Wednesday, June 24th, I got up at 5 a.m. and prepared to go to work. My sinuses were draining down my throat and my voice was raspy from the drainage. I dreaded going to work and being exposed to the Saharan dust that would permeate the warehouse. There was no avoiding it that day. I was actually glad to have an excuse to wear a mask. I’ve suffered from allergies most of my life and am no stranger to migraines and sinus headaches. I got to work and waited my turn for the thermal body scan which would give me the go ahead to clock in at work. With mask on, hands sanitized and work gloves, I was ready for my shift. I felt a little off but continued to press on. I attributed my energy level to the Sahara winds that probably were antagonizing my immune system. After all, I had been at this job since the beginning of the covid lockdown. I did my due diligence at work as best as I could. Recently, there were a few dozen cases being reported at work. I honestly did not worry too much.
Thursday morning I woke up with muscle pain. It was nothing new. It is what I experience when the lupus acts up. It felt like my feet were on fire. My hands were hot and hurting too. In addition, I was having a fibromyalgia flare. All my touchpoints for fibro were hurting. I applied for time off. Since it was my Friday, I rationalized that I would have three days to recuperate. Hopefully the Sahara dust would move on and my immune system would adjust.
On Saturday, I was not feeling better and knew that I would have to prepare to go back to work. Yet I was still feeling under the weather. So I made an appointment with urgent care and went in to see a Doctor. They took my vitals which did not raise a red flag. My temperature wasn’t even normal! But for me, I knew it was a little elevated 98.1. The Doctor suspected an upper respiratory infection and swabbed me for Covid. He told me to go home, drink plenty of liquids and isolate until the results came back just to be safe.
Tuesday, June 30th, I got the results back and I was shocked. The Covid test was positive. We immediately scheduled my daughter to be tested and I spent the next few hours reaching out to all that I had contact with in the last 2 weeks. I hated that I was responsible for friends being exposed but felt it was my duty to reach out on a need to know basis. That evening, I began to run a fever. It was the first real symptom that I attributed to Covid. Until then, it mimicked lupus and sinus issues. Keep in mind that I had this for almost a full week without a fever. I never lost my sense of taste or smell. I had not been nauseous or throwing up. I didn’t have a dry cough. I did have an occasional wet cough due to the drainage but it was not a constant. The next couple of days were rough. I developed even more muscle pain to the point that it hurt to walk on my feet. The weakness became worse leaving me barely able to get out of bed. Still no heavy coughing and no problems breathing. My temperature went up to 100 degrees which was high for me. Thank goodness my daughter was able to bring me water and gatorade. She filled the humidifier for me and made sure I was doing okay. The appetite left during the next few days. I lost 4 pounds from not being able to eat. The nausea set in and nothing sounded remotely appetizing.
It has been 6 days since my diagnosis and I am certain it’s been 11 days since the beginning of it all. There were about 4 intense days of not feeling well. It’s been 3 days now with no fever. The pain lessens everyday and is nominal compared to a week ago.
What have I learned from this? That I ignored symptoms that didn’t seem to correlate with Covid. Covid actually mimicked symptoms that I have frequently when my body is stressed (allergies, sinus, lupus, fibromyalgia). If I hadn’t of taken the Covid test, I would not have believed the positive results until the fever set in. That’s when a few of the traditional symptoms appeared. What I hope you take from this is to pay attention to your body. If something feels off, listen and take care of yourself. I ignored my gut on the Wednesday I showed up to work not feeling well. I pushed through thinking I didn’t need to miss another day of work. Looking back, I know that my health is far more important than a day of work. I’ve had time to reflect on my current life and realize there are changes that I need to make to ensure my best health possible.
I am not sure when all the lingering weakness will go away. At least I am on the way to mending. My daughter’s test came back negative. Hopefully my mom will continue to stay healthy.
I am not overly worried about Covid nor am I ignoring precautions. I think fear is a terrible thing and that we must help one another through this time with love and compassion. We are all doing our best to navigate these uncertain times. Love your family and friends with wild abandon, be grateful for your health and be kind to your fellow humans ♥.
In retrospect, I watched a video that might have shortened the down time I had. If you feel you have Covid, or know of someone that does, please share this video and reach out to Dr. Bartlett or ask your Doctor about this nebulizer treatment with steroids.
