Category Archives: Resilience

This is how it feels when your dignity’s stolen when everything you love is leavin’

(Not gonna die – Skillet)

 

So I started writing this post a sentence at a time in between studying on Saturday evening. Can I just say how amazing physical pain is at covering up emotional pain? So I took a quick break to skate a few minutes because I couldn’t sit still any longer. I am not quite sure what happened except that suddenly I found myself on the ground. I am pretty sure those stupid pink bumps on the ends of the sidewalk are at fault…I fell so hard that someone a block away heard my body make contact with the ground. I am angry that my beautiful red skates are visibly scraped up, but aside from that and a little embarrassment, emotionally I feel better than I have in months. Physically though…I couldn’t figure out how to take a picture of my back, but there is one pretty deep cut and lots of scrapes and abrasions on my back. My left hand got a decent scrape, and it hurts to breathe…I will totally take this over the emotional pain I have been living with though. This is SO much better. I am super stressed out because I take my law exam on Wednesday and had been living in survival mode so long that I hadn’t even started studying until Thursday, but that is almost nothing compared to what was going on before. So I edited a little, because I am doing awesome right now. I am not happy about my job situation and all that, but right now I don’t want to die…which makes the lyric I picked yesterday for the title even more appropriate!! Funny how this worked out so well…

 

I have never been phone-addicted, and I used to frequently leave my phone turned off in my backpack for days at a time so you wouldn’t think a non-functioning phone would be a big deal, but it kind of is. Grief is isolating and I really need connection. Even if I have nothing to say, not having ability to communicate feels even more isolating…

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Since at least September my phone has had at least minor issues getting signal, but I chalked it up to being in areas that just didn’t have good signal (which doesn’t fully explain it since some of those areas I am pretty sure I had signal other times I’d been there…but you know, signals change, right?). In March I sent a text to my manager and found out she had never received it. This past week for hours at a time my phone would have no service then work for a few minutes randomly. As of Friday afternoon, my phone had no service whatsoever until two minutes on Saturday afternoon (long enough to send one text) and then nothing. The ATT store isn’t totally sure what’s wrong but knows it would cost more to fix it than to get a new phone. So I had the idea to put my sim card into my old phone…good idea…right? Except that I discovered that this genius idea wasn’t going to work: the sim cards are completely different sizes.

 

Friendship is already hard and then I couldn’t even have the ones inside the phone. Long story short, five dollars later my dad’s old phone is working and is now connected to my phone number. I am not a fan of his phone at all…even before you factor in how much I do not like change, but I am contactable now. There is a good chance any texts or calls sent since Friday (and possibly sooner) never got to me, so I’m just hoping no one sent anything I really needed to know…

 

I was running late to church because I couldn’t find my keys…I don’t know how I lose things…

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oh wait…this is one of the chairs on my side of the kitchen table…there is a bike helmet, two sets of wrist guards, a water bottle case (but no water bottle) a messenger bag, a purse, my lunchbox, a bottle of sunscreen, an advertisement, a pile of papers, and a slew of other items…and you don’t even want to know what my room and my corner of the basement look like…It is really the phone’s fault though. AirBnB sent me an email so I had to go look at my airBnB profile and read the reviews because I was lonely because no phone and that made me feel a little bit connected…then I was messing around and discovered an airBnB of someone I actually know…and basically, if I hadn’t gotten distracted on airBnB, I would have started getting ready for church sooner and I wouldn’t have been running late over trying to find my missing keys…

 

Random thought, but I saw these what might be wild turkeys a week or two ago and that was kinda cool.

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Am I worthless? Am I filthy? Am I too far gone for a remedy?

