Category Archives: OCD

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 🙂

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I cling to your promise there will be a dawn

(Beauty from pain – superchick)

 

–started Saturday…finished not Saturday because even if grief keeps me awake, I am at least going to TRY to sleep at night–

 

I thought I was ready to hope again. I let hope in. The hope grew. And then I got crushed again. I am angry with myself that I even let myself hope again. I should have known better. Living without hope was better than being crushed. It hurts too much.

 

I was thrilled to get my job back and the waiting was killing me but it was the biggest most exciting thing ever. On my phone on Friday I had two missed calls. I hadn’t really been looking at my phone because the computer system controlling our dispensing was down which meant what is usually just me scanning barcodes mindlessly became me logging out logging back in and restarting the computer or the program over and over until it would let me scan a barcode…and hope I got more than one in before it started spazzing out again. That sounds like a nightmare, and in some ways it was, but it was also really good for me because I get really bored at work because there isn’t anything to do, so that made my work take a lot longer.

 

Anyway, I recognized one number as the generic call out number from the Children’s location that was my home away from home where I have a millionty friends. The other I didn’t recognize, but assumed was from the Children’s Business Center where I assumed HR would be calling from. In my imagination my break couldn’t come soon enough so I could listen to the message letting me know that I had my job back. In reality I’m pretty sure one call was junk. The other was my manager letting me know it fell through again. I cried at work again.

 

I was determined not to throw my progress away and thank God that I had a less than stellar lunch so that by sheer determination I could have the success of finishing. Sure, I only had a teeny tiny mini-granola bar and some noodles with a little bit of tomato and a few pieces of corn on top, but it was a challenge. I have fought so hard to gain weight and wasn’t going to throw that away. I almost completely stopped eating and drinking before and I refused to do that again. There is a fire that burns in me most of the time to keep me moving forward when all I want to do is give up.

 

Clearly though, I was not playing with a full deck…I got a little lost on my way home from work…I looked up and was like, umm, there isn’t usually a busy street to cross on my way home…followed by where am I?!…and then oh cr*p, my turn was a few blocks ago and I am soaked and I want to just sit down and give up.

 

Luckily between my ability to compartmentalize, my ability to hide within myself, and that little bit of fire, I was able to actually enjoy dinner with my parents and one of my brothers that night. Maybe not as much as I would have otherwise, but I don’t think they caught on how hard it was for me and I actually did really well and got a full meal in without too much effort.

 

But I can’t contain it in a little well hidden box forever. This morning was hard. Usually in the morning I might pick up my laptop or phone first for a couple of minutes, but other than that, the first thing on the agenda is get out clean clothes and take a shower. And that is why it was almost 4 hours after the alarm went off before I took a shower, and I ended up back in pajamas for another hour and a half after that before I got dressed…see, for most of this year I almost exclusively wore my Children’s logo wear. Today that felt too painful. I probably have like 100 shirts in my dresser, so it shouldn’t be such a problem to get dressed. I am usually the kind of person who takes the shirt on top with little thought as to what it might be. But every shirt felt like a painful reminder of loss and hurt. Even the totally blank solid color t-shirts hurt somehow…and so I got stuck because I don’t like how dress clothes feel and I don’t like long sleeves, but I wasn’t going to go out in public in pajamas. Painting a house in pajamas was moderately acceptable because no one really wears their best clothes for that, but hanging out with friends requires that I actually get dressed.

 

I was very proud of myself for a job well done getting breakfast in my mouth. I didn’t do an awesome job with lunch, but I ate something…I was 7 pounds away from my goal before and that was the only thing getting anything in my mouth for lunch. I refuse to throw away that progress even if it does seem like nothing I do will ever be enough to get me to that goal.

 

I went out with some friends and I am very proud of myself for ordering SOMETHING to eat at all. Because of plans changing I found myself somewhere that I hadn’t studied the menu in advance and hadn’t memorized and practiced my order…and wasn’t with people I felt like I could ask for help. I picked something on the menu that was the very easiest to say and was also something I at least would be interested in eating when feeling good. It was hard work, but I ate my meal. I was thrilled with myself. I worked really hard. Looking at the website now, it looks like there are probably only 160 calories in the item I picked, but I fought for each of those calories, and that counts. And then someone mentioned cookies. That has been the other really hard part of the lack of interest in food…people know how much I love things like skittles or pizza or cookies or whatever, and half of my brain is thrilled, but the other half just feels like it is too much and just can’t do it. Sometimes peer pressure and the remnants of my social anxiety is an incredible thing. Because of peer pressure I managed to order and eat a cookie. That was a God-thing. It was a good cookie even if half my brain was totally not having it. Someday I will have to go back and try again when my stomach and mind WANT a cookie and it will probably be incredible.

 

When I got home I was about to start crying so I got my bike and left because being in motion helps. I figured it was not okay to be in motion with how little I’d eaten and decided I already had a Panera order memorized and might as well go there…unfortunately, it was towards the end of the day, and by evening Panera starts running out of things. I am so thankful for the caring cashier. I had two orders memorized in my head in case of things being out, but I could see that both orders were missing items. I was really struggling with words to order something else. The cashier could tell that I wanted to order something from the display and suggested an item. I had no idea what he was even suggesting, but was so thankful to have the ordering process done that I would have said yes even if he’d suggested tuna with ranch dip (yuck and yuck!!)…but he said the word chocolate so I figured it would be fine. It wasn’t nearly as many calories as plan A and it wasn’t a good deal or anything, but it got food into a bag and that was the goal.

