Category Archives: Anxiety

Am I really living, or am I just existing?

(Save Me – JJ Heller)

 

There are a lot of negative thing I could say I’ve learned in the past few months, but despite the pain I think I have learned some positive things too…I’d probably rather not learn but escape the pain, but that wasn’t a choice and it does me no good to stay lost in the pain forever.

 

In March I learned that I am not just a source of parties for my coworkers and that they and other people really care. Maybe some of it was just the human desire to see everyone else smiling, but they were so amazing that week of spring break when I had just not matched the first time. They provided me distraction and let me just take care of me. I think I also learned that being around kids is a really good influence for me. My best friend made time for me and one of her sons said I should pray…she knew me at the time when I hardly spoke at all, so she is the last person who would put any pressure on me at all to pray out loud, especially when I was already struggling, but she looked at me to see if she needed to intervene and I did it myself. And I ate that evening. My best friend is one of the most important people in my life and I don’t know where I’d be without her.

 

In April I learned that my friends care and so does God. On March 17th, I wasn’t ready to even believe that God cares. By April, through the kind support that I really didn’t deserve of a couple of my friends, I was moving from *MAYBE* God cares to starting to believe that God does care. My friends are incredible. I was upset and not being very nice to them and they continued to be patient and keep loving on me. I was devastated and overwhelmed and exhausted and that probably made it really hard to be around me, but they continued to include me. Sure, they weren’t perfect, no one is, but they went way beyond the call of duty to do their best to support me.

 

In May I learned that graduating wasn’t going to end the nightmare that was my abuse history at school. I had been counting down for well over a year, but with the grief, the lights went out and graduation lost its luster. Okay, so really that happened right away in March, but I think graduation actually coming really brought it home that this wasn’t going away. I do know someday I need to face that pain, but I am not ready yet.

 

In June I learned why self-harm was such a strong addiction. Even unintentional physical pain is exceedingly effective in treating (okay, covering up) emotional pain. I fell really hard one day, and it hurt. Now in November I think I am finally feeling fully healed from that…a little stiff maybe from not really being able to move without pain for so long, but otherwise doing well. I am not going to fall into that trap, but I definitely understand why it is so appealing.

 

In July I learned everything happens for a reason even the worst life brings (blessings – Laura Story). After months of getting minimal sleep, having to work a late evening shift until 11pm was not fun, but wasn’t nearly as hard as it would have been otherwise. Instead of being pretty much just a warm body by 9, I definitely do not have fun, but I am able to pretty much be competent all night.

 

In August I learned that God was listening to my prayers and with me even if he wasn’t saying yes to my prayers requesting he take me home. Life was still hard, but God reminded me of his presence when he might not have given me everything I wanted, but did give me a few things that I really needed. I needed the stability of choosing a church and was totally overwhelmed and had no idea how to pick and he helped me make a decision.

 

In September I learned that I can make friends that aren’t just the leftover people no one else wanted.

 

In October I learned that my weight can’t make me happy and isn’t an ideal surrogate marker of my mental status. Actually, yesterday or maybe it was two days ago I heard somewhere that it is ideal to heal physically and mentally at the same rate. I now see how that could be really helpful.

 

So yeah, that is 2/3 of a year of learning…that is totally crazy. A lot of the time it still feels like just a few days ago that the sun came crashing out of the sky, but at the same time it feels like I have been living with this forever. I still cry sometimes. I am still mourning my loss. I am still trying to learn how to hope that it won’t always be like this. Interestingly, I was reading recently something that cited a study that found that at a certain amount of weight loss whether intentional or unintentional, humans begin to compulsively exercise. This isn’t necessarily eating disordered behavior induced, but simply a strange phenomenon found in studies. It made me think about this spring. I did lose a lot of weight, but I also found that one of the only things that made me feel at least a little less bad was to be in motion. The best ways to get even a little food in my mouth was to either make it a social event or to do to do something mildly active. I was walking around the block over and over just to get the tiny amounts of food and water into my body that I needed to survive. I know medically it means I am not getting nearly enough fluids in when I didn’t even need to pee every day…TBH, I think someday I may end up with kidney problems not just from the “dry” times, but also from the times I have practically drowned myself ’cause OCD said to drink like crazy to prevent germs staying in my body. Anyway, the point is that I wonder if what is happening is partly that I lost enough weight that exercise became compulsive and I was dealing with extra anxiety because of that when not in motion or if it was really that exercise helped control the grief…IDK…

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I’m a Warrior

(Toy Soldier – Stephanie Pauline)

 

Today I have a lot to be proud of. Usually the key to my success at the grocery store is to have a list of no more than three items, preferably just one or maybe two. That is all well and good except that my day off is only one day and I wanted to make bread and there were still at least 6 things I can think of off the top of my head that I didn’t have that I needed…and no, multiple trips in quick succession is not generally an effective workaround.

 

And I had a coupon for $5 off if I could spend $30. Considering I usually spend $10-20/month on food including both groceries and eating out, spending $30 all in one day, especially considering my usual shopping abilities was going to be a stretch goal, but I wrote a list and figured if I really couldn’t do it I would extend myself some grace. As it turns out, the price of chicken was 20 cents per pound more in the store than the advertisement said it would be and that threw off my list and I almost gave up, but I am so proud of myself for persevering. Because of that I had to alter my list a little and I was a little off on where I was at so I spent a little more than I intended and am the kind of person who definitely won’t tell the cashier that I’d like to put something back, but ending up with a full cart of groceries is something I have never done before ever!! (I mean, unless you count when I am shopping with my mom and I am pushing the cart but she is the one picking out groceries). I am so stinkin’ proud of myself!!

 

I didn’t do a perfect job, but sometimes my best is good enough. I might not have gotten the best deals in the world (in fact, I know some of the stuff I could have gotten for cheaper elsewhere), but I figure that after the coupon it probably works back out to at least reasonable prices so it really isn’t a big deal. And I didn’t necessarily pick out the best groceries…hashtag the flavor milk I wanted was only available in the 30 calorie variety and usually I won’t buy unless the calorie count is above 100…except I couldn’t find any milk at this store that met that criterion and so I picked the one with the most calories I could find; 60 calories in original almond milk…I figured it was DIY vanilla almond and the sugar and vanilla extract I will add will probably at least add back some of the calories the manufacturers forgot to put in. And I couldn’t find butter flavored Crisco so I called my mom to ask what the difference was between that and the other kind. Umm…duh…the flavor. So if I ever decide to make cookies, we’ll see how that situation works out, because I am guessing that in the case of greasing things it doesn’t matter much but in the case of making cookies it might make a difference…but on the other hand, cookies have enough sugar that the butter flavor might not be THAT important. It was super weird though seeing white Crisco when I opened the container though…that threw me for a loop. Also, just some advice that is probably obvious to everyone but me, but 5 pounds of flour, for example, weighs 5 pounds, and two of them weighs 10 pounds. I am not really sure why I decided I needed two 5 pound bags of flour, but I did…and that (and all the other things I bought) is kinda heavy. If I were smart I would have put the heaviest stuff in the bag on my back, but I am not smart, so I put it in tote bags to carry home…which is why I was late to the event I go to at church on Tuesday mornings that I don’t work, because I had to stop a few times on the way home to re-adjust…well, that and I spent most of an hour at the grocery store…

 

Also, today I used my big girl words and actually participated in conversations. I am proud of that too 🙂

 

Today I also had lots of opportunities to use my creativity and problem solving skills. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because it isn’t just OCD making me clean up and wash my hands after (or in the middle of) every single ingredient…it’s because I am not sure there is a single ingredient that didn’t spill at some point. Maybe the salt? But I didn’t have a big enough cutting board so a piece of foil and the other cutting board side by side and it kinda sorta worked. Not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I wasn’t about to go to the store again and get a bigger one. (I might update the post with that picture, ’cause it’s a little funny). And of course I only have the kind of cookie sheet with walls on all four sides which means I made a huge mess trying to get the bread onto the sheet and also I guess it conducts heat differently than the fancy kind my mom has so the bottom got a little burned…and of course the timer was going to beep in like 2 minutes when I realized I didn’t have a cooling rack. Doesn’t everyone pull the metal shelf out of the microwave and lay it out across an open drawer with a placemat underneath to catch crumbs while cooling things? (Umm, no…I’d never even encountered a microwave with a shelf until I moved into this apartment, and I can’t imagine any time the shelf would do anything in there except get in the way and cause my popcorn to burn even worse than usual). So the bread looks a little ugly and is a little overdone on the bottom, but it still tastes awesome! So we’ll count that a success 🙂 .

 

And I also have always wanted to have people over to my apartment…that is a slight exaggeration since there were some periods of time third year during which my OCD was so intense that being around people was a struggle and there were definitely not going to be any extra people in my space if I could avoid it…but aside from that, I would really like to have people over, but inviting them is super hard for me. Last night I did it when I realized I’d been waiting for small group for over half an hour and invited the one other person there to my apartment to hang out for a little while, and today I did it again trying to invite people over for dinner.

 

Also I am super proud of all these successes, but this is not actually what I sat down to right about. I actually was going to write about forgiveness. I still want to figure out what that means. Since it is now almost time to go to bed, I am going to skip over the rest of what I was going to say and just skip to something I found today that could be a paradigm flip but could also be one of those things where I just have to agree to disagree. I don’t yet know my opinion and I am a processor so sometimes it just takes me some time/space/thought to figure out whether I agree or disagree. This site on the internet claimed that if a person willfully and hurtfully sins and refuses to admit their wrongdoing and make it right, God will not forgive them and we don’t have to either. Using this remark, I don’t need to forgive. I’m not sure though that God ever doesn’t forgive us or gives us permission to not forgive. I think I need to see if I can find anything in the Bible to support or not support that.

