Sunday, March 29, 2015

I Had a Wonderful Afternoon


So I finished reading "Mary Boleyn" by Alison Weir then read "The Children of Henry VIII" by John Guy and I am ready to start another book so I will need to chose one from my wish list on Amazon. I have succeeded the amount of books I can buy under my book club therefore the last four books I purchased outright and since I have to wait another week for the book list credit I will be purchasing another book today. I think I have gone above and beyond using my love of reading history as a coping mechanism. Reading keeps me out of my head therefore allows me to manage daily life even though the anticipation of April 13th draws closer.

Again, it is better than taking pills. If I learned anything over the last four years it is how to cope in a positive way without resorting to chemicals psychiatrist love to prescribe and yes I am in the mental health field and realize some folks need medication in order to function however I stick by my beliefs that no one needs to resort to benzodiazepines in order to cope. Benzodiazepines are "Band-Aid" drugs that do not address the reason behind the symptoms of anxiety but doctors will prescribe them for anyone who presents in their office complaining of "stress or anxiety". Talk Therapy works for symptoms of "stress and Anxiety" because it addresses the underlying issues. Learning how to cope in positive ways such as tapping into your strengths (reading, journaling, exercising, ect) takes the "edge off". No one has died having a "panic attack nor insomnia". It is so important to tell yourself to "roll with it" and you will be surprised how better you will feel in the long run. I think the major problem folks have is the inability to feel uncomfortable therefore they need instant gratification instead of being able to sit with uncomfortable emotions. Life is having good and bad days. We are not suppose to feel good everyday. Everywhere around me I hear people saying they need to take an "Ativan" or "Valium" or "Xanax". Bullshit.

Apparently, I have some opinions today. If people knew how "bad" they will feel coming off those "drugs" they would more likely not start taking them to begin with and actually get  into Talk Therapy. Again. I am not referring to folks taking other types of psychotropic medications for Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia. Medication compliance is very important if someone needs to take antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, ect. or a mood stabilizers such as Lithium, Seroquel, Depakote or antipsychotics such as Risperdal even Haldol for Hallucinations and Delusions associated with Schizophrenia. Folks with these disorders need medication in order to function in daily living. Actually, it is a blessing that these medications exit since it keeps people out of psychiatric hospitals and institutions. One hundred years ago, folks with mental illness ended up in jails, and institutions because they were symptomatic.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I am beginning to think there is some sort of correlation behind sleepless nights and impending doom. Last night, I had a restless night and this morning I received a call that my husband's younger brother had a heart attack and an emergency cardiac catheterization during the night. They found two blockages behind the back of his heart that would never show up on an EKG. He went to work as usual yesterday morning and called his finance stating he felt nauseous and weak but had to set up a home show in New Jersey. As the day went on he began to get chest pains and took self to the emergency room. He is resting comfortably this evening in ICU and there is no damage to the heart.
We joked with John and Missy today telling them John would do anything even have a heart attack to avoid getting married next month on a Florida beach in which I am standing for Missy as her Matron of Honor.

Saturday = errands and today we hit Walmart in King of Prussia to look at grills then over to Trader Joe's then a stop for wine at the Wine & Spirits store before we headed back home. Tomorrow we will hit BJ's before heading down to visit Aubree. I have to get my Aubree time in because next weekend I will be in Washington D.C. with Shaun & Nikolas and then the weekend after I will be the counselor on site at work.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Avid Reader

Since March 9th, I have read The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough, Jackie, Ethel, Joan by Randy Taraborelli, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis by Barbara Leaming and I am currently reading Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir.

I love to read especially if the stories are based in real historical events. Since I read The Johnstown Flood I am now interested in making a trip out to Johnstown to see the history in person. I love everything "Kennedy" and if it is English Medieval  History, I am so there!

My head cold is still driving me a bit nuts however it is improving. I will be the first to admit I am a terrible patient. I spent one day at home and considered taking a second day off from work but made the decision to go to work instead.  There is always so much to do and I have patients on my caseload who depend on me being there. I had to prepare four patients for discharge this week and in turn received four new admissions. In addition to my patients, I assign all new patients who are admitted to all the counselors in keeping stable patient to counselor ratio. I am also training a newly hired counselor this week to replace Sarah who left last month to start a private practice. Jennifer is leaving next week to work in another UHS facility in Brookhaven doing Intensive Outpatient therefore another new counselor will also need to be trained.

