Category Archives: Anxiety

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.

Excuse me, but I’ve got a request, could you please take the gag off my mouth? // Today I am graduating

(From End to End—Relient K)

Today I am graduating. Today I am free. No, not of learning and books and schools, well okay, yes of those things, but more importantly, free of the gag that has been placed over my mouth and bound my fingers and tongue from sharing my story. No longer must I live drowning in an ocean of isolation, unable to scream for help. I signed early in fourth year that I wouldn’t speak about the abuse that I had endured at my school nor would I tell anyone that I couldn’t discuss the fall-out from the situation. I later learned in law class that the contract was not valid because I didn’t have the capacity to contract as it was presented to me as sign this or go home and throw away the past three years of time and tuition from your life…but I knew that legally binding or not, my life would become even more a living hell than it already was if I was found in violation of the “contract.”

Today I am graduating. Today I know my rights and will not allow anyone to abuse me or force me to give up my personhood again. I can and will fight for my rights. I will not be silent about the pain of abuse. I am still learning how to let people get close to me again. It still feels safer to just shut everyone out so they can’t hurt me, but I can and will learn how to live safely in community.

Today I am graduating. It is freeing, yet it is a little scary. The pain I have walked through for so long doesn’t evaporate overnight, yet, does anyone care about the ocean salt I will be washing out of my hair and clothes for a long time in order to heal? For years the salt has been rubbing into my wounds, and that doesn’t end overnight. The tide has gone out again, but in its wake has been left years of damage that can’t be mended overnight.

Today I am graduating. I can talk, but can I really? The story wasn’t linear at the beginning, and now, nearly three years from the forced silence, unwinding the tightly twisted story seems nearly impossible. I want to share, but I don’t know where to start, what direction to go, how to share an experience so extended yet so acutely deeply painful.

Today I am graduating. Today I can tell you the biggest hard thing I have overcome—and it is not OCD. So…long story short…I was abused by a counselor at my school. In retrospect, I should never have gotten more involved with this person than was strictly necessary. It was quite clear that she was not ethical nor caring quite early on. For example, first semester of second year she told my counselor that I had been listening in on another counselor’s sessions and needed to be talked to and punished for it. There is absolutely no way that I could have done that, never mind the fact that I had no reason to do so. The counselor in question was only in the office until 11. I was in class until 10:50, then went directly to the cafeteria where I received my hamburger plain, banana, and vanilla milk at approximately 11 each day, then to my dorm room to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that there is no way I would ever skip class, so I definitely wouldn’t have skipped it to listen in. Next issue: even if I had wanted to listen, I definitely wouldn’t have heard anything. Finally, why in the world would I even want to listen? I can’t think of a single situation that would lead me to want to listen in. My counselor was, understandably, not happy with me. After hearing my perspective the next week, she admitted that ABCD had told her to talk to me about it and she trusted me that it wasn’t true, but the accusation hurt me and caused a division between my counselor and myself that week. Also, ABCD violated my confidentiality prior to my getting overly involved with her. Funny how she told my friend that “SOME people have thought that I was sharing about them, but that is not true, and I would never do that.” Umm, nice story, but you left me COPIED IN when you violated my confidentiality some of the times, so clearly I didn’t just THINK you were sharing, I KNEW. Also, in my record which I have a legal right via HIPAA laws to see for free once per year and for a fee after that though you tried to keep me from it, you documented some violations of confidentiality, so umm, yeah no. I am not picking up what you are putting down; I’m not buying that you would never do that. Aside from strange stories and complete and utter lack of confidentiality, I was also torn down emotionally, and made to question my experience of what had occurred. It is unfortunate that I have good memory, because it hurt that much more when her version of events continued to change. Respect was also an issue. When you are talking to me, you shouldn’t be texting your BFFs, for example. I understand we live in a busy world and have a high tolerance for other people being distracted, but sometimes enough is enough and she was past that line by leaps and bounds constantly. Additionally, timeliness is next to godliness. I am patient and will let you waste my time and not show my annoyance when I am standing right there and five minutes after we were supposed to start you engage in a lengthy conversation with someone else, but how dare you have the gall to ask me where your client is when you were supposed to see her two hours ago and were too busy chatting it up with a friend? Keeping track of your clients is not my responsibility. There are many things I am happy to do, but client management and tracking is not one of them and it is inappropriate to suggest that it is. I shouldn’t even know who your clients are, much less where they are.

