AMAZING idea that it was time for Rosie to start the AKC Therapy Dog process. Because what BETTER time would there be? (Sarcasm font.) Only, Rosie and I needed to back up to re do basic obedience (where we are now). Then Good Canine Citizen Class. Then the visits to school/hospital/nursing home, etc. for more training. I wanted to start her now, while she's still relatively young (the only time I've been grateful that Goldens stay young at heart for 2 years). And I thought, it's only an hour of class a week.
And 15 minutes of practice twice a day. Minimally.
And trips to the community to practice recall in distracting situations.
If Rosie weren't doing as well as she is, friends, I might throw in the towel, because I am just that busy. But Rosie, my darling demon possessed pup, is becoming a shining star. And her becoming a shining star is validating and rewarding in ways I didn't know were possible. When we practice body touching during training times, the way she rests into me and allows me to touch her ears, feet, tail and mouth just pulls at my heartstrings. This little "girl" trusts me. It is tender and a lovely moment of bonding.
And the fact that she loves and trusts people so much is just one reason why I think she's going to make a fabulous therapy dog.
Now if she would only calm down a little ....
But that's not enough to have on a plate, right? Because life is simple for no person.
We had to replace our sewer line. That doesn't sound like a big deal, right? It was. It was and it was terribly expensive.
Of all the places I wanted to put our home remodel dollars, replacing the sewer line was not one of them. Maybe updating one of the upstairs bathrooms? Replacing carpet? Knocking out a wall in a bedroom?
But no. When the sewer line calls, it calls immediately.
And thus commenced the ground shaking process.
So that's where I am. I am exhausted. Like, gained weight, bags under my eyes, feel like I need a nap all the time but my brain is too buzzy and full to pass out for a few minutes.
I open this up now to the helpers out there. When it gets like this, how do you, in the moment, address your own needs. Vacations are not going to be a possibility for awhile. Days off are not a possibility right now. In the moment, what do you say to keep yourself going? What do you remember? I'm not leaving social work. I love it. But it's kind of taking over my world right now and I need to find daily moments of balance.