I signed up for an online class in Irish History at Trinity College in Dublin,  (Apparently, I cannot get enough of school.) I visited Trinity College when we where in Ireland last year. It is a truly beautiful school so when I saw they had a class online for Irish History, I could not resist. It is an accelerated six week course which is find with me as I spent most of my time in college taking accelerated classes that spending an entire fifteen week (regular) semester would appear way too long.

Did I mention I am tired of this cold and even more tired of eating soup? Three days of soup is even too much for this soup loving human.

Time to get back to my book so I can keep Amazon in business with the number of books I purchase for myself, and my son Joe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sick Day

It has been a long time since I called out of work sick. That is exactly what I did today after fighting this head cold the last two days. Yesterday in work, I had my patients use the hand sanitizer as they came into my office for individual sessions to protect them from my germs. I spent the day sneezing coughing and blowing my nose. I went through three packs of tissues. I left work at 3p and came home and crawled onto the recliner with my pillow, lap top computer, comforter, water, tissues, cell phone and book and called it a night. When I felt no better this morning I decided the head cold won and successfully kicked my ass therefore I called my boss and told him I would not be in. Thus began a day of writing reading taking cold medication and drinking tons of water as I remain in this recliner.

As I nurse this cold, I have been surfing the internet shopping at Macys, Amazon and QVC though I did not buy anything as I already purchased a new sofa for the shore house as well as solar lights which still need to be installed. On a positive note, the screen room has been repaired after being damaged by a tree falling on it this past winter.

I booked reservations for a Washington D.C. Easter weekend vacation in which I will take Shaun & Nikolas. I love to vacation with my grandsons.  They love Washington D.C. almost if not more than I do. We have not been down there in a few years and there is a new hotel in Washington D.C. that we will try. The most appealing part of this hotel is its roof top lounge with a fire pit that overlooks the city. When I was in Southern California a few years ago, I stayed at a hotel that was similar and it was wonderful sitting on the roof top in front of the fire pit as I looked over the pacific ocean. I still like travel and adventure and new experiences and this time of year I need to future pace as to keep the current and impending stressors at bay the best I can manage. Some people pop pills for anxiety. I seek out history and daily experiences. In my book, there is no better way to reduce feelings of anxiety or boost one's mood than to read write and travel.

Bittersweet Day

 Yesterday, we were up and out and on the road early to travel out to Harrisburg to visit my youngest son. The four hour visit was bittersweet as my son looked and sounded well and appeared to be on the right track though at the time same time the enormity of the situation was huge and overwhelming. Children played all around us as they were visiting their fathers. Knowing my own son had not seen his own child in a very long time was a chronic and searing pain within my heart. We spoke a lot about her, the future and the hope that continues to remain despite it all.

One statement my son made did bother me and I sit here wondering if I should mind my own business or take it upon myself to say something. When I asked him if his Dad had been up he stated "What you mean after the first and only time he came"? It maybe my imagination, however, there was a little bit of hurt behind that statement.

After the visit, we ventured into the historic town of Lancaster stopped at an Irish pub had a late lunch/early dinner and explored the area. I have been to Lancaster numerous times however I never went into historic downtown and explored the neighborhood. It reminded me of Manayunk and I wondered what the industry was that employed this town since the early 18th century. It also occurred to me that a section of my Keller clan left Manayunk and moved to Lancaster in the early part of the 20th century and I recall an elderly family member who was a Lutheran Minister (Lancaster) came to my grandfather's funeral in 1980. My grandfather's mother was Mary Keller.

Of course, my first stop of exploration was Lancaster City Cemetery in the heart of the small town where Thaddeus Stevens was interred. Thaddeus Stevens was a powerful political figure in the area born April 4, 1792 and died August 11, 1868. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representative from the 8th District. He was a "Federalist  Anti-Masonic Whig Know-Nothing Republican who was born in Danville, Vermont and died in Washington D.C then interred in the Lancaster City Shreiner-Concord Cemetery. He was considered a "Radical Republican" and "a Fierce opponent of slavery". He thought President Lincoln moved too slow and wanted President Johnson impeached. The confederate generals were known to say "if we ever get a hold of Stevens, we will hang him and distribute his bones throughout the southern states".