(We As Human – Take the Bullets Away)

 

I’ve been living with the intense pain of grief for a long time…and before that the abuse…and long long before that the bullying. I know rejection. I know being unwanted. And so many other hard things life has thrown in my path. I am familiar with pain, but it seems to follow me and want cuddles like a small naughty puppy that I can’t get rid of. It doesn’t feel like there is a way out. I tried to create a timeline of when I could get back to my dreams. It was good to try to create an end to work towards, but even on the more magical completely unrealistic timeline, I still will be fighting through this for another year…and if we’re being really honest, even if we pretend this timeline is practical (it’s not) I am not naïve enough to believe the pain will completely disappear upon starting a new path. Sure, it will likely be super helpful, but it won’t be like flipping a switch. It won’t remove the previous rejection and wipe the slate clean. The more realistic timeline is a minimum of two years. The idea of holding on that long is overwhelming.

 

It is hard not knowing why no one wants me. It is hard feeling so much rejection. It is confusing to be chosen for a big girl position even over people with experience when I was rejected from all the transition roles I tried to get, especially when the same organization didn’t even give me an on-site interview for the residency to which I applied. It is hard hearing people tell me how great I am and then rejecting me later. I’d rather you were just honest and said hey we don’t like you instead of leading me on just to let me be crushed later. I’d rather instead of being polite you told me what was wrong with me so that I could change and improve. Am I so worthless that I do not even deserve the respect of being told the truth? Am I really so lousy that there is nothing I could do to even be close to good enough? And why doesn’t God love me enough to finally just say yes to one of my prayers and let me leave this pain? It is hard to reconcile this pain and God’s power with the goodness all-knowingness of God.

 

I’ve heard that when a Christian woman wakes up in the morning the devil says “oh no, she’s up again.” It’s not just the devil thinking that when I get up. It’s me too. God doesn’t seem to ever want the same things that I want. I keep crying and praying that God will take me home because I can’t take this pain. I can’t keep living like this…and God keeps saying no. I know God cares and I know God loves me, but it is really hard to understand how it could really be love to leave me here. It hurts so much. Why won’t God take me to forever home where I don’t have to deal with this? I have already struggled so long and I don’t want to keep fighting. I want to go home. When the bravest thing you do every day is get up and keep going, it is hard to keep up with life. I FINALLY got my authorization to test from the Board of Pharmacy…and I know that just trying to make it day to day has drained so much of my energy that I really haven’t put nearly enough into studying…and since it took so long to get the authorization, I probably only have one chance before my job gets taken away. I feel like I am probably going to fail…then I’ll have nothing but an expensive apartment in a city where I don’t have any close friends…

 

But I keep fighting. I keep trying. I get home and my ears hurt from the multiple media sources at full volume to which I am listening as I drive to minimize the tears so I can see where I am going to get home…because I can pretend life is awesome or at least tolerable when I’m with people…but put me alone in a car and it is very possible I will struggle – time alone with my thoughts and emotions, kinda trapped there. So especially if I’ve been reminded of the pain I am pretending doesn’t exist prior to getting in, I am likely to have a hard time. Grief doesn’t have a calendar. Grief doesn’t know that it has been over three months and is time to give me a break. Grief doesn’t have empathy. Grief doesn’t know I am exhausted and just want to be able to move on and have this whole thing disappear.

 

How am I? I’m doing the best that I can. I know the basics of life enough to know what I need…and God has been doing good things even if he didn’t give me what I want. I usually burn practically just by thinking about going outside, but I didn’t wear sunscreen and biked to my friend’s house and back last week and the burns were pretty mild. Yesterday, I did put on a little sunscreen but was outside about 4 hours (biked around 40 miles) and didn’t reapply…lol, you can look at my hands and see exactly where there was zero sunscreen on though…but anyway, last night I knew I was on the border of being too dehydrated (vs just dehydrated enough to mute some of the pain and tears as long as there aren’t any reminders). So I gave myself two choices: water or ice cream…I didn’t want either, but the trying to be a good girl half of me was stubborn long enough to win, and I did eventually pick one of the options…picking nothing seemed so much easier, but that wasn’t one of the choices. Protip: ice cream is always the answer. No, ice cream didn’t solve my problems and I was too far gone for the sugar to help pull me back in, but at least it did kinda sorta make me feel a little better about myself because I was also getting calories in at the same time…

