About Me

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Charlotte, North Carolina
I am starting out my social work career and my marriage. I write to relieve stress...mostly by sarcastically telling life stories.

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Official

I have put in my resignation. I have found a new job as of yesterday. A girl from graduate school did the best thing ever and posted on facebook that her company was hiring. Even better than that- I submitted my resume on Wednesday (she put in a good word for me), I got an interview Thursday, and they offered me a job on the spot.

I am very excited to get out of the job I am in right now. Maybe now I can go to work without worrying about my safety everyday. Now I will be an intensive in-home therapist. That's right people a THERAPIST. When it really comes down to it that is all I care about.

I can finally build on my clinical skills and stop pretending I am a bad ass in the classroom. I can feel myself relaxing already! On a negative note I had to submit my resignation today because my company likes a month notice. Actually, it went much better than I expected. I think my boss genuinely understands my career needs and that day treatment is NOT meeting those needs. My first day at the new job is going to be on Halloween...creepy??

So send out prayers that, at a minimum, this job is better than day treatment! Surely nothing is worse then where I have been-right?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 Things I Hate

I work in a day treatment setting and for those of you who don’t know what that means I looked up a definition: Community-based, nonresidential program of services for children with mental health needs. The most intensive program available that still allows child to remain in the home. Services include special education, counseling, parent training, vocational training, skill building, crisis intervention, and recreational therapy. Day treatment lasts at least four hours per day”- although I get the joy of having my kids for 7 hours a day!

In order to entertain myself this morning I decided to make a list of issues in the mental health world
10 Things I Hate about Mental Health
1.       Parents who think their kid’s issues are my fault- I’m pretty sure your kids were in day treatment way before me.
2.       Kids who think they deserve nothing but loving, supportive care but curse you out and make sexual comments everyday of work.
3.       Budget cuts that force kids who are not appropriate for day treatment to stay here because insurance won’t pay for hospitalization.
4.       Micro-management- I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a social work job that is only 40 hours a week so if I ask to use one of MY vacation days just give it to me.
5.       When you call parents to explain the problems their kid brings into the classroom and the parents do absolutely nothing. Seriously the word “parent” involves doing something.
6.       On the other hand, the same parent who won’t do anything for me will call with issues in the home- as if I can fix it when there are no rules or consequences in place.
7.       Entitlement- both the parents and kids believe the world revolves around them. Take a sick day? What do you mean? You are supposed to be with ME everyday.
8.       Hygiene- when did people stop taking showers?  
9.       Kids are supposed to be here for help but flat out refuse to participate in any activities you plan- gotta love teenagers.
10.   Everyone hates this job so- those of us that are left- get saddled with two people’s worth of work. Hmm, I wonder why people are dropping like flies?

To wrap it up-get me out of here! I am losing my social work bleeding heart because I have to be stuck in this classroom all day. Pray for a therapist job to come through for me!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crazy Week

Today, I officially had to say goodbye to my mom- let the mini depression begin. After another long stressful week of work where I got to deal with more fights, freak outs, hospital visits, and police it was nice to know my mom was in town. The whole weight watchers diet went down the tube this week- and I'm blaming her.

She was very excited because for the first time she got to have both her children and herself cooking together. My mom and I made a pumpkin pie while my brother cooked dinner for us. It was quite shocking, I never thought he would cook. He made us red beans and rice, fried plantains, and grilled chicken. He went on vacation with my dad a few years ago to the Dominican Republic and loved their food so he started learning how to make it.

Not to mention going out to eat many times this week- so much for staying on track!

I also went to the most beautiful wedding ever this weekend. We were all so worried for her because it was an outside wedding and we have had a torrential downpour of rain for days here in the Carolinas. Somehow, the wedding angels gave her perfect blue skies during her wedding though.
Siblings from another motha
My husband was raised with this family. As an only child these guys became his siblings. At our wedding she was one of my bridesmaids and he was hubby's best man. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met- and truly this wedding was amazing. I am pretty sure it checked off every girl's wish list of wedding fun- horse drawn carriage, food, dancing, twinkling lights hanging from the trees, and a lovely setting of an older white mansion on a vineyard. It was like a fairy tale.

