My Meds Have Kicked In, And I Am Finally Feeling More Like Myself.

I talked, in my last entry about how I started meds and they take a few weeks to kick in. Well,, they’ve kicked in and I feel great. The racing thoughts aren’t there anymore. I don’t feel like I need to be attached to someone to feel validated. I don’t need or care for the approval of others.

I am a little peeved right now with someone who is sticking their nose in places and stirring the shit pot, but then again, I don’t really care, anymore. My statement was valid, and that’s that. In short, I dodged one hell of a bullet and I am thankful that someone else witnessed behavior that I thought I was crazy for seeing.

I’ve talked about so much stuff over the years of widowhood. I’ve talked about dating and not dating and narcissistic or toxic people. I have talked about my feelings as a widow, and how different things pull different emotions from me, than they would pull from someone else.

One thing about me will never change. I am one of the kindest, most thoughtful people out there. There are times when I say insensitive things and don’t realize I am saying something insensitive. There are times when I seem mean because I am defending someone or myself. There are perceptions of my personality that can and will always be skewed to whoever is judging.

At some point, I went from being the person who does everything out of the kindness of my heart, always trying to do the right thing and not worrying about what other people thought, because I was doing what I thought was right, and turned into the person who had so much anxiety about what one person thought of me. Even though, everything I ever did was because I cared about a misunderstood version of myself.

For about 3-4 weeks, I was in a state of perpetual anxiety. When I woke up in the morning, I had thoughts of unworthiness. When I was scrubbed in for surgery, I had thoughts of not being good enough. When I came home, after all day of running thoughts of unworthiness, I was exhausted. But my mind kept playing the tune, even as I fell asleep every single night. Some nights I would wake up in the middle of the night, and not be able to go back to sleep for a few hours because of my running commentary. I was very quiet at work for a few weeks. I only talked to a couple of people and I cried more than I have ever cried over those weeks. I wasn’t crying over anyone, just my own inability to control the thoughts in my mind. I was never secretive about my anxiety, either. I was very up front and honest about what I was going through, as I was trying to handle it.

I have never experienced anxiety like that before, and I hope I never do again. I am the picture of confidence when you see me in person, but in my mind, over those weeks, it was rough. I thought I liked someone, but I didn’t know, and the fear of even trying to be anything more than friends was rooted so deep into my core. I knew I wanted to find someone and have a relationship and THOUGHT I was ready, but the anxiety of fucking it up was too much for me to handle.

Yes, I understand. A lot of people have a fear of ruining a relationship. Sure. Everyone has a bit of anxiety when it comes to trying to date. But, the moment it invades your mind, and takes over your actions is the moment the line is crossed.

I’ve talked about my side of the “crazy” in me. So many people don’t know the whole story, because I haven’t told more than a few people about what was said to me, over the weeks I was in a funk. And I won’t. Not really.

And, honestly, my funk wasn’t the fault of the person who endured my anxiety. Not at first. It stemmed from someone before him and slowly trickled from little things that were said to me at the most random times.

Here are a few statements from a couple different people.

“I want a something more from you, than just friendship,” followed immediately by silence for weeks to a month at a time.

“You’re gorgeous, and strong and confident, but I don’t want to lose you as a friend,” followed shortly by “can’t we just have sex with no emotional attachment, and stay friends?”

“Haven’t you ever regretted kissing someone?” Seconds after kissing me.

“I can’t say if I like you or not. We just met.” After kissing me and hugging me and holding me like we had known each-other for years.

All while knowing I had anxiety and was experiencing a bout of it at that time. Little things that added up over time. I am not typing this stuff to bash anyone at all. I am sharing experiences I’ve had, that I hope to never go through again. I am sharing in hopes of raising awareness to others who may have been in a similar situation. And, I am not sharing to be a victim. I am not a “victim”, just a naive lover of people, who misses or ignores the “bad” stuff sometimes. I always try to see the best in people.