 

There is a long road in front of me. Soon I will be moving a couple hours away and be even more alone. I am thankful that I make friends easily, but worried because I can’t exactly expect someone I just met to support me the way that the friends I have made over multiple years have…and I can’t expect to immediately be invited into other people’s circle of friends as the new girl. It is hard being new. Some people are willing to let you join their friend group, but other people are like the girls in my grade at the new church who never really let me join their clique. Sure, the moms sometimes tried to invite me, and sometimes I tried to push myself into their circle, but I wasn’t dumb, I knew that most of them really didn’t want me there and it was easier for them to preserve their little friend bubble by writing me off and keeping me out of the circle. I probably should have asked to join the girls in the grade above me who were a lot more welcoming and had already invited me in…but when I had the opportunity I was still in denial that I couldn’t just go back in time and make this whole nightmare end so besides the fear of using my words to ask or even of having someone ask for me, I denied that because I didn’t want to admit that I would be there long enough for it to matter. It wasn’t until almost my senior year when I finally let go and realized that this was for real and wasn’t changing any time soon…and by then the girls in the grade above me were graduating and moving on. They invited me to the grads group, but that didn’t solve the Sunday morning problem. (But the grads group was a lot better place for me than youth group ever was. Smaller and more inclusive was super helpful for me…no one cared that I was the farthest behind academically…it was awesome until the rest of my class joined and it gradually became more and more exclusive…a few years later I took my brother and he noted that every time he said anything it was as if he hadn’t said anything but the person next to him could say the exact same thing and people would respond. I hadn’t really noticed much because I didn’t talk much anyway, but it is definitely true. They would express excitement that someone new was there and then completely ignore whomever was not in their little friend group). Lol…all that to say that I appreciate however much my friends are willing to tolerate me while I am a lousy friend in return, and I do know how blessed I am and that having friends like this is nothing to be taken lightly.

couch

Speaking of my new place, last week I bought this couch (yes and the pillows in the picture)…might not have gotten the best deal of anything, but it is red and the place I am getting it from seemed to have a super flexible delivery plan which is helpful not immediately knowing when I’ll be available to receive the delivery…

You’ve gone so far keep going

(Here Comes the Comeback – Danny Gokey)

 

It was only a handful of months after breaking free of the abuse that I first wrote a note offering forgiveness to my abuser. I wasn’t allowed to send it, so it sat in my folder waiting for the day I graduated and could send the letter. It was edited a little over the years as my writing style changed, but despite the fact that I graduated over a month ago, it has not been sent. Why is it still there?

 

Well…umm…there are actually two reasons.

 

The biggest one is that at the point of graduation I was very strictly in survival mode. I am proud of myself that I got at least most of my thank you notes written and sent out…and TBH there are still a pile of them on the floor in my bedroom. It kinda feels less embarrassing to just skip some people than to send them this late…surviving and sending thank you notes to people I appreciated was more important to me than sending a note of forgiveness to someone who hurt me so deeply.

 

The other one is that forgiveness is a gift that the pain in my life made it harder to give. When an interview topic comes to difficult interpersonal relationships, naturally the first thing that my mind encounters is the abuse. Besides the fact that it is probably not recommended to identify oneself as an abuse survivor in the interview, I wasn’t allowed to talk about that situation. Before I could come up with anything else (also difficult to label a situation as difficult when compared to the abuse), I was swallowed up in the pain of the abuse. Definitely worst in the one-on-one interviews in a big room as that somewhat approximates the primary setting in which the abuse occurred and in which any pause on my part was going to be interrupted with an expression of disdain, leading to even more vivid memories. I do think this is something that made the interviewing process less successful for me. Secondly, once I put more thought into it I realized that although I felt like “everyone” thought I couldn’t be a pharmacist, in reality while there were a few others who were a bit negative, she was the primary person telling me I couldn’t do it, telling me I wasn’t good enough, telling me I’d never make it and no one would want me…She said so many hurtful things to me, and while I was for a while able to not believe it and defiantly continue to follow my dreams to prove to her and the world that I really was good enough, not matching made the make believe go away and I was faced with the reality that she was right – I wasn’t good enough. As it turns out, I did get a job that is probably more high level than what I was looking for which indicates that I am good enough…even though the rejection and failure to obtain one of the ones I wanted still makes me feel inadequate.