 

I started biking home and realized I had a problem. I really wanted to bike into the intersection against the light. I had (have) no desire to live and figured either I’d get an adrenaline rush that might feel good or I might get to die. That was a scary thought so I decided that whether being in motion was helpful or not, it was not safe and I needed to stop…however, it is not safe to stop in the middle of the road and not advisable to stop on the sidewalk and stay there all night so I was conscious of being careful and went home. I made it there before the tears started falling. I have to be okay because a long time ago I said if I wasn’t okay I would get help…and I know that right now seeing a counselor would make it a lot worse…so I have to be okay, not just because it is socially better, but because I don’t want to break my word. The other thing is that stress lets my OCD start coming back. Luckily this time it has been more of an insidious onset than the sudden impossible overwhelm that often comes…but while I am very familiar with identifying germ-related thoughts as OCD versus normal thoughts, I have had less experience in the other OCD arenas that my OCD hasn’t really dwelled in. I know that OCD can cause suicide like thoughts that are really just obsessive intrusive thoughts rather than true suicidal ideation. I really don’t know if the thoughts I was having were a new manifestation of my OCD or if I really am going down a scary path. I guess either way it is something I need to work on…and TBH I am leaning towards identifying it as OCD because the fact that although the desperation stayed but the harm focused thoughts ended in minutes seems to better fit a pattern of harm focused OCD rather than true suicidal ideation.

 

I do not want to be alive, but I do not have any intention to kill myself. Life and death are God’s job, not mine. Only one entity can have control and I need to let it be God. Everyone says that God has a plan for my life and there will be good, but it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like it just hurts. The book I was listening to says that we can do anything if we can be in it just 51%. That last 1% above 50% will get us going in the right direction…but I feel like I am stuck more like at the 49 side of 50. I am trying, but I am failing. Today I put on my pants and remembered that earlier this year the button was re-sewn because I was trying to shove my body into this pair of pants that was a little too tight and the button popped off…and now I can get them off without unbuttoning if I want to.

 

If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.

 

I thought about sleeping in my hammock last night, but I was crying so hard at bedtime that it didn’t seem like a good idea to go outside. Being with people really helps prevent the crying, but once I am already crying, being out in public doesn’t necessarily help stop the tears.

 

Today is going to be another hard day…but part of it is completely my fault. I still didn’t want to eat or drink anything, but I had a reward on my starbucks account and figured that drinks are the best solution because you can get calories and fluid in at the same time and my opinion on breakfast is that its purpose is calories rather than filling any particular nutritional need, so anything counts. We had a minor problem: the online menu has a caffeine free version of the pumpkin spice Frappuccino, but the menu at the actual store doesn’t. Yes, I do memorize my order but still need to find it on the menu before ordering. Clearly, words are not my specialty and I had already practiced pumpkin spice so I had to make a decision and that decision was to just add the word decaf to the pumpkin spice that was on the menu. Yeah, my body is already telling me that was dumb. I read on the internet once that caffeine binds to calcium so I got some calcium in, and I found some ibuprofen, but a caffeinated drink probably wasn’t my best option. I tried…and if it gets more calories and fluid in than I lose, it is still worth it…and I do LOVE the taste of coffee…to all you people who can have caffeine and don’t have to think about these things, decaf does not mean the same as caffeine free. Coffee shop decaf generally has about 18mg of caffeine per cup. Most homemade coffee has 3 to 18mg of coffee per cup. I think I read somewhere that Folgers instant coffee crystal decaf is the only decaf coffee to have no caffeine at all. So anyway, compare that to the 40-50 mg in the average can of caffeinated pop, and it is still a pretty decent amount of caffeine…I decided that due to the caffeine level it was okay to not finish because my estimate is that I probably got 300 calories, which isn’t so bad for breakfast.

 

Y’all, it really is not fun being sensitive to caffeine. My whole body just aches and I feel super tired and sick…and now I am definitely feeling why I usually only cheat and do coffee in the evening when I can sleep it off. Why do I do these things to myself?! On the positive side, I do feel sick enough that it is numbing some of the pain of the grief…so there is that…this could be a good idea for bedtime to not go to bed in tears…

 

–updated to add this doodle from church…’cause I can’t sit still and listen without something in my hands…and today I was going to cry if I didn’t have a screen in front of me…I feel bad about appearing distracted, but I figure it is better to show up than to be alone…

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Comfort sings a siren tune…bring us back to life in you

(I can’t find the name of this song on the internet and it was months ago that my PCO access was cut off, so I don’t really have a way to find it out…)

 

The week, my church (and the other churches in the network) met at one time in one location as One Church. I was unable to be there, but I am in the process right now of watching the livestream.20170917_133032.jpg  

One good quote so far that I would be remiss to neglect mentioning: We begin with tears.

 

It was a really cool idea, but I’m not so sure that having the four services of my church plus all the services of the other churches all meeting in the same place at the same time was the most thought out option as they talk about how there are people standing and sitting in any open spaces and the pastor joked about how they caused so much traffic that they basically shut down a freeway without even protesting. I love it online though. I am thrilled to see the familiar faces of my church family even if I can’t catch up with them or hug them or anything. And to be honest, as thrilled as I would be to attend in person this morning, I have to admit that the it is very possible that the environment there would have been something that wasn’t good for me…without being there, it is hard to say, but if it is an arena or mall atmosphere then it could easily be too much for me. (And lol, yes I do also attend a church in a mall right now…it makes me miss my other church, because being on the greeting team I could start church with wonderful music (worship team practice), then small group social time, then saying hi to “all the people.” After that depending on how I was feeling I’d either ask someone if I could sit with them, or go upstairs and sit by myself kinda alone. The service happened, and a lot of the time after that I’d be in the volunteer room either journaling or doing homework or basically just using time and/or processing. After that, a lot of people would be gone and with fewer people there I was ready to have some social time or at least smile goodbye to my friends as I left. I miss the people, but I also miss the environment that fostered my ability to communicate).

 

I really like the service. I definitely appreciate that they started by acknowledging that we might not all agree with each other, but that we will respect and listen to each other to be the church to each other. There certainly were people with whom I did not agree, but you know what I do agree with? I agree that every human has value and should be respected. I agree that it is important to listen open-mindedly. I do not have to agree with what you are saying, but I do have to listen and realize that your value as a person is not linked to how appropriate I think your opinion is. Making people feel heard is a priority for me…and if you can’t do that then I don’t think you will really learn the real meaning of community. Community is people who care about each other. Caring about people doesn’t mean agreeing on everything; it means loving on them even when you disagree with them. Like someone said, we need the church to be diverse because we all know a piece of God and we need the people who know the parts that we don’t so we can see the whole picture of God. I loved that…if you only include those who are exactly like you then you will miss the pieces that others hold. You might disagree with 99 or even 99.99% of what someone is saying, but if that last 0.01% is a piece of God that you don’t have then you’ll be missing out if you don’t take the initiative to listen fully. We can’t write people off just ‘cause we disagree.