I’m over what happened and now that I know why I was in such a state of panic and fear, I can continue to work on it with therapy, blogging, private journaling and meds. My doctor, her nurse, and my therapist all agreed that what happened to me over a 6 month period would do to anyone what it did to me. It was helpful to know that experts agree on that.

I will be 100% honest, about myself, too. I had a few weeks where I was most definitely not myself. I had a few weeks where I didn’t like myself. I had a few weeks where I would text someone and say things that I regretted immediately after hitting send. Then I would apologize for the novel-long texts and came off as a completely crazy person.

I am aware. it’s why I sought help and medication. I stepped back and thought, “holy shit! I have become the crazy chick!” And, really, I am not that person! I can’t convince people who refuse to get to know me when I am myself, and that’s okay. I can’t control what others think of me. No one can. Some will love you (friends family, lovers, etc), and some won’t.

We aren’t meant to be loved by all, and that’s okay. I’m slowly getting back to who I really am, and leaving that scared, unsure person, who I had become for a short time, behind me.

I will never take kindly to people being rude to me, for no reason. I won’t allow anyone to walk all over me. I refuse to be viewed as a victim, and I refuse to victimize anyone else.

One thing that I believe wholly is that we should never leave a negative impact on someone, if you can help it. The hardest part of that is sitting back and allowing someone to dislike you and have a negative opinion of you.

if you made it this far, please, hop on over to the contest I am in to be on the cover of Maxim Magazine! Shoot a free vote my way and share the link with your friends!

***Warning!*** Pictures are risqué! nothing shows, but they’re mostly boudoir. https://maximcovergirl.com/2020/tabatha-wood

Order. Thoughts. Feelings. Anxiety. Fear. Friendship. Dating. Therapy.

You know, when I started this journey as a widow, I looked at how well I managed everything, mentally. I thought I was doing great. No kidding. I felt like writing was helping me, so much, and that I was keeping myself away from a depressive state by working out on a regular basis.

In many ways, I was helping myself, as well as hindering myself.

I wrote about how writing became an emotional crutch. I am great at putting my feelings and thoughts on paper. Here’s why. What you don’t see? All of the OTHER stuff, that’s irrelevant to the topic at hand, that I ALWAYS add in, because that’s what pops into my mind, and my fingers click click click it out. You don’t see the disorganization of my thought process, because I clean it up before posting. You don’t see me cry because the things I type are so insanely deep, and painful.

You can’t see the mess. You see what I present to you.

That is basically where I have trapped myself.

Recently I was seeing a guy, and let me tell you, he probably thinks I am certifiable. On day two of hanging out, I realized a couple of my issues, and I SPOKE THEM OUT LOUD to him! I was literally just thinking out loud. Now, let me tell you, though, he had told me, many times, “I want to know all of you. The good. The bad. The beautiful and the Ugly. Will you show me?”

I thought, “Wowwww! That’s amazing!” I thought it was a big score. I mean, no man that I’ve met since my late husband has ever seen that many parts of me, nor has one REQUESTED it.

This guy, though… We met in the midst of one of my biggest self discovery phases. Considering how scary it has been for me, over those weeks, I can’t even imagine what went through that poor man’s mind.

It’s okay though. I am not going to talk crap, but it was very clear that we weren’t going anywhere beyond friends.

Over the last few days of us talking, all he did was respond to texts (never initiated) and when we talked on the phone he always sounded annoyed. When I would try to talk to him about stuff, via text, he would be cold and say “say it to my face.” Finally, I tried. I worked up the courage and fought the anxiety to go see him and talk to him about the things I couldn’t say, just days prior, and he refused to see me. He refused to even talk to me.

So, It’s clear we aren’t anything, and that’s okay. I have no hard feelings. I probably would have ran away from me a lot quicker than he did, to tell the truth. I called him when he told me “try saying it out loud. I don’t want a texting relationship.” He didn’t answer. So I texted him that I don’t think I even want him as a friend, because I don’t want another “friend” who ignores me. I put up with it for 6 months and refuse to do that shit again.”

