I have been struggling with writing lately. Like most people right now, life is turned upside down. I am blessed to still be working, but I am now doing it from home, which has its own share of challenges. Working with family and kids at home, surrounded by the daily responsibilities that I get to leave behind when I walk out the door and go to my office. There is no on and off switch here. There is no, “I’m headed to work, be home later!” And I am BUSY. I am averaging 60 plus hours a week and finding it difficult to walk away, even when I know I should, and sometimes when I know I could.
My “job” is as an Executive Admin. I support two executives who happen to be responsible for Occupational Medicine and Wellness for one of the largest healthcare/hospital systems in our state. What does that even mean? It means we have suddenly been plunged into supporting 27,000 plus healthcare employees and external clients such as first responders, during an unprecedented pandemic. We are buried in questions, requests, concerns, accommodations, and most importantly, the health of a whole lot of people. Our roles, our processes, and our procedures are changing by the minute based on the fluid and rapid movement of the situation. It is both a blessing and a curse to be so close to it all, yet disconnected. Sitting in my home, routing requests, managing schedules, setting meetings, producing policy documents and communicating information out to the masses. They are facing what could literally be life or death daily, and I get to just sit here typing away. So I am lucky, yes, but part of me also feels anything I do is not enough. They deserve more. I want to give more. It leaves me with a really messy, unclear sense of how I feel or should feel.
The busy work schedule has allowed me to stay distracted and not have to focus on the overwhelming weight of the world most of the time. No time to think, just pivot and get it done. But then there are the moments when I am seeing our statistics, or hearing from doctors and nurses the stories of what they are seeing and living daily. And those days are hard to let go of. There are many nights I just can’t sleep. I can’t shut it off. I get daily notices of how many COVID patients we have across our network in each hospital, outlining how many are in ICU and how many are on ventilators. I see all of the communication regarding PPE use and reuse procedures and updates on expectations and expansions of testing, parameters and guidelines. I see how this is affecting visitor policy, entrance and exit strategies to units and floors and restrictions and changes every single day. I am honored to have a role in the support of this all amongst some pretty amazing humans. I have never been more proud of the work I am doing but the pressure to get it all right, and the unknowns of how long this pace will have to continue, for all of us, is heavy. There are so many humans out there working at 200 percent right now. Giving every extra minute to fighting this beast for the safety and well-being of the patients, and equally fighting for each other.
So, I do not know how I feel. And that is an unusual place for me to be in. I normally can let my feelings easily and recognizably flow with acknowledgement and acceptance across a page. Whether they are good, bad, or otherwise, I always know how to let it go, and release it right out of me and into words. And it is ALWAYS healing to do so. But not this time. Not today and not yesterday. Not this week or last. Not this month, and maybe not next. The ups and downs and lefts and rights of my heart, my mind and my soul have me dizzy and I am unable to make sense of it all. So how do I write about how I feel when I just do not understand my feelings? Well, I guess this is it.
I feel blessed, I feel scared. I feel stressed, but useful. I feel needed, but tired. Somedays I feel selfish for not wanting to get out of bed and turn on my computer and other days like I am not doing enough for my family when I do not shut my computer off and just keep going. The balance is hard, and some days I want to scream and complain and shout and cry and sometimes I want to cheer at what we are getting done and hug each one of this remarkable team I am a part of with such pride. I am trying to learn to embrace and own those moments for what they are, moments. I try to tell myself all of this is just temporary and soon the world…my world….our world, will be back to “normal”. But I do not know if I know what normal is now or what it will look like going forward.
I suppose at some point I will have to process all of the feelings that I have surrounding all of this. It will be necessary in order to make sense, make peace, and move forward. But for now, I just do not know how I feel. I just feel like we have to keep going. There is no time to pause and reflect. Because we know that there is so much on the line.
In the meantime, I will pray for you, and for me, and for all of us. And would ask you to do the same. The reality is we are all a mixed bag of feels right now, and however you are feeling… it is OK. And however I am feeling, or you are feeling, no one is feeling it alone. Continue to reach out and connect with each other… we are all feeling some sort of way. And we can all always benefit from connection with each other.
Namaste. Peace, Love and Light to all of you! Together, we will overcome.
Joan Poirier is an Empath, a goddess, a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend. She is you, and she is me. Just a real woman, embracing her age and her wisdom, and not afraid of opening the dam and making some waves during her short time on the wild ride of life. She is on an ever-growing quest to live better, do better, be better and taking all the lumps that go with it.