 

So the grief is intertwined with the abuse, and the grief is something I still experience deeply. It is difficult to forgive when the wound is so fresh – like I saw on a quote somewhere once, “stop asking me to forgive you when I am still coughing up water from the last time you tried to drown me.” Actually, I think the quote used the word trust rather than forgive, and I think that is where I am getting stuck. I am so low on trust that forgiveness feels like trust even though I know that forgiveness does not mean that you ever have to trust the person again…I found a couple blog posts about forgiveness recently, and they spoke some truth into my heart…here are some key concepts. Trust is earned, but forgiveness isn’t. You can forgive without trusting. Forgiveness comes with healing. It is hard to heal in a warzone, so the first step towards healing is to run away from the pain. Forgiveness does not mean that others are not accountable for their actions or lack thereof, and it doesn’t mean we should let ourselves be abused again. It doesn’t mean that we have to take a victim role, nor does it mean that we ever have to get along with someone again, but it means that we are giving the right to take care of justice back to God, the only one who really ever held that right. Forgiveness doesn’t mean denying the reality of continued offenses, is not based on other’s actions. I don’t want to stay stuck in hurt and resentment, so it was a helpful reminder to read that forgiveness starts with a mental, not emotional, decision, doesn’t mean forgetting, and isn’t based on pressure to create acceptance. Forgiveness is for the benefit of the victim, which is why it is perfectly okay to not even share the forgiveness. Grace and forgiveness do NOT require remaining silent about the bullying and abuse. This is super important. I don’t think hiding the abuse as a secret does anyone any favors. Pretending it never happened just makes it easier for other people to get hurt. It is the powerless who need protection and defense yet too often it is the powerful who receive that defense and protection. This was the primary response that I experienced. I was powerless and expected to play the role of a lemming keeping my mouth shut and following along with whatever while the person who had so much power was treated like royalty. There was someone trying to reach me, but one against many is an uphill battle. Forgiveness does not demand superficial reconciliation and preclude justice. Superficial reconciliation brings only superficial healing, but true healing is messy and hard and may include the justice system and punishment depending on the transgression.

 

My mom recently reminded me of when I was a teenager who when told to call for a ride home from school when I was ready said I couldn’t possibly do that because I wouldn’t know what to say. Even when given one sentence to use I screamed and cried that I couldn’t do that and it was too hard…that is how bad the social anxiety was…I honestly don’t remember it ever being that bad even though I definitely can imagine how that must have felt…my memory of phone fear starts with only being okay with calling my parents and only when I’m alone and not being watched (yeah, my first cell phone could have been just as effective as a long-distance walkie talkie for the first few years I owned it)…but considering I was someone who by college couldn’t always use her words to say hi to her friends, I don’t doubt that it was true that I couldn’t call home for a ride…(although it is very possible that there are also other components of that story that my mom is leaving out such as the real reason I was struggling being that she wanted me to ask to borrow someone’s cell phone for that in which case knowing what to say to her on the phone was the least of my concerns…)…anyway, the point of that story is to say that although I have grown a lot in my communication abilities, there is one other much smaller reason I haven’t sent the note…when my stress levels are very high, my comfort with communication is decreased, and communicating with my abuser is one of the last things I am interested in doing, so actually sharing that forgiveness was a final stumbling block in the way of reaching the ability to forgive…it seems so silly to have written that note so long ago and not to use it, but forgiveness is not words on a page.