The next morning, though… I felt awful and knew I ruined what could have been a fantastic workout partner, friendship. I texted him an apology (on Sunday) and left it alone. No word. I tried ONE last time, ordering edible arrangements and offering an apology and telling him where I would be if he wanted to give the friendship part a second chance (This got a biggest head shake and deep sigh from my girlfriends. I even deep sighed myself and kind of knew what would come of it.) No response.

I am complicated.

I am open.

I don’t lie.

I try my HARDEST when it comes to being a good person.

Do I hurt feelings sometimes? Sure. Not for fun, that’s for sure. I HATE hurting feelings, but shit happens sometimes and there’s no way around it.

I need someone who can hang with my ups and downs as I journey through my self discovery, but also tells me if I am being crazy. I need someone who won’t run at the first sign of a panic attack or if it takes me a day or two to organize and gather my thoughts and feelings, to speak them out loud. I need someone who can assure me that they only have eyes for me, and that they do every day, not just when I am with them.

Do I need that now? hell no.

Do I need that soon? Again. No.

But, when the time comes, and a man steps into my life, and thinks he actually wants to stay, he has to be strong enough to withstand my internal storms, and know that it’s not about him.

I workout for therapeutic release of negative energy. I journal privately as a form of therapy. I write, sharing my journey, as part of my therapy. I have an ACTUAL therapist, as a form of therapy, and I have stumbled into sleep hypnosis for anxiety, panic attacks, healthy habits, positive thinking and so on. I read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to overcoming anxiety and overthinking, and negative self talk. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to be working on myself. I am also not so naive to believe change will happen overnight.

I am okay with it. I am okay with steady improvements. I am okay with really taking the time I’ll need to find myself, and be comfortable with myself again.

And one day, I’ll meet a man who is okay with my process as well.

I am in no rush.

From the book “Unfu*k Yourself” by Gary John Bishop.

When Things Start Making Sense

If I have said anything consistently for the last 3 years and 3 months it is this.

Everything Happens For a Reason.

I stand by that. I don’t want to gloat or brag or anything like that, so keep that in mind as I trace back through the years, that have led me exactly where I am today.

I work in health care, and I make very good money, with a pretty good security in my job, in all times of world happenings.

Why? How? Back when Megan was 3 years old, I went up to the worst school I could have possibly went to, and signed up for a $25,900 loan to get my associates in applied science. This was immediately after getting my GED, because I wanted to set a better example for my daughter.

Let me explain. I had such an urge to do this that I went through the entire process without consulting with my husband first. That’s not how we did things. He would have said “these loans are awful! We should look up another place to get a load through, before taking this huge step.” And me, I would have reacted as if he were telling me no, like it was a bad idea. I remember being at that school with the loan people, without his knowledge and the woman told me they were grants and that I wouldn’t have to pay grants back. I signed the 579,683 pages as she told me “what they said”, because I was in such a hurry to get started, so I would be ready!

I get my first job as a surgical tech and man! It was a $5/hour raise! It wasn’t what I expected it to be, but it was much more than what I was making prior. I went through absolute hell, with some of the WORST co-workers, but I held on. I trained and I stiffened my backbone, because I was SURE it was important. I would come home and cry to my husband about how awful my job was, and how awful the people were proving to be. I’d get written up for things that I never did, except maybe the times I rolled my eyes at coworkers. I always do that. Sue me. ha.

It was at that establishment where I learned not to trust anyone you work with. Sure, you can talk about your personal life, or listen to them talk about theirs, but never discuss anything about anyone you work with, no matter if it’s good or bad, unless you are praising them straight to their face, because even the kindest words could get twisted and turned and make you look like a bad human. I learned.

