I don’t feel so brave

(The Worry Wizard–Debra Lynn La Lima)

So this was a really hard blog for me to post. It is kind of embarrassing, but I have decided that if I am willing to fight for the right to express myself freely flying my banner of not allowing shame to breed in the secrecy, then I better practice that in the venues that I do have for expression…and besides, I know that everyone is fighting their own battles, and it can be really helpful sometimes to realize that other people are fighting too, even if what they are fighting for is not what I am dealing with. Also, this is written without a lot of reflection…just pure real life…so don’t judge too much…’kay? Also, I tried to put the paragraphs in logical/chronological order…try being the imperative word…

Yeah…I did run from the res hall to bio lab completely barefoot…see, I kinda lost track of time and realized that I had less than 10 minutes to pack up my stuff get to lab, sign in, change clothes, and be ready to start, and I can move faster with less chance of losing my balance if I carry rather than wear my shoes. Ignoring the lack of shoes for a minute, that was a bad idea…which I paid for Wednesday when I discovered that now just the pressure of driving hurt my ankle…and yes, I do treat mental and physical health the same way—if I can fix it on my own that’s what I’m going to do…I might make a few mistakes along the way like attempting to run to get myself to class, but ultimately I am very much aware that the ankle needs rest and maybe some NSAIDs…I don’t really need a doctor to tell me to rest it…I see no reason to waste both of our times when I know I am perfectly capable of fixing it myself the exact same way you are: by analyzing the problem and advising rest and anti-inflammatories/analgesics…I also know my limits. If a bone were sticking out of my body, that is not a problem I can solve myself. Sure, I know theoretically that I need to line up the fragments and hold them together for an extended period of time, but my ability to do that to myself is lacking, and therefore that is a situation in which it would be time to get help…I do know myself, and I know when I am in over my head and need outside accountability and/or assistance. If I think I am doing fine I probably have a good handle on that…interfering is just going to make me mad and maybe even de-stabilize the situation.

Yep, I got stuck in front of the sink again Tuesday night. This time though, there was a clear trigger. Yes, the trigger shouldn’t have been so bad and was exacerbated by lack of sleep and by stress, but it was triggered, and like any other triggered fear, I got over it quickly and it was over…but even knowing it was triggered it was terrifying, because I still remember what it was like to live in fear each and every day, making every minute a challenge to overcome, and I do not want to go back there. Even though I know that I was completely free for over a year with absolutely no real issues and so far each “episode” this year has been short and confined, I still worry sometimes that if there is a next time it won’t be like that.

I should probably not be surprised that I have been having germophobic breakthroughs. Yes, God wants freedom for me, so it is kind of a problem in the way I am reacting to them, but I am not sure how realistic it is to never even think about germs for an extended period of time. Sure, I went a really long time without even a glimmer of thought about germs, but for that to be continued lifelong isn’t probably realistic. I’m deleting the rest of this paragraph, because you don’t need to know why it is good that it never stops raining in Florida or all about Yellowstone…

So this is going to be a little bit embarrassing, but the trigger was that I saw a bug on the wall as I was getting ready to go to sleep…well, actually the trigger was that because there was a bug on the wall and the last time I saw a bug was when I was replacing an empty toilet paper roll and therefore had squished the bug with toilet paper, I remembered that schema and got off the bed to grab toilet paper to squish the bug…except that one quirk that never went away with the OCD though it dwindled down to a much more manageable/normal level is the concept that toilet paper is disgusting. Yes, I know that it really isn’t that different than Kleenex and I have no problem with Kleenex. No, that does not mean that I have EVER even at my worst not used toilet paper out of fear of the germs on it. Yes, I know that logically prior to use there shouldn’t be any more germs on the toilet paper than any other item in my apartment…but inside my head, toilet paper is also increasingly disgusting when it isn’t ripped straight across…and when you already turned off the lights, it is hard to tear the toilet paper in a straight line…which led to me sitting on my bed holding a piece of toilet paper not ripped in a straight line, realizing what had just happened and freaking out. At this point I didn’t even really care anymore that there was a bug on the wall and for all I cared I could name the bug and we could live in peaceful harmony…but this girl is strong and wasn’t going to be defeated. It was that bug’s fault that I was in this situation and I was sitting here with toilet paper in hand to kill that bug, and I couldn’t just sit there all night staring at it, so I finally underhand crawled to where I could reach the bug, squished it, crawled back and got down to dispose of the bug, and proceeded to get stuck washing my hands…not fun…but as of the morning I was totally fine and also grabbed a sanitizing wipe to clean the remaining bug guts off the wall…