Like a warm waterfall wash over our wounds

(Safe Place – Kristene DiMarco)

I am more of a Caribou girl (especially because Caribou has a zillion more choices for caffeine free drinks), but I went to Starbucks today and got a Pokemon Go Frappuccino. The girls working there didn’t know exactly how to make it, but I showed them the picture on the menu on the website and they made something up that at least looked mostly like the picture. Sugar works pretty well usually to dull emotional pain for a while. Plus I was proud of myself for using my big girl words to ask for what I really wanted.

There are a lot of things that are really really hard about everything going on in my life right now. Here are two of the things on my heart today as things that I am having to leave now that I have accepted a full time job away from the home in which I’ve lived since second grade.

First, I will be spending a LOT less time at the hospital at which I have worked since 2009. (I’ll find out tomorrow if I can stay at all). Besides how so many people there are my friends, I was really proud to work there. The organization has some really amazing caring people who do incredible things for kids and their families. I haven’t ever experienced another facility with the same level of care for and about each other. In fact, I’ve asked questions at interviews in which I didn’t get to experience interactions and had people respond as if I was crazy to think that an employee would stop to make a patient or family feel welcome and important or that there might be deep partnership and/or respect between employees in disparate departments. A couple weeks ago I was having a day where not a single person had insurance already in our system, and I’d had multiple frustrating conversations with insurance companies when I had found the information and discovered that the insurance company wasn’t covering the medication for a stupid reason that I couldn’t get them to change…and a foster parent came in with the children she was fostering without any insurance cards and medications that I knew we should absolutely not “pend” despite the pharmacist I was working with pressuring me to do it to get them out the door faster. Getting people out the door is not a reason to pend medications. I figured out what insurance company their coverage was through and called to get the information to get their medications covered. The mom was so thankful to get the medications covered, and I offered to give her the insurance information in case he needed it for another pharmacy before she could find the kids’ cards. She was almost crying happy tears when she told me that this was the reason she came to this pharmacy – “because you guys always go above and beyond to help us.” People recognizing how hard we are working to provide excellent care more than makes up for all the rude and entitled people that I also serve. I love being a part of an organization that provides care that meets more than just the basic physical needs.

Second, I will probs be leaving the church that I have been at since August 10, 2008. It is more than just holding little babies. I did absolutely love holding a 2 month old for a good part of the morning today while watching and managing a room of other kids of varying ages, and I could totally get used to doing that all day every day, but holding babies isn’t the whole reason I am there. It is about pouring into the lives of kids (including infants) and their families/parents. It is awesome to have found an area to use my leadership skills and childcare skills. Sure, that was one of the things I did at my old church, but this being a bigger church, there are more opportunities. I want to protect the privacy of the kids and families lives I am involved with, so I can’t share too much detail about any situation, but working with kids for a long time I have been involved in a lot of really difficult situations and had a lot of kids who really needed some extra love. Although there are a lot of them, it never becomes less heartbreaking to hear a crying preschooler confide why she didn’t come with her parents. It is one of those things you never want to hear but at the same time really want to hear if the kid needs to talk. It is a huge honor for a kid to open up, and to give kids in these situations a safe comforting place where it is okay to be sad and scared. Not going to lie, for some of these kids finding out whether directly from the kid or indirectly from a guardian definitely explains the behavior I am dealing with, but when you work with kids you pretty much have to have a thick enough skin to understand that most if not all little people are not trying to be difficult and are not trying to be disobedient. Their behavior usually has a pretty clear origin if you can find out (even infants though it is going to need to be a guardian telling you since they can’t use words yet). There are so many little kiddos stories that I hold in my heart. I wish I could make it okay. I wish we lived in a world where every child could grow up with their loving bio mom and dad.