 

Totally unrelated, but I met the best grocery store employee ever today. I don’t know if this guy is just super helpful or if he somehow noticed that I’d been to the grocery store every day and left empty-handed, or if it was totally random or what, but I was walking down the frozen vegetable aisle and he was like hey can I help you find anything. I answered with what I came for, acknowledging that the shelf was empty. This incredible employee responded that there was more in the back and he’d go get it now…and then he did and he didn’t just fill the shelf and then let me get what I wanted, he got me what I wanted first and THEN set to work re-filling the shelf. That was awesome. I finally had a successful shopping trip.

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Also unrelated, but I discovered this morning that sanitize plus heated dry was maybe a little too much for this lid…yeah, I had a minor freak out last night and ended up staying up late loading the dishwasher and pressing whatever buttons would make it get as clean as possible. I am now thankful that there wasn’t much in the dishwasher so I didn’t destroy more dishes. But look how cute it is…totally nonfunctional, but cute.

I wish I could be so much more

(Broken Things – Matthew West) 

Before I even knew the name of this song, I really liked how it sounded. Now that I know the title, I like it even better. I feel broken sometimes. 

Today (Saturday), I learned something really important. Do NOT paint on both sides of a page in a notebook. It is a good way to wreck three pages of pictures (and/or words, but all there was on the pages I messed up were pictures…)…I suppose an alternative is not to use water soluble colors on your pages…I learned that painting this picture…which was also frustrating because it isn’t anything like the picture inside my head.

 

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Castle (grace) with gate. Girl, sad, standing forlorn behind gate. Standing in a puddle of tears.

Anyway, I certainly do wish I could be so much more. There are so many ways that I look at myself and feel frustrated about how I am not good enough. I am trying really hard to reframe these things, but the reality is that there are a lot of things that have been hard in my life, and that colors my experience. Someone recently commented that some people think their stories are boring, but other people wish they had that kind of story. I really connected with that idea. I would be thrilled to have a boring story. My story is more like rollercoaster meets tangled up ball of yarn meets train wreck. I don’t want all that “excitement.” I didn’t want to be separated from everything and everyone I knew to go to a new church part way through high school…especially not a church where there wasn’t a choice what class I wanted to take and my assigned class was a clique that didn’t include me. I didn’t want to be abused in college…and I definitely didn’t want to be forbidden from talking about it or letting anyone know that I couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t want to end up at the end of school without a residency. I didn’t want to lose my job…I would be thrilled to have all these things taken out of my life. Boring would be so much better.

But I decided this morning (Friday) I am ready to hope again. Not a lot, just a little, but that is a really big, really scary, step forward. Hope is terrifying. Hope means opening yourself to vulnerability that can allow deeper hurt. When you’ve been living with deep grief for months and have been fighting to get through day by day, allowing the possibility of further hurt is one of the scariest choices you can make…but it is also something I know is probably really important to really healing.

There are a lot of things about my life that have made the grief more devastating already. It wasn’t *just* the loss of everything I had wanted and planned and it wasn’t even totally about being in an unknown. A big part of the loss was that it made me feel unwanted, rejected, alone, worthless, like a failure – the same things that had been drilled into my brain via the abuse. I had worked through some of that stuff before, but this situation was so difficult that I believed those lies were true. It didn’t seem like a feeling anymore; it felt like truth. It felt like identity. It made me think that maybe instead of abuse it was just someone being brave enough to tell me the truth – that I really don’t matter and would never be worth anything no matter how hard I tried. I know now that isn’t true, but it has definitely been a journey coming to this place of understanding, and even though I am here today it doesn’t mean I will feel the same way tomorrow. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was good enough and instead it felt like I did the opposite; I showed everyone how unwanted and worthless and stupid I really was. 

But I am not a worthless failure. Sure, I have lost almost everything that mattered to me, but all is not lost. The same day I hit send on an email to my best friend that I knew I so desperately needed a friend but I don’t really know how to make them without a place to volunteer and I have neither a place to volunteer nor a schedule that lends itself well to volunteering…and not only that, but no one would want to be friends with me while I am struggling so hard to make it and therefore even less of a good friend, God sent someone to be my friend. That is huge. That is God showing me that I really am good enough at communicating to make friends. That is God showing me I am worthy of community. That is God showing me that I do matter to him. 

It doesn’t mean that life magically became awesome though. It is still hard, and I can still definitely tell that I am working harder than I should be to get through each day. For example, yesterday (Friday), I went to the grocery store because I had maybe like a tablespoon of frozen peas left and then would be out of vegetables and the only fruit I’ve had in weeks was juice…but the grocery store was out of the bags of frozen peas that I was going to buy, so I got overwhelmed and gave up and went back home…yeah…I am not so stupid that I couldn’t figure out that there are other vegetables or other brands I could buy, but in that moment the one thing I needed to get done just seemed impossible and there didn’t feel like there were alternatives…this is what happens when so much brain space is taken with struggling that there isn’t space left for processing and responding to practical situations…so I’ll go to the store today and try again…or maybe I’ll find an ATM and then try the farmers market…or maybe I’ll order a pizza and call it a day…we’ll see…like the song Piece of Heaven by Go Fish says, “sometimes it’s hard; sometimes it’s the middle of the night.” I’m learning to give myself grace and celebrate the successes in this period of grief, because being angry with myself was adaptive at first to get food and fluids in and keep going through the motions, but now I am doing well enough that anger just uses up energy that could have been used for something else…and energy is certainly at a premium…it’s not as bad as it was in March/April, but it definitely is still something that isn’t completely back to baseline. 