I have a confession to make. Years ago, I erroneously thought that racism didn’t exist because I was not racist. That kind of thinking is very naive and ignorant. To this day I believe that there are a lot of white people out there that think this way. That kind of thought is dangerous because it breeds apathy and an attitude of disbelief.
White privilege is alive and well in 2020. What can we do about it? For starters, we can acknowledge that racism does exist. Next we can do our part to help our fellow mankind by becoming aware of how others are treated. That is not enough though. It takes action. Sometimes action takes courage. It is NOT okay to watch someone being treated unfairly regardless of who they are as a human being. We as a society must hold all people accountable for their actions. I would wager that if a police officer knew the general public was watching his actions, he might not have felt comfortable enough to act in such an abhorrent behavior. Maybe it would happen anyway because he is just a bad apple. But we as a society must watch out for each other. When we make a decision to ensure that our fellow mankind are safe, things change. We hold society accountable for their bad behavior. There are dangerous situations where it is not advisable to get physically involved but we can report abuse to the authorities right away. We can advocate as a witness for those who have been wronged. We can videotape and expose atrocities. We can call news groups to investigate. We can speak up and say something. Sometimes it calls for us to be courageous and step in. There is always something that we can do. Apathy is not the answer.
Violence will never be the answer to racism. Violence is never the answer to anything. There are good policemen and policewomen in the world. My brother is one. We have to stop generalizing that all police are bad. They have families and their safety is just as important as anyone else’s. So let’s get to the real problem – which is the total lack of compassion and respect for someone because of their skin color. For those that view someone matters less because of skin color, take a look at your DNA. You might find compassion when you realize that we are all a melting pot.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
Being sensitive both physiologically and emotionally can be draining if you do not create a good self-care routine. I am a social butterfly but I relish the sacred quietness of my home. It is my refuge after a busy day.
There are so many tools available today that can help you navigate the challenges of everyday life. First and foremost determine the level of self-care that you need. If you have unprocessed trauma, it would be a good idea to try somatic therapies so you can move past being in a “fight or flight” state. Being in a constant state of anxiety can drain your adrenals and create cortisol in the body which can lead to illness and/or disease in the body. Empaths and HSP’s tend to have autoimmune issues. Some common ailments that you might be susceptible to: chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, Epstein Barr Syndrome, Hashimoto Disease, Graves Disease, fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease, lupus, MS, allergies, rosacea, ezcema, ulcers and arthritis. This is not an extensive list but it gives you an idea of how the body can react to stress and sensitivity.
Here are a few common types of therapies that can help you to calm your system – both physically and emotionally:
The somatic therapies mentioned above can also be useful for anyone who has the desire to break negative patterns in their life.
The next step is to make your home and surroundings as comfortable as possible. As a Highly Sensitive Person, you have to create a safe space to retreat to when you get overwhelmed by the outward stimuli. Know what triggers your body so that you can minimize the discomfort that comes from being over stimulated. If you are not completely aware of what you are sensitive to, take the time to check in with your body to see how something makes you feel. I have a sensitivity to chemicals on my skin. I choose products that are as natural as possible with the least amount of ingredients. Here is a basic list of environmental triggers:
You cannot avoid everything but limiting the stimuli around you can limit your stress levels.
Through my own journey, what I have learned is that I need time to unwind in a space that is peaceful and calm. One of my favorite things to do is play healing frequency music while I meditate, journal, or rest. You can find healing Soffegio music on Youtube in various frequencies. One of my favorite channels is from Meditative Mind. You can find them by clicking on hyperlink https://youtu.be/goyZbut_KFY
Here is a list of self care things that have worked for me:
I hope that this blog is helpful to my fellow sensitives and empaths. If you have a self care ritual or sensitivity that I didn’t mention, I’d love to hear from you!
I am not a licensed health care professional and this blog is only intended to give you a first hand experience point of view.
A few weeks back I blogged about the traits of an empath. Being an empath can be nurtured or inherited genetically. Unfortunately some people become empaths as a way of surviving childhood trauma. I liken it to developing a super power as a child. Having the skill to check the emotional temperature in a room can protect a child from walking into a potentially violent situation.
Empaths can also be Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s) but they do not necessarily go hand in hand. HSP is a biological personality trait. Roughly, 20% of the population is HSP. They are often described as introverts but they can be an extroverted.
HSP’s have sensory sensitivities. They can be sensitive to any and/or all environmental stimuli. They can get overwhelmed and require quiet time to recharge after a day of life interactions. If you are HSP and empathic, everyday life can be challenging to process.
