Oh My God I’m Soooo Wound Up

Week whatever, I’m exhausted and not the least motivated.

I have a lot on my mind and heart.

One, I’m quite stressed with new work responsibilities. I’m always that way when given something new. I get so paranoid about not understanding it all at once. I panic that I’ll let something slip through the cracks. I’m terrified of making a mistake.

Yet I know that once I know it, in a relatively short period of time, all will be well. So, please, stop panicking. Knowing it will all be well is only so comforting. These are just old tapes that I’m stupid or can’t learn things. I have to overcome these old tapes every day.

And I am glad for the extra responsibility even though I actually feel I’m the busiest person in the whole office, but there are only seven of us and we all wear lots of hats. It just so happens that I am interrupted every two minutes by a phone call, and when I’m in this learning/panicking phase, I fucking hate being interrupted. It would not be so bad, but our new phone system puts every call through me. In the past they could get calls directly to their desk. Who’s idea was this!?

But I need to hold on, because eventually they will get more funding and they will move me from the front desk, I just know it. I have to get through the next two to three weeks looking as competent as I possibly can. The opportunity to advance will be there for me, probably in the next year.

So the added stress made me throw my fitness and eating plan right out the window. I simply can’t handle more than one thing at a time!

And I over committed myself to a bunch of church activities and am facing burnout there, working hard in the kitchen after work. And I’m realizing I need to scale it back and give myself some real downtime on the weekends. They fly by so, so quickly.

And, I’m struggling with my conscience as well. Twice a month I work hard, getting to the church by 8 a.m. on Saturdays to prepare and serve breakfast to upwards of 300 homeless / hungry people. But I’m losing my empathy because they are all drug users! They wake up every day and decide life on the streets being dirty, with sores all over their faces, filthy, smelly, is better than giving up meth or heroine or whatever their poison is.

They twitch, they can’t make eye contact — to be honest I feel like I might was well be asking a zombie, “Good morning! Would you like some grits?” Because they are like zombies. These are not people who are simply hard on their luck, looking for a hand. These are addicts and I am having a terrible time feeling compassion for them!

The breakfast twice a month has been my ministry at my church for about nine months, but perhaps I need to take a break from it. Because I don’t see how we’re helping them. Yes, we’re feeding them, but few of them are skinny or hungry looking. WE ARE NOT ADDRESSING THEIR DRUG PROBLEM. And every city across America is filled with people of all ages who are helpless over these highly addictive drugs! This is not like the old days with a few local drunks. This feels epidemic!

They have taken over parts of our downtown. They are intimidating and not friendly. They sit on the sidewalk right outside nice restaurants with their signs, dogs, and bowls. This is their life choice and they seem defiant about it! I’ve heard in Portland it got so bad that they took over a downtown park, were shooting up and even having sex in public. They don’t care.

“What Would Jesus Do?” I think he’d get fucking angry at them! People like my nephew who just came into town and is able bodied, but would rather smoke weed all day long and just get by on the minimum. I fucking hate all drugs, even weed, which I feel makes people boring, unmotivated, and stupid.

I am wound up.

Tomorrow after church services there will be information tables explaining other opportunities for ministry — I need to take a look at them and take a break from the zombie drug addicts. I need to work on my compassion, too, and why this bothers me so much. I need to ask God to help me.

I’m going to try to have a word with the priest or assistant priest about this lack of caring I’m feeling towards them — certainly it is unChristianlike.

My addicted nephew who made his mom’s life a living hell came to Portland because his older brother thought he could turn him around. He got a job quickly but only three days a week. He acted as though that was just fine. And ultimately, of course, he got fired and he was soon on the streets of PDX. He posts pictures of him and his gummy mouthed girlfriend cooking on the curb in Portland as though “this is the life.” I wrote to him privately on FB and said, “You won’t like it when it’s freezing and wet and dark. Please focus on your sobriety.” He never responded.

And now, he’s in our town. He and his sister met my parents for lunch and evidently he kept saying, “I don’t know why people think I have a drug problem.” And I’m so glad I wasn’t there, I would have screamed at him, “Are you a fucking idiot? You’re 29 years old, able bodied, and choosing to live on the street — YOU DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH DRUGS.”

My own 39 year old daughter works seven days a week and takes three classes per term to better her life. Then you have this fucking asshole who just thinks hard work is for others, not him.

Oh my God, I’m sorry I’m so wound up.

I told every member of his family, including his mother, that I did not want any of this drama to end up at my parent’s doorstep, and the VERY FIRST DAY HE’S IN TOWN THEY CALL TO COME OVER AND HANG OUT ON MY PARENT’S COUCH? FUCK NO! My parents are the ones who said why not meet us at a restaurant instead. Now I feel I’m going to have to tell them point blank —  DON’T COME AROUND HERE!!!!!

