Impossible Things
September 3, 2017
Eating Healthy with Chefs Plate
March 27, 2018

A New Normal

So where have I been the last 6 months? Good question . . . mostly at home, lol.  In September I took an online course in an attempt to gain entrance to the Master’s of Social Work program at Waterloo. The class was the last of 2 classes I needed before applying. Of course I left the two classes I didn’t want to take until the end. It was about Social Research and I just sucked at it.  It was a lot of statistical information (which I have never done well with) and concepts that I just could not get to stick in my head.  Aside from Anthropology in first semester of my first year as an undergraduate – this was the hardest class I have ever taken. One day I got a 50% on an assignment and then 3 days later received a 90% on another one. We worked in groups of three for most of the assignments but the areas I struggled in they seemed to do the same. I was never so happy to be done a class. During the semester I began to look at other options like transferring to Windsor (which they make as hard as they can) or perhaps going with Laurier. Then I was driving home one day and I thought . . . “Why exactly am I doing this?”. The long hard truth was that I had promised myself when the kids were older I would go back to school and get my Masters in Social Work. So when Jeremy started highschool I decided it was time to make it happen. But what I hadn’t done was look closely at my current life, my goals, my desires, my hopes and dreams. The reality was that I had no idea. The Social Worker goal is an old goal – maybe one that I will someday achieve but for now it doesn’t fit into my life plan.

There were three things that happened that helped to shape my decision:

1. My passion for writing and public speaking. I was experiencing more success in having my writing shared and even received payment for some. I had launched this website because of my big brother Chris Muggridge and had family pictures done complete with headshots – because if I was going to do this thing I was going to do it right.

In October I made the keynote closing speech at the joint Ontario Association for Infant and Child Development (OAICD) and Early Childhood Resource Teachers of Ontario Institute of 2017.  I will write more on that in a separate post but I will say it was an amazing experience!


2. My new position at work. I had tried a couple of times for different positions and wasn’t chosen. While hard to swallow, I understood the reasons why I wasn’t chosen. When the position for intake came up again I was so excited because of all my positions I have held over the years it was my absolute favourite. But I gave it a second thought when I began to doubt myself and I wondered aloud in my therapy sessions “How many times can I be rejected before I start to let it get to me?”. I didn’t let fear hold me back, I moved forward with submitting my resume and the interview process. I was so relieved to find out I had been successful.

3. My mental health and physical well being. So with all of number 1 and number 2 happening combined with my social work course, being a wife and mother as well as someone living with mental illness it was a little overwhelming. A good overwhelming for all the right reasons but overhwhelming nonetheless. I continued to work 4 days a week and see my therapist and psychiatrist regularly. I took my medication as prescribed. My diabetes was more in control now that I had started insulin at night and I cut out fast food and lost 17 lbs. One day I sat in therapy and it hit me – I was content. Truly content. I don’t know that I had ever felt that way before. My anxiety was at an all time low, my sleep was good, my diet healthier. I wasn’t manic and I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t feeling like a fake anymore – you know the “fake it til you make it” thing that I have been doing my whole life. For once I was – just me. To tell the truth, It felt weird. It has taken some getting used to, this new normal.

Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak is a 40-something mom and wife with two spirited boys. She has worked in early intervention and as an advocate resource for families with a loved one with a disability. Now she also writes a blog about raising children with complex needs, advocating within the education system, adopting from foster care, trying not to lose your sense of self as you parent, and her struggles with infertility and depression.

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