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, trying not to lose your sense of self as you parent, and her struggles with mental health.

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