The last time I came home, several months ago, while they were here, thank God my mom was not here, because the house smelled like a skunk exploded due to a backpack filled with marijuana. I had them put it outside. Then I was thinking, fuck, this is illegal, isn’t it? I can’t even keep track any longer. But I do have a job where background checks are performed and I do not want to be around a backpack full of pot.


Shit. Fuck. What should I do? I want to protect my parents. But if I tell my sister’s two loser kids they can’t bring their stoned asses around here, I might make my sister despise me. FUCK!

—- an hour later —

I got so upset, I was composing a message to my sister, then deleted it and went to talk to my parents. I feel a little calmer now. We are all in agreement. They were very embarrassed to be at a restaurant with the three smelly ragamuffins today and they don’t want them hanging around their house.

We have nothing in common with them or their lifestyle and we’ve agreed to wait until the next invitation of theirs to lay it out for them. Dad has offered to do the talking since they will know he still loves them. If my mom says it, they’ll hate her more than they already do.

My sister is having horrible health problems out in Louisiana and doesn’t need to be dragged into this, although I’m sure she’ll hear about it. I don’t understand how her kids, who grew up watching her work to support all five of them because their father was a moron and didn’t contribute one cent after the divorce, have no work ethic whatsoever.

I am seriously annoyed, however, that my sister and her relatively sober son in Portland assured me over and over that this druggie son would not bring drama to his grandparent’s doorstep and he did so within 24 hours of being in town.

Mom and dad said that as heads of the family they’d take care of it, so I am stepping out of the middle. I’ve got to find a way to chill out. I wish I had a hiking buddy. I really do.


11 responses to “Oh My God I’m Soooo Wound Up

  1. It might help you to have empathy if you do some reading up on addiction. It’s not a simple as you make it sound. Addicts do not “choose” the hell they are living in (and it is hell). And addicts will defend their addiction (it’s their best friend) with all manner of lies and denying. Trust me, they know they have a drug problem. What comes out of their mouth is lies. As for what would Christ do? He loves them and his heart breaks for the mess they are in. He would be angry at the mess, not at the addict. It sounds like your church is doing what they can to love them. What they really need is treatment. It is not easy to get an addict into treatment. First, it’s expensive. Second, giving up their best friend is the scariest thing an addict can think of doing. This is their hell. They are scared to continue in addiction, living only to get their next fix, but are scared to lose it. For one thing, then they would have to face all the mess it has created. Countless dollars lost, countless friends and family hurt, jobs lost, health issues, property loss, possible criminal charges, loss of respect, and on and on. I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. Addiction not only affects the addict but the family as well. You have every right to protect yourself and your family. Sad.

    • Cynthia, thank you for the reality check. When I first started volunteering for the breakfast I was aware that this is probably one of the few meals a month where these people can come inside and sit at a table and be treated with some dignity. They are, after all, someone’s son, daughter, father, etc.

      And yes, Jesus would treat them with love. Addiction to meth, heroine, and many prescription drugs are notoriously difficult to recover from and I, of all people, know what it’s like to choose a horrible life over a decent and healthy one simply because picking up the pieces and starting over is too hard.

      This is me being wound up and self centered, a bit like my mom, thinking their addiction is about me when it has nothing whatsoever to do with me. If I need to cut back on this ministry or find another one, that’s what I should do. If this ministry helps me to become a more compassionate person, then I should stick with it.

      This morning I woke up and a friend had posted on FB a quote from the Surgeon General: “We’re going to stop treating addiction as a moral failing and treat it as a chronic disease with urgency and compassion.”

      Maybe this will be the start of getting help for more drug addicted people on the streets.


      • I agree you should choose another ministry for awhile, or none at all. Seems like your plate is pretty full of stress and there’s nothing wrong with taking time out to focus on your own health. You have such a sweet heart for others. But, as always, I’m impressed with how in tune you are to your own self and needs and your ability to take good care of yourself.

  2. I think you are feeling a little burnout right now, and need to join a ministry that will possibly give you a certain amount of joy, which I think you are lacking, in your life. What about teaching Sunday school, or joining the church choir?

