Feels Like I’m Drowning

It has been a few weeks since I wrote a post… and wow did things change with-in a few hours of hitting publish on this post on January 21st!

I was starting to feeling better mentally, emotionally, physically, etc, and I was discussing that I was doing SO much better this year than usual. Literally a few hours later, everything changed.

It has been a REALLY hard few weeks. A lot of it I can’t talk about because it involves another family member and they do not want me to share… but I can talk about other things.

A few hours after I published my last post, I got an email that changed everything for me.

Fighting for Myself and My Job

The day before my last post, I noticed that I wasn’t able to request off anymore on our website where we do that because I was out of PTO days. When I taught in public school (well this is public, but the virtual school is for-profit), if I missed more than my PTO days, I just got docked pay.

I found out that that is not how this works with my company. I was told that they cannot approve anymore time off, so if I miss anymore, I will be subject to progressive discipline which is 1) Verbal Warning, 2) Write Up, 3) Termination.

The majority of the time I have missed has been due to my treatments. I was NEVER told about this despite all of my admin knowing that I was taking off for this. No one ever suggested applying for ADA accommodations or anything. They were all super supportive and wanted me to take care of myself. I made sure to mostly take off afternoons so I didn’t miss live class with my students in the morning. Taking off has not negatively affected my students. I still pour 100% into them and get everything done every week.

Apparently this was something new for them. The admin is all pretty new to the company, and they didn’t realize that this policy existed.

The next day, I was in bed allll day, depressed. I just felt like no matter how hard I fight, it never fails.

Then later that day, the bottom fell out. We had a family emergency that led to (literally) zero sleep for days and the inability to work for a week (in addition to still feeling pretty terrible physically from being sick) while Robert was out of state so I was dealing with it all on my own. I was told that Monday morning how to apply for leave so that I could take care of the situation. Well, I tried… then I was told I didn’t qualify since I hadn’t worked there a year yet.

That Tuesday afternoon by the end of the day (after back and forth with my supervisor allll day), I was going to just resign. I had called my friend who schedules subs at my kids’ school and told her I wanted to start subbing that next week. Despite wanting to just go ahead and resign because I didn’t think there was any other way (I didn’t want to be fired), Robert convinced me to wait. Well, I’m glad I did. I received a call at 5:30 that day from my principal saying that they were able to convince HR to give me the week off unpaid due to the emergency situation. Then she explained how to be able to possibly get days off in the future for my appointments by applying for ADA Accommodations. So, my job was safe for the time being. My admin fought for me; they want me there!

That next Monday, I put in an HR ticket immediately to apply for ADA Accommodations. I was emailed by an HR person telling me that I needed to contact Metlife and request intermittent leave, that this wasn’t an ADA situation. So, I did that (even though I was confused). And they denied my claim saying I haven’t been with the company long enough (which was confusing because I had applied for non-FMLA because I knew I didn’t qualify for FMLA). I emailed the HR person and told her that and told her I was so confused about how a company wouldn’t allow me to take care of my health. Of course, I got an automatic reply that she was going to be out a few days.

Monday morning, first thing, I received an email saying she was wrong. She sent me the documentation that my doctor needed to fill out and told me how to submit it for ADA accommodations. My doctor filled it out by about 1:00, and I had it submitted. The next day my doctor called and said HR called him for some clarification about a few things. We decided on what accommodations I should focus on, and he contacted them back with that clarification (he had asked for a few things that aren’t necessary for me since I work from home). The biggest thing is being able to get off for appointments (treatment, med management, and psychotherapy). He requested a specific set of time for travel and treatment. That was Tuesday. Now I wait.

I’m currently doing an at-home version of the treatment I was doing in person. Instead of IV, it’s a lozenge. It’s called Joyous and is a daily micro-dose. I started it Monday. I’m a little concerned, though, because I think it’s actually making my anxiety worse. I’m going to give it a little time, but yesterday I had a great day, then took the lozenge, then had anxiety last night for no reason. And I woke up feeling like I couldn’t breathe because of anxiety. When I checked in this morning, they told me to take it this morning instead of in the afternoon since it affected my sleep. I think I’m feeling even more anxious.

If this doesn’t work and I don’t get ADA, I might be up a creek. I’m not sure how I will take care of myself. I’m just praying that something will work. I have to be able to do this treatment. Before now, it had changed my life in such a positive way. I’m praying for God’s grace and mercy over this situation. That’s all I can do as I have zero control.

Hard Stuff Still Happening

In addition to this stuff going on with work, there are some things that are continuing to be hard for our family. I wish I could talk about it, but I just can’t. It’s a continuation of what happened a few weeks ago and is pretty major stuff (and has really activate my PTSD). I was hoping that my mental health would be in a better place by now, but things are just constantly feeling like they are falling apart.

On a Positive Note

Robert and I decided a few weeks ago that despite how hard it is (being over an hour away), we HAVE to start being involved in church as a family. We have gone to church the past few Sundays, and Wednesday we took the kids to youth group. It is going well and is going to be so good for our family. The kids were really nervous/anxious about going to youth group on Wednesday, but it went well! The youth pastor is amazing.