Plus I got to see my husband having a seizure- otherwise known as his dancing.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Everyone has moments of embaressment- it just so happens that I feel that way much more often than others. I am very clutzy and awkard on, pretty much, a daily basis. My brother is back in college and he had to write a narrative essay on embaressment and, of course, he chose a story about me. Now the story is a little exagerated but, what good story isn't?

The bro

In the year 2011, people don’t really have an excuse to not find a location or not find a route to their destination. There have been numerous sites on the internet dedicated to directions such as MapQuest or Google Maps. GPS systems for personal use have been sold for years by all electronics stores. Most recently, all smart phones have built in GPS applications to help you locate your destination. It is obvious that these products are more than useful in our travels and can definitely help the user pick the quickest or easiest route to drive. But I have come to the realization that these products are really made for and marketed towards people with absolutely no sense of direction, such as my sister, Meredith.

            My family moved to Charlotte, NC in 1995 from Meridian, MS when my dad accepted a job here in town. My parents bought a house in south Charlotte, off Carmel Rd; therefore I attended Carmel Middle School. My sister, Meredith, is three years younger than I and when the time came she also attended Carmel Middle School. Each school day our routine was for one of our parents to take us to school in the family minivan. I was dropped off first and then Meredith was taken to her elementary school. For two years we had the same routine, our parents driving the three minute trip straight up Carmel Rd. passing other neighborhoods, one Texaco gas station, Carmel Country Club, and then before you had time to blink I was getting out walking into class. A couple years later I was in 9th grade attending South Mecklenburg High School and Meredith moved up to Carmel Middle School for 6th grade. Although I was now going the opposite direction in the mornings to school, Meredith was still taking a straight shot up Carmel Rd. to the middle school. You would have thought after riding up and down Carmel Rd., twice a day, five days a week, for four years of her life that Meredith would have some type of bearings on where she was in our small area of south Charlotte. Not so much.

            Growing up in our neighborhood there was one main place to go for a young teenager with only their feet or a bike for independent transportation; the neighborhood park. My friends and I played on the tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts but our favorite thing to do was go exploring in the woods in the back of the park. There was one large creek that seemed like it went on forever throughout the wooded area and as long as we stuck close to it, we could easily find our way back. Even when we found ourselves in the huge field of bamboo, which was often, we always knew our whereabouts by finding the creek. My sister never joined us and never had any desire to “get dirty” out in the woods with her brother and his friends. From my perspective, that was just fine because we didn’t want a little girl to slow us down anyways. After a few years her curiosity started to get the better of her. Eventually she started to move in on my territory and started to wonder down the creek but never too far from the tree line. Until one day….

            Meredith was a 7th grader now at Carmel Middle School and her new best friend was named Deanne. One of the first few times Deanne came over to hang out with Meredith, they decided to go to the park by themselves and explore the woods. Deanne being a bit more adventurous decided, for the two of them, that today they were going to explore every inch of the woods! It was Deanne’s first time in the woods behind our neighborhood park but Meredith had no problem letting her be the guide for their tour. They began taking a casual stroll following the creek as it twisted and turned through the woods. They continued on when the creek became deeper and the trees cornered you in on both sides. Your choice was to turn back or climb down roots in the ground on the side of the creek bed and walk in the shallow water or jump from rock to rock. They pressed on. After tackling that obstacle they were able to climb out of the creek and back into a thick field of bamboo which surrounded them in every direction. By now it had been an hour or two and they had seen what they came to see. It was time to go home. It took a few minutes but they found their waypoint and started to follow the creek back home. Little did they know they followed the creek the wrong way!

            By this point my mother was getting worried about Meredith. She hopped in the car, left me at home to answer the phone if she called, and took a couple laps around the neighborhood hoping to find the girls. They were nowhere to be found and on my mother’s return panic ensued. She called my dad home early. When he got there she told him that someone had “kidnapped her baby.” Some strange man had driven by and just snatched Meredith and Deanne right up. Their last attempt before calling 911 were to each take a car out and search one more time. Once again I was left to man the phone or in my mind sit and watch TV. The phone finally rang.

            When I picked up all I could hear was hysterical crying. I knew it was my sister and was genuinely concerned, at first, so I asked what was going on. “We’re lost and I have no idea where we are!” I told her to calm down and tell me what was around. “We are at a gas station. The sign is red and black. I think it says Texaco.” I burst into laughter, all concern gone, and tell her “Meredith, you’re two blocks from our house and you’re lost!” Laughter continued on my end over her tears. My parents walked in and I handed the phone to my Mom. After a little consoling we all went to pick her. We pulled up and she was still crying while my Mom and Dad hugged her to let her know all was well.