I guess this should probably make me realize that the things that I am grieving are so stupid compared to the things some of these kids are facing, but while I can hold these kids’ stories in my heart and I can sit with these kids, it doesn’t really take away my personal pain. Sure, I am distracted from my own pain while holding their pain, but that isn’t the same as my pain going away…

Rise above the hurt and listen to these words

(Beloved – Jordan Feliz)

 

Recently I have been re-listening to the awesome books “The Essence of Resilience” (Kathleen Parrish and Tanya Laurer) and “Resilient Grieving” (Lucy Hone). TBH mostly I’ve been re-listening because I needed something to occupy my brain during my breaks at work and I still had a few days left of those book downloads and don’t have any more downloads left until June, but they are really good.

 

There were a couple quotes from “Resilient Grieving” that I heard the other day while driving home (yes I was listening to a book and the radio at the same time in the car…if one thing is good, two is better).

 

“Let me not die while I am still alive”

The idea behind this quote being that while Trauma or grief events often completely change our lives making us a distinctly different person in the before than the after, it doesn’t have to mean that the rest of our life is not worth living. Although I do still believe that death would be better than this, it does lead to the next quote…

 

I have wanted one particular job and had one particular career path in mind since elementary school. The story I tell says 4th grade, but in reality I am pretty sure it was sooner than that, but the story was altered at some point because I was told it was more realistic that way. Anyway, the quote is:

“Option A is no longer an option, so let’s kick the s**t out of option B.”

I would say that I am a lot further along than option B. I think option B would have been getting a different residency in phase I (and we could probably break that down further to particular programs being B and others being other letters, but that get way complicated way fast)…Option C would be getting a pediatric PGY-1 in phase II. Option D would be getting any PGY-1 in phase II. Option E would be, well, there at least being a pediatric residency to which to apply in the scramble. Option F would be getting one of the residency programs to which I applied in the scramble…I don’t really know what letter I am on at this point, but like I mentioned previously, I am learning not to let go of my dream, but to let go of some of the pain. It is a very slow and non-linear process, but I know that someday this will not be the all-consuming factor in my life. I still remember the pain of changing churches on August 10th 2008, but I don’t think about it every day anymore. Most of the time if I do think about it, the thoughts do not lead me to feeling pain, and if they do the pain goes away quickly and most of it is more remembered pain than acute pain. I have to believe that someday that will be true of this situation and of my abuse…I think both of them are pretty well tied together right now, so they’ll have to be disentangled before one can be healed without the other.

 

After the first match, I wrote that I planned to get another residency and be the best resident they ever had and exceed expectations so well that other programs were jealous they didn’t have me. My mom saw it and wanted me to delete it, but I refused. Maybe that plan didn’t work out, but now I can be the best clinical pharmacist ever instead…there are some things I am giving up. Among other things, I am giving up staying close to my friends, I am giving up focusing on pediatric critical care, I am giving up teaching opportunities, and I am giving up being able to commit to leading my 0-3 year old VBS class. There is one thing that I gain though…I don’t have to do a residency project or a bunch of presentations this year. TBH, the residency project thing is the one part of a residency that does not sound at all appealing to me…well, that and some residency programs require going back to midyear, but it is possible that this job will also require that, so before I get too excited I’ll have to find out whether that is an expectation (or a strong suggestion…) or if I really do get to skip it.

 

Oh yeah, I wanted to wait until I’d actually been officially offered the position, because I unfortunately know that seeming promises of employment can fall through, but now I am ready to announce that I have accepted a full time pharmacist position. I was kinda hoping for a pediatric position (especially the NICU position to which I applied) and I was kinda hoping for a schedule with longer hours (like 7 on 7 off or 10-12 hour days) because I prefer having a lot of time off a few days than working a few hours every day, but I think I will like this position. I have very little adult experience, but that will make this a good growing experience, and my preceptor on my acute care (which I’ve been calling adult care) rotation at least got me to a point where caring for adults is still not my forte but isn’t so scary anymore. I know that I can, it might just take me a little longer to get to the right answer, and that is okay…and really, although it isn’t the path I wanted, I think getting adult experience will be good, because I definitely still do avoid checking prescriptions for kids who are starting to become adult sized. For NICU that is no problem at all, but for my other dream of emergency and because you can’t really only be competent in one area and make it as a pharmacist, it will be good for me to gain some confidence in treating adult sized patients.