 

I am what I am and that’s all that I am

(Please please like me – Go Fish)

This post was written a couple weeks ago-ish…then I was busy and didn’t post it…and then the grief got so deep again that I kinda forgot about it. But better late than never, right? Also, a lyric stuck in my head right now is “I won’t take the world’s abuse; I won’t give up, I refuse.” And also, I just finished watching a youtube video and it ended with “you are not a failed version of normal.”

The title of this post has been my quote on twitter since I joined in 2013…and I still love it.

You know you are living in a world a bit differently than the stereotypical female when you are thrilled looking up a calorie count that it is a lot higher than you expected. I guess I should back up.

It seems based on my stats that there are quite a few new readers over here so I thought I’d do a quick review on some of the major events that have made me who I am. Super abbreviated, because I want this to be short and sweet, not like one of my marathon posts that ends up way longer than I even would have an attention span to read.

Hmmm, where to start? August 10, 2008 my family attended a new (to me) church for the first time (and stayed). It was really hard being taken away from everything I knew and my plans for my life. On top of that, 90% of my writing and art projects in middle school were swimming themed and that year for the first time I was no longer a swimmer…and for the first time I was struggling in school (although causation is hard to determine so that part might have been a result more than a cause). Those things together really took away everything I had to identify myself. I realized that year I was using self-injury as a coping mechanism as I struggled. It has been suggested that perhaps I have PTSD from that situation. I was never totally sold on that, but considering that even five plus years later it was an extremely painful experience to recall, I do credit it as a difficult experience in my life.

A few people in my life at the new church had suggested that I try out the free counseling at my school when I went to college. I intended to go once, say I did it, then be done, but once I got in I didn’t know how to get out. I was seeing a counselor who was so involved in the social realm that she really wasn’t comfortable and didn’t know what to do with someone like me. I was someone who defined a friend as someone I could say hi to maybe 50% of the time if we passed each other alone in the hallway – and I had very few friends. I didn’t do a lot of talking. Based on my records, it appears there was a question in her mind about selective mutism. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if someone made that label official for that time period. Let’s just say my best friend literally jumped out of her chair to celebrate one day when I said “I haven’t thought about that” in response to one of her questions. She was used to my usual communication of yes, no, I don’t know, and silence…and those first three responses were primarily reserved for my very closest friends after good prompting.

The next year I switched to someone who was a lot better match. I also started having some issues with excessive washing as a coping mechanism. At the beginning it wasn’t overly linked to germ fears, but eventually it was very firmly linked. In any case, I wanted to set rules to get rid of that problem. Every assignment I turned in for a while was bloody and my hands were bright red, but she didn’t think that rules was the right answer. Long story short, she eventually agreed that if I promised to be safe with it I could make rules (and it was wildly successful). That was probably a God-thing though I didn’t know it at the time, because the ability to figure things out on my own with little to no support was going to become important later. Oh, it is also important to note that second year everyone at my school interviews into third year and I was terrified and my counselor had asked me to think about what I might be interested in doing if I couldn’t be a pharmacist. It took months, but I thought maybe I’d like to be a social worker…but I wasn’t super thrilled with that, because all I’d ever wanted to be since early elementary school was a pharmacist.

I planned to transition to a different counselor the next year despite warnings from my current counselor, because she was going to be at a different site and I was overwhelmed at the prospect of going anywhere else and flat out refused to do it. I should have recognized that the counselor I insisted on switching to had already shown how lacking in trustworthiness she was and how unethical she was, but I really thought that I could deal with it because in all honesty what I needed most at that point was an accountability partner and someone I could see at a convenient time in a convenient location. She was emotionally abusive. She had no respect for her clients, and I really want to believe that because I was not a tattletale that I got it worse than other people, but I mean, she was teaching shame to keep people quiet. I could see that she needed love and as a result I worked really hard at loving her well and I guess I thought I could fix her, but I couldn’t. I could go into a laundry list of wrong-doings, but suffice it to say that this is not just me being a pansy, but that her conduct was completely inappropriate.

The next summer she sent me an email telling me how well she thought we worked together and how glad she was to work with me. Not too long after that an hour or so before we had a planned phone session she emailed to say that she wouldn’t be available for the session – I thought we were getting somewhere. Her usual modus operandi would have been to just not answer or to be at least 20 minutes late to the phone session. A bit after that she emailed again that we were done, and unlike what she usually did with those outbursts, she didn’t forbid me from talking with anyone else, but she refused to tell me why. Yes, she had deeply hurt me over and over and over, but I was still trying to fix her and at that point I don’t think I had quite registered that having an accountability partner wasn’t helpful when you are being abused by said partner. In a way that only makes sense when you are as upset and confused as I was, I acted out I think attempting to slow her down to make her think long enough to cool it.

I tried to call to apologize. That took a lot of courage for this girl who will drive across town to avoid a phone call. She hung up on me. A lot of my closest friends took her side and blocked me on facebook – super hurtful when that was one of my primary ways of interacting with my world. I was very upset and the message that I was not good enough and a worthless failure that she had been barraging me with during my time with her started feeling really true to me and to be honest, I am not really sure I would still be alive right now if I had been at school where there are metro trains near campus. Because she reported me to the behavior response team (of which she was a member) and recommended I was too stressed out to be in school, a whole series of new stressors came my way…I didn’t get the okay to come back to school until the day before classes started, and on my way in the first day I was stopped by a security guard who was convinced I wasn’t a student anymore. Not a great way to start the semester. Anyway, I think I am getting into too much minutiae, so back to the point, in exchange for staying in school I was forced to sign among other things that I wouldn’t tell anyone about anything related to what happened and I wouldn’t tell anyone that I couldn’t tell anyone – so I was pretty effectively silenced from any means of getting support for the chaos in my life and had to keep the mask of okay on to protect myself from unanswerable questions. I was still being abused by this counselor, and despite my finally cracking and telling my advocate a little of what was going on, my abuser was never punished and instead was given princess treatment.

Fast forward to January/February/March of this year. I am in the intense process of interviewing and when questions get asked about hardest moments or dealing with unfair situations or conflicts, guess what pops into my head. I have to work extra hard to not just freeze and deer in the headlights. I come up with other answers and push the tears away until I am alone. Then I fail to match in phase I despite everywhere telling me how amazing I am. I struggle with deep grief. On the outside I keep going. I apply in phase II and have an insane schedule of interviewing nearly every day for a little while including leaving at like 3:30 AM to drive to an interview and not getting back until past bedtime and still having interviews the rest of the week and trying to keep up in school. I failed to match again in phase II. I am back to square one with the grief. I am barely functioning. I have been praying every day just crying out to God to please just take me to forever home. I have no desire to remain on Earth. I am hardly sleeping. I am fighting to eat and drink. I lose a LOT of weight. I will admit that I came into this with a little extra weight on my body, but not nearly as much extra as I lost…In the week after Easter I gained 8 pounds (yay!!), but since then progress has been very slow…and sometimes backwards. I still have 10 pounds to gain to reach my goal weight and I think the closest I’ve gotten is 5 pounds away…hence sometimes looking up calories to spot check intake in hopes of getting this under control.

So, I tried the scramble (failed) and also started looking for non-residency jobs. I did finally get hired. The job isn’t exactly as expected and I am bored out of my mind a large majority of the time, but God is helping me through molecule by molecule, not universe by universe, and I really am healing.

So yeah, this is the uber-abbreviated version of my life…obviously leaves a lot out, but you can probably find a lot of the details going through the archives or asking if there is anything you really wanna know…hope this gives some useful background on who I am.

And for my long-time readers, thanks for bearing with me as I repeat a lot of what you already knew. Love y’all 🙂

Just Hold On

(I’ll Find You – LeCrae)

I’ve moved approximately 10 times in the past year (not an exaggeration at all), and before that when I was in school I was back and forth for Christmas/Summer break between home and school. And each time I made sure not to lose this piece of paper. I was going to take a picture of it, but decided that was dumb because by the time I covered up all the identifying information you’d practically be left with a blank strip of paper which seemed kind of pointless. So anyway, I had this paper that I was protecting because way back when in high school I tried to use my debit card at an ATM one day I didn’t know my password and guessed too many times and my card got locked for two weeks until a new password came in the mail. This password is the one that was on that piece of paper that I was protecting…good idea, right? Well, except that the card that password goes to is the one my bank cancelled pro-actively when the news came out in 2013 that Target had credit card information stolen for a lot of customers.

 

See, I guess I kinda missed that part and just kept making sure I knew where that important piece of paper was at all times. It is important because I almost never use ATM’s and therefore have no reason to keep good track of the number inside my head. Social anxiety has always made paying for purchases at a store using cash a scary hard thing. My mom was always talking about how you should never have more than a few cents in change because it is so easy to just use the change you have to pay for whatever you are buying, but I always had so much change the wallet barely closed because the least scary way to pay was to give the biggest bill I had that would cover the purchase and then whatever was given back hold in my hand until I was outside then attempt to shove in the wallet and sort it out later when I got home. Even if I knew down to the cent what the price was going to be, paying with coins just seems too hard so I mostly didn’t do it. And then I got a debit card which I called a credit card because in my world they are both pieces of plastic that buy you things and are therefore the same thing…anyway, that solved the problem and I now almost exclusively pay for anything with that magical piece of colored plastic. I pretty much just use cash if it is the only option and checks the rest of the time when plastic doesn’t work (rent, DMV…). And even though my mom says you should never go anywhere without at least $20 with you, in reality I usually carry more like $0 and like right now I think my wallet has 75 cents in it and my ID case maybe has between 25 and 50 cents. I will use change in the self-check at Cub as my candy purchasing money, but otherwise I pretty much just don’t spend cash so it doesn’t make sense to carry it around. And it’s not like it accumulates or anything because my paychecks go directly into my bank account, and when people owe me money I generally encourage a check because I can also put that directly in my account. A couple pictures taken with my phone and the money goes into my bank account to be spent using my pieces of plastic. Easy peasy.