Today I am graduating. Today I am finally free to talk about the pain that has permeated my life over the past few years. Today I can tell you as much as you want to know or I want you to know about the person who caused so much pain in my life that I truly wanted to die for the first time in my life. It is too painful and vulnerable to recount more stories right here, but the one I feel most comfortable sharing an abbreviated form of is the summer story. May 13th I received an email telling me how she really thought things were going really well between us. June 20th I left around 4am and drove across the country and that afternoon I went to see my file. When my time limit was up we briefly discussed phone meetings and meetings in the fall. On June 21st I went to immunization training and then directly from there to church. On June 22nd I left around probably 4:30 am to drive back home. At home I got a new phone that I was NOT happy about and declared that I was not touching it. June 23rd I was sitting on my bed trying to figure out how to explain to someone who I knew would ridicule me about it that I couldn’t make the phone meeting that day because I had no phone since I wasn’t touching new phone and old phone had no service when I got an email that she couldn’t answer the phone. Okay, problem solved. No suspicion yet, because chances are she is cutting the meeting to talk to one of her friends and at least she is telling me this time instead of just not answering. Well, a few hours later I get another email from her that we are done. This is different from all the other times she said we were done, because this time she doesn’t ban me from talking to anyone else. I ask why. She refuses to answer the question. Still upset about the new phone, she has added to the fire and I am now caught in a storm of so many negative emotion words. Confused. Betrayed. Hurt. Sad. There is a tiny sparkle of hope, but like a tiny flashlight beam in a dark stormy night, the hope is hard to see through the torrential downpour of negativity. I act out. I feel really bad about it and start trying to call to apologize. I finally get through and start to get the words out on July 10th. She cuts me off saying “this is why we can’t work together” and slams the phone down. I try again. No answer. I write an apology email. My campusweb and pils and password retriever stop working. I call IT and am told that the person I need to talk to is on lunch and will be back soon. I cancel my plans to bike ride opting instead to babysit my phone, so I don’t miss the call. Hours later no response. I start calling again. And again. And again. I leave messages. I call again. Finally I receive a call but not from IT. I am sort of in shock (not literally…I didn’t actually need ICU admission). I leave my laptop open and go to Bible study where I vent to my friends who are really caring despite the negativity I brought with me. I go home and am SO frustrated that my computer ran low on batteries and went to the password page which means it is now unusable. By morning the shock is wearing off and I am spiraling deep deep deep down. The little beam of hope has gone dark. I desperately wish to not be alive, and am afraid to tell anyone.

Today I am graduating. Today I can tell you that the abuse never ended. First it was stalking and trying to pit my friends against me. I sit down outside to talk to a friend, she shows up and stares. I go to the bathroom, she suddenly needs it too. I go get a spoon she walks past to fill her (already full) water bottle. I sit down at a table in the nearly empty cafeteria, she sits at the table right next to mine. I go to the parking garage, she follows me. She intercepts, reads, and shares faxes from my counselors. I don’t feel safe, yet she brings in her husband to accuse me of stalking her…yeah, me who has done everything in my power to hide from her. I step up the avoidance even more. She gets even more intrusive, standing right next to me to wait in line for a microwave when there is no line at the microwaves closer to her workstation and further from me. She claims she won’t even be at the event my club is hosting and then switches places with the speaker so that she is speaking at the event, not to mention intentionally moves her stuff after I sit down in the room so that she is sitting way too close to me.

Today I am graduating. Today I can finally explain as fully as I’d like without fear of repercussions the deep fear I have developed of people in the mental health field. See there was ABCD, and then as part of the terms of staying in school I had to waste a metric buttload of dollars and time with a bunch of other people, and I guess the reason these people had openings was because of how lousy they were. Let’s see…psychia #1: Diagnosed me within five minutes based on the title of my blog. Never mind the paperwork I filled out indicating that I had no current symptoms of the disorders he was diagnosing. I tried to question the one that was furthest out of line, and his justification was that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt…umm, true, but 1) they were nice shorts and it was August, and 2) I don’t know of anyone who dresses up to go to an appointment, and the rest of the waiting room was filled with people dressed like me. No interest in listening to me, insistent that I was lying that I was not a special ed kid. I was not lying; I was an honors kid, most definitely not a special ed kid. I cried tears of angry frustration following that appointment. On to psychia #2: This guy is so weird. He spent almost the entire session talking to himself about whether or not he would write a letter to school—nevermind that I had made the appointment on the grounds that the only reason I was there was for a letter to be written. I don’t get a chance to say much as the vast majority of the appointment is him talking to himself. It was all I could do to not tell him to shut his trap and listen to me. He also tried to ask for more money than was originally agreed upon. Luckily I brought an exact amount of cash so he backed off. His retarded letter essentially said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me but would be thrilled to get paid a ridiculous amount of money weekly to keep looking! On to psycho #1: She is a lot older than her picture on the website, but she is really nice and during the meeting I actually like her as much as one can like someone whom she has just met and has just barely earned any trust or respect points. Life is going to be okay until she calls and leaves a message that she changed her mind and instead of writing that she recommends at most monthly meetings like we had previously agreed upon that she is going to write at least every other week. I cry tears of angry disillusioned sadness as I drive to the wonderful counseling center at which I volunteer, willing the tears to stop before anyone sees. These experiences prove to me that hurtful experiences are not an isolated incident with this one person, but are the norm. Meeting a new counselor is terrifying until they win my trust.