Y’wanna know what excess stress sometimes causes in my life? OCD resurgences. Right now, it luckily has not reached crisis mode, but there are definitely some thoughts in my mind that shouldn’t be there. I’m scared of the world because I read a news article about enterovirus D68 and how it is causing a lot of respiratory illness this year, and I also read that the flu is predicted to be worse than usual this year…not is worse, just predicted to be worse…and that was one more reason to not travel over my birthday weekend.

 I hadn’t announced it yet, but I was strongly considering road-tripping over my birthday weekend to say hi to friends, especially since I didn’t go over labor day weekend like I originally planned. If I was going to go, this weekend was the cutoff I set for myself to ensure that I had enough time to plan and let friends know I was coming. And so today I decided the answer is no. I want to explain it away as being a combination of little things that make it not the greatest time to go, but if I am being really honest with myself, it is mostly that I feel like no one really wants to see me and would just be inconveniencing themselves to be polite to me by trying to make me feel welcome. I know that is not true, but knowing and feeling are different. If I were having an awesome day today, the story would probably be different and I’d probably excitedly be packing my bags way too far in advance…but the story my life is writing right now is one of being so used to rejection that I can reject myself before anyone else does to save them the time and me the pain of being rejected. It has been really hard because of some things I have seen on facebook. In March and April it was sometimes really hard to be on facebook because everyone was announcing how excited and hashtag blessed they were getting their first choice for residency. Their excitement at getting something I could not even have a tiny piece of was in painful contrast to the sorrow that swallowed up my world. As much as I wanted to be happy for them, it hurt and was a reminder of what I didn’t have…and the whole hashtag blessed thing was really bad for me. I didn’t really believe God was good and I didn’t really believe God cared anymore. I guess I had a pretty skewed view of God through the lenses of my pain, but from my view, if being blessed meant having a residency then clearly I was not blessed and God didn’t really care about me. No one wanted me, not even God. It was painful. It still is painful. 

Now people have started complaining on facebook about their residencies. Oh, how I would LOVE to have a residency to complain about. I would do almost anything to be in their places. I did everything in my power to get myself a residency. I paid application fee after application fee. I traveled to interview after interview. I prepped and interviewed and prepped and interviewed. I tried so hard, and no one wanted me. They just wanted to use up my time energy and money so they could crush me later. It might have been easier to be rejected upfront and not be driving all over the place and buying plane tickets and staying at hotels and airBnB’s than to be given the illusion of opportunity and be strung along. They didn’t care about me, they only cared about themselves and their own enjoyment laughing about me later…okay, so maybe that isn’t exactly what they were going to do, but after the large number of residencies I applied for and interviewed for and was told I was a strong candidate for just to still not have a residency, it sure does feel like perhaps their goal really was to see how high they could get me in order to see how crushed they could get me later. No one wants me. Especially when the whining is all stuff like OMG they made me work the 9-5:30 shift on Friday and it is not fair because I wanted to get out of work sooner to hang out with my friends. I just want to comment look at how blessed you are to have a residency. You should be thankful. There are a lot of people who would be thrilled to be in your shoes and would gladly work 9-5:30 and wait a little longer to see their friends if it meant having a residency. 

Anyway, speaking of facebook, it is often a place where I have to remember that I don’t need to agree with people to be friends with them. It seems that recently a lot of Christian’s have forgotten the command to respect those in authority over you. Even bashing people who kind of deserve it sometimes bothers me because I know how it feels to be bullied and excluded and don’t want anyone else to feel like that, but bashing people who are doing everything they can to advance society, keep us safe, and protect justice is something appalling to me. It has been rampant on facebook people bashing other people and talking about how wrong they are and how unfair it is. Unless you were at the scene of the crime, you do not know what happened. And a jury is for the benefit of the defendant. If the defendant does not feel he (or she) needs a jury then it is perfectly legal to forego that right. The evidence that I have seen does clearly point to innocence. While I am the kind of person who would be more likely to let someone beat me up than to fight back and defend myself, police officers certainly have the right to use force when necessary to protect themselves from a real threat. Someone reaching for a gun is a real threat. People are even speaking as representatives of the church bashing authority. I don’t think God said that we should respect those in authority over us unless they acquit someone the media portrayed as guilty. I am pretty darn sure that last half of the phrase wasn’t in the Bible last time I checked. And someone posted a long story about how the police are so awful. He describes going into a park after it was closed and the police coming and questioning him and his friends before letting them go. He repeated over and over how they weren’t doing anything wrong, but the police acted like they were being kind by giving only a verbal warning not to do it again…my thought is no, the police are not so awful; you were breaking the law and they could have imposed fines or written you up, but instead chose to show you grace by letting you walk away free…and the way you reward their kindness is by bashing them on the internet. 

We live in a strange political climate right now. That strange climate is one of the reasons I have given myself as a “real” reason not to travel. Because my license expires on my birthday, to travel then, I would be traveling on a temporary license. In this political climate, it is not very safe to be white in St. Louis. To be white is to have a target on your back that says protesters, please attack me. I firmly believe that rioting is NOT an appropriate way to express your opinion. If you can express yourself using your big boy or big girl words then go for it, but to use violence to express yourself is wrong. I don’t understand how you can claim racism if a white police officer shoots a black person who was threatening him (or her), but think it is okay and not racist for a group of black people to vandalize an innocent white person’s home and injure multiple innocent white police officers who are simply doing their job of trying to keep EVERYONE safe. That is disgusting. Y’all, we learn in elementary school that humans are different from other animals because we work together to accomplish great things. If you are gonna act like toddlers and throw a tantrum when you don’t get a cookie you didn’t earn, then maybe you need a reminder of what makes us human. So yeah…driving through St. Louis as a white person sounded like a bad idea if it wasn’t necessary, and doing it on a temporary license sounded like asking for trouble…it might be better to wait until people screw their heads back on a little straighter before I go. It seems like the more news I read, the more ashamed I feel of the people I share the world with…

