(Survivors – The Afters)
I apologize in advance. This posted turned very negative…but even though I wear my happy carefree mask most of the time, I don’t believe in pretending pain doesn’t exist…
Sometimes it feels like everything is falling into place yet the entire world is spinning out of control…in so many ways…
I don’t know where to start, but I’m a healthcare professional so maybe it’d be best to start somewhere around there. I found out Saturday that my hemoglobin is 11.4g/dL. Hemoglobin is something in the blood that carries oxygen around the body. Normal is at least 12g/dL. Low levels are most often due to low iron. Low iron can cause tiredness – which is obviously also potentially related to stress and shift work, but let’s be honest. I’ve been on day shift for at least an entire week. Yes, there was the time change, but I’ve been in bad at least 9 hours every night (more than usual) and still exhausted by the end of the day. Even tired in the morning when I am usually doing awesome despite sleeplessness. I don’t wanna get up in the morning a lot of days. Sure, also a problem when I was so deeply grieving because getting up means facing another day, but this time it doesn’t seem like that should be the problem. But maybe it is just because my body is struggling to get enough oxygen…Low hemoglobin can cause shortness of breath. I thought I was just a little dehydrated and out of shape, but on Friday I had Gatorade in my lunch and after lunch just walking back up the stairs after lunch I was breathing hard and my heart was pumping. That shouldn’t happen. Headaches, check, heart going faster than usual, check, losing more hair than usual, check. Feeling squirmy and skin feeling uncomfortable – yes, I have for as long as I can remember had some sensory issues, but lately it has been different. All day I crave feeling pressure against my body and my skin just feels like it is crawling. Cold hands and feet – check. Difficulty concentrating – like always…And feelings of anxiety and depression. Those last two are what I am really thinking on. Yes, those symptoms could so easily be attributed to the residency search and stuff, but what if they aren’t? What if they are the results of low hemoglobin? What if a change is all it could take?
I looked at a list of foods that contain iron and how much iron…and realized I am not getting enough iron and it would take a big change to get enough through diet. I know getting it through diet is best, but I also know that there is enough going on in my life right now that making such a big change is probably too much. I realized I get a lot of my calories in a week from sugar. I don’t eat much in the way of fortified foods – most of my bread is homemade. I don’t eat much cereal instead eating oatmeal, but even then it is at least half flour. I kind of have regressed into my old self. Peas, apples, peanut butter, a little chicken, some canned beans…I’d rather have a bowl of berries than a hunk of meat. I’d rather have a bunch of candy and cookies and ice cream than most any other foods. I feel like that definitely is something that should change…but I also feel like this isn’t the right time. So I’m caught in the do I go buy some iron or do I just forget about it…and do I plan on long term treatment or trying to treat it fast then let it go…or just do nothing…I don’t even know…
So there is that.
And then there is work. To be honest, it is still going to be really hard to leave, but at the same time I can’t wait to get out. On Thursday I asked my manager to be one of my references. He did agree, but also said my shirt was inappropriate and I needed to do better. I was embarrassed and angry. My manager did admit that I was technically within the dress code…and that makes it more confusing. I am not someone who knows how to read between the lines. I don’t understand how I can follow all the rules and break them at the same time. And I don’t understand why I would be confronted when so many of my coworkers wear sweatshirts that are definitely against dress code and unprofessional. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea what was wrong with it. I have bought so many clothes recently, but now I feel like I have nothing to wear. I picked that shirt out with my parents. They are a little less conservative than me, but as ultra conservative as I am, even they are pretty conservative. I know they wouldn’t help pick out a shirt for me that was even questionably appropriate. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea what the complaint was. Tank top? Blue? Grey? Slightly form fitting? Soft fabric? The only thing I can think of is to not wear anything in any of those categories…all well and good until you realize that leaves me two three quarter length sleeve shirts, 1 dress, and maybe three other tops. If I even get a residency, I still have 7 and a half months left. 6 ways to cover my top for 7 and a half months is a lot of laundry and a lot of frustration. I know that it would look bad to have been here a year and a half and not have a reference from anyone who has even seen me since a month or so after graduation…but at the same time I just want to take it back somehow. As if not getting a reference would make the outfit conversation go away. I know cognitively it wouldn’t, but at the heart level the hot teras running down my cheeks right now say they happened in the same conversation so they are linked.
And what if the reason I only got one interview last year out of fur applications isn’t the whole non-traditional applicant thing, but actually because of that reference from my manager. If that why I keep getting assigned dead end projects where no one cares what my recommendation is?
I don’t know why my current institution wanted me when no one else did. Maybe they were just that desperate for a warm body. Clearly there was some disconnect since they didn’t want me for the residency position. What if Michelle was right and no one will ever want me as a pharmacist. Maybe I should give up. But by the time I hear about residency this year it will be too late. I won’t be able anymore to apply to schools to start over. Maybe it is time to let go of my childhood dream and realize I am not the little shy girl anymore. I don’t know how it would work, but I feel like maybe I need to find a way if I can’t get a residency to start working towards a degree in social work or counseling. I always have cared about people and even though I didn’t like that label, people always have said that listening was one of my strengths. Now that I write this, I feel like maybe this is the only little spark of hope I have left.
I don’t even have references yet for this year. I asked some people, but I only have two yeses. My manager and the person who describes herself as my neighbor who let me shadow her all those years ago as an elementary school kid. It is a requirement that I have at least one clinical preceptor as a reference…I’ve asked one and no response yet. And I feel like I need someone from school and I’ve asked and no response…I know people get busy or go on vacations and no response even in almost a week doesn’t really necessarily mean no…but after having so many doors slammed in my face, it is hard not to see it that way. It feels like abandonment…and I get it. I am kinda needy wanting a reference for the same position three years in a row. And would you really want to be connected to such a loser? And how long do I wait before I decide that no answer means no and start asking more people?