Today I am graduating. Today the light is finally the end of the tunnel and not a train coming at me with nowhere to run.* Abuse is a Trauma that hurts. Isolation hurts. Silence hurts. We were made for community. It is not good for girl to be alone, yet I lived since that stupid contract in silent isolation. At first it was wait a couple weeks. Then it was wait until next semester. Then next year. I learned to almost stop hoping because hope just meant more soul-crushing when I had to keep holding on in isolation. Inevitably, every time there was a teeny tiny sliver of light and I considered hope again, the hope ran away before I could shove it away and I was painfully crushed again. I never thought being numb was a good thing, but I learned that I’d really prefer if I could be totally numb and not have to care about anything. Getting rid of the highs felt worth it in exchange for getting rid of the lows as well. Oh…the contract and the agreement it replaced that were signed by someone whose name was not on the Word doc…yeah…so personal we got a form letter and filled in your name and our names…nothing says you matter like a form letter…why bother putting your name on it if you obviously didn’t write it? Why can’t we just tell the truth?

Today I am graduating. Today I no longer have to hear at least monthly about the wonderful “services” of my abuser. Like seriously people! Some of the people advocating those services are people who know how abusive she is yet continue to advocate people being in contact with her. That is so not cool. It is a forgivable offense if you don’t know, but if you do, it just makes me angry.

Today I am graduating. I have gradually healed over time, but the scabs have been picked off so many times that they have never truly gotten the chance to fully heal. Now I can really talk and write and process and heal, separated from the daily reminders like thorns tearing at my skin.

Today I am graduating. Today I am thankful to be done not just with academics, but with school. The cycle will stop revolving. No longer am I caught in the spiral of ABCD and Co. making school miserable which causes my academics to slip which stresses me out which makes me more emotionally vulnerable which makes the intrusions more painful which makes academics slip further…I should put a picture of my life cycle spiral here…

Today I am graduating. Today I can shed the stitches binding my lips closed. I can take off the chains holding me down. I can stop living in daily fear of what may be around the corner.

Today I am graduating. Today I am free.

(written in March 2016 in anticipation of my May 2017 graduation). Names and one paragraph removed later because retrospective me realized the need to be respectful. I also want to sincerely thank all the people who have gently created safe places for me. Y’all mostly know who you are and I am so grateful.

*Okay, not totally true anymore. The light went out in March. I am still grieving that loss, but I’m working really hard on changing the lightbulb.

You’ll stand through the pain, you won’t drown, and one day what’s lost can be found

(Stand in the Rain – Superchic[k])

 

So…things you can learn from me instead of for yourself: don’t wait to go home until there is under an hour before your usual bedtime when you are running on around 20 minutes of sleep. On the positive side, the worst I did was mostly run a red light…I mean, it stayed yellow like 90% of the time I was in the intersection…and I didn’t run into or even almost run into any of the other big iron things on the road, so I mean the whole point of having rules is to provide a structure that keeps us safe, so even my lack of following that one particular rule of the road didn’t jeopardize the intent of the rule…not that that makes it okay in any sense of the word.

 

In my defense, I really did intend to leave earlier. My goal was to be away from school and to eat dinner and to avoid sitting FORever in traffic and to definitely not be home when everyone else was eating dinner since I already said I wasn’t planning on being home for dinner. I told myself that I could leave when I finished another piece of bread or I could trade that for finishing the goldfish crackers…except I didn’t wanna, because technically I already did eat dinner. I had an egg and a slice of bread and a cup of apple juice and some skittles…except even though the package might say a slice is a serving, pretty sure the average adult shouldn’t be eating a single slice of bread as the carb group for dinner especially after taking a long walk earlier in the day. So I decided the second piece was mandatory too, but whiney brain wasn’t having it. But then I looked at the time and realized I had to get my butt into the car and get home…but on the positive side I did manage to get that piece of bread in my mouth before I put on my pajamas and went to bed. All is well that ends well.

 

While I was sitting in my happy place, one of my friends came to talk to me and that meant a lot to me. She is so awesome. Anyway, she asked me how my week was going, and I think I probably had my deer in the headlights selective mutism face on because she started supplying me words (also appreciated because clearly I was too exhausted both emotionally and physically to make coherent conversation). The words were “it’s hard to say.” Which is true on so many levels. First because quite literally I couldn’t get words out. Second because I was at that moment in time numb. Third, because I am lousy at decisions. Fourth, because I am ALWAYS okay, especially when I’m not. Fifth, because I don’t want to be a downer, and I don’t want to be a liar, but a lot of this week was really frustrating because even though some of last week I started finally being able to go numb, this week hasn’t been as successful. Likely that is largely because of the huge stressor of attempting to actually apply for jobs, but either way, it isn’t fun to be crying in the middle of class and crying in front of people, and feeling the pain so acutely and deeply for so much of every day. It’s hard.

 

Sometimes when everything is so hard, tiny ant-sized problems seem like giant Tyrannosaurus Rex-sized problems…case in point: I finished eating and was getting ready for bed. I turned off the lights and was really confused when my room wasn’t illuminated with my nightlight (I usually keep my nightlight on the light activated setting so when the sensor doesn’t sense enough light it starts glowing to create the appropriate amount of light). I turn the lights back on and discover that my night light is not plugged into the wall. This sparks a search for my nightlight. Is it on the floor next to the outlet? No. Is it in my bag? No, I know it was forgotten today and I double checked and it is not there. Did I leave it in the kitchen or bathroom this morning? Well, it is not there now…and eventually after checking everywhere I could think to check I had to admit that the nightlight was definitely missing and I wasn’t staying up any later looking for it…and I’d been doing a good job all day not crying, and that is what set off the angry frustrated tears. It shouldn’t be a big deal. When I’m asleep my eyes are closed to it doesn’t matter if the room is light, and my room right now is small enough that I can certainly find the light switch easily and the room is all mine when I’m sleeping so I know nothing will be on the floor in my way (although that is not a guarantee at home). But that nightlight was like my security blanket. I got it for my birthday and I love it. And my world was crashing apart because of a nightlight. I am way too old to be getting anywhere close to that upset over a nightlight.

