When times get tough

Salutations my wonderful readers. Today I want talk about something important in my life that we really haven’t talked about yet, and that I think many of you would benefit from. That topic is mental health. Right now, and for the past five months, we all have been battling how to handle this pandemic. This is a weird time that we didn’t expect and none of us have been through before. A worldwide pandemic that has completely upended our lives. I want to start this off by saying, it’s ok to not be ok.

We are all going through a tragedy at the moment.  Some of us have lost our loved ones, some of us have lost our jobs, and all of us have lost our way of life. It’s ok to mourn this. It’s ok to continue to mourn this as our governors continue to change restrictions, and as people continue to get sick and die. It’s ok to not be ok.

The first part of the pandemic I was doing pretty well. I was completely confident in my ability to get through this. It also helped that my husband went on unemployment for the first two months. Even though I lost the ability to work and didn’t apply for unemployment (I was a part time substitute making less than $1000 a month and working the farm) the extra $600 made up for his lost wages from unemployment and my jobs with a little left over. With the free time we were able to get some of the housework and farm work that has been on our list of things to do when we had the time. C was also able to get his bees up from 2 to 7 hives (we now have at least 10). The kids had a set schedule for school, and the six year old was the only one that gave us real trouble.

I would honestly say that we were happy. We were still stressed but we weren’t concerned about our bills, I wasn’t concerned that my medically fragile household members would get sick, and C is really in his element when he is at home working on the farm. I, however, am not. I need human interaction, I need work and deadlines, and most of all I need intellectual conversations with people I don’t live with. It had been months since I had even seen my friends and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.

Then disaster struck, and C’s job reopened. He works in a non essential factory and neither of us were ready for them to reopen so soon. On the surface they seemed to be following the rules of reopening, but inside was a different story. People refusing to wear masks, line workers doubling up on jobs, breaks being taken all at once when it was convenient for the company. Neither of us wanted him to go back but there was nothing we could do. He is medically fragile so we tried to get him on the cares act but were told that he probably wouldn’t know for weeks if it was approved and if it wasn’t he would lose this job, the job we rely on 100%. As of today the numbers of confirmed cases in the plant continues to increase.

We stopped being ok. I started hunting for jobs but any professional organization in or around my field is currently on a hiring freeze. My only option was to work retail, which would never pay enough to justify C coming home. I would spend hours a day searching for available jobs in the area and sending out applications. I never heard back from any of them.

To ease my stress of not having human interaction I registered for a summer course at the university. It was exactly what I needed to get through my rough patch. The readings and papers kept my mind occupied during the week and the online “in person” classes eased my desire for intellectual conversations. It was an intense six weeks, but incredibly enjoyable. I learned how to be a better leader and how to effectively engage with the community on future projects. I also learned a lot about myself and what I wanted for my future. My final paper was difficult to write as I knew that the intellectual therapy I had needed would be coming to a close.

I also need to figure out, and soon, what will happen with my kids once school reopens. If I didn’t have a medically fragile child I would send them all back with masks, but I do. The easy answer seems to be to keep them all home, however, it’s not that simple. My son is 10 and has cerebral palsy. Being out of school so long has made his ability to walk decline. He needs to be back at school and be challenged. How do I do this knowing that if he gets sick it could kill him, but not sending him could drastically reduce his future ability to walk? This dilemma has left me paralyzed from chosing an answer.

Along with everything else three weeks ago my car was hit while in a parking lot. No note was left and it left me with a disfigured bumper and damaged transmission. I have been without a car for three weeks as they try and figure out the damage.

This is where we are currently. C is still trekking of to work at 4:30 am and not returning until nearly 5:30 pm. I am home with the kids all day without a car, trying hard to keep up some sort of a schedule so they don’t completely lose their minds, and my one source of sanity is now over. I am not ok,  and it’s ok that I am not ok. I am finding stability in having the Farmers Market every Saturday, and I’ve been reading, a lot. I know deep down that we will get through this. I know that something will become normal, it may not be the normal we knew before, but it will be something, something better than this.

I know that many of you are going through something similar. It’s hard when your life looks nothing like what it should and you have no control. Please know that you aren’t alone. We can do this, so lets do this together, because I need you. You bring value to my life.

Now I leave you with pictures of things on the farm that make me happy

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