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More Americans are refusing to return to work even after getting vaccinated
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'll never forget the exhilaration I felt as I headed into the city on July 3, 2018. My pink hair was styled. I wore it up in a high ponytail, though I left two tendrils down. Two tendrils which framed my face. My makeup was done. I wore shadow on my eyes and blush on my cheeks, blush which gave me color. Which brought my pale complexion to life. And my confidence grew each time my heels clacked against the concrete.

My confidence grew with each and every step.

Why? Because I was a strong woman. A city woman. A woman headed to interview for her dream job.

I nailed the interview. Before I boarded the bus back home, I had an offer letter in my inbox. I was a news writer, with a salary and benefits, but a strange thing happened 13 months later. I quit said job in an instant. On a whim. I walked down Fifth Avenue and never looked back. And while there were a few reasons why I quit that warm, summer day: I was a new(ish) mom. A second-time mom, and I missed my children. Spending an hour with them each day just wasn't enough. My daughter was struggling in school. She needed oversight. Guidance. She needed my help. And my commute was rough. I couldn't cover the exorbitant cost of childcare. The real reason I quit was because my mental health was failing.



I live with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder and was going through a dark period. My depression was all-consuming. I struggled to get up and out of bed. My anxiety had also peaked. I was having near-daily panic attacks: with my breakfast. During our department's morning meeting. On the bus.

At first, I was afraid. Leaving my job was terrifying, personally and financially. I worried I was ruining my life, my family, and my career. Plus, my husband and I had no savings or nest egg. There was no backup plan. I was also ashamed. Millions of people live with mental illness — I was (and am not) unique — and they juggle both balls. They have a handle on their health and hold down a job. But I didn't. I couldn't, and that was discouraging.

It made me feel like a failure.

I thought I was weak.

But I wanted to take a risk. I needed to take a risk, for my happiness and my health. So I left my job, and immediately, a weight lifted off of me. I felt free. I had time for therapy appointments and counseling sessions. I could read, reflect, journal, and write. There was also time for self-care. I ran almost every morning. Without work, I found the energy to get up and shower everyday. But the shame persisted because I was incapacitated, contagious, or broken. This disease was "all in my head," or so I had been taught. Or so I had been told.

You see, when you are sick your doctor tells you to take time off. They encourage you to rest and recover and stay home. When you are going through medical issues, like chemotherapy or cancer treatments, there are numerous medical accommodations you can make, i.e. paid time off aside, there is short-term disability, long-term disability, and the Family Medical Leave Act. And if you have COVID-19 — or think you may have COVID-19 — you are told to quarantine for 10 days. For nearly two weeks. But mental illness? When you are depressed you are told to buck up — and suck it up. Society suggests you should just push through. It is also hard to get documentation saying you are too sick to work because mental illness is subjective. But everyone has limits.

It's important you listen to your body and your mind.

Make no mistake: I know leaving my job was a privileged decision. Many people cannot do so because their insurance covers therapy. Because without work, they cannot pay their mortgage, rent, or other bills. Many people cannot leave their job because there are true disparities in the (mental) healthcare system. Accessibility is an issue, as is stigma. And many people cannot leave their job because they do not have emotional and financial support — which I get that. Truly, I do. But there is help. There are options. You do not have to do this alone.

So talk to your psychiatrist, if you have one. Find a therapist, if you can. Say "no" when you're able to, to preserve your time and energy. To help clear your plate, and speak with your employer. Determine what you can do and what things you have the power to change, because while it is hard to take time off for mental illness, it is a covered condition. You should not be (or feel) ashamed. It is also imperative you realize your self worth, i.e. you matter. Your physical, emotional, and mental health matter. And knowing that is imperative. Paying bills is important, but breathing and being is invaluable.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Celebrity

U.S. Soccer star expertly handles an Iranian reporter’s loaded questions about race.

Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.

Tyler Adams expertly handles Iranian reporter's question

Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.

It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.

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Pets

Idaho pet squirrel amazingly thwarts a would-be burglar in resurfaced viral video

The suspect was identified by the scratches the squirrel left.

Idaho pet squirrel thwarts a would-be burglar.

Ahhh, yes! The attack squirrel. Every home should have one, or at least, that's what an Idaho man whose home was protected by his rescue-squirrel-turned-pet might think. Adam Pearl found Joey, his pet squirrel, in his yard, abandoned as a baby and unable to fend for himself. Pearl took him in and bottle-fed him until he was big enough to eat on his own.

The unique pairing continued for 10 months until a man looking to burglarize Pearl's home got the surprise of a lifetime. He was attacked by the squirrel! The fluffy-tailed critter thwarted the man's plan to rummage through Pearl's belongings.

One can only imagine the confusion and terror of being attacked by something that would've gently eaten out of Snow White's hands. The burglar was apparently after the homeowner's guns and likely wasn't expecting a squirrel to go, well, nuts on him. It gets even better though.

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This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


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via Pexels

Three different types of blood donations.

The AIDS epidemic that began in the early '80s cast a stigma on all men who have sex with men, regardless of their HIV status. The idea that gay and bisexual men were somehow dangerous to the general public because of a health crisis in their community added to the stigmatization that already came with being LGBTQ.

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned all men who have sex with men from donating blood. This rule stood until 2015 when the FDA lifted the lifetime ban for gay and bisexual males and limited it to men who had homosexual sex within the past year.

In 2020, the FDA eased restrictions on men who have sex with men again, due to a blood shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The abstinence period was shortened from a year to three months.

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