 

That was a time when being numb would have been helpful and created a more normative response. There was one occasion on Wednesday though when it would have been nice to be not numb for just a few minutes. My team won second place in trivia, and it was nothing to me. Part of that is that winning or losing has never been a huge thing for me, but I still should have been a little excited for a few minutes. Instead it was just one more situation to pretend my way through. I really enjoyed the night, and I really needed to be there, but it would have been awesome to have just a few minutes of excitement.

 

I also found a calculator online for helping you figure out how to eat to be the weight you want to be when you want to be it. That was a bit of a downer…so, I decided by graduation was a good time to be at my goal weight. The calculator popped up a warning that it couldn’t do that because that wasn’t a safe amount of weight change in two weeks. Even once it pushed me into a third week (because that is the shortest time it would let me choose) it wanted me to eat over 2800 calories every day! I’m not very good at calories so I don’t really know how much that is, but I know that a “typical” diet is 2000 calories, so I have a pretty good idea that 2800 calories is a LOT…and that was without anything more than just the light activity of daily life…it’s not like I said there was any chance of me exercising. On the positive side, my wrist is now big enough again that I can wear bracelets without worrying about them falling off and getting lost. I might lose my head if it weren’t attached, but that’s why God created us with necks 🙂

 

And when it rains it pours. I was so busy freaking out about my nightlight that I forgot that I ate the skittles from my car for dinner when I didn’t *want* mini oreos for dinner…which means there aren’t any skittles in my car for if I need them today…Hey, on the positive side, at least I showed up at school with lunch, water bottle, phone, computer, and all the things I can think of right now that I might absolutely need…not that that means I didn’t forget something that I am not thinking of right now…And there weren’t any garbage or portapotty trucks on the road today…lol…like the newer superchick song, we take life 5 minutes at a time.

 

More awesome lyrics:

“Drowning out the sound of her sorrows, she’s finding it hard to exist. She keeps running into herself, hoping to find somebody else. She keeps running into herself hoping to find somebody better.” (Pennyless – Plumb)

The best laid plans can go upside down if that’s lady luck’s intent

 

(Accidents Happen – Thomas and Friends)

 

Things don’t always go how they go inside my head.

 

I was going to do a video with a teacher…instead I got pulled into a meeting about background checks and discovered that it is finally going to be a lot less expensive for students now than it has been for me. Then I got pulled into helping with looking through preceptor of the year awards.

 

I got out of my last event of the day super early and I had the great idea that I would go swing on a swingset….umm…yeah…it was thunderstorming and I didn’t get very far on my way to my car before I realized swinging in a thunderstorm was a Very Bad Idea.

 

So instead I decided to go find someone to talk to…except everyone was busy…

 

It is easy to forget me…especially when I never made it known I needed anything…

 

But some things do go right. Sometimes God answers prayer with yes. There was a garbage truck that happened to turn onto the road in front of me. Oh c**p oh c**p oh c**p are the last words coming out of my mouth before trying to hold my breath as long as possible…then I forced myself to breathe while thinking about if there was anywhere I could get some bleach and clean myself and all my things. And I was frustrated because clearly if I can barely touch the steering wheel while I drive because everything is contaminated then eating is going to be super difficult…so I did the only thing left to do. I prayed my heart out the rest of the way to school…usually I’m also singing myself songs (usually inside my head…), but not today, and shortly after getting to school I was actually doing okay again!! Maybe I don’t have a job and I’m still alive because I’m not a good enough Christian.

 

I’ve been listening to the book “In the Water they can’t see you cry.” As a former swimmer and loving the title SO much, it was totally worth the fact that it was like 10 hours long. Amanda Beard was the topic of my french paper in seventh grade. I was a little disappointed at first because the book wasn’t like I thought it would be, but it actually is pretty good. It is so familiar that I feel like I’ve read it before in like actual words, but I’m pretty sure based on the publication date that I haven’t read it before…I suppose there is probably a good chance that the majority of the story I read from the Splash magazines a little at a time. I read those things religiously cover to cover until they stopped coming. Anyway, I am so glad I read the book this week. It was something I could totally connect with. Someone else who had very similar problems to my own and experienced it similarly…and she got through it and ended up with a BABY!! Mostly it was just me having someone to commiserate with who wasn’t going to be overwhelmed or anything seeing as how it was only a person on a recording, but there were tiny bits of hope that if she could do it maybe I could too.