Imagine walking into a room full of people and you hear chatter in your head and begin to feel nauseous. You feel the person next to you is very sad. You feel the depth of their despair and it makes you sad. You begin to feel tired. The lights are so bright in the room that you have to squint to see. The lighting is hurting your eyes. The cologne from the guy standing 10 feet away is assaulting your olfactory senses and burning your nose. You feel a headache coming on from the smell. Someone across the room is smiling and chatting yet you know that they are depressed. Their heart is hurting. Your heart begins to literally ache. The music is so loud you cannot focus. The words in the song and the voice feel very negative and your mood drops lower. You begin to feel hungry and find your way to the food bar but all they are serving is gumbo and you hate slimy okra. You begin to get angry because you are hungry and need to eat soon. All your senses are on fire and the room begins to close in on you. You feel like you cannot breathe and you are overwhelmed both physically and emotionally. This is a typical scenario for the empath who also happens to be highly sensitive. Life can be overwhelming by simply going to the grocery store or anywhere where there are big crowds. Sensory overload happens and you retreat to a quiet place.
Are you Highly Sensitive? If you can relate to most of these, then you are more than likely HSP.
This is not a complete list of HSP traits but if you can identify with most of these, you are more than likely an HSP. If you are both an empath and HSP, there are ways you can offset the unavoidable situations in life. It is important to do radical self care. HSP and being an empath can seem like a curse at times but the world needs us, especially right now. Do not be afraid to be the rare unicorn that you are! On my next blog, I’ll dive into tools that can help you to do self care and utilize your senstivities in a positive way.
Sitting in my office, I am reflecting on the journey my life has taken the last 14 years. It is much easier to share the highlights and hide the struggles and hard times. Yet that is where the richest part of life comes from….the brokenness and the pain that causes a person to grow and expand in ways they never imagined. No one is exempt from trials, tribulations and heartache. It is just not shared so openly.
I never imagined myself to be married twice let alone on my way to a second divorce. I was in it for the long haul. That’s where I got sidetracked folks. Trying so hard to make something work that had naturally run its course. I found myself swimming upstream and I was exhausted. Finally I threw my hands in the air and asked for some spiritual guidance. What came out of that conversation is that I did not support myself or have my own back. Let me repeat that loud and clear…I DID NOT HAVE MY OWN BACK.
My journey to being authentic was just beginning and might I add, it is not a destination…it is a journey. I’ve always been a person to be supportive of other people, but not myself. The realization hit me hard and stopped me in my tracks. I took a good look at my life and decided to make some changes. The Marie Kondo for the Soul began to help me clear out the baggage in my heart so I could clear up my life. Being real and speaking my truth has taken me out of my comfort zone. I’m living on the edge each and every day. It’s a beautiful place to be as I see my new chapter begin to take shape.
Divorce is not my finest hour in life but it is necessary for me. I am always going to love the man I chose to marry. We share beautiful children that we raised together. There were great times, good time and sad times. There is no right or wrong. It just is. I am grateful for our time together. We helped each other to grow and expand as human beings. Coming full circle, that journey into marriage led me to where I am right now…with the courage to have my heart broken open.
What is an empath and how do you know if you are one? Some people wear like it like a banner and others are ashamed to admit that they are because there is a vulnerability that can misconstrued as weakness. Sometimes it is a weakness. It depends on the individual and where they are in their journey.
My journey as an empath began at a very young age. I was an emotional sponge and I still am if I’m not careful. Friends, if you read this blog and relate to the traits I describe below, be sure to do your own self care. The world needs us right now AND they need us healthy.
If you have most of these traits, consider yourself an empath:
Being an empath can be both an amazing experience and a curse. It depends on how you develop as a person. The most important take away I have is that setting personal boundaries should be your first priority when you realize that you are an empath. Realize that you are enough and you don’t have to give up who you are to please someone else. Set boundaries with family and friends and all that cross your path. It is not easy to do. Start small by saying no to things that don’t matter too much to you. For instance, say no to volunteering for something that will cost you precious time that you don’t have to spare. Begin considering yourself first before you commit to anyone or anything. This is not being selfish. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot help anyone else. I liken this advice to the instructions that flight attendants give when you are on a plane. In order to help your children or anyone around you on the plane, you must first put your own oxygen mask on. Self care is important.
If you have an experience you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.