The historic downtown area was not easy to navigate and before we return I will brush up on the history of the place. The Irish pub was called Annie Baileys where we ate Corn Beef and Cabbage Chowder and drank a Guinness. I personally love to eat in pubs or taverns because they have a cozy atmosphere. I rather have a meal in front of a warm fireplace in a cozy pub than in a stiff fancy restaurant. As I get older I crave simple living.

So I heard there are two cemeteries in Lancaster called "Keller Cemetery" and we passed a street also called "Keller". Of course my genealogy brain wondered if there was a family connection. Anyone who knows me also knows I will be researching all of this and returning to the area prepared.

We drove Rt 30 towards home and as we passed Dutch Wonderland and all the familiar shops and restaurants, the memories overwhelmed me and the flood gates opened. Dutch Wonderland symbolizes a simpler happier time when Shaun, Nikolas and Ava were all together with us traveling and exploring and experiencing. The feeling of lost which I am generally able to keep at bay suddenly consumed me on Saturday and the pain seared within.

  I adore being a grandmother, and I plan time with all of my grandchildren over the weekends in the month. Though my relationship with my oldest granddaughter Ava is now monetary and by mail, I try to sustain that as this is the only relationship I am permitted to have with her at this time. I see Aubree every other Sunday at her house and at the times when my middle son visits me. I make movie, dinner and travel dates with Shaun and Nikolas. My oldest grandson Shaun shares the same interests as myself. He loves history and exploration as much as I do. He has traveled with me the most. When we open the shore house next month, I hope the boys spend a lot of time in Cape May.

This morning, I am nursing a head cold. I spent most of last night feeling rather sick and unable to breath. It appears to be a spring-like day today though I doubt I will do much more than lay in this recliner with hot green tea and chicken noodle soup. Motrin helps keep the headache at bay while the tissues and decongestant tabs address the rest. I have a sore throat and at times lose my voice. Bill is off to Lancaster again today as he left his very expensive camera in the pub at Annie Baileys and will take this opportunity to do some photography.

I know I wrote about many different topics this morning however this is where my mind is traveling this morning.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Type of Depression. My Struggle.

Dysthymic disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by depressive symptoms that are long-term (e.g., two years or longer) but less severe than those of major depression. Dysthymia may not disable a person, but it prevents one from functioning normally or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.

It is difficult to explain to someone who has never had this struggle or fought this fight. The above is a textbook definition taken directly from the National Institute of Mental Health. You see, I may be a counselor who spends most of my days everyday teaching educating and counseling others who struggle with this form and/or other forms of Mental Illness. There. I said It. Mental Illness. This is the form of depression I struggle with and though I am not disabled from it, the feeling is always there like a dark cloud that hangs over my head all day everyday despite interventions. It is there something unseen to the naked eye however it is still there. Some days I feel like I am drowning while other days I feel like I am keeping my head just above the water. No matter how I feel, I move one foot in front of the other with the fear that this will consume me and I will fall into the deep dark tunnel. Twice I fell in that dark tunnel. The first time was 1994. The second time was 2011. In1994, I had no idea what was happening to me. One day I could not get up and it took an entire month to get back up. The first time I ever took a leave of absence from work that did not involve the birth of a child. The second time was 2011. I knew what was happening and missed three weeks of work.

I am one of the lucky ones because I never had to be hospitalized and took a holistic approach minus the outpatient therapy and Zoloft. I learned how to take care of myself. It is so important to take care of yourself when you are not feeling well.

Why am I talking about this? Now?

The last few weeks have been difficult. Though I get up everyday and go to work, I find myself with little to no motivation once I am home. I have no desire to do the everyday things that need to be done. When I force myself to do the minimal of tasks, it is with great effort. I am surviving and not living. Oh I recognize it. So I am forcing myself to write about it because writing is one of my coping mechanisms. Reading is another coping mechanism. I have been reading a new book nearly every other day the last two weeks. I have always been an avid reader but reading this many books in a short period of time supersedes even me. Remember, I have a fulltime job. I guess my point is I work then read and that is about it.

My blood pressure has been high too. Not a good thing for a person diagnosed with Ischemic blood vessels in her brain. I was given that diagnosis when I suffered a TIA about eighteen months ago. When I tell people I feel like I have really aged over the last four years, I was not kidding. I feel more exhausted and slower in my gait. I never felt older before. I sure feel it now.