When the girls got out of the woods they came out on Carmel Rd. and went the wrong way. They went past the gas station and all the way to the country club before turning around and walking back to the gas station to use the pay phone. To make things worse for my sister, her friend Deanne, made fun of her and called her a wimp and baby the entire time they walked up and down Carmel Rd while she sobbed. To this day, none of my family members can understand how Meredith got lost two blocks from home. All I can say is that my sister has owned a GPS system since her college days and I’m still not sure if she can get further than two blocks without using it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick Break

My mom is officially in town and I attempted to take a quick break. As soon as her flight landed in Charlotte we drove to Blowing Rock, NC. My aunt owns a condo up there and it is one of my mom's favorite places. Not to mention my Alma mater, Appalachian State University is also there!

I had less than 24 hours to spend with them because I couldn't get Monday off. Saturday we only had time for dinner but on the way home two bucks ran right in front of our car. It was awesome! I have seen a lot of female deer in my lifetime but it is rare to see a buck, especially two at the same time! The pictures are horrible because the fog took over the mountain top by then but I tried:

On Sunday I knew I couldn't stay till dinner so we got up early to have breakfast. After breakfast we just drove around. My aunt, my mom, and I love the homes in this area so we love to drive around and pretend that we have millions to buy mountain homes.
How cute is this tiny church?

I can totally afford this on a social work salary, right?
The fog was crazy all day so all my pictures look like they are from some weird horror movie. Even more shocking is that the leaves are already changing in a few areas!
My mom and I
We waited till lunch time to go shopping because Blowing Rock is still one of those good places in the world where shops don't open till late on Sundays. I love Blowing Rock's main street. The shops are cute and kitschy. The hippie vintage look is still alive
I wanted this SO bad...I resisted

On another topic I did really well on my first week of Weight Watchers. I lost 7 pounds and today is the first day I let myself cheat. Blowing Rock has an ice cream shop that sells ice cream (obviously) fudge, candy, candy/caramel apples, etc. I love this place. Even when it's snowing I always get ice cream...always. So I had to let myself indulge a little
Kilwin's ice cream- I love you so!
It was a nice, but all to quick, break from reality. I wish I could have stayed. My grandfather is also coming into town so I know I will get to see everyone again. My mom will come and stay with us for a few nights also. The mountains are always such a relaxing getaway and now I am so excited for Christmas to get here.

Hubby and I have already decided to go back to Blowing Rock to cut down our first Christmas tree as a married couple. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coping Skills

When you work in the world of mental health you often hear about "self care". I have never had to think about it that much- even when I worked at DSS. This job is a whole other ball game though.

I realized one day that I was becoming a massive food junkie. I would come home from work stressed out and I would eat- literally- everything in sight. I would start with salty, then sweet, even carbs- and eat an entire dinner on top of it.

This past weekend I decided I was not going to let this job control me- or turn me into a fat cow. So I broke out my tennis shoes and signed back up for Weight Watchers.

I did the Weight Watchers program back when I worked at DSS. I was very successful on it and then the holidays hit and- well I wanted casseroles and sweets! Now it is about 2 years later and I have accomplished gaining every pound back. Go me!

I know this program works because I have had success in the past so now I'm determined. I have been on the plan since Saturday and I haven't cheated once. I have a refrigerator full of fruits and veggies to munch on. Plus hubby and I have started walking the dogs most nights of the week- so they are happy with the change!

I hope that being active and eating right will be one way I can make myself deal with stress in a healthy way. It is so easy to get sucked into chaos and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Now I know that I have to remember to put my own self care first or else I will never make it in this field.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

It's hard to believe that ten years have passed since September 11th. The generation before us discusses remembering the day Kennedy was murdered but 9-11 is my moment in history that I will always remember. It is interesting that these horrible moments seem to become cemented in the American mind.

I was only a sophomore in high school when 9-11 happened. My brother had graduated from high school the year before. My friend was the first person to tell me as I was walking through the cafeteria area to go to class. I remember that even then we were not fully aware of what happened and she just old me somehting like, we are being attacked.