I would like to add a very important detail that some of you can relate to – addictions. Empaths are prone to addictions of all sorts. The sensitivity can be overwhelming at times so we develop addictions to dull the senses or distract us from dealing with our feelings. It is so important to honor your journey if you are in the midst of an addiction. Get real with yourself and be gentle and loving. Forgive yourself and forgive others. That is the path to healing.
Eleven years ago I made a conscious decision to volunteer with an organization that advocates for children. I went through the extensive training and background check and was ready for my first case. She came to me as soon as I graduated the program. She had trust issues and I was her second advocate. Already at a disadvantage, I decided that I would dedicate time on a weekly basis to build her trust. She needed me and I needed her to trust me in order to be her voice.
When I began this journey with my Warrior Princess, my hope was that we would be able to reunite her with her family. I was told that it could take up to a year and to be prepared to attend all meetings and appointments on her behalf. I was ready and excited to be of service. I did not realize how deeply involved I would become with my Warrior Princess.
My Warrior Princess was 15 at the time we met. I could see so much potential in her but it would be years before she saw that potential in herself. Every week I would pick her up and spend a couple of hours with her. She began to see that I really cared. We worked on an end goal of her being able to go home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for her. I crossed the line of being an advocate and developed more a family bond with her. I loved her like my own children and felt more like mama bear versus advocate. What she went through in her young life broke my heart. I could relate to some of her trials and tribulations as I had experienced them too.
At 18, she graduated school and was given a little money and she moved away. The grown ups involved in her life hoped that the years of counseling she received would help her as she embarked on her life as an adult. My biggest wish for her was that she could break free from the emotional oppression that she had felt as child. But again her life took some twists and turns. She became a young mother and the patterns continued. We stayed in touch throughout the years and I held a hope in my heart that she would one day realize who she is.
That day has come. My Warrior Princess is a little weathered from her trials. She has walked through fire and she has been burned more than a few times. Yet it has removed the shell of a person that has held her back. Her new skin is shiny and bright. She’s still getting used to the look. But she is beautiful inside and out.
She called me the other day to let me know that she heard me all those years and she knows on a deep level that she is worthy of all the good things life has to offer. I believe her. I shared that I myself am going through the fire, shedding my old skin to prepare for a new life. We are mirroring that for each other. She is a strong and resilient spirit and I know that she is here to make a difference. Her walk has not been easy but so worth it. I look forward to seeing her create her best life.
My Warrior Princess is an inspiration to me and I love her with all my heart. She is like a daughter. I will always be her biggest fan.
My Warrior Princess is a beautiful flower.
If I could name 2020, it would be, “Welcome to the Shit Show”. My life is changing in every way imaginable. It’s been a roller coaster ride. So much has happened that I thought about just throwing myself on the floor and having a real tantrum. But mom reminded that it would only make my voice hoarse and I would cough more. Thanks mom for the dose of reality. I can always count on you to keep it real.
2020 began with massive changes. I couldn’t just make a few changes….no…I chose to let go of all that caused me pain, including things. Purging everything that I no longer needed. The house got pretty empty. I said goodbye to my marriage and we put the house up for sale. I left a career that I was very unhappy with. Each step very painful. It left me feeling very vulnerable with my heart broken open. But I have a theory about life. Life is always working for us, even if we don’t recognize it as such. I’ve really questioned why things happen the way they do. So I’ve come up with a possible answer.
I have a theory that I have some spirit guides with a wicked sense of humor. I envision two little leprechauns with their unicorn Fred sitting up in Heaven co-conspiring to give me the most personal growth possible in this lifetime. I can see them strategically planning my life for maximum growth. Leprechaun 1, “Hey, you know that Covid test we made positive last week? That threw Dina off just a little bit but let’s make it more interesting this week. Turn up the coughing. Then let’s get rid of her fever. That will confuse the hell out of her.” They laugh hysterically and continue to plan their shenanigans. Leprechaun 2, “Hey remember when Dina thought her house would sell within 60 days? We sure fixed that didn’t we? That large plumbing problem…nobody saw that coming. I’ll have to admit that we might have went too far with the big plumbing bill. That was tough. At least we gave her a cute plumber that sat with her for 2 days and he saved her from her least favorite bug. That did lessen the blow a little didn’t it?” Leprechaun 1, “Hmmm, so far this year we have stalled her from getting a new job, the selling of the house and her divorce. Is there anything else we can put in her path to slow her down? Oh, I know! Let’s mess with her health. I know she has kept her lupus under control but we need to see some flare ups. Let’s see how she handles herself under pressure.” Leprechaun 2, “You know she worries about her mom too. Let’s crank up the pain for her mom. They can both be down physically at the same time. That should promote some healthy bonding.” Leprechaun 1, “Yeah that’s great! She is really going to stretch those spiritual and emotional muscles. I bet she will question her life purpose. And I’m willing to bet you two rainbows that she blogs about her experiences.” Leprechaun 2, “I sure hope so because she is behind on finishing her book. It’s taken her almost 10 years. We have to light a fire under her ass. Poor girl, didn’t know what hit her.” Leprechaun 1, “Yes but we do it with the best of intentions. She is meant to be a badass woman. She’s getting there aside from her schmaltzy meltdowns. lf she could only see herself ugly cry…wah, wah, wah. Doesn’t she know we are preparing her for greatness?”
