Why I Complain About A Job I Love

I love my job. It is stressful, time consuming, emotionally draining (at times), but I love my job. I am good at my job. I love to see the progress my clients make. I love to get calls from them years after program completion to hear that they are still doing well. And I get sad and feel somewhat responsible, at times, when I see that they have relapsed and been arrested.

Not all repeat drunk drivers are alcoholics. Most of my clients are not what we as society assumes an alcoholic is. About 85% of my clients have lives that are discombobulated and mismanaged and simply are at a complete loss on how to even get on track. So they self-medicate. And yes, this can then lead to a more solid addiction. But it is getting even those that interview for my program to understand, this will comminute in a negative manner until they get things straightened out.

But it is the clients who come in for the interview, telling me they have no issues at all with alcohol or drugs and just made a stupid decision. Again. And some choose to stick to that story no matter how much discussion we have. And maybe those people are right. They were just stupid. Again. But then there are the few clients that come in, have no issues, and as we talk further they break down.

I am much different than most “classic” probation officers. Those individuals do the best job with which they are given the capabilities of. We deal with adults. There needs to be an aspect of responsibility taken on their end as well. But I am open. Blunt. I may not suffer from addiction, but I know what families’ go through on that side. I tell potential clients that with both perspectives being represented, we can look more comprehensively at their issues of concern. That it is okay to have been diagnosed with mental health issues. I myself have those issues. And it is not all rainbows and unicorns every day.

Yesterday, I spoke with a potential client who just finally broke down and said that I was, “a breath of fresh air” in regards to my understanding. That simply because she needs medication to help her function, that does not mean she is a horrible person. That I will work with her to help her achieve the success she wants to achieve. But I will not pull her along. Many times, these individuals are not used to hearing these things from someone in my position.

The stigma of mental health and addiction is simply out of control just as much as the addiction crises that we have in our society today. Yes, technically, these people are criminals. They have committed crimes. Crimes that could have easily injured or killed themselves or someone else. But these are people. Treating them with understanding of why they are in front of me, and how to make sure they are NEVER in front of me again, that allows for success. Not for everyone, but for most. And that is what I try to accomplish every day.

I watched a video once of some people who came back to thank one of their high school teachers for his teachings. They talked to him about their successes in life, and how instrumental he was in those successes. I have a sign in my office that quotes that teacher (who I do not know the name of) that I look at daily to remind myself that I do this for a reason. For purpose.

“If you can change someone’s perception of themselves, and make them better that what they thought they were, then you have done a good job”.


Watch Out…..

The strength in me burns with a blinding light, yet only appears on an eclipse timeline

I beat myself up everyday to then hopefully be changed by the night

There are days it does not work

There are days where the hate is so strong it keeps me from even seeing what I can see within myself

As if I am locked in a room, screaming, pounding to get out

But the hate within me keeps me locked away

Sure, I am stronger than I used to be

Sure, I have changed the perception of myself to others

Sure, I have still stayed true to my willingness to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I will progress today

Sometimes, progression is simply being able to laugh

Sometimes, progression is a full on, knock down, drag out body beatdown to sweat out the toxins within my body and mind

Sometimes, it is getting out of bed with a plan to conquer the world and set it on fire

I am getting stronger and stronger everyday

Sometimes in small amounts

Sometimes in exponential amounts

So, watch out, even I do not know what will come of me in the morning

But I will work on it being epic in every way possible

Take Me Down

So, I try to keep myself in check with my metal health and those around me as much as possible. I generally know when something funky is about to irrupt. Sometimes, the irruption creates more of a nuisance that anything else. Then, in those times, it is time for a chatty chat to set me straight arrow for the proper directional motion.


I hate you. Like, full on, undeniable, wanna beat the shit or of you hate. Your voice pounds in my head. Your cackle is piercing. The whispers are chilling.

You make me change. You make me cry. You make me question my ability. You eviscerate my self-esteem. You make me angry. You make me scream. You wake me and keep me up. Then you make me numb. You make me cruel.

I hate you. Me. You are me. I am you. Intertwined and forged together in a manner that is ultimately unrecognizable. The inner me that makes sure I don’t get too confident. That makes sure I don’t feel too good about myself and how things are going. You make lies truths. You make truths fake. What are you doing? Why are you doing this? To me. To you.

I try to fix it, you break it down.

“Something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long”.

The length is your decision. You sit….. Above……. Waiting patiently for the time to strike. You’ll let me do all my normal actions. Same actions every day to stay good. But you sneak in the potholes. You sprinkle negativity.


You’re lonely. I get it. But you don’t need to bring me down with you. Please don’t bring me down with you. Your whispers scare me. Your cackle breaks me. And eventually, I won’t be here for you to pull down. Then where will you go?

“Set me free. Leave me be. I don’t wanna fall about moment into your gravity. Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I’m supposed to be”.


Sometimes, even with people all around, one can feel very alone

……………….but that is okay. I discuss this a lot with my clients. When someone is in the depths of an addiction, they feel as if no one understands what they are going through. When someone is in the depths of working on their sobriety, they struggle to find a place for themselves where they are completely understood. Addiction is a very selfish act that does not allow the individual struggling to feel as if they are selfish. Sobriety has a magnificent way of making someone feel as if working on and bettering their sobriety is too selfish an act to focus on. Quite ass backwards, right?