 

And I have realized that while my heart is in pediatrics, I really do love pharmacy. Someone texted me yesterday with an adult pharmacy question, and I loved problem solving. It was a question that played well into my pediatric knowledge since it was a formulation question, but it was for an adult patient, so I guess maybe it also showed me that some of the things I love about pediatrics will make me a valuable resource in an adult setting.

 

So with the exposure I was working on…it actually went okay. It was really hard, and definitely intensified the pain that I still feel every day, but by the end of Monday it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was Sunday morning to be walking around in a logo shirt. I could definitely feel how much extra emotional energy I was using to make it through the day, but it will be worth it if the end result is after the down-trending now that I will have a few days while the shirts are in the wash is better desensitization and numbing to the pain. It might exacerbate the pain for a little while, but if it works how I want it to, it will be worth it in the end, and right now I have enough distraction in my life to be able to handle a little bit of exacerbation and stay relatively safe. I slept nine hours last night without even waking up at 2am like I usually do to get a drink…it makes it a little harder to get up in the morning when that happens since I’m too dehydrated to feel totally awake, but sometimes I guess my body needs that sleep because the emotional energy leads to real exhaustion. Post-exposure, I am doing really well. I did cry today, but I also had some moments when the pain was less crushing than it has ever been since the first match failure. I am really thankful for that. Right now I am struggling, but even a few minutes of not feeling so bad is a good reminder that maybe eventually this won’t be so all-consuming. Someday this will just be the way it is and I’ll be able to talk about it as if it is no big deal (even though it kinda is).

 

One last thing from Resilient Grieving that I missed the first time and I think is really relevant here is about Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). Growth doesn’t have to mean that you are a better person or that life improved after loss or trauma; The growth might simply mean that your path has changed and you are now going in a different direction. We are different people after grief has re-written our stories, but if all you know is PTSD you will live a self-fulfilling prophesy and your grief will spiral into PTSD. If you understand PTG or even if you have a spiritual background you are more likely to recover more quickly. The implication that loss could be beneficial is a painful thought, but the fact that it can change one’s direction is less threatening.

 

I liked that imagery, and agree that the idea of loss making me a better person is something that is like salt in fresh wounds. I like the idea that growth can occur but that it doesn’t make it okay that the pain happened. I don’t like when people try to minimize big losses with but look now you have this good thing…sure, but now you are essentially asking me to value whatever good you see that I have now over the good that I had before and value it as worth the pain it took to come to this place. I don’t like that. Given the choice, I don’t know that I would necessarily value these things more highly than what I had before or highly enough to suffer as much as I did for them. On the other side, it is undeniable that grief, trauma, and loss have changed not only who I am, but my direction in life…beyond the fact that there are still people who probably think I graduated from Drake University…To allow the concept of growth as a shifting of paths allows me to acknowledge that yes, I am growing without discounting that this isn’t what I wanted to happen and that the pain is still very real and very relevant. I am resilient and I am strong, but that doesn’t mean that I think being hurt is okay and it doesn’t mean that I never experience pain.

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

(From End to End—Relient K)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I am graduating. Today I am free.

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

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

See the Sparrows in the Air; Not a Worry not a care

(Alright – go fish)

 

Actually, no I don’t see the birds in the air, I see the ones dead on the sidewalk. There are a lot of them. Maybe those birds should be a little more worried…but I do say hello and goodbye to all the dead birdies on the sidewalk. I might have a hard time making friends my own age, but I am good at making friends with the dead birdies on the sidewalk…they tend to be there for a long time and they don’t judge if I stumble over words and only use the same two phrases. Their expressive love language is quality time, my receptive love language is basically all of the above, so it works out pretty well (as in I tend to get a pretty even score across all five love languages…I just like being loved)…I wish I were better at knowing how to make people friends that were as good as dead bird friends…I do have some awesome people friends, but it certainly isn’t because of anything I was doing right.