 

So yeah, when I needed actual money a few days ago I had a problem. At first I was like oh c**p, I don’t have time to drive three hours to get to the bank and then get back to my apartment before work. Then I remembered the existence of ATM’s…and then after determining that the stupid find an ATM site on the internet I was using was definitely not working and locating an app on my phone to help me figure it out instead, I located the paper and the card and was ready to go…until I compared the numbers on the paper identifying which card it belonged to with the numbers on my card and they were definitely not a match. Hashtag fail. Hashtag look how perfect I am. (That second one is a reference to a WhatsUpElle video…every day’s a gift 🙂 ). So I figured I had four guesses what my password might be and I’m pretty sure you get at least three guesses before you get cut off…no pressure or anything that if you get it wrong you are going to be pretty much SOL and without a debit card for a while.

 

Then I remembered that I got a pile of paper in the mail from the bank about changes to my account as I age out of one of the accounts I have and figured maybe I should know what my ATM fees are before I go. That took another diversion: a call to my mom and then to the bank to figure out whether the “first 6 transactions” was lifetime (if so starting with the beginning of the new account or starting with my first account with them) or if it was per year? Month? Day? They should really specify these things…

 

Well, knowledge is power, so armed with the knowledge of what the fees were I took myself to the ATM. And was greeted with another wrench in the plans: a sign that all transactions were subject to a fee in addition to any charge of your bank at the discretion of the owners of that ATM. But by this point I was kind of committed and I didn’t come that far just to fail, so I figured it was time to just go for it. I tried really hard…After about the fourth time shoving my card in the machine and getting frustrated when I couldn’t figure out what to do and taking my card back out, I decided it was time to ask for help. I didn’t want to, because I felt stupid and didn’t really know what to say, but I knew I needed to do it and promised myself a treat for successful completion of the task. I went in and explained what I wanted. To my delight, instead of having me wait and then sending someone out to help me, they just took a copy of my driver’s license and took a look at my card and gave me the money right there. That was awesome. If I wasn’t so overwhelmed and scared they had free drinks and suckers in there. I might be back someday if I ever need real money again. (Okay, I WILL be back someday if I need real money).

 

So you might wonder if I consider myself pretty much over the social anxiety why I still rely on plastic…well…the way I got over it was the insane amount of time I spent on the phone the summer after third year and the first semester of fourth year. It is pretty much a miracle I was still passing all my classes that semester when I was spending so many frustrating hours on the phone. I don’t know how people do it if they actually have an urgent mental health issue and need a GOOD counselor ASAP. I was really just looking for SOMEONE. Good obviously preferred, but beggars can’t be choosers. Most places don’t have email or other online scheduling methods. Most places don’t answer their phones regardless of time of day. Most places don’t ever call back if they even have an answering machine on which to leave a message. Most places even if they do call back are essentially calling to say they have no openings for the foreseeable future. The one place that initially was reasonably promising and got back to me quickly did the intake I think within a week of my first call, but somehow managed to lose my information twice between that and matching me with a counselor and when they finally found it the second time I got a message from the director that they weren’t able to help me and gave me (useless) resources…see dude gave me the phone number of a college counseling center that made it very clear on their web page that they served only their own students. I did not attend that college. So I learned to talk on the phone, and I desperately needed friends so between the conversational skills learned on the phone and the work I had already been doing to learn to communicate, I gained passable social skills. But you know what is a mostly unessential skill that I never had any reason to learn: paying with cash. I went grocery shopping about once a month or so and that was pretty much the only shopping I did in school so it wasn’t like even if I wanted to practice there were even any opportunities. And I already had that magic plastic in my ID case, so yeah, I never learned that skill and in my opinion someday cash will be made obsolete so I don’t see any reason to force myself to learn that skill.

 

If we are talking about ways I have failed recently, I have plenty of other stories.

 

Like how occasionally this senior center that I walk past sometimes has community events and I see the signs and plan to go. And I walk over there on the correct day at the correct time. And I don’t go. The first time I got close then did my “this is so not happening” speed walk past the place and on to the grocery store instead. Today I got a lot closer. I got as far as the door to the building. I opened said door. I looked around while still standing outside. I got overwhelmed, turned around, and went to the grocery store instead. I felt so frustrated with myself, but I am trying to look on the positive side and remember that I did get a lot farther than last time, and chances are they will have another event and maybe next time I will get even closer. I tried, and that is worth something. Everyone has their own strengths and I can’t force myself to be good at something that I am most definitely not good at.

 

Or like my attempt at making homemade vanilla pudding today. The internet says that it is super easy. Reality says, umm, no it most certainly is not. I followed all the directions (except to use a metal whisk because I don’t have one and was using a non-stick pan that isn’t suppose to have metal utensils used on it), but at the end I did not end up with pudding. I ended up with liquid with burned bits and a scraped up pan. Apparently glass stir rods are also not good for nonstick surfaces. I probably should have known that. So plan B is attempting to freeze the liquid and see if that turns it into something pudding-like. The worst it can do is completely solidify in which case I’ll just melt it again and have cold liquid to eat like I already do. It tastes okay, but definitely not like pudding and the texture is obviously even less pudding-like. Oh well…it was worth a try. I need to use up the milk I bought and the internet says to freeze it, but that sounds like a good way to create frustration so my next experiment will be copycat starbucks bottled frappuccino. Of course I can’t completely follow directions for that either – even though caffeine does bind to calcium I am pretty sure that I can’t handle the amount of caffeine that would be left with regular coffee so I already have to substitute decaf coffee. The brand I have doesn’t have on the packaging or the internet the amount of caffeine in it, so I also plan on making it a lot weaker than the recommendation so I don’t have to worry about how much caffeine I am getting.

 

So yeah…we’re just gonna stop there before I embarrass myself 🙂

I’m falling on my knees…and so I’ll wait

(Hungry – Joy Williams)

Sometimes I make bad choices. Like walking in the middle of the street in the dark. Sometimes when I stop distracting myself from my loss and actually talk about it (and sometimes just totally randomly) the pain significantly intensifies. I know if I can push it away before it becomes all-consuming it won’t hurt as much. I know it isn’t the “right” way to deal with it, but it is what I am doing to make it through. Being in motion seems to help me feel at least a little better. So Thursday evening I grabbed my apartment key, put my shoes on, and as an afterthought took the bag of chocolate that I was really hoping I would eat and I went outside to walk. I would have rollerbladed or biked or something, but I knew I didn’t really have time to get any of those things ready. I just needed to go. Clearly I wasn’t thinking super logically…so I figured I wanted to be on the other side of the street so I crossed…not at an intersection…and not straight across…just diagonally from one side to the other…in my defense, I was at least wearing a brightly colored shirt…in the dark. When you don’t feel like you have much to live for though, what motivation do you really have for crossing the street safely? I haven’t been praying recently for God to take me home, but it is not because I have plans to take things into my own hands; I know that it is God’s job to decide when I go home. At times like that I am not sure whether to be proud of myself: I prevented a total meltdown, or angry: I should have been careful. What I do know is that God must have some sort of plan for my life: I am still alive. Of course, the next day I was crossing the street the right way and actually did almost get run over ’cause someone wasn’t paying attention…and okay, so I wasn’t doing it completely right since I didn’t attempt eye contact with the drivers near the intersection before starting to cross…

 

Because of my history of anxiety…and especially because the vast majority of my work was self-initiated, I have a very exposure-therapy based mindset to life. If it is scary and uncomfortable I tend to think I should probably make myself do it…clearly the exception is with processing the grief and stuff because I don’t think I am ready to handle that on my own yet. And recently I was watching a video that had a side note about the resiliency zone. I think that kind of gave credence to the way I am handling things right now. The resiliency zone is the range of emotion intensity that we have the coping mechanisms to handle and stay present. Above the resilient zone we fight or flight and below the resilient zone we freeze. We can only process and handle things in the resilient zone, but after a trauma or other stressful situation our resilient zone can be extremely narrow, and it takes a lot of time and work to be able to expand the resiliency zone and until it is wide enough to stay in the zone we can’t really work on re-processing whatever has happened.

 

Anyway, new things are scary, so Friday morning I went to Aldi because I saw that it was open. I wandered around for a few minutes and got overwhelmed because it was a very different atmosphere than any other grocery store I’ve gone to and there were a zillion people there like you had to wait for people to move to get through the aisles…but milk to make pudding has been on my list of things to buy for a long time because non-cow milk makes glop, not pudding because it doesn’t have the casein to hold the pudding together…but I don’t drink cow milk so it seemed so wasteful to buy a carton just to throw away the leftovers…enter Aldi where milk costs like half as much so it doesn’t seem quite so wasteful. So I will go back on Tuesday morning because it sounds like there is some kind of event then which sounds terrifying but exactly where I need to be.

 

You don’t make friends by being a hermit (That’s the right word for someone who never leaves their home, right?). And lol…speaking of making friends, someone randomly started talking to me yesterday as I was walking down the sidewalk.