Feeling lonely comes to many people. I freely discuss my depression and how I struggle with it frequently. I feel as if it is important, especially for women, to discuss it as there is so much expected from us.

I have a good group of friends. I have family. I have co-workers. I have Ron, my husband. I have Jules, my girlfriend. I have…….much more than I deserve. But there are still days, even being around these people, that I feel as if I am the only one with thoughts of my inabilities and my lack of capabilities to function on he daily.

I immerse myself in activities. Crossfit, the gym, roller derby, school, my job, my home…..because silent thoughts in my brain are generally pretty negative. It is unreal how much the brain tries to become an enemy to ourselves. I tell my clients that our brain will continue to test and trick us. The devil and the angel. They both spend a majority of the time trying to silence the other. And man, let me tell you that my brain devil is a sadistic motherfucker.

Here is the important part, at least for me. Recognizing when and why the devil chooses to become the prominent voice. Did I forget meds? Did I have a trigger? Is the trigger an action? A person? A place?…..sometimes, even a song.

I am not ashamed of my depression. But my brain knows how to shame me. Usually by reminding me that I DO NOT have it all under control. And I fucking hate it. I hate when others have the control and the decisions I need to become under control are not nearly as important to those that hold my control in their incapable hands.

“No one understands” is something I utter to myself multiple times a day. Sometimes that no one is actually me. I do not understand even myself. I do not understand how I got to a certain place in my life. I do not understand how to dig myself out of (and sometimes even into) this hole. I do not understand. And I really, really fucking hate that.

Dear Shannon…….I went back.

In September of 2017 Ron and I made a trip to Kalamazoo to see you play a derby game. So excited you were in town and that I could see you play, meet your team, cheer you on. After all, you were the one who finally pushed me into signing up to play.

I remember the game. I still have the program. And seeing you after was fabulous. We chatted about derby, I met some of your teammates, we caught up with each others lives. It was short, but fabulous.

Two weeks later, we would lose you. It was so surreal for many of us all. I had just seen you. We laughed and chatted effortlessly like we always have when we saw each other. News spread in the derby world like wild fire. It is such a great group of people who all support each other so much. And going to practice after I got back from Ohio was difficult. I did not stay on as a skater. I chose to move to non-skating official status so that I could still support the team, but not have to be on skates.


After all, I owed it to you, I felt, to remain a part of the sport. That was one other small connection I had with you, and it was special to me.

Fast forward to yesterday. For the first time I returned to the Kalamazoo center to help in officiating the “K-Town Shakedown”. A tournament of teams all across the US and Canada. My games were in the same arena that you played.

I know it sounds odd, and maybe even ridiculous, but I felt you there. I could see us all sitting in the stands….laughing, cheering, chatting. Good times that made me smile.


On the way home I broke down slightly. I miss you. We all do. But in that moment, standing across the track remembering us in the stands…….you were with me. Us.


Love you!

Balance….or how to keep my crazy at its lowest…with crazy tactics.

I have been working on bettering myself overall for the past four or so years. Not just in my physical health, but mental health, work, in my home, and so on. I am so happy that warmer weather is coming. I have been working on cleaning some unused and unnecessary items from the home, we are going to finish the deck this year, and I am determined to get most of the crap in the garage out!

When things seem to be going well, there is always something that wants to trip it up. In this case, it is work. My work ethic has always been a struggle. Not in the general understanding of struggle, like being late, doing little, yada yada yada……quite the opposite. I am in early, I stay late, my heart is in my job. And while that is good for the job I have, it pulls life from me.

I love my job. I cannot really see myself doing much more than what I do. However, trying to balance work and life is difficult. And while some people just say, “just don’t think about it on the weekend”, or “do other things to keep you busy”, it is just not that simple. Oddly, much like addiction. One who is addicted to a substance cannot simply, “stop using” and have that be the end of it. Those who do are a rare breed.

My work addiction keeps my depression and anxiety at bay. Working out keeps my depression and anxiety at bay. However, both are short lived solutions and have to bounce off of each other in order for long-term maintenance.

Yes, it is not healthy. But I balance the best way I can.

Popping the balloon of high floating personal expectations

So, I will be the first to admit that I am hard on myself. I am well known for seeing expectations at unreachable levels, self-sabotage, and frustration. Of course, there is no difference when it comes to a sport I am doing and I do not see any upward movement.

Crossfit, no different as well. February 22nd marked the 2019 Crossfit Open. Every Thursday the weeks’ workout of the day (WOD) is announced. I am convinced they are to be the death of me every week. While I was not happy with the first week’s WOD (19.1), I could have easily done worse.

19.2 on the other hand………that was a shit show if I ever saw one.

It is hardtop see the progress in ourselves moving at its actual rate. We always see it as moving slower. Others, from the outside see it moving faster. For whatever reason, that is simply how it goes. At least with me.

But I still show up. Looking at 5 years ago, prior to my surgery, there was a struggle to go up a flight of stairs.

Then, running…..a 5k…….a10k…….a triathlon……..lifting weights……….kickboxing……..roller derby (for a short stint)……….a half-marathon (or 3-btw…no more!)………now Crossfit.

The big picture shows quite a bit. Just wish I could see all that more frequently.