Starting March 1st, Robert and I will participate in a Lenten study on Wednesday nights while the kids are at youth group. Sundays after the contemporary service that we go to, the kids will go to youth group and Robert and I will do a fellowship and friends thing (having coffee and talking with people). We may eventually see about working with the youth group. We are trying to decide what to do there. We are just taking it one day at a time.

Church has felt like a breath of fresh air in the middle of a storm, a light in the darkness. I know God has been drawing us to Himself for a long time. I’m so grateful that we just knew as a couple what needed to happen, and we have been making it happen. We have kind of just dropped everything else to make sure this was a priority. It is going to be worth it.

I have also been prayer journaling every day, and I am going through She Reads Truth while Robert goes through He Reads Truth. It’s the female and male studies of the same thing: Right now the study is the Life of Jesus! We have mostly been listening to worship music. It has been healing despite the hard stuff going on all around us.

Missing the Simple Life

Honestly, all of this is making me miss life before I started working again. I know that life was NOT necessarily 100% better, but it was just more simple. I didn’t have to worry about needing time to take care of myself. I just had it. I was homeschooling which was up and down, but again, I could take care of myself as I needed to.

I watched a video yesterday of myself in February 2020 (obviously before everything changed because of Covid), but gosh things were good. I was homeschooling and really enjoying it. We were doing Poetry Teatime, I was doing novel studies with the boys, I was able to go to appointments to take care of myself, the things that were a big deal weren’t a big deal (if that makes sense). It felt so simple. I was super into the natural living stuff. It made me happy. I went on and on about a homemade lavender lip balm that I was using that my friend made. It’s the little things.

We could go camping whenever we wanted, we could go to town whenever we wanted; we just had so much flexibility.

Unfortunately, we can’t afford for me to not work anymore. Our expenses have increased since I started working (including having a pretty high car payment). We also have three teenagers now which is just more expensive in all the ways. Robert would NOT be okay with homeschooling at this point. Karis would not want to homeschool- she LOVES school now. She’s graduating soon! I cannot believe it. She will be a senior next year.

We are just in a much different place. So, if I’m going to work full time, teaching online is really the best thing for me. I’m just trying to figure out how to do a good job (I always give 100% at work) and still take care of myself. I’m trying to figure that out. I don’t have the answers right now.

I also want to get back to doing the little things that bring me joy. I have just been in survival mode (yet again). I feel like I live there. I’m so tired of it.

I feel worn. I’m feeling a bit like my mental health will never improve.

Just when I feel like things are good, something happens, and I slide backwards BIG time.

I’m going to make some effort to do the little things that bring me joy even when I don’t feel like it. I know that sometimes I just have to do the things and the joy will follow.

The Unknown

I have no idea what is going to happen moving forward. I don’t know if my ADA application will be denied or accepted. I don’t know if this at-home treatment will continue making me feel worse. I don’t know what will happen with the situation that I can’t talk about. I don’t know if I will be able to keep my job, but I will continue doing my best at the job in the meantime. I will keep moving forward as if nothing is going to change.

The best thing that could happen is for my ADA Accommodations to be approved. That would change everything in such a positive way, moving forward. My doc said I will need these accommodations indefinitely moving forward. If they don’t approve them, then I may not be able to continue working there (especially if this at home treatment continues the way it is going). I just don’t know at this point.

Chris Renzema with Ellie Holcomb

“Just as Good”


I’ve been here before my heart feels so weak
Got this weight upon my chest and I can’t stop forgetting
My God that you’ve never left you’re right here with me
Still I’m convinced you’re hiding
Oh God would you remind me

That you’re still just as good as when I met you
You’re still just as kind don’t let me forget that you’re
Still the same God who led me through the fire
You’re still the same God that separates the waters
Come do what only you can do
God I need you

You’ve done this before will you do it again
‘Cause the waves are all around me
And it feels like I’m drowning
My God will you still reach down and give me your hand
‘Cause even when I’m doubting
Your love it still surrounds me,

Oh And you’re still just as good as when I met you
You’re still just as kind don’t let me forget that you’re
Still the same God who led me through the fire
You’re still the same God that separates the waters
Come do what only you can do
God I need you

And I will build an altar Stack it stone by stone
‘Cause every Ebenezer says I’ve never been alone
My faith will surely falter
But that don’t change what you’ve done
‘Cause every ebenezer points to where my help comes from

And I will build an altar Stack it stone by stone
‘Cause every Ebenezer says I’ve never been alone
My faith will surely falter
But that don’t change what you’ve done
‘Cause every Ebenezer points to where my help comes from
‘Cause every Ebenezer points to where my help comes from

You’re still just as good as when I met you
You’re still just as kind don’t let me forget that you’re
Still the same God who led me through the fire
You’re still the same God that separates the waters
Come do what only you can do,
Oh Come do what only you can do

And I will build an altar
And stack it stone by stone
‘Cause every Ebenezer says I’ve never been alone
My faith will surely falter
But that don’t change what you’ve done
‘Cause every Ebenezer points to where my help comes from
Oh, every Ebenezer points to where my help comes from

I have been listening to this song in addition to a LOT more Chris Renzema songs these past several weeks. They are real, raw, and about life… the hard and the good. I’m thankful for being introduced to his music last summer. It has come in clutch.

I could just really use some good news this coming week.

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