 

Wait, I should back up. Second year when I was terrified of the interview into third year (even though it was pretty much common knowledge that if you show up you passed), my counselor asked me what I would want to do if I didn’t pass, like what other career I could pursue. That was a really hard question because there was only one thing I had ever been interested in doing ever: pediatric clinical pharmacy. Never had I wanted to do anything else. It took months, but eventually I determined that I would like to be a social worker…of course I was still thinking with that career option that I wanted to work with kids and families. Lately I have been frustrated because I don’t feel like there is any way for me to get from where I am to where I want to be. I know it would be throwing away the degree I fought for, but I’ve been thinking that while bachelor’s programs for social work are generally not conducive to holding a job at the same time that maybe a higher level program would be more able to accommodate a working adult schedule with asynchronous learning needs. Maybe if I did that and started over with a new career I would be happier and be able to find a job that makes me feel good.

 

It would definitely be a challenge – I am not an awesome reader and not attending lectures probably means an increase in the amount of reading and reading comprehension required. And most higher level programs are going to want prerequisites that I really don’t have, because hello, pharmacy graduate here. My psych classes included intro psych and abnormal psych. The only psych class I didn’t sign up for was psych of personality – it was a writing intensive class and I really had no reason to take it and I had a friend who took it and didn’t really enjoy it. I mean, technically my school also offered social psych which I did not take, but the reason I didn’t take it was that I signed up and then they cancelled the class. So anyway…most programs want like child developmental psych and family structure classes as prerequisites and I definitely have nothing like that unless you count the hands-on experience of the children that I work with volunteering in child care. I think hands-on experience for that type of subject matter is probably just as valuable as textbook learning, but something tells me that an admissions person would not be impressed.

 

So anyway, this guy starts talking to me, and you know someone most likely has special needs when he enthusiastically says hi to a stranger (me) and after being acknowledged says that he is so glad to have someone to chat with. Internally a part of me was going what did I just get myself into, because it was in the 90’s and I was so hot, but most of me was not just doing “the polite thing” but actually trying to really engage with this guy, because I really care about people. I know that someone like that probably gets rejected by people a lot, and that makes me really sad and ache for him, because I know how rejection feels, and to experience that constantly day after day is hard. I know that everyone has their own challenges and I really want to make people feel heard, because even if you can’t really change anything, it is really powerful for someone to be willing to step into your world and try to understand and acknowledge what you are going through.

 

And the more I talked with the guy the more I really wished there were more I could do, and he was super sweet despite definitely having some special needs. At one point he expressed that he was getting frustrated trying to get a new job and he was just looking for anything like maybe a store might need help taking out the trash and cleaning up. I remembered that Aldi had signs out that they were hiring and suggested he head over there to apply. He explained that he doesn’t fill out applications and he used to just ask to speak to a manager and he’d get hired that way. I kinda wanted to be like well that’s not how it works anymore and to consider you they need you to fill out the application, but with someone I just met I wasn’t quite sure how to express that respectfully, so I kept listening as he went on to say that now if he talks to a manager they tell him if he can’t fill out an application then the only other way to be considered is to go through an employment agency, but he’s tried seven different agencies and didn’t like any of them (I wonder if it is because he wouldn’t fill out an application?). By this point I felt really bad for the guy, because I totally understand the frustration of the job search and how eventually it just seems like everyone is telling you what to do and how easy it is to get a job and it just is SO NOT EASY and no one even seems interested in you.

 

People have always told me about things that aren’t safe…and from my perspective, to take it from them, the only way you can really be safe is to never ever leave your apartment and if you must, go directly to school do not pass go do not collect $200…but one thing people say isn’t safe besides a random assortment of basically every street ever, is talking to the weird people on the sidewalks. The advice is to just ignore and keep walking, which in my opinion is super weird and rude. I have always rebelled against that stupid advice and used my common sense. If it feels safe, it probably is, if you have that feeling of something is wrong and it isn’t just OCD telling you it is contaminated, then it probably isn’t safe and you should re-evaluate whether you should be doing it. From that perspective, I felt pretty safe with this person. The only moment where I really wondered if I should have ignored and moved on is when the guy started telling me that he will never go to Walmart because he got kicked out of there once because (in his words) they thought he was a retard. I was pretty sure there was more to that story, because stores don’t kick people out for being dumb…there are some pretty stupid morons in the world that are still able to go to the grocery store and buy food and go to wherever else and buy stuff…but by that point even though that put me on alert, I was pretty well stuck there because you can’t just walk away from a conversation…or, well, maybe you can, but I can’t. So I weighed my options and figured it was the middle of the day and we were on a sidewalk bordering a parking lot. If anything were to really go wrong, I might be able to scream and if I could scream then I could most likely garner enough attention to get help…the being able to scream part is where my safety is always going to be a little bit sketchy…that and the fact that I really doubt I could fight back not for lack of skills but for inability to hurt anyone or to repay evil with evil.

 

So the interaction with that guy made me want even more to see if I could get into social work. I really wanted to be able to help him, but couldn’t really figure out how. I think maybe the social work curriculum would teach me how to help people and connect them with resources to help them figure things out. And even if it didn’t, I know almost for sure it would help me learn better communication skills which would be helpful even if I never used the degree and just continued to be a pharmacist.

My Soul is Gonna Get There One Day

(On the mountain – Christa Wells)

 

I recently re-discovered Christa Wells’ Frame the Clouds album…I am a little bummed I couldn’t find it on Spotify, but that’s what youtube is for 🙂 . Lol, a little throwback to high school…or college…or whenever it was that I first discovered it via (in)Courage (which no longer has the link to listen to the album for free…).

 

The grief is still an ever-present companion that makes life a little harder than it should be every day, but God is good. Even when it seems like God kinda forgot about me over here, I have to believe that he is in control, he loves me, and he isn’t making this happen just to make things harder for me. I have to keep believing that he cares and understands. It is hard, but I am strong and I am not going to be defeated. Things are a LOT better than they were though. Progress is slow, but not stagnant. That is an accomplishment to be proud of because especially with the continued big losses. Like that high school Bible study that I almost signed up for as a compromise between me and my best friend, Life Hurts, God Heals. I have to remember that God isn’t up there making me hurt for funsies, but instead he sees it happen and wants to be involved in the business of healing.

 

There has been a lot of hurt in the past few months, but there has also been a lot of healing. Someone said something recently about pain lasting only for a season…I’m kinda pretty sure that they didn’t mean that once fall hits it won’t hurt anymore, but I will admit that I got my hopes up for a few moments until I figured it out…but while one day to the next you might not identify the progress, it is there. I realized yesterday as I was walking home from work how far I’ve come. In the beginning I was lucky if I got more than a couple hours of sleep at night. Now most nights I am pretty much at baseline. My sleep is a little messed up still, but now it has more to do with the strange hours that I get at work. In the beginning I was doing whatever it took to get SOMETHING in my mouth, which usually meant hoping skating a few minutes balanced out that the calories and fluids in were greater than those out. Now I might still be careful to have three meals every day and that each meal consists of at least the four key components (protein, carb, fruit/vegetable, dessert), but it isn’t usually that hard to do anymore, and I don’t doubt that someday eating will be something that doesn’t really use much thought again like it should be. And I might still cry more days than I don’t, but it still is a lot better than it was in the beginning. It isn’t like I am holding back tears most of the day and almost certainly crying once I am alone. Considering it has only been a little over a week since the last big piece of the career-related loss, I am ready to be proud of that. I know that it all God. I couldn’t have possibly recovered this well without God on my side. I still have a long way to go. It still feels like I’ve been climbing forever and am still at the bottom, but I know that my soul is going to get there one day. Grief is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

I was working on getting rid of some stuff I don’t need anymore and came across some notes from one of my classes a few years ago. Some of it is definitely junk, like a list of updates we were supposed to sign up for and some things that we were supposed to follow on twitter. I might not have ever actually done it because 1) I don’t really *want* to blend school with my social life and 2) I didn’t then and certainly don’t now need more stuff showing up in my email inbox that I don’t care about and will just delete, and TBH, I don’t go on twitter often enough to ever even see anything useful if it was there…I like the idea of being connected on twitter a lot more than I like actually using it…especially since I prefer to use a lot more than my allotted 140 characters at a time.

 

Anyway, there was one page that I almost kept. It was the lesson about grief that most of the class either didn’t show up physically or showed up physically but not mentally because it wasn’t going to be on any of the tests…yeah, they probably shouldn’t have told us that in advance…but I did pay attention in case anything important came up, because loss is something to which I am no stranger. As usual on topics like that, it was mainly pretty self-explanatory material, but sometimes it is reminders of the obvious stuff that is important. Lol, so here are a few highlights.

  • We can’t really be present in life if we can’t accept death
  • There are four human conditions: freedom, isolation, meaninglessness, and death; Meaninglessness and death give life meaning.
    • This is one that I don’t really get…but I thought it kinda sounded interesting.
  • We are affected by loss because we are social creatures who need love and care and lacking those things our communication becomes feral.
  • We are affected by loss because we cultivate relationships and engage in communal living.
  • Grief is an experience. Mourning is a process.
  • Grief is normal and expected.
  • There are four responses to grief
    • Feelings: complex emotions can make it difficult because we experience negative but also positive emotions
    • Behaviors: withdrawal, isolation, impulsivity, erratic, denial (Yep, I have fought against most of these)
    • Cognition: numbness is common
    • Physical sensations: fatigue, tears, laughter, muscle cramps
  • We go through five stages of grief, recursivity is when we go backwards. (I would add that although this lecturer suggested that it was always linear that I believe it is also possible to skip over certain steps sometimes…)
  • Anger only exists because pain exists.
  • We attach therefore loss hurts.