I am afraid I am going to go to all this work and all this expense this year to try again for a residency and end up still stuck in the same place. I feel trapped.
Can I be really honest for a second without anyone freaking out? There is a song that has been playing in my head recently. “I don’t wanna be alive. I don’t wanna be alive. I just wanna die today. I don’t wanna be alive…I don’t wanna cry anymore. I just wanna feel alive and I don’t even wanna die anymore” This song plays a lot on the radio at work and I promise I am not considering ending my life, but I so agree right now that I don’t wanna be alive…I just wanna *feel* alive
Today should have been a great day…but I finally dragged myself out of bed and got to church running a little late but not like actually late, just not early like I usually am. I went to the nursery and this beautiful young girl who usually stays in service was in the nursery with some of the youth group kids…but as the service was starting one of her parents came and asked who the adult was in the nursery and one of the girls answered for me identifying me as the adult. Shortly after that one of the girls picked up the cutie and left to go to service and when another girl questioned why she wasn’t staying, the answer was that staying depended on who was in the nursery. I felt like I wasn’t being trusted and I don’t know why. The day was redeemed after that when I got to hold an infant only a few days old for a while. Infants as close to birth as possible are my very favorite. It felt really good until it was time to give the baby back so his parents could go home. Then I went home and the pancakes I was going to eat for lunch I left the box in the fridge instead of the freezer for too long and they started growing blue and white mold over the weekend while I went out of town…and my orange flavored toothpaste last night tasted like it had gone bad and it just feels like everything is falling apart. And on facebook someone announced their cancer is no longer in remission and is now worse than it even was following her initial diagnosis…and someone else is struggling trying to figure out why her body has been rejecting food for months…and someone I know in “real life” has a family member with cancer and another family member with an accident that has caused her to be the caregiver for both of them, people’s marriages have been dissolving…and I guess I feel also like my problems are so small compared to that yet I can’t seem to get a grip on myself. Like seriously girl? You cried yourself to sleep a few nights ago over a comment about your clothers? And you’re crying now over the residency you haven’t gotten when you do at least have some type of job and your health?
On the positive side, I think I have finally figured out how to get my transcript ordered both where to send a check to get an official transcript and the necessary PhORCAS form to be connected to my application and where to enter my credit card information to get an unofficial transcript sent to myself so I can find out what my GPA actually is. One step at a time.
I wish someone would just tell me why no one wants me. What is so bad about me that no one will even give me a chance? I know at this point the very biggest strike against me is that I am not coming straight from school…but even when I was, I got almost as many interviews as I put in applications and was told how awesome I was and was then rejected. I don’t get it. I’m tired of being brave every day while no one else is brave enough to give me any reason why no one wants me.
For a long time I’ve been playing with the idea of chopping my hair (not myself, ’cause I can’t see the back of my head and cutting as much hair off as I want will require seeing the back of my head). I don’t even know why. I mean, it would be kinda nice to not constantly get my hair tangled in my nametag or my jacket zipper, but that isn’t a good reason to cut it off. I’ve been growing my hair out since third grade because in I think it was second grade I got a short haircut and I think it made me look ugly…so I have no idea how the idea of short hair came into my mind…the only thing I can think of is that because I don’t like how my life is turning out maybe somehow subconsciously I thought if I cut the hair off I would be a totally different person…that sounds kinda dumb, but that’s all I’ve got. I know it isn’t smart to make a big decision like that when your emotions are high, but I also know it would be best if my hair was similar for midyear as it will hopefully be for interviews if anyone even wants to interview me to spark their memory that they have seen this person before at midyear…so I am running out of time…and I mean, it is only hair that will eventually grow back…and I am not a second grader anymore.
I feel a lot right now like I did in high school, like I am looking in on a world I want to be a part of, but am separated by a big glass wall keeping me just a spectator. Alone. My best friend is incredible and I am so honored she takes the time out of her busy life to spend time with me and make me feel valued, but she has her own life and I have mine so obviously I can’t just tag along and be with her 24/7 so eventually our time ends and I have to go home…and right now home is a long way away. I have connections at home too, but I haven’t known anyone here longer than a year and a half and it just isn’t the same…and I don’t really fit in anywhere. I am young but I am single, not married. I help with youth group, but I am not outgoing. I go to worship team practice but am not bold enough to actually ask to be on the list so I know when they meet so it is all a game of wandering around the mall every week hoping I’ve picked the right day and time…and I try to be involved with a small group and other things with church, but my work schedule has me missing so much that it is hard to really be involved anywhere…the last time I made it to small group was August…I feel like you can’t really know or be known by people when you go months without showing up. I feel like I am never going to have the connections it feels like everyone else has.
While I was copying this post from word into wordpress, Almost Seventeen by Stephanie Pauline came on spotify. Stephanie is incredible. Let’s be honest…she is one of the people I met one day and somehow eventually became facebook friends with in high school…and considering how much facebook was my sanctuary and only included la crème de la crème, you should understand how much of an honor it is for anyone to have been included…and how amazing Stephanie must be if she made the cut after only meeting in person once. Not only is she an incredible person, but she is also an incredible singer/songwriter. These words describe spring 2017 and kinda beyond “it looked just like any other day. The sky was blue and the clouds were gray…and I raged like a hurricane. I buckled like a house of cards. I crumbled like the tower of Babel. I couldn’t stop my bleeding heart. I tried so hard you know what I mean to make some sense of this crazy scene, but I was like an ocean abound. I was bound to break…maybe I’ve failed and let them all down, but I’d rather be real not another clown. Painting on a smile like it covers our need? No thank you, I’d rather bleed.”