 

Sometimes life is frustrating. I wanted to go to yoga today. I had lab until 6:30, so even worst case scenario I’d make it to the second half. Then the teacher for the class I had before lab said unless I wanted to be in class that I might as well leave because there wasn’t going to be anything useful for me in class. I took that invitation and left. I probably should have done something useful with my life, but instead I went on a walk…a five-mile walk. Yeah…that was stupid. And that is why I am unable to go to yoga. I don’t think it is safe for me to be there. Either it will be slow stretching yoga in which case I will be tempted to pretend I am totally able to do what everyone else seemingly can and intentionally do things that will leave me in physical pain to drown some of the emotional pain, or it will be some type of fitness yoga that will similarly be bad for me because I really shouldn’t be doing anything that is going to burn extra calories when I am trying to gain weight…especially seeing as how I am already having trouble with my dinner today. I was super efficient in lab moving people around and grading papers and alphabetizing at top speed so that I’d have plenty of time and I was pretty proud of myself for finishing at 5pm. But then I realized that it wasn’t a good idea to go to yoga. But I also couldn’t go home. I already said I wasn’t going to be home for dinner and it is always awkward when I say that then show up at home…especially because a lot of times dinner when I’m not there is fish and so people feel bad that I can’t eat with them, because that is one of the things they are aware that I do not eat. Besides, I had enough food for two meals in my lunch box and extra snacks in my car. So I started getting dinner ready, but I didn’t really want to eat it. So I went to my happy place so that I wouldn’t be tempted to show up to show up at yoga. Now I am trying really hard to finish dinner. It is frustrating, because I feel like I should be over this by now. But I’m still struggling. How long does this last? I’m tired of holding on.

 

Umm yeah…so we’ll just end with some good lyrics:

“When does a scar become a tattoo? When does the sky turn back to blue? When will this heart that’s broken and bleeding beat again? When do I stop feeling this burn? When will it stop? When will I learn?…I’m right here, standing in the pouring rain; tick tock hours all feel the same.” (Say your name – Plumb)

Why would he let it hurt so bad

(Don’t Worry Now – Britt Nicole)

Some days are not good. I’m supposed to have two projects mostly completed by Tuesday. I am barely any farther than I was Friday. It isn’t for lack of trying…it’s just that I’ve spent more time today crying than working…

…and when I was working I was really having trouble getting through the work. I am really worried about this rotation because the quality of my work is umm…decidedly not ideal…and at this point I’m having trouble having even just SOMETHING not even necessarily something good to turn in. Everyone said this rotation would be easy…I don’t think everyone knew A) how hard grieving and keeping up with school would be and B) that I would be engaged in meetings and classes from at the LATEST 9:30 until at LEAST 5 on some days and 6:30 other days in addition to new homework being added to my plate every day. It is starting to get to the point that I am not sure I will successfully complete this rotation, which is terrifying, because lack of success means delaying graduation which would be really hard to explain to a potential employer someday…at least it would give me longer to look for a job somewhere?

All I’ve eaten today was four chocolate chip pancakes, a granola bar, a couple ounces of orange juice, half a bottle of grape propel, and maybe a cup of water. I’m trying. I really am, but today was a hard day and without prompting I was really struggling to eat. I know if I was eating I might be able to focus better and I probably would be less emotional, but the pain of the grief was really heavy today. Today is also going to be my first Passover celebration. I am not sure how much food that involves…I just hope that no one expects me to drink wine, because this definitely is not a good time for my first alcoholic beverage.

I think the problem is that it is getting very close to the day I find out the results of phase II. I don’t think anyone is going to want me in phase II, and the closer the day comes, so too does the possibility of repeated failure. There is still a possibility of a miracle until Wednesday and the closer that day comes the more anxious I am becoming. It still hurts more than words can express.

I don’t know if I can take another failure to match. I clearly haven’t really recovered from phase I yet. I thought this pain was too much and I am getting closer to the possibility of even more.

Complicating the picture, Wednesday is also the second Wednesday of the month which means I will need a new place to park my car and will probably have a longer walk to school. My friend said I should park at IKEA. I need to figure out if the route from IKEA to school will put me on a safe path. Okay, if I am being super honest, I am afraid that if I don’t match Wednesday I will be thinking so poorly that I could make a bad choice and get myself killed. If there is a train crossing that is between school and IKEA I doubt I will be paying enough attention to keep myself safe. Intersections aren’t so bad because cars generally will stop for me if I am not paying enough attention and end up in the way, but trains aren’t supposed to be watching for that. I don’t want to hurt people by getting dead. As much as I would be thrilled to no longer hurt so bad, I don’t want to eternally feel guilty for hurting people either…(umm, actually I’m not sure you can feel guilt once you get to heaven…but it’s the principle of the matter…)

And that isn’t to mention that not matching in phase II further decreases my chances of getting ANY job.

I don’t know why God put me in this place. I don’t know why he won’t take me home. I don’t know why he lets me hurt so bad. But I know that God is good. I know that God exists and cares…I wish I could go to bed, wake up, and be in elementary school again and tell myself not to make too many plans so that I wouldn’t have plans and dreams that could be crushed. If my goal in life was just to work at McDonalds I could probably make that happen with not too much difficulty. And then I’d have free McDonalds! Yum!