Most of you reading these posts know that I am a very talkative person, and that I am VERY opinionated. I learned to be different, because of that place. I went through hell, just to learn that I can’t trust anyone. I became the “watcher”. I got the urge, after 4 years in the same place, to move on. I wanted to do more than just the same surgery over and over. I knew I was good and I felt like I was being limited in my career.

So I vamped up my resume, and I shot it out to every hospital in the area.

First interview was a dud. I was devastated and scared that I would never be enough to move from the area I was at. All I wanted to do was scrub trauma surgeries. I wanted to be able to do anything that came through the doors.

Second interview. Flop.

Third interview, SCORE!

Trauma center, they were desperate, and offered me the job straight away! I took a pay cut, to do more and take more call. I was promised performance based raises. If I wasn’t promised that, I wouldn’t have taken the job. I am excellent at what I do, and I learn swiftly. I faked confidence in that interview, so hard, and it worked.

I started my career in a trauma center OR, and it was amazing! Everyone was like family, straight away! I sat back, though, and I listened. I watched how everyone interacted with each-other, and how each person spoke when another left the room. For a week and a half, everyone made jabs at how quiet I was. I was very reserved. I asked appropriate questions and didn’t fuck around. I was there for work, not for friends.

When “raise” time came around, I was informed that there were no performance reviews and everyone got the same percent raise, no matter how they performed.

I got a 30 cent raise.

I was pissed. I applied across the board again, in 2016, and landed an interview at a surgery center that was about to start doing heavy total joint surgeries, and they wanted me to lead the ortho team.

I accepted the position, with $4/hour raise, and turned in my notice only to my nurse manager and director of the OR.

My nurse manager grabbed me, that day in late summer 2016, and asked me what it would take to keep me. I told him what the other facility offered and he talked me up, so high, to the people in charge and got me up an additional $4/hr. So I stayed. I loved (hell I still love most of those crazy bastards that held my hand and showed me how to do trauma) my work family so dearly that I couldn’t leave. I got this $8/hour raise and was so excited! I finally felt like my bosses really cared about me, as a person.

That winter, we started getting caught up with debt. I even urged Mitch to let me set up autopay for my student loans so we could start repairing my credit. In late December, after much ado, he finally agreed. We were finally on an upward climb and I made great money. He made great money. We were getting somewhere.

Then, in January, he died.

I had to call my work and tell them I wouldn’t be back for a while, because I didn’t know how long it would take me to feel up to it. Because of my amazing work family, I was able to take 3 weeks off, completely paid with co-workers’ paid time off donations. These people were why I didn’t want to leave. Those people really took care of me. They checked in on me, daily and made sure I was doing okay. On top of donating PTO, they started a collection of money, to help pay for everything that comes along with death. Let me just tell you, dying is expensive as fuck for everyone who is left alive. (no hard feelings, btw. It’s just a fact) Please, make sure you have a life insurance policy. We had just renewed our insurance that previous November and the option for Mitch to have life insurance was removed. Either he didn’t keep it, or it was no longer an option, but that’s the fact of the matter.

Because I stayed with that facility, and kept the work family relationships I had, I was able to keep my job with them.

In late 2017, my boss, the director of the OR decided to call me into her office to tell me I was not grieving the loss of my husband properly and that I needed to go to counseling, and blah blah blah.

I was very offended that she thought she had the right to discuss my grieving process, considering she was a nurse. She knows everyone grieves different. I, Kindly, told her, “I’ll agree to disagree with you, right now. I am going back to my OR to get ready for my next total joint.”

For the next year she wrote me up for everything she possibly could. Even made-up things. I went from absolutely loving my job to dreading it every day, because of that woman. But I did it. I did it because I was the sole living parent of a 13 year old child. A child who depends on my income to eat and have 4 walls and a roof. I held my tongue. I never screwed up. Then, a disagreement and I was fired.

I was devastated. I had never been fired before in my life, aside from the time I was fired 9 hours after I announced my pregnancy at the bar I managed.