 

I had some other things to say, but I feel like I’ve probably already said too much…

 

So I’ll leave you with this incredible youtube video from Inside Out

No one tells him company’s coming use your fork and spoon

(No one tells the president – Mary Kate and Ashley)

 

Today I got a feeling that I’ve never really felt before in this sense…I cleaned (not sanitized) my apartment. It feels successful. Like hey, I’m winning at adulting. I vacuumed, mopped, cleaned the sink/shower, did the dishes, wiped down the counters, did the laundry including the towels/sheets/pajamas…and an extra load for the one towel that hadn’t been unpacked yet…and even took out the trash. Taking out the trash is still a hard task for me, but I told myself that we either have to consider whether OCD is back or we have to take out the trash, because normal people don’t wait until there is a box of bags of trash in the corner to take it out so just because you happened to make an online purchase that came in a nice box doesn’t mean you get to revert to filling it up like you did as a third year. So that is a success, but the bigger success is that I cleaned without sanitizing. With all the stress this year it would have been easy to stress-clean which for me means stress-sanitize. Instead I did it the normal people way. Yay!!

 

I also mostly finished unpacking and decided that it is good enough for the foreseeable future. It isn’t perfect, and that’s okay.

 

Speaking of cleaning up, I came across this today. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting having read the title and preview, but it definitely gave me something to think about…and not just that barbecue chips smell bad and I don’t think I could have a useful therapy sessions with the smell of barbecue chips surrounding me…although where I am right now I’m not sure I could have a useful session regardless of the situation…but anyway…I would most definitely not be interested in eating chips that had been on the floor in a public place. Perhaps at my own apartment where shoes are not worn past the doorway and I know exactly when it was last cleaned, but certainly not in a public place that is rarely if ever cleaned. Is that a problem? I don’t mind throwing away a chip or two that fell off my plate…now if it were skittles, that’d be a different story. Skittles, are able to be rinsed off and I also value them a lot higher than a chip…

 

And speaking of OCD, see the remnant of OCD leftover here? (Not my hands…)

 

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Yep, the marker and cap are labeled dirty. I’m guessing this marker is from first or second year and was brought into the bathroom to mark off the chore chart and even just going in and marking the chart and leaving again was enough for this one to be clearly segregated. It is incredible how different life is now…a LOT more functional!! I mean, first and second year except for when there was some kind of trigger, I was usually just barely on the clinical side of the line, and even like that I was marking things dirty that were hopelessly contaminated…

 

Things haven’t just changed in the OCD realm…unfortunately…I am still really struggling with the loss of the possibility for residency, the loss of my dreams, and most recently the loss of my pediatric job and all the things that come alone with that. Today I got a text from my now-former manager. I was so happy to be included and re-connected with my coworkers. The ecstatic thrill was awesome while it lasted…and then I was crushed and running across my apartment trying to outrun the tears…I don’t know why I do that…but anyway, I was crushed because I am not *really* part of the team anymore and the reminder became too much to handle. I don’t know how I am going to get through Wednesday without crying in front of my coworkers who are also some of my best friends in this state.

 

Changing gears a little bit, I will admit that I have too many treasure, so periodically I go through my treasures and try to find things I can let go of. In the process today, I have been feeling so loved. It is incredible going through the stuff I found in a file folder from 2nd year and realizing I don’t even know who some of the people are anymore who wrote those notes, but I made enough of an impact that they wrote me a note to let me know. What was even more amazing (And why I stopped to start writing this…) was going through a pile of things from fourth year. That year I was facing both the continuation of the abuse as well as the worst of the punishment and fall-out from the abuse. So much of that year was spent in tears as I tried to piece my life back together even though I’d been torn away from a lot of my friends and had started believing that I really was unlovable and unworthy. The summer prior to fourth year was the first time I had really believed that death would be so much better than life, and while by the time I got to the school year I was past that point and ready to rebuild and show everyone I was a conqueror, I was still certainly struggling, trying to learn how to cope with big problems at a time when this girl who previously trusted anyone and everyone could not trust anymore. And I have so many super sweet notes from people that year. Notes from every single person at the wonderful counseling center at which I volunteered, from other friends, from “anonymous.” It is a good reminder, too, as I am going through another big trial (and okay, still working through that one…) that even though I might feel really alone and it might seem like no one gets it, I am more loved than I realize. By other people and by God. I just gotta keep doing my thing and someday I’ll look back and have made it through and be even more able to see the people holding me up the whole way. I am so so thankful for all the incredible people God brought into my life. There might be people who don’t value me and even intentionally want to hurt me, but there are also people looking out for me who just want me to let them in so they can love on me. I really really really miss my counseling center buddies. They were the best friends that I had in that state. I would very much like to come back and just soak in their presence again.

 

Also, totally unrelated, but in the process of unpacking I found my adult coloring books. I have never done an adult coloring book before so I decided to try it out. It was super hard work. It took forever. It was kinda frustrating…but it also was kinda addicting…many many many hours later I have finished my first adult coloring book page…and started a second page.

 

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Okay, one more thing before I start picking up in preparation for bedtime…someone told me that after you graduate from college you aren’t allowed to buy ramen anymore. That is seriously crimping my style. It might have been cheaper to buy a loaf of bread and eat peanut butter and jelly, but I only did that as treats in college…which was dumb because twice my jar of jelly went bad to the point of being inedible and had to be thrown out…but anyway, the point is that I lived on ramen. I make regular ramen. I make peanut butter ramen. I make Japanese ramen. I make pepperoni ramen. I make stir fry vegetable ramen. I use ramen as the base for meatball soup…basically like 52% of my meals in college were ramen, probably 39% taco meat, 8% potatoes, and 1% other (chili, pb&j, pizza, macaroni)…so starting to take ramen off of the menu since I only had like 10 packages left upon moving into my apartment really takes away my meal possibilities…

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…

Even if these tears never dry

(Even if – Mercy Me)

 

Grief continues to be a painful journey I must traverse. Some days I am proudly standing atop a hill, doing remarkably well. Other days, many many other days, I am falling down the hill or working so so hard to try to make upward progress and feeling like there ain’t much to show for my effort. There have been a lot of tears shed and a lot of days spent in the twilight zone between too in shock to cry and too upset to have any control over stopping the tears from appearing completely randomly and inappropriately.