 

So I was going to post this before church, and I can’t explain why I didn’t expect for that it was a God thing…God knew there was going to be another element of loss I was going to need time to process…

 

So the pre-communion message was about exclusion. And slowly I started to understand another element of the loss. I’ve always been on the outside looking in. In K-12 school it was because I was painfully shy (social anxiety/selective mutism??) and struggled to make friends. I framed my watching of conversations as observing for mimicking later to gain skills, and while that is true, it is also true that I would have loved to have been included. A lot of my friends were the ones who didn’t have any other friends…it meant that a lot of the time once they had the chance to make other friends they didn’t want to be my friends anymore. In college I started making friends. Then I was abused and the abuse itself made me feel like I didn’t deserve friends and no one would want to be friends with me. Then, after the abuse people started taking sides, and the people with whom I was most comfortable were reached by her first and they weren’t very nice to me. Over time they started to be more nice, but it was super hard to go to school every day knowing that “no one” wanted me there. I was already dealing with the pain of the abuse and the stress of the breaking of the relationship to get out. On top of that I was still being tormented by my abuser and the people who had been my friends were being hurtful. The people who were still trying to be my friend just didn’t really get it. No one really understood what was going on. I’d always been someone who was pretty self-sufficient because socially I kind of had to be, and now I was outside of my realm but couldn’t access help. And then the gag order came as I was slowly figuring out how to let people in and I was required to shut everyone out again. At a time in my life when I REALLY needed people I was threatened that my options were either no more school or no more people. I chose no more people because becoming a pediatric critical care pharmacist was super important to me.

 

And while school is talking about how everyone has so much access to XY and Z, they were telling me I was absolutely not allowed XY and Z. While they were inviting the whole school to an event it was understood that I was not invited. I was always excluded. While they were having discussions about how every student deserves the same rights and respect I was still being left out. I wanted to be involved on campus but when there was a prayer walk I was left behind alone in the stairwell trying to figure out where I could go without getting in trouble for no longer being with the group. When everyone was going to meet in the “special study space” I had to be the awkward group member pretending I didn’t understand the directions and joking that the cafeteria sure is special as a reminder to the organizer that I can’t go anywhere good for groups…I was effectively set apart as different in a negative way in group projects, study groups, student organizations, and anything else I wanted to do. What a way to show that every student is important and valued. It was very clear that some students were valued but I wasn’t one of them. I do understand that there were a few people on campus who were nice and cared about me, but the overwhelming message I got was that it would be easier for everyone if I had just chosen not to come back. It was incredibly hurtful to go from the promise second year that there would always be resources for me whenever I needed them to the decree fourth year that I had no access to any student services and better not create my own support network outside of the school’s system or else. Eventually I had to admit that the “next month” “next semester” “next year” was never going to happen. I just had to hang on until graduation. That’s why I was counting down days until graduation before I even reached spring break fifth year.

 

More to the point, when I was being abused I was being told I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t ever going to be enough, no one was going to want me. Getting the residency I wanted was going to prove to myself and to everyone else that I was good enough. It was going to prove that someone did want me. It was the only thing I had ever wanted and I had thrown all of me into doing whatever it took to get there even if meant living in painful silence for three years. Residency was when I was no longer going to be on the outside looking in. I was going to be included. I was finally going to be on the inside.

 

And then I didn’t get the position I wanted, nor did I get any position. Eleven months of applications and interviewing and I wasn’t wanted by even one position. I had so many friends, many of them on the residency panel at my preferred position and even they didn’t want me. No one wanted me. Like Dan Allender said in The Healing Path,”it is being used by someone who violates our dignity and then is unmoved by our pain.” No one cared about me. At every interview I was told that I was a top candidate…but I guess when someone better came along I was just a nobody that tossed aside like dross. Serious question: I have heard that saying before, but I don’t actually know what dross is…also, I apologize if that is a rude thing to say…sometimes I hear things and imitate what I’ve heard and it isn’t until people are shocked and mad at me that I find out that I am mimicking something that is a bad word. Yeah, I may have learned the B-word was bad by imitating it and being told off for saying it. Anyway, not getting a residency made me think that maybe it wasn’t really abuse but just someone telling me the truth that I wasn’t worth it. I do now have the perspective to know that it was abuse, but I think now that I understand 1) why the abuse was so hurtful and 2) why the failure to match was so hurtful. It all came back to exclusion. Another way to exclude me from the world in which I wanted to live when I so deeply longed to be included.

 

I am a fighter. Looking back I can recognize how strong I was. I might have been fighting to eat and drink and sleep, but I was still driving all over the country applying and interviewing for more positions in the next few weeks. I was still told how excited they were I applied and how I am such an excellent candidate…and then 5 days short of a month later was left completely unwanted again. And then the Scramble. And then eventually I had to admit that I had been excluded from the world of residency and had to settle for something else. So many positions applied for, most without even so much as a sorry you didn’t get the position.

 

Exclusion hurts. Isolation hurts. Add that to grief and no kidding it was (is) painful and hard…

 

Totally unrelated, but I try to avoid medical talk outside of work unless directly asked for my opinion…because I don’t want to be one of those people who is all up in your business. My opinion is that if you want me to know what kind of sick you are and how to fix it you’ll tell me and if not I should keep my mouth shut…(the exception being stomach flu…even though I am not struggling with OCD anymore, I do still tend to have a radar out for the stomach flu…). But here is one situation in which I am going to voice my opinion…so someone I know has been in the ICU because this person punched a window and somehow nearly amputated the arm. They don’t really know if it will ever be functional again, and for that matter even after a few surgeries keeping the arm still isn’t a guarantee, and there are a bunch of rules to follow to give at least a possibility for healing. My opinion is that it was a waste of resources to attempt to keep the arm…we’re talking things like no chocolate, no caffeine, no alcohol, no smoking, etc…umm, this is someone who didn’t have a driver’s license but thought it’s be a good idea to get drnk and go joy ride someone’s car…and then after being released from the hospital went home and was robo-tripping…seems to me that just taking the arm and promoting healing of the rest of the body would have been a better choice, because as it is it seems like they did all that work for an infinitesimally small possibility of it actually leading to saving the limb…I know that we are trained to heal, but sometimes you have to look at the whole patient and family and realize that there is a contradiction between what medical literature would give as the correct answer and what is really best for the patient. Obviously these decisions don’t happen in a vacuum and the patient and family need to be involved in the decision making, but I think sometimes in laying out the options we present it in such a way that people feel kinda forced or obligated to choose a certain option when it might not really be what they wanted…lol, maybe I am way off base or maybe I’ve done too many hospice and end-of-life CE’s, but I think part of empowering patients and families is giving them options without coloring those options through the biases of our own lenses and desires.

 

And yeah, I know that “patients and families” is really not the vernacular in the adult medical world…I have pretty much grown up in the pediatric realm (and really really want to go back to pediatrics). In pediatrics we know how hard hospitalization is on the whole family, including the siblings and caregivers, and we know the importance of the role the family plays in healing. We care about and have services for the families that are just as important as caring for and serving the patients. In adult medicine it is very clear that, as one of the logos of my employer states, “the needs of the patient come first.” No mention whatsoever of the family. That really bothers me. I haven’t seen research on the family in healing in adults, but based on what I know about pediatrics and adding that to the psychology that I learned in school and the basic skills of observation, I have to believe that family is still important in adult medicine. I know that the patient him or herself gets the final say if he or she is competent to make decisions, and I know that any sharing of medical information even with the family must be okay’ed by the patient, but I also believe the family should be included in the care decisions if the patient agrees and I think the family should be cared for. I’m not sure what resources are provided for families where I currently work, but from what I’ve seen so far, it appears to be precious little. It is a stress on a family when a member is hospitalized. It changes routines, it causes uncertainty and sometimes fear. It takes someone out of their home and leaves behind a hole. In some cases it takes away a source of income, or something else that directly impacts functioning of the household. I don’t think that is something that I can change though…and I should probably stop writing because I don’t really need more reasons to miss my friends at Children’s…

 

Wednesday is going to be hard. I usually kinda sneak out to avoid goodbye parties…now I’m having two goodbye parties in the span of two months. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate it, because I totally do. I really really love my coworkers, and I love that they show how much I matter to them, but I just don’t like being the center of attention, and I don’t like confronting the goodbye head on. It is really hard to have lost the one last thing that was really important to me. I know God cares, but it is hard to understand why he lets this happen if he really is omnipotent.

 

Also totally unrelated, but I recently did a CE on depression…I took the screening tests as if it were still March/April/May. On the first one if you score at least 3 points the pharmacist is supposed have you take the second screening. Even now I would hit three points. On the second one if you hit I don’t remember whether it was 7 or 10 points, the pharmacist is supposed to refer you for additional professional help rather than helping you with self-care…I would have scored something like 23 points…I was running short on time so I didn’t do the second screening again to score myself for right now, but I know for sure my score now would be significantly lower, and IDK for sure, but it might not even reach the cutoff for you shouldn’t be figuring this out on your own…that is kinda awesome. K seriously gotta do something useful with my life now…

Impossible things are possible now

(Finale – Fear NOT)

 

(This is another linkup with Holley Gerth…and it might be a little messy because my life is a little messy sometimes…)

 

Yep, I definitely have moved back to Christmas music…

 

Have you ever wondered if Bible characters were sassy in real life?