I ain’t like no one you met before

(Sold Out – Hawk Nelson)

So today I realized that I graduate in 92 days and my intern manual (required to get a pharmacist license) was lost again…if there were a prize for the most lost manual, I’d be the biggest loser and therefore the winner…on the positive side, it is found again…but I also forgot to get my hours form signed for this rotation…and I seem to have lost the precious few hours forms I actually did remember to save and therefore may still have some difficulty getting licensed…someday I will be a more responsible adult…
See, if my memory serves me correctly, I got my intern materials in the mail the summer my life was spinning out of control. I didn’t really have the brain space to read and process all the paperwork in that envelope and it all sat in the envelope it came in for months on the back burner. I got as far as remembering that the manual existed and that there were forms that needed to be signed. It wasn’t until this summer that I actually went through that paperwork and learned that I was supposed to have been saving a copy of each pre- and post- experience hours form.
I don’t have much of an excuse for my manual continuing to get lost aside from the fact that it is really hard to keep track of anything when you don’t consistently live in the same state and are constantly packing up and moving multiple times per year…
So I now have a half completed manual and two hours forms which add up to 400 hours…of the 1600 required hours…Yeah, we better hope the board of pharmacy keeps track of the forms too and really saving them is only suggested for disputes over hours…I admit that I shouldn’t have let that stuff stay on the back burner so long.
As for the form I forgot this rotation, I think that should be an easily excusable offense although it truly is idiotic from the outside. See, last Monday I had an interview and was out a little late getting home from that. I gave a case presentation on Friday and was mostly caught up on sleep then I flew out to another interview that took place on Monday. Sunday night I was up like 15 minutes late because I fail at telling time. Monday night I was up late because my flight got in a little late and so by the time I got home it was after midnight. I usually go to bed at 9pm. Tuesday I left my rotation a little a lot early to head back to the airport. That flight got in on time, but it was scheduled to arrive at 8:57pm so obviously by the time I was at my location for the night it was after bedtime and by the time I got to bed it was between 30 and 60 minutes past bedtime. Then Wednesday night I had a super tight connection. At the airport I started at I learned that the gate my connection was leaving vs the gate my first flight was arriving at were the two most distant points in the airport and my directions were to run, get on the moving sidewalks, and push people out of my way. That was before my flight landed (2-3 minutes) late. I ran like my life depended on it. It was like the mile run in school where there was no way of knowing how long you had been running but they threatened to fail anyone who couldn’t finish within 12 minutes and even though I knew they probably wouldn’t do it, I was terrified and ran my little heart out despite how much it hurt. So there I was, running full speed through the airport on the moving sidewalks, gently pushing people out of my way, heart and lungs burning so so badly. I made it to my gate with probably less than a minute to spare before doors closed and showed the dude my boarding pass (which at this point was a little crumpled and sweaty). He looked at me and I half asked/half demanded to board. The airline dude was like we aren’t currently boarding. Inside my head I was freaking out because I thought I missed my flight and was super frustrated, because control freak that I am, I was sure maybe I could have pushed just a little harder and gotten there a few seconds sooner and gotten on that plane. Luckily, while my brain was catching up and processing what to say to get my butt back home ASAP, the dude saw my confused look and asserted that nobody was boarding anywhere because the computer system went down.
Y’all, there are a lot of idiots and jerks in the airport, but there are also some really compassionate people. Some people offered me a seat and encouraged me that I worked really hard and didn’t miss my flight. Eventually I did board the plane and get home. When we arrived, the flight attendants made a very important announcement that this was the very last flight in for the night and therefore do not forget anything anywhere because everyone will be leaving behind you and no one will be available to help you retrieve lost items…hearing that I was super thankful that I was on that flight and not stranded in an airport far away. I may have been wearing a top that was just barely more than a tank top and the temperature may have been approximately 0 degrees, but luckily the towel in my backpack was clean, dry, and easily accessible, and became my cape to stay warm. I finally got home. Let’s just say that when I was already crashing on top of my computer before the first flight started that by this point I was so extremely sleep deprived that there was no hope of organized thoughtful processes occurring.
By the time I got home it was around 1:30am. I was getting read for bed when of course the sleep deprivation started sparking a level of anxiety I couldn’t ignore. See, my overactive imagination determined that someone might have thrown up on the last flight I was on and I was terrified and my fried brain couldn’t process that there really wasn’t any good evidence that had happened and that even if it had that there was a good chance it was just motion sickness and no more dangerous than the person coughing a row in front of me. I wanted Lysol and didn’t have any. Instead I had to compromise with myself and use a Clorox wipe on my hair and skin before I could go to bed. By the time I had done this, brushed my teeth, put on pajamas, I had about 3 hours before my mom woke me up (because of course I slept through my alarm). I raced through showering and throwing random food in the mini-lunch box I’d left on the table on Tuesday afternoon that had previously been used for a frozen dinner and apple and pepperoni on Tuesday when I was also in a rush trying to catch up on a few minutes of sleep. I got to rotation on Thursday and had a preceptor I didn’t click well with and was so frustrated that a couple times during the day I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to cry and calm down. I gave my journal club presentation, and as you can expect, it didn’t go super well when I had almost fallen asleep during the other student’s presentations. I also hadn’t remembered to bring handouts. That morning I’d been so tired that I had trouble leaving because I couldn’t remember where the door was (and my parents have lived here since I was in second grade)…I went to bed at like 6 or 7 on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough and even with more than one alarm set I managed to sleep through them and be in a rush again. And that is how after having a few pieces of pepperoni an orange, and some cheerios I was too tired to eat for lunch on Thursday, having the rest of the cheerios for dinner, then having skittles, pepperoni, rice, almost pudding (I didn’t have cow milk to make instant pudding appropriately), and a pecan pie flavored sucker for lunch, I failed to even remember that there was a form that existed that needed to be signed much less to actually ask to have said form signed…my lungs still hurt at that point from running through the airport, and I was still fighting to stay awake. Finally today my lungs and heart don’t hurt anymore!! (And this is why I will never ever ever have any interest in becoming a runner. I like my bike. I like swimming. I like rollerblading. I do not like running).
On the positive side, as I was getting ready to take a nap so that I could safely drive home without risking falling asleep, I realized that it was only legal to park where I was parked until 4pm and it was currently 3:40pm, and somehow that triggered me to remember to turn in my nametag before I left, because the original plan a week ago was to park not to sleep, but to have somewhere legal and free to put my car while I was turning in my tag. So I did at least turn that in so that I don’t automatically fail the rotation for failing to turn in my nametag!! Unfortunately that used up all 20 minutes of my legal nap time…so I came home, luckily with only almost running into other big iron things, and napped and it wasn’t until now that I realized I had other responsibilities that had not been performed.
And with that, I am going to sleep now, because I am still desperately short on sleep hours.
Maybe with some sleep it won’t feel anymore like no one is going to want me for a residency…I try really hard, but I am lousy at interviews and I know it. I feel no one is going to want to take a chance on me. Because of that fear, I also plan to rank every program I applied to even if I am not a super fan of the people there or the program. I am desperate to just get SOMETHING.