 

Even though I might seem like an impulsive airhead…and maybe I am…I do also find myself reflecting on where I am and what is going on in life. For one thing, the same sentiment I wish I could get my little buddies to understand when they are really upset is pretty much the same thing I wish I could figure out for myself. I wish they understood that as much as they might prefer not to be there, they are stuck with me in this playroom for the next hour and might as well at least try to enjoy the toys that we have before they go as that surely must be more fun that crying. I wish I could find a way to have fun and enjoy myself until God takes me home. It is easier said than done. The feeling of hopelessness and pain and loneliness is oppressive like a thick heavy soggy blanket that I cannot remove. I wish I could just find something fun and forget my pain, but I’ve tried so hard and it just seems so impossible. I tried so hard to give this place a fair chance. I tried to find *something* to be excited about. I try so hard, but I fail which just makes it all the easier to see the continued losses…and then there’s the licensing exam that I probably failed. I feel frustrated. I feel stupid. I just wish God would hurry up and come back so I wouldn’t have to go through this life that hurts so much anymore. I so deeply long to not be on Earth. I do not want to be alive. I want to go home to be with my eternal daddy. I don’t understand why a God who is supposed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-caring would make me keep having to live in a world that hurts so much.

 

I also read an article recently about assessing someone’s safety and need for intervention. I’m not totally sure how I ended up on the article, because I started out looking for what would happen if I drank some bleach…before you freak out, don’t worry. I didn’t come up with some stupid plan to intentionally hurt myself. There is a reason I don’t own any bleach and have no plans to own any, but it isn’t because of self-harm or suicidality concerns. The reason is because bleach feels safe and clean and if I had a million dollars I would very much like to buy a zillion bottles of bleach and bleach the world…and along those lines, I wanted to know if it was safe to drink bleach because I thought maybe I could sanitize my insides to prevent getting sick. As it turns out, I learned that small amounts will do virtually nothing and moderate amounts will cause stomach upset. Larger excessive amounts could cause more dangerous issues. Lol, since stomach upset is one of the most terrifying things in my world, there is no way I will ever attempt drinking bleach. Anyway, so the article said ultimately in a person without other obvious symptoms necessitating intervention, if you ask if the person can remain safe, most people will be honest and say no if they can’t so you can simply ask the question and the yes or no will direct whether or not you should intervene. Yeah. I am not most people. Ask me that question and I can almost guarantee you the answer will be that I am fine. There is a teeny tiny chance I will say I don’t know, but even then with further probing I will claim being okay. I’m always okay, especially when I am not. I can think right now of one particular time I was not safe and someone did ask that question…and I claimed being fine. Even so upset that I am crying uncontrollably, I am thinking about others and trying to protect others. My thought process was that if I admitted that I wasn’t very safe it would inconvenience someone and probably just cause more problems later, so I didn’t. Sure, it might not have been safe for me to do what I did, but clearly I survived it since I am still here. In retrospect, it would have probably been possible to sleep right where I was, let someone know to unplug my alarm clock, and go back to my room in the morning when I might not have been doing a lot better but would at least be attempting something in the morning when I am at my best rather than at the end of a long day, but I was deeply in survival mode and that kind of logical thought was WAY beyond me.

 

Lol, speaking of safety though, am I ever really safe? So a little background first, even though my mouth is basically a toddler and my social skills probably place me in elementary school despite my chronological age in my mid-twenties, my skin still thinks I am in puberty. That is to say I still get acne and a few nights ago I had what seemed at the time like a great idea to use a kitchen knife to cut a pimple off. I was very lucky that while I was trying to figure out how to hold the knife to be able to get an angle that would work and still be able to see what I was doing it occurred to me perhaps this was not a good idea. So I didn’t do it. Sometimes I think maybe I need a friend not just for companionship, but also to add a healthy dose of common sense to my life…Lol, I’m always a danger to myself in some way since I am kinda clumsy and kinda impulsive. I do really need a friend though. I don’t have any where I live.

 

Totally unrelated, but yesterday something pressed my buttons. Inclusion is extremely important to me, because I know how much exclusion hurts, so when a child was excluded I was furious. I had to work really hard not to lose my temper when a child with special needs was taken from his developmentally age appropriate classroom and moved to a younger age group where he clearly didn’t fit in and didn’t understand why he was taken away from his friends. If the child was disruptive or couldn’t keep up with his peers I would *almost* understand, but he wasn’t. Another child who had undisclosed special needs was definitely disruptive and was picked up partway through because of it, but this child was wonderful. Even if this child hadn’t been as able to keep up with his peers, we also had access to a 1:1 aide if he needed it to keep him with his peers. It would also be a different story if the room was at capacity and we absolutely could not take any more kids and had to move someone and were moving multiple kids to keep numbers balanced, but that isn’t what happened. Oh man, I was so livid. I got in my car afterwards and cried. I wasn’t crying out of my own grief (which, okay, felt pretty good to have something unrelated to my immediate circumstances to cry about) but because of how this child and his family were treated. That was not okay…especially when our lesson was on how we are all different and wonderful. I sent off an email this morning about it, and apparently it already had come to the attention of someone high enough up to fix it. Tonight should be better. Tonight no one will try to tell me at the end of the night how much better it is because of exclusion. Exclusion doesn’t feel good and doesn’t make anything better.

Here’s the key to my front door

(You’ve got a home – Christa Wells)

So this week on one of the bible study facebook groups I am in, Holley Gerth (yes, the same Holley Gerth to whom I have looked up for years because she is so incredible) challenged everyone to identify how we are wired.