 

Gabe: I’m going to strike you dumb.

 

Eli: *How* dumb?!

 

Gabe: No, dumb as in silent, you know, can’t speak?

 

Yeah…I’m glad we don’t generally call mutism being dumb anymore. That is hurtful. I guess I kinda understand why dumb became associated with stupid though…when you don’t talk usually people get that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes (Things aren’t always what they seem, you’re only seeing part of me, there’s so much more that’s going on behind the scenes – Francesca Battistelli), but I think maybe once in a while they assume that if you can’t verbally show that you know that you must not know. And I did label myself stupid…it mostly became ingrained in my identity when Certain Someone labelled me that way and did everything in her power to make sure I knew how stupid I was and that if I were smart I wouldn’t be struggling with anxiety…now even though it is stuck in my identity, I know cognitively that being able or unable to speak is not indicative of intelligence. Having anxiety was NOT my fault and NOT something I chose. I was working hard to overcome and not being able to snap my fingers and no longer have any social difficulties didn’t make me stupid, it made me normal. No one gets over anxiety instantaneously by just deciding not to have it anymore. It doesn’t work like that. I am not a complete failure. I am a resilient survivor. And broken people are strong because they know they can survive…even if sometimes they aren’t sure they really wanna survive. Okay, well maybe I am a failure, but not directly because of anxiety.

 

So anyway, the topic this week is: Living fully Loving bravely.

 

I know these things are supposed to be hopeful. Hope is so hard. So you’re going to have to get all the way to the end of this one to find the hope…I really am doing a lot better…and in a few more hours I’ll have made it two days in a row with no tears, but my world is still in little pieces waiting to be put back together with some shards too small to be able to even think about putting back together.

 

But I am going to learn to hope again. I will. I even already have some friends and I even know their names!! And I will learn to trust again.

 

Trust and hope both are incredibly difficult…and make living fully more difficult. When all you can see is your pain and your loss it is hard to go on with life. Sure, I go through the motions, and I am getting really good at pretending I am fine, but underneath I am not really living.

 

I don’t remember where I heard it, but sometime recently I heard that wounds in our lives usually come from relationship and can only be healed by relationship…and I think it is very true. I don’t think it is just because I am an extravert that I crave relationship and have felt the best while with other people and the first few minutes or so after being with people. I believe there is a lot of power in *with.* We were not made to live this life alone. It is sometimes small comments that weren’t even much a part of the conversation that make the biggest difference. Sometimes just someone else understanding is huge. It means a lot when someone can identify connections that really get at my heart. Being brave and making friends is the biggest step I can take towards continued healing.

 

I am never really alone…’cause God made me and he loves me so and he is my friend forever

But I Just Could Not Understand

(The Reason – Lacey Sturm)

I don’t understand why I try so hard just to fail. I don’t understand a lot of things…but I do understand this:

hope

This is a quote from “The Healing Path” by Dan Allender. This is the second quote about hope I’ve posted on my healing path pinboard, and it might be my favorite. The other one talked about how giving up is easier than trying, hoping, and being disappointed time and time again, but while that is true, I love that this one speaks not just to easy/hard, but to danger/safety. We are wired to fear danger and seek safety, so it makes sense that there is a very definite limit to the amount of hope I can handle. No matter how much I want to hold onto hope that there is something better out there and life won’t always be so hard, I can’t right now.

From my perspective the best advice I could give anyone is want nothing, plan nothing, expect nothing. If you have no desires, expectations, or plans then no matter what happens there is nothing that can derail you too far. Things might be a little disappointing or frustrating, but will never be soul-crushingly devastating.

For a long time I have expressed desire to be just like everyone else. Interestingly, this video

popped into my inbox as something my twitter peeps liked a couple days ago and I realized, guess what!! I got what I wanted and ce ne m’a fait pas content. (It did not make me happy). Yep, apparently 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Unless someone can find me a project or something else to do besides spin in my chair the majority of the day, I am in the majority of people. I need something that keeps me busy and makes me feel like I am contributing. When everyone can go to lunch and I can continue to everyone’s job at once and still be a bit disengaged you know there isn’t enough work to do and I need something else…add that to an environment where I get pretty close to a grand total of zero of the patients I really wanted to work with and you end up with a girl who is frustrated because she is stuck without any way out.

Also, I tried something recently that I didn’t think I’d ever do again. So, long story short, I saw a link on facebook for something that looked from the link like an online community for hurting people. I thought maybe that would be a safe place that might really help me. Unfortunately, it is a counseling platform, so for the first time since the abuse I was willingly entering a counseling relationship. It was terrifying. It was good and it was bad. It was good because I have always believed in facing fear. It was good because once I finally a couple weeks later got enough courage up to actually hit send on the first message, the counselor tried really hard to show me that how I was treated was wrong and that she believed me and didn’t blame me for it, and I think she really wanted to be able to help me get over the grief and the abuse. But it was also bad. Being involved with a counselor was terrifying and brought back the hyper-alertness from when I was really deep in the abuse. I wasn’t really able to engage because it was so scary, and eventually it got to the point that I was pretty much totally back in that place of being abused and add that to the grief and it was something I just couldn’t do anymore. I reached a point where I was not really sleeping not because of the grief but because of the hyper-alertness that I couldn’t turn off to sleep. And then I had a problem. Girl is not a quitter. Girl wants to not be defeated. And girl really couldn’t do it anymore. Girl made a very hard choice and hit the quit button. I wish they could label that button like unsubscribe or stop paying or graduate or really anything else that doesn’t feel like I’m doing one more thing wrong…but nope, it is labelled quit. Anyway, I hit quit. I guess the counselor didn’t notice and wrote another reply. And that was when I knew I made the right choice. I got the notification. I sat down and did my panic-cry thing, got up, slammed the computer shut, and ran out of the room. That is not something I can handle long term. Maybe someday when the grief is more recovered I’ll be ready to try again to get over the abuse and issues with trust that the abuse gifted me, but to protect myself I needed to stop. When I broke free of the abusive counseling relationship a few years ago it was the first time I really wanted to die…and I was plenty safe because at that time I was so upset that laying on the floor was just about all the effort I had to exert. So especially considering the grief I am dealing with right now at the same time, I knew I needed to make a change before I ended up in a place where I wasn’t going to be safe…and since I don’t know how to make the grief go away that meant the counseling had to go away. And you know what, quitting might feel like a failure, but it is really something to be proud of. I made a choice to go against the flow to do something good for me. And that’s awesome.

So yeah. It isn’t really a failure, but a huge success.

One more thing. One of the youtube channels I follow wrote a song, and not the lyrics themselves, but the concepts behind the lyrics until the end describe my life so well. And the end was so full of hope that I had to start thinking maybe someday I will feel okay. Maybe it is okay to have dreams and to hope.

“I’m nervous about writing songs. I’ve never done it before.

People seem to like my videos, but what if my songwriting blows?

I’d like to write a song that will help a million brains.

Inspire and encourage them when they need it the most, here’s just one tiny problem:

I have no idea how to write songs.

I can barely play the ukulele. I should really practice more often.

But even if I could play the ukulele, there’s still one problem…

I really don’t know how to write songs.

Oh it’s hard when your dreams exceed your skills and what you want to do exceeds your grasp.

There’s only one solution: learn…and probably practice.

Get really good at being not very good, enjoy falling on your face.

And maybe eventually (there’s no guarantees) but someday you’ll do what you dreamed.

Yeah, someday you’ll accomplish your dreams.”

So yeah…starting in January I was interviewing for residencies. I was really nervous and hadn’t really ever interviewed for anything before…well okay that’s not quite true. There was an interview at another school for scholarships, but I think I failed that interview…not to mention I had almost no chance anyway…but yeah.

People really liked me at work and my preceptors on rotations were impressed with me and loved working with me and really appreciated my work. Everywhere except at school I was loved and appreciated. (Side note, huge success to realize that outside of school I really do have worth).

I really really wanted to be hired somewhere and to make a huge difference to the patients there and to make my coworkers excited to work with me…okay, and I wanted to enjoy it too and have opportunities to grow, but I was thrilled to be able to make a difference. I wanted it so badly…but one problem: I didn’t match in phase I. I was really upset and crushed and frustrated and decided it was all my fault that I probably just wasn’t good at interviewing and should practice more, when in reality I don’t think I did anything wrong the first time…and even if I could interview well I just felt like no one would want me. And I didn’t get a residency in phase II…or the scramble.

It is so so true that it is really hard when your dreams exceed what happens in your real life. It hurts so much.

Sometimes to feel better I might need to realize that I can’t change my situation. I can’t (immediately anyway) change how much it feels like my heart is on fire with 25 knives stabbing into it over and over. What I can do is get used to this and let this become my new normal. It doesn’t mean that I have to be totally thrilled with feeling like this and totally thrilled with the loss of my dreams and totally thrilled with my job…

And maybe I can someday be ready to hope that I won’t be here forever or maybe even if I am mostly here forever it will not always be so painful.

Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/BmiS6atdAi4

Spin around in a circle

(God Made Me Shine – Gadgets and Gizmos orangeVBS)

 

Like what has become almost usual…totally unedited, please excuse any random sentences that make no logical sense and let me know if I said something dumb I should change…and be super specific because girl is clearly not at a super thinking stage of life and needs specific directions…a generic there is a problem might elicit a response from me but it probably will be a response that is a non-sequiter…not sayin’, just sayin’…

 

Sometimes it seems like I’ve gone so far only to end up back in the same spot.