Take some time to kick back

(Holiday — Britt Nicole)

Today I am learning that sometimes I need to recognize that when I am maxed out that trying to keep going isn’t going to be productive…yep, as of right now I have spent almost 3 hours doing absolutely nothing because I couldn’t think slow enough to actually open up the tabs on the internet I needed to do homework and then read said tabs…

I think I know what happened…based on screening trainings I’ve done over the years, I have learned that my blood glucose sits right around 70 despite the high levels of sugar I may consume…in high school I went to a camp where they let me have popsicles and all sorts of other junk food items for breakfast. Right after that we did blood glucose screening, and the person teaching me asked me if I felt okay and if I had eaten anything at breakfast because my number was so low…I know that low blood sugar (particularly <70mg/dL) can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

My theory is that because I sit so low at baseline, that any excursion brings me low enough to induce anxiety. I didn’t really eat breakfast this morning because I forgot, so inevitably there was a good chance of going low. By the time I got as far as presenting my patients to my preceptor before rounds I was already feeling kind of zoned out and overwhelmed…then during rounds I pulled up my email and found out I was not going to be interviewed at one of the places I applied for residency…then I found out I got an interview somewhere else…on a Monday…they stated that they expect me to drive…it’s almost 11 hours away…almost no airline seems to fly there…

Topic discussion was switched to something I wasn’t prepared for. Noon lecture was about something I should have known about and the presented knew that I should have known, but my mind was blanked out. I checked my email right before I left for the day and I had another two programs tell me I was scheduled for an interview date…the same day and almost the same times as the first one…

To add to the stress, my mom has a cold and she is always super whiney when she has a cold, and she doesn’t seem to have ever heard of covering her cough, and she touches everything…and add that to the fact that any time I am starting a new rotation I become hyperaware of cross-contamination…added to the fact that on my second day the preceptor’s first words to me were that I should have wiped down my area before sitting anything down or touching anything…and I was bound to become maxed out eventually…

…and spotify doesn’t want to work and so I can’t have good calm down music playing to keep me focused…somehow singing “Harold the helicopter” to myself isn’t conducive to study time…

Lol…now that I’ve taken some time off to think, I feel a little more ready to work on attempting to actually study for a little while. The world isn’t going to crash and burn in the next few hours, and I know God has a plan even if it feels like that plan is precluding me from any chance at the residencies I want. Maybe I’ll learn to say would you like fries with that…or better yet, I could work at Caribou and have a free drink every shift!! Yummy smoothies!!

hand up worries down

(love and the outcome—God I know)

BTW, I LOVE this song right now.