That is how I envision my life unfolding. Unforeseen events happening not to me but for me (leprechauns optional). I imagine myself as a tea bag being put in hot water.
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Flowers will be purchased, gift baskets will be delivered and restaurants will be filled with families who will celebrate the women in their life. Social media will be lit up with posts of happy mothers showing off their gifts. Not everyone will be celebrating.
What is a mother? To me, it is not a woman who simply gives birth. It is the woman who takes the time to love and nurture a child to adulthood. She opens her arms without the expectation of anything in return. If you have experienced this kind of love, whether from a biological or adopted mother, be thankful.
If you are a child or adult mourning the loss of your mother, know that you are not alone. Treasure the memories and do something to honor her life.
If you are a mother mourning the loss of your child, may you feel the love of family and friends as you process your grief. No one will understand your grief like a mother who has walked your journey. Be gentle with yourself during this tender time.
If you are a woman who longs to be a mother and you are fighting depression every time this day rolls around, know that there are other women who walk in your shoes. You are enough. Keep your heart open to the gentle nudges of your heart.
If you are a child or adult who has not known the security of having a mother, may you find a wise woman in your life that will offer you nurturing. There are so many widows in the world and elderly in nursing homes that would jump at the chance to have time with another human being.
If you are a mother-to-be, enjoy each breath you take as you give your baby life. Every moment is precious.
Mothering can come from a nurturing father, mentor, or foster family. It can come from a teacher, grandma, aunt, neighbor or even an older sibling. My hat is off to every human who shows up to nurture a child.
Wherever you find yourself on Mother’s day, may you know that your journey is uniquely your own and it is okay to celebrate, laugh, cry, honor or mourn.
With the deepest love ♥
If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be working at Amazon as a warehouse worker at the age of 52, I would have laughed (although the thought of moving my body and giving my mind a rest would have been enticing).
In October of 2019, I quit the mortgage industry after 14 years. It was time for a change. I do not miss being on call 7 days a week and I do not miss the stress level and long hours at a computer/on a phone. When I initially began working at Amazon, I was just happy to have a job. It’s been a month and I have had time to reflect on what I’ve learned and surprisingly this job has been a perfect match for me right now.
With a grateful heart, I would like to share 10 observations about my new employment and what it has taught me:
I’ve been in a holding pattern for months. I want to make some shit happen. Why? Because being still, patient, has never been my best attribute. I sound like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum, and that would not be entirely untrue. Life is happening right in front of me without me controlling the situation. My inner child is stomping her feet and having a full on tantrum right now.
There are answers for my dilemma but they are not what I planned so I’ve cast them aside in favor of my own ideas. So the real struggle here is not where I am physically but where I am in my mind. Letting go of the need to control every aspect of my life. I’m sure the Universe is having a hey day trying to persuade me to listen to the gentle, still voice of reason. I acknowledge my shortcomings and really want to embrace the gentler way of being. It’s scary and unknown. What if I fall flat on my face? But then I think where I am now and is it not a worse place to be? The anxiety and depression I have caused myself has created physical symptoms of stress.
As I contemplate a new way of being, I realize that I’m open to it only because “making shit happen” has failed me. Admitting that publicly creates a lump in my throat. It’s not an easy lesson. I hope that I fully embrace it. It may take a while. I’m a work in progress.
Today I will live in the moment and be thankful for all that I have in my life. I have a place to live, friends and family that love me and a life that is waiting to unfold.
Mom said it best the other day…