 

That’s pretty much what this week is going to be about…lol…

 

We could call it VBS hangover…but if you’ve been following me for a while you know that isn’t really what’s going on…just a convenient excuse…

 

What’s really going on is that like always, once I get past the initial complete lack of emotional control then as long as I stay really busy I am okay like the majority of the time…maybe not happy, but at least not devastated…and that is totally worth something…but clearly it is not very possible to stay really busy all the time (not to mention that eventually exhaustion would take me back to a bad place…sleep deprivation is like the number one cause of random anxiety flares…

 

VBS week except for Tuesday when I had my day off for working the weekend was a wonderful reprieve…then Friday came and suddenly there was lots of free time in my schedule again…like the entirety of Saturday…and I was right back where I started. Sure, I needed (maybe still need) to catch up on sleep because working the 2:30-11 shift for a week already caused some sleep deprivation which was compounded by staying up late all week for VBS…and even if I could sleep in (which I couldn’t because I was getting up at 4:30 to get showered dressed and in the car to get to work on time), I am a morning person. My body needs three times as long in the morning to make up for sleep time lost at night whereas morning hours lost are barely noticed for the most part until near bedtime…and that three times sleep needed was my body’s rule before we consider the very real possibility that I may still be behind on sleep from the long stretch of time the grief was causing me to end up with minimal sleep…I have been a wake up at 2 for a drink and hopefully fall asleep again until closer to 5 kind of girl for as long as I can remember, but with the intense grief came not falling asleep at night, waking up at all the wrong times when I did fall asleep, but not necessarily ready to drink anything, and definitely no falling back asleep…and now I still am not always thirsty when I wake up despite dehydration, but at least most nights I am getting sleep, and that is what matters right now…

 

Speaking of after effects of grief…girl has still been working hard most days to eat enough food (and to survive on more than just skittles and cookies…)…I’m not sure with VBS if I was finally just feeling good enough that it all caught up to me and I was making up for all the food not eaten for a while, or if VBS was really somehow burning that many calories, but I was actually eating plenty of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and still constantly hungry…although it isn’t exactly fun to be hungry, it was amazing to see that part of my personality back. The real me is still in there even if right now I am still fighting for my life back. I realized that I don’t have any idea how I am doing at maintaining my weight since I don’t have a scale…there is a strong chance based on how my clothes fit that I might be down a little from my driver’s license weight, but considering how much I am eating, I am pretty sure I am not as low as I was…of once VBS was over, so too was the increase in intake…so…we’ll see…a scale is right there with oil and the kind of milk that makes real pudding on my things to buy list…(FYI, non-dairy milk like very vanilla soy or dark chocolate almond will make delicious chocolate goop, but it will not become the consistency of pudding even if you only use like half the amount of milk…)…I think maybe it is the casein or something in milk that isn’t in non-cow milk that makes the pudding become pudding…except I’ve never bought that kind of milk before because it tastes gross…speaking of milk though, I wish rice milk wasn’t so expensive, because I always have half a mind to buy it because it tastes like sugar, but if I can buy a half gallon of almond or vanilla milk for like $3 or so that lasts me a month or so (yeah I know I don’t drink enough milk…I don’t drink or eat enough of anything right now)…or I can buy a quart of rice milk for like $5 that’ll last me only a couple weeks, the choice isn’t that hard…

 

I wish every week could be VBS week. Besides just the aspect of having at least a little infant time every night, staying busy was SO helpful. If every week were VBS, I’d really only have the weekends to deal with…and I could probably justify not finding a new church here…

 

The first church I tried I walked in and almost cried. It probably wasn’t my smartest idea to go to the biggest church first when I hadn’t graced the presence of a sanctuary since before I graduated (I’m a nursery girl at the church near my parent’s house)…the church I went to wasn’t even really *that* big, but combine the fact that I was surrounded by strangers and was lonely with the fact that if I weren’t a failure I wouldn’t be there in the first place, and it wasn’t exactly a recipe for success. No big deal…it was the furthest one away on my list of places to try, so not the end of the world, but it wasn’t exactly a good experience to sit alone and have no one introduce themselves and the welcome desk was unmanned…

 

This week I went to a church that I really wanted to be a good option. I really thought that was going to be the place I fell in love with. It started out okay. Someone said hi, made conversation introduced herself and invited me to eat a snack (yep, they speak my language and know the way to my heart…or at least what was the way until grief messed everything up)…but the rest of it wasn’t so great. No one invited me to sit with them. The things I come to church for are the music and the community (with an opportunity to serve being tied into community). At this church there weren’t going to be good options for either…so the music, picture a 93 year old trying to be trendy and that’s what you’ve got…youth group songs that were losing their popularity by the time I was in middle school, but sung not quite with the right rhythm and at least four times slower than the original artist sang them and really really quiet…and it wouldn’t take too long to count how many people near my age there were in the room…I’m not being picky like she’s 40, he’s 10…I mean it was more like she’s 40 weeks, he’s 10 decades…and then after music there was a completely unstructured time for probably at least 10-15 minutes to talk to people…except, umm, I don’t know anyone to talk to. To their credit, a few people did say hello to me before moving on to someone they knew, but it was awkward…

 

In the evening I really needed something to do to not be alone with myself and my pain and my thoughts so for some distraction and to say that I tried, I went to a worship event at the first church I tried. I figured at least it was music…This time someone eventually sat next to me, took interest in me, and introduced me to other people in the church including someone close to my age…it was good to feel at least kinda accepted, but at the same time it was a little scary because now they expect me to come back, and the closest church to me was the next one up on my list to try out and so now I feel torn between the possibility of my first friend if I go back or the possibility of an even better option if I don’t…I probably could make it work to go to both services this week, but I don’t think that is a good long term option…especially since the sermon part of church I have trouble sitting still for, and doing it twice in one day is not going to be feasible for more than just a rare occasion. I know that even with lots of friends, grief feels profoundly isolating and I know that it is worse when I really am totally separated from friends, but I mean, maybe I’ll find friends somewhere else…but at the same time maybe I won’t and should jump on this opportunity in case it’s the only friend I’m ever going to have here…and someone I just met is no going to fill the holes left by my best friends who have loved on me when I was in crisis…but if I’m stuck here I don’t want zero friends forever and ever.

 

Mostly unrelated, but I was watching a video today and the person in the video said something like some kids were born prematurely which means instead of a nurturing relationship they are introduced into the world with the opposite, a medical stay. That definitely incited a visceral reaction in me. A NICU stay is NOT the opposite of a nurturing environment. A NICU stay is an extremely nurturing environment. Everyone there is there because they love the amazing people they take care of. Everyone is there to love on you and meet your needs and do whatever is best for you. You are celebrated. Your whole family is celebrated and cared for. Even though I wasn’t allowed to record names on my monitoring forms for school when I was working in NICU, I could tell you right now the names of almost every single patient I cared for (not a small number of patients, and while they were there they were like my own children in how much I cared about them…and I still care now and wish I could ethically check in with them and their families. Am I saying a NICU stay is the preferable introduction to life and better than going straight home, absolutely not. I am just saying that it isn’t one or the other, and the NICU is just as nurturing as a home, and maybe more nurturing because there are so many more people to love on each child and they are there for the express and only purpose to love on those children. They don’t have other competing responsibilities…okay, stepping off my soapbox. NICU is where my heart is, so I get ltilte passionate about NICU topics…

 

This evening has been really hard. Depending where you are it is either National Night Out or Night to Unite tonight…which I didn’t know until I logged into facebook and one of my friends posted about it…and I started crying…Another thing that was stolen from me. I have volunteered with a particular Night to Unite with my best friend for the past few years and this year, obviously, I couldn’t…even if I’d known about it, I didn’t get off work in time that I would have gotten there by the time it started, much less early to get ready. While partly it is probably good not to be there since I don’t usually eat there even though I sohlud and I did at least eat something here, that tiny consolation doesn’t do much to heal the wounds in my heart. Child and best friend time are irreplaceable. Lol (most definitely not literally), it’s a good thing my mom doesn’t live in my apartment, because I am totally considering going to bed right now as soon as I finish posting this and hoping I’ll magically cry myself to sleep like instantly so I can escape from the pain…I am not happy.

 

Why didn’t anyone want me? Why do I have to be here and keep feeling this? When does this end? Haven’t I paid my dues for hard things long enough yet? When do I get to wave my white flag?

 

Let’s see…positives of grief: getting used to functioning on low levels of sleep…less girl issues…yep, not worth it. I’d rather feel a little extra bad from lack of sleep the week or so a month I work evenings than a lot bad from grief every day…and I’d definitely rather feel almost dead a few days a month than so strongly desire to be dead every day. I just want to feel real joy again…

 

The weather here today was a lot like me…super sunny, but randomly lots of big raindrops gently dropping down…I wish my whole self could be sunny, but as much as I pretend on the outside, I still hurt so much on the inside, and the tears still come. I’m never going to be good enough. No one is going to want me. I feel alone and hopeless and sad. I would very like a hug and someone to just be with…and a time machine to go back in time to before life hurt so much. Pretty please? I only like real cherries and not those maraschino cherries that go on top of ice cream, but sure, I’ll throw a cherry on top just ’cause if I can have all my wishes come true…

 

I am frustrated that my dreams had to die. I am frustrated that I am stuck here. I am frustrated that God says no to everything I want. I am so frustrated. I just wanna go to forever home and forget about all this stuff…

Lol, (still not literally…not even a smile right now)…the song Tell Me by Carrollton just came on spotify…”Feels like I’m a nobody, wonder if I’ll ever amount to much. Seems no matter what I do it’s never gonna be good enough. Should I just give up?” Yep…sounds about right…

I’m fine. But I know it’s a lie…hug me with your arms so I know you know

(The Last Night – Skillet)

TOTALLY UNEDITED EXCEPT FOR THE ADDITION OF THIS PARAGRAPH…Don’t judge and if you are concerned then please let me know. Kthxbye.