So I just realized I have about a week left of this rotation and a lot of work left to do, so I’m gonna try to write all the things that I have half written on scraps of paper and stuff but do it FAST…lol…

 

You know you are still a social learner and still using scripting when it is 8:01 am and you wish someone a good night. Yep, did that. Well, on the positive side, I did use words that were not strictly required, which is a lot more than I used to do. After that experience I tried really hard to modify my script to a good DAY rather than a good NIGHT. Once I practice it into a script it is hard to change, but mostly I have switched over to a more appropriate greeting for the morning. Also on the positive side: one of the pharmacists at my rotation site told me that she thought my social skills were fine!! Y’all, that seriously means like the world to me. Every preceptor so far has given me the feedback that my clinical skills and other knowledge are great, but that my communication and social skills need some development. I wholeheartedly agree, and am very thankful that so far each of them has been willing to modify my grade so that it didn’t hurt my GPA. I don’t think anyone has ever told me before that I had reasonable social skills!! The closest I’ve ever gotten to that was first year when my friend literally got out of her chair and jumped up and down out of excitement when I used the phrase “I haven’t thought about that” instead of “I don’t know.” So yeah, a comment that there wasn’t a problem in that area was one of the most amazing things someone could say to me. It was a recognition that my hard word was starting to pay off. Sure, I am still practicing conversation with myself in the car and I am still doing a LOT of observing and mimicking and watching for cause and effect to figure out how to communicate, but I used to do all that and still be obviously impaired. Now, apparently, I do all that work and it makes me seem like a normal girl. Yay!! I wish someone had realized there was a problem and gotten me help before I became a college student who fended for herself and when necessary communicated primarily in writing, but I can’t take that back and can only move on from there. In the past few years I have learned to talk on the phone, text, email, and speak normally enough to pass as a normal college student. There is still evidence that I used to struggle, but it isn’t glaringly obvious anymore, and rarely does anyone see the deer in the headlights girl when there is the potential for words being necessary. Occasionally I do kinda avoid answering the phone when I am on rotation, but that is stemming more from knowing that there is a 95% chance I won’t be able to help the person on the other end rather than the pure terror of the phone that fueled my pretend inability to locate the phone in the past.

 

Speaking of improving social skills, it is sometimes unfortunate, because as I’ve learned to enjoy in person social contact, I have begun to crave it. No longer is looking at a facebook profile picture enough to satisfy my social needs. It also means that when people leave my life it actually matters a lot more. Which makes it hard when I am moving every five weeks and therefore leaving behind friends constantly. I hate goodbyes. Sometimes I wish I could crawl back into my shell where someone leaving my life didn’t matter very much because I never knew how to get overly connected to anyone—even my best friends. Now I connect and have to let go.

 

Change in subject, I found out this morning that I am not the only one who has ever had physical manifestations of anxiety. In high school there were a few times I vomited because of test anxiety, and even since then I do sometimes have stomachaches because of anxiety (which is unfortunate, because the anxiety is usually surrounding fear of getting sick…). Not that I ever would even wish my enemies would feel sick, but it was good to know that my friend had a stomachache because of anxiety, because that normalized it for me. Okay fine, and it made the whole situation a lot less scary because my OCD decided to flare this week. I know exactly what happened: I was still super sensitive because of the recent move to a completely new environment. On Sunday someone had said she had just thrown up. A few hours later someone said it was flu season and they were pretty sure someone was going to start vomiting. At the hospital I think it was on Monday but it might have been Tuesday I saw and heard someone throwing up over and over and over and over. That is what broke me and I almost didn’t eat lunch that day. I took my lunch break because the anxiety was so high that I was struggling to do the basic task of alphabetizing and dispensing prescriptions. I went and got some food because I know better than to skip lunch and was determined that OCD was not going to win. I stared my food down for a few minutes before putting it into my mouth, but I was wildly successful. I started putting food in my mouth, and as I did, the anxiety dropped far enough that 95% of the food made it to my mouth. Food is my drug.

 

Speaking of anxiety, I know that lack of sleep can make me vulnerable, but I learned yesterday that if I am exhausted enough then it is like I don’t have the energy to feel anxiety and the mute button goes on. It makes it a lot easier to give presentations that way. I am not saying that intentionally not sleeping would be a good idea for presentations…in fact, it probably makes the presentation worse because I can’t track what I am saying long enough to even get to the end of a sentence and know where I was going with it when I was at the beginning of the sentence, but it is really nice to be able to give a presentation with no fear. I will note that it was not intentional that I didn’t get much sleep. I was up a little late because two of my friends were going to leave soon and I wanted to get in as much time as possible. Then at midnight I woke up to a lot of beeping. I thought someone was texting. Then I realized I was the only one in the house and if someone was texting then it must be an intruder, so either there was an intruder or there was an unidentified noise that I should probably ignore. I decided I would get out my computer and look up the number for security just in case I needed it then I would try to figure out where the noise was coming from and if I could get it to go away…well, as it turns out, the sound was my computer. It apparently had come open in my bag and among other things was trying to send an email without the recipient filled in and therefore continued to beep about an error. Craziness. So I solved that problem, reset all the settings that had gotten screwed up on the computer, plugged it in because it was now almost completely out of battery, and tried to go back to sleep. Hahaha good luck with that. There were train whistles almost constantly until about an hour before the alarm went off. Needless to say, I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep, waking up in just enough time to my rotation on time but not enough time to do any of the practicing I intended to do in the morning.

 

Fear is a funny thing. I am scared of a lot of things…but not the things I should be scared about. I drove around with my gas light on not knowing where I might find a gas station and I stopped half asleep in the dark at a gas station in a city that may or may not be overly safe. And I had no fear about this process…yep…I can be terrified of things that shouldn’t matter one day and have no fear about things that do the next…my mom has always said that normal is a really low standard, but I still really believe that I’d like to be normal some day.