So I feel like I am complaining. My intent was not to complain but force myself to write. I hope my effort results in a more motivated person tomorrow not the walking dead person of late.

Friday, March 13, 2015


I was in a house and I remember making sure the doors were locked and closed the blinds to keep the danger out. I felt afraid. My mother was in the house with me and she was afraid too. We kept looking out the window to see if Michael was coming. There was some sort of danger around my brother Michael.

I awoke from the dream and have been awake since 3a. At first I thought "great" it is only 2am and I have two more hours of sleep before my alarm goes off. The sleep never came and here I am writing about a dream on this site.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Emotions and Reactions

I am not sure if it is day light savings or the fact I have been working really hard that has me feeling so tired. We have been down two counselors and for part of the week we have been down three counselors which means five to six of us have been doing double duty. The work we do is already stressful so adding more patients on our caseloads makes it extremely stressful.

Being tired makes me more susceptible to emotional triggers. I read something on someone's Facebook page and it angered me. Seriously, why did I allow a simple quote on someone's Facebook page throw me off my square? Everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter what I think. No matter how stupid that opinion is. Sorry, I often times struggle with stupid. It is definitely something I have been working on. There are two things I struggle with "people making statements without doing their homework and self-righteous speaking folks with tunnel vision". Again, I am working on it. This is one of my character flaws.

My point is we cannot control how someone thinks, feels or acts however we can control how we think, feel and act especially control our reactions.

Did I mention I was tired?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Where I Am Out

For the most part I practiced what I learned in the work shop on self care today. I did workout before I went to work and again when I came home. They were short 10 min workouts as instructed. The goal is three of those short workouts a day. Somehow I need to manage taking the time in the middle of my workday though I find myself working at such a quick pace the time flies and before I realize it I have not taken the mid day workout. I did walk a lot today including several sets of stairs several times. I practiced deep breathing especially when we had to do room searches and administratively discharge some folks and with a case load of 12 (should have 8) I felt myself slowly getting behind on assessments and individual counseling sessions though I did manage to complete a few discharges that are coming up.

I ate especially healthy. I had the usual cheerios but without the banana since the ones I have are too green for breakfast followed by a clementine. Mid morning, I had some nuts and dried cranberries. Lunch I had a salad with grilled chicken. Mid afternoon I ate an apple. Dinner was another salad without meat but I had cashews. Plenty of water. No wine. Debating on whether or not I want a cup of tea.

I prefer to journal in the morning however I ran out of time this morning so evening writing it is. I finished my 85 chapter book called the "White Princess" based on Henry VII. I have a few shorter books I can read though I want to buy Johnstown Flood to read. I may wait and get it via book club. I have some books on my Amazon wish list.

I am making a plan to go to London next April. I thought about going this October but it rains a lot in October so April 2016 is the plan. There is so much to see in London that I believe it will take up the entire vacation week. I really want to see other parts of England as well as Wales and Scotland. We would need three weeks to do all that traveling and it is impossible to take that much time off from work at once. I would really like to take my grandson Shaun. He had a wonderful time when we went to Ireland and he kept up with us criss crossing that country. He enjoyed all the history and was not afraid to try new things. I would like to take Nikolas on such an adventure however he does not have the same interest and it is difficult for him to be away from his mother that long. He does well with a weekend trip though at times he rather stay in the hotel room instead of traveling outdoors and though I make him go out and he may complain about it at first he generally enjoys himself. I just do not know how well he would take going to Europe since it is usually a nine day trip and we are on the go constantly exploring everything. I was  considering trying out a mini trip with him such as four or five days and I was thinking of Canada. It is out of the country but not too far away. I always wanted to see Niagara Falls and stay on the Canadian side. I already looked at resorts on the falls that have things for a kid. I have a feeling that he will not go without his brother.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

I Thought It Was Her

I came across this photograph by accident and when I saw it I was taken back. This could be Ava. The younger Ava I remember. I cannot express in words the overwhelming feelings of emotions that came over me when I spotted this. Most of the time, I think I am OK then something comes across that floods my mind with memories. I know in my heart she is lost to me. That is the most difficult part of living everyday just knowing she is lost to me. I do not know the seven year old Ava. However, I remember clearly the newborn, infant, toddler and pre-school Ava. How can I forget? She was born in my house and lived with me full then part time until she was four years old. God, I miss her.  I miss those curls and that pointed finger.

