When I’m assigned an investigation at work, my gut ties in a knot. My chest tightens. My nervous system kicks into overdrive.
My mind is racing. Will I be able to find this family? Will this turn out to be nothing, or are these kids unsafe? Will I be safe rolling up alone?
Until this past week, I’d been so shut down I didn’t realize that’s what happens to my body.
But yesterday I was open enough to feel it again.
I felt it as I was racing around trying to figure out where these two kids are, and talking to folks who know them to figure out what exactly is going on in their family. At the same time I’m dreading the possibility of working this weekend because I can’t find them.
How did I shut down from all that?
I heaped on top of that stress an email account full of appeals from animal welfare groups and those who would want me to do something for them. Then there’s the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feed filled with animals. Some are happy. Some need homes. Some demand justice. And then there’s the myriad of, REPOST THIS crap. Honestly, do you REALLY think there’s somebody out there by now that DOESN’T know hot cars are unsafe?
I researched stories about animal welfare. There is plenty of misery you run into on the Internet while looking for happy stories.
And I bought into a personal belief that I am tough, I can handle it, and I can not let it impact me.
But I’m here to tell you that whether I pay attention or not, it does impact me, and others too. It’s why many people I know are taking antidepressants and blood pressure medication. They drink to excess or, like me, use food to soothe themselves.
So the reality is I can’t quit my job. And I don’t want to quit writing.
But I do need to take some steps to take care of myself so that I don’t shut down again.
I’m not going to write every day.
I unsubscribed to all the emails.
I’ve unfollowed many of the folks who post a bunch of emotion-laden crap on social media.
And I am looking at what makes me happy. Like yesterday I got my hair cut, and I just sat back and enjoyed the experience of having a man playing with my hair.
As for Rumpy and the gang, they’re fine. They were not happy with me this morning because I slept in. But after their bellies were filled, they got over it. Then the Rumpster and I spent some quality time together outside.