 

First: energy setting. So the options are one on one, one on few, or one on many. So we started out with a hard one. If you want to actually get me to let you in, your best chance for success is one on one. If you can find the key to unlock the things that I hide away inside, it makes me feel a lot better about myself…so in that way, one on one is great for me. Then there is one on few. As long as they are all people that I feel safe with, this is probably my favorite for more hangout type settings. Because I will be the first to admit that conversation is not where I am gifted, putting me in a group of people who will include me lets me be part of the conversation without ever needing to contribute more than the introductory return of a hello upon joining the group, and even that can be substituted for a smile or just a glance in someone’s direction…and then there is one on many. While for the most part I would label this as very not me, I have to admit that I have an inner desire to be surrounded with the lots and lots of people I love – but I know that while in this fantasy I absolutely love it, in reality even with my sense of inclusion and not wanting to leave anyone out, I know that huge groups of people are something that doesn’t make me feel good. The energy setting is something where if you spend a lot of time in other settings you’ll need to replace your energy, so I think overall I’d have to pick one on few. As much as I absolutely adore and really probably NEED one on one, the fact that one on one necessitates eventually using my words means that eventually it will require a recharge, so one on few is probably my choice…

 

Second: Is your style leading, partnering, or serving? At first I was torn…but after some thought I realized while I do have some strong traits of leadership and some traits of partnering, the way in which I lead and the way in which I partner is by serving. Even when not leading or partnering, I am happiest when I can find a way to serve. If you offer me a chance to help out, you will win your way into my heart.

 

Third: sensing views. Are you external – first looking around and asking how things are going, or internal – first thinking and asking how people are feeling? I think my nickname of Specks makes it pretty clear that I am not external in the sense of looking around. I often miss very obvious things that are right in front of my face because if it isn’t what I am focusing on I am probably not seeing it at all. It is nothing about my vision itself, but is about the way I am wired. On the other hand, I am a very concrete thinker, and am not likely to ask how someone is feeling, rather I will observe and find out what is going on and use those puzzle pieces to identify emotion words. I do the same thing for myself sometimes. So I decided between the two of them that internal is probably dominant because I am using thinking to identify feelings even if I am not directly asking feeling questions…well, I suppose a few times in my life I have asked feeling questions, but I quickly figured out that if I wanted to fit in and be “normal” I couldn’t ask in casual conversation whether people had been mad at me…

 

Next, are you an introvert or an extravert? Another hard one. Behaviorally I fall more into the category of introvert, but I think emotionally I really am primarily an extravert. I do not do well in large groups, but I do a lot better in small groups than completely alone. I long to be with people. I crave community. While I will go hide in a bathroom if I have to in order to escape a very large group after a while, I would actually love if someone else came with me. I don’t REALLY want to be alone in those situations – I just need to be away from the chaos of the large group. I think that is why when I think about being in the hospital I actually associate it with positive things. Sure, the reason you get admitted to the hospital is never a good thing, but although I am always learning in school how awful it is to be in a room with someone always sitting right outside checking if you need anything, that actually sounds pretty awesome to me…not sayin’ just sayin’. Obviously the being sick part would be super un-fun and negate the positives of the situation, but being in the hospital itself wouldn’t be so bad from my perspective. Although it could totally be a problem for me if I were assigned someone whose personality was like having a crowd around. There are some people in the world who in a group of 3-4 make the group feel like it has like 50 people in it, and that is not good for me. Some people say they like something because they can be a part of something bigger…I prefer to be a part of something that might be big but feels small and intimate. Sure, there might be a very large number of people on the welcome team at my church at school, but I am only on a team of about seven-ish people at a time which is a very manageable group.

 

Okay, fifth and last but not least: your sphere of need, practical, emotional, intellectual, or relational. At first I went to emotional, because I do feel drawn to rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, but after a minute or so more thought, I quickly realized that while this is true, the way in which I do it is more with presence than with mirroring emotion and using my words. So my answer for this one is relational. Presence means a lot to me, and is what I would like to be able to give to other people. Really, it isn’t so much about having the right words to say, but about being there. Me and my friends silently sitting next to each other or working alongside each other is meaningful to me. It doesn’t matter if no words have been exchanged. I want the presence.

 

Also, completely unrelated to Holley’s activity aside from that both are videos, I was watching How to ADHD this morning while making some oatmeal for breakfast. Side note that I do not have a diagnosis of ADHD despite the fact that I have been teased extensively in school about having it. IDK. Sometimes I agree that there is a possibility, but a lot of the time I am not so sure and think perhaps the attention side of it is a lot more related to my anxiety and abuse history than a pure deficit of attention. Anyway, there was something in this particular video that I really related with. The video commented on how people with ADHD (“brains” as How to ADHD refers to them) are often highly sensitive and have low self-confidence. Brains focus in on the negative. For example, a large crowd might be giving a standing ovation, but the brain is so focused in on the one person towards the back who appears to be scowling that he or she hardly notices the rest of the room, and labels the entire experience as a failure. Yes, I can be black and white and make that decision based solely on one detail that may not be indicative of the whole. If my attention is drawn towards the overall picture I may be able to see it, but as I have put it for years, I am a trees girl, so it is really hard for me to find the forest. Brains have an insight that seems to be different from other people. Brains see into people. This means they see the good stuff in people that others miss and that they can make connections that are not apparent to other people. I totally see this in myself, which I think is related to my strengthsquest top 5 strength of developer. I see the teeny tiny eensy weensy bits of good in people and want to help grow those bits of good that no one else sees. On the other side, brains also see the negative more easily and can therefore quickly sense rejection and even tiny bits of unwantedness or annoyance, so brains can be hurt rather easily and accidentally at times. I do sometimes sense that I am unwanted even when I cannot place a finger on exactly what someone did or said that clued me in on this feeling. Like most attributes of people, it is both a blessing and a curse…

 