Self Care Work Shop

It has a very long time since I slept so well and felt so rested in the morning. I believe it is the result of attending the Self Care Work Shop at my old Alma Mater at Drexel yesterday. I took my mother with me because she has been caretaking my uncle Gene who is in a nursing home for Demetria and it has taken a toll on her overall physical and emotional health. It was not until I was in the middle of the work shop that I realized how good it was for me as well as I have been wrapped as tight as a ball and had been experiencing symptoms related to stress such as irritable bowl, high blood pressure, increase in heart rate, headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and insomnia. The symptoms have been creeping up and I have been addressing each symptom with Advil, acid reducers, green tea and hot showers. I never stopped long enough to realize the symptoms were all a result of stress and my inability to recognize or reduce it. I have some coping skills that I use such as writing, reading, warm baths, future pacing such as planning my next vacation. What I learned yesterday was coping skills are used after you find yourself stressed however how do you take care of your self so that the stress is prevented from the start. I never thought of it that way.

It comes down to taking care of yourself every day and not waiting until you are stressed out or burnt out. Yesterday, we took Art, exercise and dance classes, seminars on deep breathing and classes on nutrition and yoga. We had a wonderful breakfast and lunch provided by the university. There were nurses who took our blood pressure and Massage Therapists who gave massages. Best of all, it gave me the motivation to begin my own daily self care plan. Losing a few pounds would be great however losing weight is not my intent. As a matter of fact, I learned yesterday that most of those so-called diets out there are not only unhealthy they do not sustain weight loss or overall good health. I learned yesterday that proper food choices is the key to long term weight loss and overall good health. The nutritionist told us you are not suppose to starve yourself or work yourself to death in a gym. As a matter of fact, she suggested you front load your breakfast with protein (eggs, yogurt, salmon) add a whole grain (what toast, oatmeal) exchange fruit juices for the whole fruit )banana, orange, apple, berries). She suggested a healthy snack mid-morning (peanut butter and apple) then lunch (protein, grain, veggies, fruits) mid-day snack (hummus and pita) and dinner (protein, grain, veggies, fruits) even treat self to a sweet. She suggested making your own trail mix which should be one grain, one protein and sweet( cheerios, beans, sunflower seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chips). She suggested smoothies for desserts.

As far as exercise, you should get at least 30 mins of exercise everyday for good health and if you want to lose weight increase it to one hour. The best part of this exercise regiment is you should break it down into 10 min intervals throughout the day instead of all at once. Marching, side steps, stairs, swats, walks can be all done throughout the day without a gym. Who cannot manage 10 mins at a time throughout the day. I always thought I needed to go to a gym and workout for hours. I also thought I needed one of those diets where you have to lose ten pounds a week. Yesterday, I was taught by an expert that the latter is not only unhealthy but unrealistic as it does not sustain overall weight loss or health.

Art in any form is a great way to take care of yourself and it comes in the form of drawing, writing, photography, music, gardening. It is about creating something. I like to write and garden. My husband likes photography and music. I think we are both covered in the Art forms.

Dance. It is not only fun and a great way to use muscles you thought you never had but it is good for those who struggle with anxiety and depression. There is a new thing out in Philadelphia called Dancing the Blues Away and it is learning dance steps to blues music which I learned yesterday. What a blast we had.

Yoga, massages, deep breathing should be a regular part of daily living which means one should not wait until they are stressed out before using these techniques. It was a great work shop and since I am one of those people who likes to learn things and incorporate them into my daily life or as Bill tells me "I am always evolving". I came up with my own self care plan as followed;
  • Writing each morning before I start my day so I guess you will see more blog entries.
  • Ten min exercises throughout the day starting when I arise in the morning.
  • Taking lunch away from my desk no matter how busy I am then taking a short 15 min walk to clear the cobwebs of stress out of my head.
  • I always eat cheerios and a banana for breakfast everyday and a mid- morning clementine at 10am, generally a salad with beans in it for protein at lunch however I need to cut down on the sweet snacks as I love chocolate and pie. I also need to cut down on the wine. I generally always have a glass of wine with dinner and dessert afterwards. I do not drink soda or fruit juices and I drink at least 48 ounces of water a day so I am good with that practice.  I have two cups of coffee in the morning but I never use sugar on anything. I drink a cup of green tea in the evening of course without sugar.
  • I want to start walking more in the evenings. I always read so I am good with that.
  • With the nicer weather coming back I know my weekends will be filled with genealogy research a.k.a walking in cemeteries, hiking, photographing and of course when we open the beach house I will be back to bike riding and swimming.
  • Making a point to get manicures every two weeks and a pedicure once a month. No. I will never get "fake nails" but I will get my own nails polished.
  • Taking a vacation every three months as oppose to every six months. Currently, Bill and I plan vacations in the month of April and October. April is usually a "fly" destination and October is "road trip" destination. I think we will incorporate two long weekends too.
The stress in my life is not going to go away anytime soon however maybe if I incorporate what I learned yesterday I can avoid the consequences of constant stress as my blood pressure has been running high and that is a huge red flag for me as I suffered a TIA a year ago. I have a very stressful job and the last four years of my personal life has been unimaginable. My goal is to "do better" and "be better". And true to form, I always like to share what I learn.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Questions without Answers

