Wanting to share some more about “ME”…

I struggled, horribly, as I began my career as a C.O.T.A. ( Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant ).  I ALWAYS questioned my capabilities and NEVER felt competent.  Increased work demands resulted in horrible anxiety.  MY anxiety hit me like a waterfall.  I could feel this drunken sensation overtake me, beginning in my head and free-falling down through the rest of my body.  I got dizzy, couldn’t walk straight, and spoke words as though I were intoxicated!!!  Oh, the anxiety!!  I was sure to fall apart, revealing my inadequacies to co-workers.  I’d scream inside my head, “STOP!  STOP!  STOP!!!”, trying to gather myself before blowing my cover.  This was always followed by the frantic prayer “God, PLEASE Help ME!!!”  I always attempted to calm myself in an effort to hide who and what I really was:  an overwhelmed, unqualified, and “LOST” individual, desperately seeking to survive independently.

Allow me to now introduce you to my husband, Christopher Bartlett Allen.  MY ROCK.  MY SOUL-MATE.  With his constant optimistic coaching, I learned to utilize positive, self-talk to calm my inner chaos enough to appear okay on the outside  when I was TOTALLY NUTS  on the inside.  He taught me to begin each day by responding “GREAT!” no matter how lousy or depressed I felt,  whenever asked “How are you?”  I quickly noted that this REALLY works and in no time I was responding “GREAT” with complete sincerity!!!  My pastor had a difficult time with this tactic as I explained it like this…”Fake it til ya make it!!!”  He was disturbed by the phrase “fake it,” pointing out that faking  was, in a way, “LYING!”  WHAT???  ARE YOU SERIOUS???  Come on, Pastor.  Aren’t you taking this a bit too extreme?  LYING???  PLEASE!!!  I was simply implying that I should, in essence, “act” my way to greatness!

Some of the different roles I have assumed over the years to help me…”ACT” my way to feeling GREAT include:  1)  the “singing therapist,” role play beginning approximately the late 90’s; 2)  The “crazy one.”  I’m sure this developed out of my actual fear that I WAS REALLY CRAZY!!!; 3)  Facility cheerleader, complete with uniform and pom poms!!! ; 4)  Sheriff Allen, complete with fake id and badge;  4) “PEBBLECITA”….es mi nombre… en su casa!!!  This means that my name is “Small Pebble” and I am in your house…I think!!!; and 5) the unbalanced therapist, wearing 2 different shoes of the same style to indicate my “off balance” ness!!! I am currently “trying” to step down as Sherriff Allen–this is more difficult than you might think as this character, soooooo, “fits” my personality.  And I now wear ONLY matching shoes, thereby indicating that I am no longer “OFF BALANCE.”  :/ Perhaps there are a few roles that I have assumed over the years and forgotten, but this gives you a pretty good idea how I have learned to  survive my difficult times while, hopefully, getting a laugh or two out of angry, depressed, or suicidal patients AND disgruntled employees.  And I know that YOU know who you are, you disgruntled employees!!!

All joking aside, I need to re-emphasize that “LIFE IS DIFFICULT” for all of us, folks.  Please try your best to “act” your way to greatness when, perhaps, your life might be anything BUT great.  Remember,  “Your mind ONLY knows what YOU tell it!”  So, try telling it something positive to start your day.  I guarantee YOU WILL feel better by day’s end!!!

GO TEAM!!!  And goodluck.  We’re all in this together!!!


  1. Great post Jill.
    Don’t have a problem with fake it till you make it!
    It’s a great concept that works.
    Sometimes in church settings we have to re-work the words abit.
    Part of the process.
    Good luck and God bless
    Pastor Walter

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