Yes, I did become a 23-year-old thumb-sucker. See, I was upset, and I thought maybe a sucker would help…but I knew that sucking on a sucker to fall asleep was a very bad idea…so I sanitized my thumb and popped it into my mouth until my heart relaxed. If I had been thinking I would have used plain hand sanitizer instead of berry scented, but whatevs. Also, as a pharmacy student it is kind of cool to feel the rhythm of the heart beat then brief pause then pulse of blood through my carotid artery…I am lousy at finding my pulse, but when the heart is beating so hard I can feel the heart beat which helps me find the pulse…

Also, if you were wondering, it is not such a hot idea to use a water bottle in your mouth to go back to sleep at night…yes, to drink until you almost fall asleep is good, but not to leave the water bottle propped up in the mouth to reach the final stage of sleep…because once you are asleep, the water bottle will likely not stay there, and you don’t really want to wake up an hour later with yourself, the fitted sheet, and the mattress soaked. Moderately disconcerting until you realize that you are currently hugging an open water bottle…oops…This has nothing to do with the trigger…lots of nights I wake up because I am thirsty, which is the reason why there is always a full water bottle next to my bed.

LOL…you’re going to get two posts in one, because I was just getting ready to decide to post the first one when I had another post to write because if I didn’t start writing I was going to start crying…actually, I was already crying in the bathroom and needed to write because I wasn’t going to be able to hold it in during class otherwise…

Long story short, one of my teachers said Monday that if we were concerned about our grades that we should come talk to him…so I did, because most of my grades this semester seem to have decided to ride not only the struggle bus, but the short struggle bus. I feel like the answer I was given was suck it up buttercup. I literally sat there while he went through my grades and told me that I did fine and basically I was stupid for thinking that my grades were a problem at all. Yes, I do recognize that people make mistakes and I can’t expect perfection, but I also know that some of my quiz grades are more like 0-50%, which is more than just an oops that I am ready to be okay with. Yes, some of my other grades are pulling my average into passing, but they still aren’t very good. Yes, I know that even as a resident and a pharmacist I will make mistakes…but guess what! In those positions I sure better hope my average is a lot higher than my average in this class is, ’cause if not then I’m going to lose my license. Don’t tell me I am not going to make it as a pharmacist if these grades bother me…guess what, I am fairly certain that as long as I get my degree and get hired that I will be a successful pharmacist. I would argue that being bothered by making mistakes would be helpful in my practice as a pharmacist, because it will be a protective factor against making mistakes. Because I do not want to make mistakes, I will do my very best to check everything closely, not cut corners, and look things up when I am unsure. True, it is possible that mistakes will slip in between the cracks or that an unforeseen problem will develop, but I want to always know that I am doing the very best that I can, and to be honest, if my performance weren’t very good as a pharmacist there would be a serious conversation not just between me and my boss, but with myself about whether there is something I need to change or if I need to find a different profession so as not to put patients at risk. I do not take the lives of others lightly.

…So yeah, that was really upsetting…one could argue that part of the problem was that I was still sleep deprived from Tuesday and that I hadn’t yet had lunch (and as it turns out would run out of time to get a real lunch—thankfully popcorn a cookie and an apple and a backpack filled with suckers and other candy was enough to make class manageable), but I would argue that the meeting is not only what pushed me over the edge, but the major cause of the problem…and it definitely didn’t help that immediately after that I went to class and walking into the room there was someone else walking out about the same time and it wasn’t possible for me to turn around and face the wall, and even if it was, I was fragile enough at that moment that the damage was already done.


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