I hate heroin. I really have come to hate heroin and everything it does to a human body and soul. Everyday I work tirelessly to counsel, educate and support those afflicted and offer what solace and support to those who love them. I give everything I have (within) into this profession and there are times I feel like I have made a difference and other times when I feel I have done nothing, helped no one. What a profession I chose to do. Long days filled with stressful hours and the realization that you have an enormous responsibility because what you say or do could mean the difference between someone living or dying. I generally do not think too long on the latter because truth be told there is always another thing to do before the end of the day so there is little time to ponder. Today, I felt different. I came into work looking for a chart and could not locate it on the shelf. A thought went through my mind "the person must have left against medical advice". It is not uncommon in this line of work to see people leave treatment because they are not ready to be sober or the craving for the drug is so intense and powerful that to remain in treatment is pure brutal hell. This particular person has been a patient of mine two other times and did just that left against medical advice so I decided to search for the chart in the pile of broken down charts (waiting) for the clinician who had the patient close it out and send it off to medical records. I opened the chart to read what the time and reason the person gave (to leaving against medical advice) in the progress note before closing it out. I read the summary then reread the summary that nursing wrote the evening before just two hours after I left work for the day. "Attempted suicide". Sweet Mother of Jesus, he had a knife and cut self and was stepped up to inpatient (locked down) unit in psyche. As quickly as I picked up the chart to close it I put it down and went over to the inpatient psyche unit this person was admitted. I saw him through the glass sitting on the top of a chair in a room with a television. When he spotted me coming through the door he walked over to me and we sat in a couple of chairs and I asked him what happened. He began to cry then sobbed as he told me "I cannot do this anymore. I cannot get sober. I try and I fail. I do not want to live like that anymore". I asked to see his arm as he told me the details of the night before with the knife and cutting and handing the knife to a staff member as I counted eight individual cuts on his wrist. He told me he had no one. He did not have any family nor any type of support system. I told him he had me. We spoke about long term treatment and I promised to come back tomorrow to see him and when he was stable and ready to come back I would be there waiting in chemical dependency. Walking back to my unit where my office sits in a third floor of an old mansion it felt so surreal. Heroin's monstrous tight hold on the life of a human being that it was better to die than survive. I sat at my desk looking out the window to the gray sky and listening  to the pouring rain and asking myself did I miss something. I spoke to him right before I went home. Why had I not picked up on his sorrow? Was I not attentive enough? What did I miss? Then I have to remember that I am human too. That I get tired. That I am not perfect. That I give so much of myself to this job that I must remind myself the care taker needs to take care. I wonder at times if I can remain in this field much longer because there is never a rest, a break. It consumes my entire waking life. If I am not working with addiction in my professional life I am dealing with it in my personal life. Addiction has been such a long part of my personal life that I wonder if I will ever be free of its pain and torment. And the most ironic part of all this is I am not an addict. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister and I am a counselor. The only part of my life never touched by addiction is my marriage. Often times I wonder why I keep doing all this? How do I keep moving forward? God. I believe that God gives me the strength to keep it all together that there is a purpose, a reason, a plan. I may not know nor understand but I do have faith in God and I believe he watches over me. I believe he watches over my family. I believe he watches over my patients. And I know I will keep moving forward as long as God wishes it. So tomorrow, I will get up and do it all over again. But for now I will absorb myself in a book.