I remember immediately becoming terrified that there would be a draft and my brother would have to go to war as he was 18. Even now I find it odd that I knew, so quickly, that America would do something to retaliate against this attack.

Our school didn't send us home so all day long we would just move from class to class and watch news coverage. Teachers who attempted to cover curriculum realized that our attention spans were focused on something else.

The images were tragic but the American spirit was powerful. It is the first time I remember that feeling of being "together". Out of tragedy we rose up to prove why we are such a powerful country. We came together. Normal people became heroes as they helped those hurt in the attacks. It is easier to view the evil from this event but when it comes down to it we really should see how much good is in this world.

When push comes to shove people naturally want to help those in need. That is what I remember more than anything. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Can you pretend to be someone you are not? I struggle with this question frequently. I am not someone who is good at “faking it”. You can read emotions off my face like a book. There is no secret Meredith- I am who I am.
In middle school I went through a time where I was just alone. I was never bullied- I was more ignored than anything. Other girls found boys and partying and I was left in the dust. By the time I changed schools to my high school I basically was at the point where I said screw this- like me or don’t.
Probably I really did still care but I no longer faked it. I was me- good or bad- and I made friends again. Maybe the smell of desperation was just off me. Now at work I have the same feeling.
How can you function at a job where the skill set needed is a complete 180 from the personality you have? Can you fake it? I guess that is what I keep thinking about everyday.
When I found out that I could be a therapist it was like a click was within me. I knew it was right for me. I am a good listener and through the years I have found that it is better to be supportive then constantly voice your own opinion about everything.
Yesterday, I sat with a little boy who had just had a meltdown. I got in the floor with him and calmed him down. I got him to tell me his feelings- granted they were kind of homicidal- but within a few minutes he was back to his normal self. And I loved every minute of it.
So can I fake the bulk of my day so I can catch these little glimpses of therapy? It is just a struggle everyday. Having to pretend to be someone you are not feels like an out of body experience. It makes me very uncomfortable and I am still trying to manage. I still keep praying to figure this out- my feelings and my future.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


This weekend marked the last group of "local" family coming to see our place. Last night my husband's family came over to see the place and eat pizza. I gave up my normally favorite part of party planning- making dessert. Instead his aunt brought yummy brownies- of which I have the calorie laden leftovers!

His family brought over some fun gifts for our place. His mom gave me a beautiful bouquet with my favorite flowers- Gerber daisies- mixed in
Plus she gave us some coasters with our initial on them. I couldn't find an exact picture but these are close. They were actually on our wedding registry and I forgot about them!
Other than bringing us delicious brownies his aunt also brought us a new candle. I have seen these candles before but I have never had one. The candle wick is actually made of wood and when it burns it sounds like a very small fire. The candles are called WoodWick and I think they are a pretty neat idea. It is hard to find a "different" kind of candle but these fit the bill.
Hopefully, by the end of the year my parents will actually see the place! I know my mom will get to see it at the end of this month when she comes to visit. My dad is about to start a sabbatical from his church so he may be able to visit soon also. I am highly jealous of my parents because they get to go to Hawaii during this break. I like to make them feel guilty and whine about this- although I know they deserve it more than me. Maybe after I have worked in the workforce for as long as they have I will be able to pay for fun vacations like them!

Surely church pay and social work pay are equally crappy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


This was a much better week- until I found out that my fellow clinician in the classroom with me has turned in her resignation. She is going to work for another agency and I am happy for her. On the other hand, I was turned into an anxiety ridden panic attack.

This ultimately means, for me, that I will once again be stuck in the classroom by myself. With hormone ridden, violent teenagers who might kill me. OK I may be exaggerating but you get the picture. I am freaking out.

I am still at the point where I do not think day treatment is for me. I am just not good at being a disciplinarian and you have to be with these kids. I don't even like calling their parents when they have had a bad day because I feel like I am tattling. Yes I know I am a push over!

There may be an opportunity for me to get another job and I need prayers for this one. I really am interested in the position and now that my other clinician is gone I am desperate for it. It is not like me to bail on a job after only a few months of being employed (Hey I made it through two years of DSS work!) but where I am now just doesn't seem to fit me.

Basically, I need tons of  prayers- mainly for my sanity but also for my future. I have also started studying for my big test in October so lump in prayers for that beast of an exam also! I just want my clinical abilities to have a chance to develop- and it just isn't happening right now in the way I want it to.