Lol, and then stemming off from what is going on in Wiggle Worm’s mind…I almost always carry around some form of hand sanitizer with me. It functions a bit like a security blanket. OCD, in some ways, is unpredictable, and to avoid being caught unprepared, I keep hand sanitizer with me in case of crisis. When OCD was at its worst, even hand sanitizer didn’t really take away much fear, but it made life at least a bit more livable. So I continue to carry around hand sanitizer, which sometimes is rather convenient even without any OCD thoughts…but anyway, on occasion I have thoughts like today when I touched a public trash can and wanted to use hand sanitizer. I am not totally sure if this is something that everyone thinks or is a remnant of OCD, but in any case, it led me to thinking that it was probably a good thing that I was having thoughts like this. Being completely unaware or uncaring about germs at all is a possible sign that I am quite far gone emotionally. When my world is falling apart, germs are not likely to get a lot of mind-space. Clearly, getting as far as being upset about germs is not healthy and not something I strive for, but with the turmoil in my life, it seemed like a good sign to me that I was able to be just a bit worried and have something to think about yet not something that consumed my mind. Just knowing my hand sanitizer was right there is my pocket was enough for me to happily walk home and wait to wash my hands there.

 

Also, totally unrelated, but today I made 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and put them in the freezer. The original plan was the refrigerator but then I was wondering if I could put them in the freezer and remembered the ever popular uncrustables in elementary school and decided that although my sandwiches clearly had a crust that I would put them in the freezer. The real uncrustables might be a little fancier, but I bet the real ones don’t have blackberry jelly with extra crunchy peanut butter as an option.

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.

Like Life is Only Pain

(Britt Nicole – World That Breaks)

Life still feels like I am stuck in a tornado holding on as tight as I can to keep from flying backwards in the wind. Everything still feels like it is spinning around me.

I tried something different this weekend. Usually I do applying for jobs on Sundays because it is so hard emotionally that I don’t want it to overshadow the goodness of being at church…not to mention that it is certainly an element of avoiding the excess of pain that comes with trying to work on applying.

Since the weather was nice. I decided to walk to church. Since walking has helped me a little in containing my emotions…not as much as rollerblading and biking did for me, but certainly something, I decided maybe the pain would be more manageable if I could break it up between both days of the weekend. So yesterday I worked on letters of intent, then walked to church to help calm down. Today I will do the actual application part. I think it helped so the emotion wasn’t AS overwhelming, but I can’t keep doing things like this. I really need to be able to study and do other things besides laying in front of the computer working on applying for jobs.

Speaking of walking to church, it was a bit of a wake up call last night. Physically so many things are getting a lot better…but certainly I am not out of the woods. I got halfway to church before stopping while waiting to cross the street and adjusting my sock. The sock seemed stuck so I pulled a little and it was itchy so I figured maybe there was a leaf or rock or something in my shoe or stuck to my sock…I checked and found that my sock was stapled to my foot. My best guess is that perhaps I had some staples in my pocket last time I did laundry and one got stuck in my sock and then stuck itself into my foot when I put the sock on my foot and my foot in my shoe. It is certainly not good if I don’t notice a staple in my foot before walking over a mile. I obviously took the staple out, and at least thought about a bandaid…it is frustrating that I can feel so much emotional pain that physical pain is covered instead of covering it up. Luckily, the bottom of my sock was stained enough that the blood wasn’t noticeable enough to make me feel like I need to wash the socks.

The end of last night’s sermon was convicting. He was talking about how worth is defined as how much someone is willing to pay, and so how much are we worth if God was willing to pay for us with his son, and he was recounting a conversation with someone who had survived tragedy and said “you made it because God has a purpose for your life.” I’ve continued praying for God to take me to forever home because this hurts too much…but I’ve continued to survive. It is hard to believe there is any reason for this pain. It hurts so much. It feels like I am underwater drowning every day trying so hard yet failing to get to the edge to be able to pull myself up and get another breath. It is a crushing pain drowning out the joy in life.

To be honest, I am writing right now because I should be applying and doing this feels like I am doing something kinda sorta productive, gives me a reason to not face applying, because that hurts so much. I know I need to do it, but just writing these words thinking about it makes the pain of loss so intense. It is so difficult.

But I do know how to take care of myself. On the way home, someone stopped, honked at me, and waved me over. I went to see what he wanted, and he said “Hey, come ride with me.” Although I was starting to notice that I hadn’t brought sunscreen with me and was starting to burn, I also knew that getting into a car with a man whom I had never seen before in my life and whom I had no context for meeting was not going to put me into a situation that made me feel comfortable. I said no thank you and I moved on.

I am proud. My roommates left me with an overflowing trash can that smelled awful. I left it alone a day hoping that someone else would empty it since I had barely used it, but it became obvious that no one else was going to take responsibility. Taking out the trash (even my own trash sometimes) is something with which I still struggle. To take out the trash I not only had to touch the trash bag, but also clean up the excessive trash overflowing out of the trash can. I was overwhelmed. Luckily, I was desperate enough to look everywhere first to see if I could find anything to help me…what I found was two gloves. I managed to complete the task one handed so that one glove could be preserved in case I needed it. I mean, I did not follow the direction of tying off the bag, because I couldn’t do that one handed, but technically the directions said to use a bag that could be tied, not that you actually had to tie it…semantics…I can and will use them to my advantage when in that type of situation. Now I feel frustrated, because to prevent having to do that again I didn’t put a new trash bag in the trash can, assuming that without a bag people would throw their trash into their own trash cans. Yeah, silly me. Instead, they are throwing disgusting trash into the trash can without a bag which will make it even more difficult to get rid of it. Luckily it is a trash can that belongs to the school that they forgot to remove when converting these rooms back from temporary offices to dorms and isn’t a trash can I was planning on bringing home, but I feel really frustrated. Your mommy doesn’t live here. Clean up after yourself. I mean, it is kind of like how between me and the two other girls in my bedroom, I was the only one who brought soap…like did you not think that you might need to wash your hands or body while you were here? Perhaps a little self-centered but instead of offering to share I suggested that they use their shampoo as soap. My guess would be that I am also the only one who brought cleaning supplies.

I think I probably can’t delay the inevitable any longer and need to start actually applying for jobs…