So here I was, the day before my scheduled flight to California, with no reliable source of income. What did I do? I shot my resume to every single hospital and surgery center in the metro area. I applied with a travel agency, for possible local travel positions, and drank beer and cried the rest of that day.

I drunkenly packed my bag for California and prepared for our long weekend in a state we’ve never been.

Friday, Megan and I landed at LAX, met our long time internet friends, face to face, for the very first time, and it was amazing. We went to Rodeo Drive and walked into some of the most ridiculous stores. Meg was DYING to see the inside of the Gucci store, so we went there. My phone rang. I answered. It was a hospital wondering if I could come in to interview on monday morning.

I apologized and explained my whereabouts and asked if we could do Tuesday, instead. She agreed and I tried to enjoy the rest of my mini-vacation. I received an email from another hospital and they wanted to set up a phone interview, so I set that up for another day that week.

It was looking very promising.

I get back to KC, and come straight home, and lay out my interview clothes for the next day. Nervous and excited and optimistic as always, I went to bed, alarm set and planned on nailing that interview.

I was doing amazing, until the HR lady asked me “why did you decide to change hospitals?” and I couldn’t answer. I am a TERRIBLE liar, and hadn’t ever had a problem with this question. “I was fired.” I managed to squeak out. She asked why and I didn’t know how to answer that. I just confirmed that it wasn’t a patient care issue.

She asked me to sit outside of her office and wait for the director of surgery and the charge nurse/nurse manager to come get me for the second part of the interview. 45 minutes passed by and no one came. The HR lady came out with the “I am so sorry, but they got super busy upstairs and aren’t able to come down and get you for the second part of the interview. They’ll call you when they have availability.”

I knew they weren’t going to call me.

Then, that weekend my best friend/coworker of many years called and asked if I knew this ortho rep, and I said no. She told me he asked about me in a surgery and the surgeon and her stopped working and proceeded to tell him how amazing I was. See, a director asked him if he had ever heard of me. He hadn’t, but he happened to be standing in an OR, with my best friend, and a surgeon who I loved working with, who enjoyed having me in the OR with her.

Everything happens for a reason!

I had the phone interview and that went so badly, I wasn’t sure I would ever get a job. I still hadn’t heard anything from the place I had the sit down interview, and I began to get scared. I saw unemployment, and my late husband’s social security and me having to change fields of work, because I couldn’t get hired anywhere, because no one wanted someone who had been fired.

Then, I got a phone call. “We heard about you, from this ortho rep, and he had a lot of fantastic things to say about you.” (thanks, buddy. Your words saved me!) I cried. I had never heard that man’s name before, and I had never gotten the pleasure of working with him at my previous job, but between my old co-workers and this man as the link between the two, I was offered the opportunity to come interview on the surgery unit, and damn near offered the position on the spot. I wasn’t officially offered it, because they had more interviews to do, but they said, multiple times, “we wouldn’t have called you like we did, if we weren’t highly interested in you. We were basically told we would be crazy not to hire you.”

When I first started I was scared. I was timid around the new coworkers. I didn’t say much. When they asked what made me change jobs, I just told them. “I was fired.” They were shocked. They all went to the director and nurse manager and asked if they knew I had been fired. They were reassured that I wasn’t a danger to patients or anyone for that matter, and that it was a disagreement between my old boss and myself that had nothing to do with workplace behavior.

One door was slammed and when the wind blew me through the open window, I landed on a cloud.

I will say it over and over again. Everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. EVERYTHING!

I hope you understand that now, I make double what Mitch and I made when we first started dating, and triple what I made before I graduated college.

I am working hard at being a single mother. I never, in my life, imagined I would be in this situation.

A widow?

Not married?

A single mother?

NEVER!

Not me!

It could never happen!

I was wrong, and everything has prepared me for where I am at, in this exact time in the world we are living in. If I can tell anyone anything, its to listen to that voice that tells you to quit being afraid, and to ACT. Don’t be afraid to get that new career, try new things, enroll into college for a career that will make you happier.