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In times of darkness, football fans have given us the light we so desperately need right now.

We all know that it’s easy to find the negatives these days. A quick scroll through social media, a few minutes flipping through tv or radio channels, and even a few minutes in a store will likely give you more than enough opportunities to witness human beings treating each other with less than their best compassion and love lately.

It’s all enough to make me want to stay in bed, hiding from the world. It’s all just too much.

But, even in challenging times, there are acts of kindness and compassion that restore all one’s faith in humanity. Sometimes those acts can come from the most unlikely of sources - competitive football fans. …


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As I sat in the quiet of my home this morning, a news alert dinged on my phone.

The unexpected noise startled me and I literally jumped out of my seat.

I felt a knot in my throat and a pit in my stomach as I reached to see what the alert said.

It wasn’t anything bad…thankfully.

But in that moment, I realized just how long I’ve been holding my breath for today, the last in a long line of touchpoints following the election over 2 months ago.

This day is perhaps the most monumental day I can remember for our country. …


Don’t Forget To Live

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It’s hard right now, isn’t it?

So much noise.

So much pressure.

So much tension.

So much.

My senses are overloaded lately leaving me fumbling over my words by the time 8pm rolls around. The fact is, I’m simply too exhausted to form a coherent thought.

Half-written articles fill my drafts folder, some untouched for weeks. Creative sparks try to ignite but are quickly doused by thoughts of all the things I have to get done.

That’s the thing about stress — it tricks our brains into survival mode, leaving us focused only on the tasks it thinks are most important. Things like taking a break, enjoying a sparkling Christmas tree, savoring a hot cup of tea, chatting with a friend, or taking a long bath are filtered out as “not important” and pushed to the next day. Or the day after that. …


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If you are a feeler, you could feel today coming.

You could feel the pressure building.

You could see the hate swirling.

This morning I woke with a pit in my stomach, afraid of the violence that might be seen.

Afraid of the unknown.

Parts of today went exactly how I feared. For hours I couldn’t help but watch what unfolded.

My teenagers found their way to my living room, sat beside me on the couch, and asked questions. They shared their opinions.

We witnessed history today.

There is a lot that can be said about today. …


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My therapy sessions with my patients have grown heavy once again — especially for my patients that work in healthcare.

Day after day they share, with tear filled eyes, their overwhelming fatigue. They stare blankly ahead at the telehealth screen as they describe lying awake night after night, too exhausted and overwhelmed to find sleep.

Each patient and their story is different but the common theme is the same — burnout.

Complete and total burnout.

So many question their career choice — for many of them have felt failed by their employers.

So many question their own humanity — for they now dread going to work and being around people. …


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(Photo by PhotoMIX-Company on Pixabay)

This year a 15 year tradition came to an end.

It was the first Christmas Eve without an official believer in our house.

But, we still did all the typical Christmas things.

We still hid away all the presents.

We still talked about Santa coming to bring gifts.

We still made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, referred to as “Santa’s cookies” even if we make them in July.

We still waited until Christmas Eve to take the gifts from their hiding spaces and place them beneath the tree.

Much of this year was the same — but it was also very different. …


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A few years ago, our area got hit hard in the winter. We had blizzard after blizzard after blizzard. My kids had 7 snow days. I lost lots of money from having to miss work to stay home with the kids. Our roof leaked from ice dams that formed as a result of snow melting and refreezing over and over again.

Do you know what we all remember most about that long winter?

Not the lost income or house damage or not being able to see out our front windows because the snow was piled too high or having to stay in school until the very end of June. No. …


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Sometimes you will be too much for people.

Sometimes you won’t be enough.

Sometimes they will find you too sensitive

Sometimes they’ll say you are too insensitive.

Sometimes you will make decisions that hurt others.

Sometimes the decisions of others will hurt you.

Sometimes you will be lonely.

Sometimes you will wish for solitude.

Sometimes you will feel like all eyes are on you.

Sometimes you will feel invisible.

Sometimes the people you need to cheer you on won’t be there.

Sometimes people around you will shout things that aren’t true.

Sometimes you will feel too focused on a goal.

Sometimes you will feel lost and directionless. …


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Sometimes the darkness sets in.

Like many people right now, I am emotionally spent.

Empty.

Exhausted.

Broken.

My thoughts are cloudy.

My creativity is stunted.

My attention span is non existent.

The arguing and tension and constant back and forth of the past week has completely drained me.

The anger, hatred, mistrust, and insults have deflated my hope.

I could feel the darkness coming this time and I tried hard to make it stop.

I decorated my house for the holidays to usher in some cheer.

I rearranged my living room to give a refresh to my surroundings.

I limited social media. …


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Life is messy today.

Right now from my home office window, I can see the first snow of the season as it drifts gently down into my backyard — a backyard that still is somehow straddling not just summer and fall but now also winter.

The hammock that I like to lounge in on hot summer days is still sitting under my favorite tree.

That favorite tree is still in the process of shedding its vibrant orange and red leaves, many of which now cover my backyard.

Summer, fall, and winter are alive in my backyard-all at once.

My yard is in the space between. The space where nothing is clear. The space of messy overlap. …

About

Jenni Brennan, LICSW

www.jennibrennan.com 🖊 Author🎙Podcaster ❤️ Therapist 📖 Professor | Passionate about leaning into topics like grief, parenting, relationships & wellness.

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