Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Can I be honest with you?

I've been suffering from some pretty gnarly anxiety.

The kind that stops you in your tracks.  The kind that makes it hard to breathe.  The kind that leaves you unbelievably exhausted by the end of the day, yet also leaves you feeling like you've accomplished nothing.

What am I anxious over?  Pretty much everything.  I'm anxious that things won't go well at the kennel.  I'm anxious over an upcoming trip.  I'm anxious about how I'm raising Anna (which then makes me cranky and then makes me anxious because I'm cranky).  I'm anxious over the thought that something might happen to those I love.  I'm anxious over my health.  I'm anxious over the weather.  I'm anxious over the dogs and their health and how the weather is affecting them.

Running usually helps, and on the days that I run I feel exponentially less anxious.  On the days I run long distances I'm significantly happier.  On the days I run long distances and follow it up with a relaxing breakfast, I'm over the moon.  However, that only happens a couple times a week, and I'm anxious every day.

Honestly, I don't think there's much of a point to this post.  I just have to take a moment to recognize and confront this anxiety.  I also want people to know that, even if you see I strong, confident woman (and I sincerely hope you do), I'm often a hot mess on the inside.  I'm also human, and it would be wrong to assume that things in life don't affect me.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Last week, we found out that a former employee committed suicide. 

How's that for an opener?

This person worked for us for 2 years, but was fired 5 months ago due to erratic behavior and inappropriate interactions.  Incidents from 5 months ago were the final straw in a long list of issues.  Looking back now I see them for what they really were: the beginning of a downward spiral.

We all knew she was spiraling.  Every one of us had tried to help her, to be her friend.  Every one of us had supported her in whatever way we could, but her demons were too great, the struggle to hard.

The reactions among the staff are mixed.  Some are angry, some feel bad for her family, and some just feel bad.  There's a lot of emotion.  It doesn't really matter what the emotion is.  There's just a lot of it.  I think we're all in shock, but we're not necessarily surprised.  It's not that we didn't see this coming, but there was nothing more we could do to help her. 

So many feel like they just didn't do enough, but how do you help someone who doesn't want help?  At some point you have to save yourself.

This whole thing, though, has really made me think about suicide.  What causes it?  Is it a purely selfish act?  Is one who commits suicide destined for an afterlife of despair?

I can't speak for everyone.  I only know this one person.  I remember her from 5 months ago.  Troubled, but filled with so much potential.  She had so much life to live, but she also had some extremely dark demons to battle.

It's true that the final act of suicide is an individual's choice, but there's a lot that leads up to it.  I don't know of any happy individual who just wakes up one day and says, "Well, I'm done with life today."   Most don't have to find a reason to keep living.  They're happy to continue on.  This individual, however, battled every day.  Would today be a good day or a bad day?  What demons would she have to confront?  She saw herself as worthless and unwanted, and so she assumed the worst of others as well; always assuming they were judging her or scolding her.  Her defenses were always up.  In fact this was a conversation she and I routinely came back to.  I wanted her to try to view others in a more positive light with the hopes that she would eventually view herself in a more positive light.

Many people did, in fact, accuse her of being a selfish individual (long before last week), but I think selfishness is the wrong word.  I'd choose scared, uncertain, anxious.  Her "selfishness" was a defense mechanism.  It was false-bravado in a world she was certain was out to get her.

I can't condemn her to Hell because of this final act.  First, it's not my place to condemn or judge.  But even if it were, forgiveness would be in order.  I truly believe she just couldn't fight anymore.  She was tired, she was worn down.  Would you blame a cancer patient for dying?  Would you say they were selfish by not fighting anymore?  Would you blame yourself for not being there for them enough?  Actually, I can say first hand that you might.  Survivor's guilt is real, but if you speak to anyone they'd tell you this isn't your fault.  In fact, they'd probably say it's no one's fault.  The battle was just too hard.

Forgiveness is important.  It's just as important for suicide victims as it is for cancer victims.  We have to forgive ourselves for not being able to give more.  We have to forgive the victims (yes, they're both victims here) for no longer fighting.  We also have to realize and accept that the person is no longer in pain.  The daily pain, the daily struggle is over, and we can only hope that they're at peace.

In the mean time, I will continue to pray.  I'll pray for anyone struggling with disease, whether it's mental or physical.  I'll pray that they find peace and love in their lives.  I'll pray that, no matter what the end is, they know in their very final moments that they're never alone.  I will pray.