    • Betsy, I am burned out, but it’s of my own doing. I often (if not always) overreact and then eventually come around to “normal” thinking. It’s tiring and is a sign of my emotional immaturity. Then I give myself a terrible time about it, blah blah blah. Today all the ministries at church will have an information table set up — it’ll be nice to see what other options are there. Cutting back or taking a reprieve from the breakfast may be a good option for me right now simply because of how stressed I am at work. I seem to be able to handle only one thing at a time! Thanks for your support. xox

  3. ML even Jesus flipped a table or two in his time. It wasn’t often, but forgive yourself this feeling of helplessness and anger.

    I was a youth worker way back in the day, and I would go home almost every night and cry, learning something new and horrible about what these poor children endured or brought on themselves. Knowing they wouldn’t get further than the next housing unit over. Knowing that getting knocked up young guaranteed a bigger welfare cheque. Phooey, it sucked and I hated their acceptance of their lot. Where was the kid who studied all day for a scholarship? They have those kids in movies all the time! Nope. Not in this block. Your heart feels this weight because you hurt for them. It’s sympathy and empathy and knowing that their ability to overcome is there- if only they actually had the hope to reach for it. Someone in that group just may. You are touching and helping them. Jesus would have died even to save one, and like him, you can serve with the hope of inspiring something in someone, even making their life a little less awful.

    Have you ever read ‘this present darkness’ by frank peretti? It’s a normal fiction book, but I think it may help you frame addiction and life struggle in a way that makes sense to your spiritual side. It is so clearly drawn out in the book that everything we encounter – discouragement, antipathy, addiction, laziness, physical illness, all of these things are actually played by demons. Essentially satan sends whatever demon our way which will be most helpful in derailing our path to God. And I think that fits your struggle right now beautifully. You are feeling overwhelmed at work, the demon of anxiety. You are feeling unacknowledged or overlooked- the demon of jealousy. They are ungrateful and lazy- the demons of addiction and slothfulness are on their backs, and you have something of hate and misunderstanding on your shoulders every moment. It makes it so tangible, and makes your prayer to God so clear- help me clear my mind of the negative, cast off the shadows of doubt and anger and just express the love you had for all of us. Use me as a vessel for love. Keep that as close to your heart as you can and make it as true as you can and all your demons will fall away. And you will be blessed with his peace, which will help with everything. It would be a beautiful thing for your sisters kids to see that it is OK to stArt over. Aunt ML did, and she’s really findIng her stride, and seeing your path as one which has also been perfect but you’re figuring it out, and focusing on forward. Lecturing isn’t going to help. But loving them, without supporting or condoning their pile of shit is also going to help them see they need a plan and they can be better. I agree and support all your rant! People need to want to change. If you can’t just be love at the meal, yes, step away for a bit. But that’s not your long term solution it’s a break. You are a compassionate amazing woman, I think you are also just becoming aware of your limits. Perhaps serving breakfast to ungrateful seeming addicts (often very trapped in the narc circle of not my fault even if they’re not narcs) is almost a trigger for you. But that’s my two cents I just

    • “This Present Darkness” sounds like an amazing book, Alex. I’ll definitely look into it. In the coming days and weeks I will try to figure out if this is the right ministry for me or not. For forty hours a week I am immersed in the world of child sex abuse and I’ve already built up a wall that has almost desensitized me because there’s no way to keep reading the police reports and seeing their faces when they come in for their forensic interview if one is an emotional wreck.

      I do need some lightness in my life. I need to have friends over for dinner. To walk my own dog. To have a garden. All things I’m lacking still. I need to put all of this sadness into perspective somehow and also move on with my own journey of recovery which is still in its infancy.

      I think I will more than likely decide to keep on with this ministry simply because it challenges me so much, also, the other workers need me. It’s a ton of work. But that doesn’t mean a break now and then is not in order.

      Thanks very much for your input. It is always appreciated. xox

  4. Love your story. Oops

  5. I need to proofread these things… *seeing your path as one which has also not been perfect…

  6. I have a route I take when I get this way. Feeling self centered and angry at people who I feel are making a choice, when in fact, most of them aren’t making that choice, and then feeling horrible when I remember what a mess I still am and that I’m in no position to judge anyone about anything. For goodness sake, I can’t even get control of my weight — my eating is my own addiction and I can’t just snap my fingers and make the addiction disappear. Now I’m consumed with guilt.

    In the shower just now I broke down in tears when I have not cried in many months. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with all the sexual humiliation my ex-husband put me through. I don’t allow myself to think about it much, but today it punched me in the face. I need to forgive myself, forgive others for just being frail humans. I hope my current shame spiral doesn’t last too long.

    Thank you, everyone, for your clear and compassionate voices. xox

  7. You are mighty. Sometimes we all need a release. Maybe a good cry was what you needed. You’ve identified the path, you know what you don’t want to be. This is your guide to how to change. Hugs.

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