I’m trying really hard, but grief is hard, and like I heard somewhere recently, grief cannot be rushed. It takes its time. I had a fine Sunday morning – plenty of kids, a little chaos. In the afternoon I drove to my new apartment. And the low tire pressure light came on partway there. I really didn’t need any more stress in my life. I was just about ready to stop right there and give up on life. But life doesn’t work like that. Instead I called my dad to discuss whether this was really important since it didn’t feel like the tire was flat. His suggestion was to pull over and look at the tires, but I was in the left lane and didn’t really want to get over and not be able to get back over when I needed to turn…and if I stopped and there was a problem, you have to know where you are when you call roadside assistance…so I didn’t stop. Then I was somewhere I totally could have stopped but having already driven another 25 or more miles I figured if there were a real big problem I would have figured it out by then so I kept going. I made it to my apartment building and the stupid garage door opener wouldn’t work. I sat there trying and driving forward and backward trying to get it to work for at least 10 minutes…likely longer…before giving up. At this point I was way frustrated. I got out and all the tires looked fine. I started working on getting things out of my car and when I walked in and saw smiling strangers who were friends with each other in the hallway, I guess that was all that I could take. As soon as I was alone I was crying.

 

I was crying my frustration at the day’s events. I was crying my grief over the loss of my dream job, dream life. I was crying my loneliness of leaving behind so many friends. I was crying my inadequacy of not really knowing how to make new friends. So many reasons I was crying and probably more I am currently leaving out…this isn’t where I want to be. This isn’t how life was supposed to turn out. Years ago, I vowed that after graduation I was never living in an apartment again. Now I am back in an apartment, and yes, it is probably not helped by my negativity, but I am not happy with it. My parents kinda made me buy a TV because I have free TV service here…or I am supposed to. I called the TV service provider because it wasn’t working and they said the property manager needs to call them. I called the property manager and explained the situation. I still don’t have TV service. There is paint on the floor, in the bathtub, in the dishwasher. It was insanely dusty and dirty when I moved in. There are no keys to the door in the apartment and the scan tag locks are really frustrating. I am not that great at using keys, but would probably have an easier time with a key so that is definitely saying something. There are dimmers all over the apartment except not in my bedroom and I always sleep with lights but don’t want to waste the electricity of using the entire light fixture.

 

I am not moved in, really. It looks like I am, but in reality I stopped putting things away and just started piling things up in the closets and drawers – and did the same with the stuff I didn’t have time to pack at home. With closets with only a single shelf I don’t know how to put away all my things.

 

The first day at work was also hard.

 

Someone came and talked about he “just fell into” working at this hospital system. He talked about how the match works and how he originally put some place I don’t remember as his first choice, but a week before rank lists were due changed his mind and put this place first and then ended up at his first choice. That was a really painful story to hear. Such a contrast from my own. The difference seemed to accentuate my failure and my pain. My first choice wasn’t a last minute decision; it was a life-long desire. My match day was not met with excitement of obtaining my first choice; it was filled with sorrow…and then there was phase II with another failure. And the scramble: fail. And the job search where I continued to mostly be ignored and also have failure for the most part. I doodled on my doodle page and prayed no one would notice my tears.

 

I am strong, but not that strong. Sometimes the pain is more than I can take. We did a wellness worksheet. After ranking our wellness on a circle chart we were asked how well our wheel would roll on a bike or car. I answered “it wouldn’t.” I couldn’t help but note that while my wheel approximated a half-circle, that while the exercise was designed to show that you needed wellness is all areas of life that in reality if I were completely devastated in all areas of life then my wheel would theoretically be round and roll well…not sayin’ just sayin’.

 

I try so hard just to continue to live with this pain. I would be thrilled for the world to end and God to come back. This is more than I can take. And just to bring it home that I have absolutely no control in life, OCD struck on Sunday. It was super dumb, because in the morning I was able to handle a kid who climbed on the toilet like a monkey and stuck is hand in the water after using the toilet (oh the joys of potty training) and a kid who stuck his hand in his poopy diaper and was pretty much fine…and then I sat on the couch at home that was vomited on when I was in elementary school and was in a bad anxiety attack. On the positive side, I am super proud of how I handled it, but on the negative side, I am really frustrated that OCD can still own me so easily. I wanted so badly to strip off all my clothes, shower with excessive soap, put on clean clothes, and sanitize all the dirty clothes and spray lysol in the air to get rid of some of the airborne germs and clean the floor where the clothes sat while I showered. I could have washed in steaming hot water until the anxiety died down enough to at least kinda sorta think logically and go on with life. Instead, I forced myself to keep sitting there. So I sat, wanting so badly to hold my breath and run away. And of course because abuse infiltrates a lot of aspects of my life, I then remembered vividly my first exposure with my abuser when as I was trying to calm down she saw a vulnerability and started talking about how her previous clients had thrown up (probably my worst fear, as she knew). You may say that sounds like appropriate exposure therapy, but I need you to believe me that it certainly was not. I knew and she knew that the exposure I had just done was right at the tip of what I could safely handle. I knew and she knew that talking about vomit was something that at that point in my life would certainly cause excessive disruption to my life. She did this right before times up on the session. So yeah, anyway, one more thing to increase the anxiety from an 11 out of 10 to a 12. But I continued to sit there because years of doing hard things growing up socially anxious with a bold mom who didn’t get it taught me how to survive and the psychology I know tells me that avoidance won’t make it better, but doing hard things might. So I sat there and eventually I was able to calm down enough to realize that it was really dumb to be so upset when it had been so long ago that any germs had almost certainly transferred to the entire house including my room by this point and if I was going to get sick from them I already would have. The great thing about OCD recovery though is that by an hour later the event was virtually forgotten.

 

Speaking of germs though…four out of five guys wash their hands after using the bathroom. Someone should really talk to that fifth guy.

 

I was supposed to go to the lab today. I didn’t. Getting to the lab was scary…knowing what to say when I got there was scary. It was more than I wanted to take on and I decided I wasn’t doing it. I know tomorrow is the very last day I can put it off and I am scared. TBH, right now thinking about it I am so scared that I barely feel the pain of grief except that I wouldn’t have to do this if it weren’t for this new job that wasn’t what I wanted. One of the labs they want is one that is very hard for me. I cried and got alternatives at my doctor office at home, but that isn’t an option here. I’ve already had to do it once for this job and now they want it again. It is extremely uncomfortable physically and emotionally for me. Because it is so stressful, I almost cried at my last employee health visit where I had to do it. The first person I talked to said I could interrupt at any time to do it. Being very polite I didn’t want to interrupt, but eventually I was not listening at all anymore and was at my limit and wanted it to be done and said I wanted to go get it over with and it was like 20 questions. Are you sure? We’re almost done here you could wait? Wouldn’t you rather do it later? I was working so hard to hold back tears because no, I was so overwhelmed at this point that I was going to be a crying mess on the floor if it wasn’t over soon. I think the nurse must have eventually understood the desperation in my harsh reply that I just wanted to get it over with and gave in. If I could, there is a lot I would do to not have to do this. I seriously think I would be willing to pay as much as $100 to not do it. In fact, I might be willing to give even more than that if asked as long as it wasn’t going to be a constant thing they were going to want from me. My happiness is worth something.

 

I am working really hard though. I may not have eaten dinner yesterday, and lunch today was really more like a snack because the food was supposed to be provided but the food was so far outside of an acceptable food for me that I had to force myself to even take one bite before throwing away my plate. Yuck. I’m sorry, but it was worse than when SAA ordered Jimmy Johns. They may not have figured out that not everyone likes mayo either, but at least with a jimmy john’s sandwich the mayo is to one side so you can get it out and still have a functional sandwich. The same was not true of these sandwiches. They were drenched in mayo all over from top to bottom. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. Yes, this is stimulus generalization and not a good way to handle my frustration, but as an adult, it is not appropriate to whine that I just wanted a normal sandwich and to not have to eat just the snacks (that I always come prepared with) for lunch. After how nice the person was that told me on Friday about lunch was, I expected something edible and even my snacks weren’t really an appropriate substitute.

 

Luckily starting tomorrow I am in charge of my own lunch and will pack something suitable…I am definitely currently using sugar as emotional currency…and calorie currency…but you gotta do what you gotta do to get through the day.

 

I hope God comes back tonight. I don’t want to go to the lab tomorrow and I am tired of all this pain and I am physically sore (even minimum necessary was more child lifting than I should have been doing and I am back to it hurting just to breathe) and I just want to be done with all this. Then the lyrics of this song would be more true “you say that this will be the last night feeling like this. Just came to say goodbye. Didn’t want you to see me cry.”….but I absolutely love the lyrics of this song…very true of me – I claim I am fine. I am always fine. Especially when I am not. I don’t necessarily see it as a lie because my heart is still pumping oxygenated blood, but I suppose it kind of is, because my emotional lifeblood is pretty much at 1% oxygen saturation completely depriving me of the ability to experience joy in life 99% of the time. Maybe it is time to be honest with everyone including myself. I am not okay. But that isn’t socially appropriate and I work so hard every day at creating socially appropriate communication.