 

Tuesday I got my first official NO to my applications since phase II. Sure, I had the passive no of positions that I hadn’t yet heard yes which essentially meant no, but this was the first actual emailed no. The first time that the no had been more than implied. It hurt. I mean, I already wasn’t doing awesome, but it definitely wasn’t a happy moment. It is complicated though. It confirms that no one will want me. It really hurt…and then I am not sure if I was numb or in emotional shock, but it is like the world turned off and it wasn’t like I had energy to do anything but at least the pain was less intense and I was able to go to bed and get some sleep. The past few nights, despite the crying and pain during the day, I have been getting a full night’s worth of sleep. That is super rocking awesome. Emotionally I am certainly struggling, but physically I am doing SO much better.

 

But yes, I have been posting random pieces of life on facebook…yes it is an attention seeking attempt to get little red notifications….no I am not ashamed of attention seeking…it is adaptive to seek attention when you desperately need people. My opinion is that as long as you are doing it in a way that is not hurtful to other people and not intrusive or obnoxious it is perfectly fine to use social media to help yourself. If a few little red numbers on the screen are what it takes to get me through the day successfully then I’m going to do it, and I really don’t see a problem with it. Attention seeking is certainly stigmatized in our culture, but it shouldn’t be, because it generally is something people only do when they legitimately need the attention. It seems to me that filling a legitimate need shouldn’t be scorned, mocked, or punished.

 

Although, maybe my opinion doesn’t count…I did show up to class after lunch break with a container of peanut butter, a spoon, and some bubble wrap…it might not be a “normal” way to get protein to eat peanut butter with a spoon, but if it gets the calories and nutrition to my mouth, it counts as a win in my book…and I might have popped some of the bubbles during class, but I did refrain from being obnoxious enough as to get told off or even get the stink eye from the teacher…that was not an attention seeking attempt though…that was just my impulsivity saying hey, there’s some bubble wrap, that looks fun! and not thinking about that people like to not listen to me pop bubbles in class.

 

After class, my original plan was to immediately heat up my dinner and then go walk to my happy place. That plan got derailed for a variety of reasons. One is that no one is going to fail because they didn’t have the appropriate clothing or the appropriate type of time keeping device…not on my watch!! I found some students who needed stuff that I had, so I ran to my room and handed out what they needed. I think it is utterly ridiculous that a teacher would fail someone over the way they keep track of time as long as they do keep track of time, and I really really think it is dumb that a teacher would fail someone over what they are wearing (within limits…clearly there is a problem if you show up without a shirt on or something), so I’m going to provide whatever you need to pass. No, wearing a student ID is not part of being a professional, nor is wearing a watch with a second hand or wearing a white coat…among other things…My opinion is that being a professional is about how you act, not about your appearance. My opinion is also that on a skills-based assessment your appearance should not be considered because the color of your shirt does not generally impact your ability to perform a particular skill. Not sayin’ just sayin’…okay, actually I am sayin’, ’cause this is important to me.

 

Once I finally did leave, I turned on an audiobook. It is pretty good. One of the first sentences of the book was: “routine teaches our brain that normal exists…whatever normal looks like in a life that has been changed forever.” That is so true. It isn’t just the busy-ness that helps me make it, but that I am doing things that seem normal. That is probably part of why Monday and Tuesday were hard when class was cancelled. I needed to be in class not because there was so much to learn (there certainly is) but because I needed life to feel normal. I mean, Monday was also hard because I was having a hard time with applications on Sunday and therefore procrastinated so much that I didn’t finish with enough time to really calm down before going to bed, but the lack of normalcy definitely didn’t help. It is also why I desperately need people, but while there are times I need to talk, there are other times I just need to BE so that life feels more normal.

 

The loss was more than betrayal. It was more than the loss of the plans for my life. It was more than not having income. The loss took away my identity. There is very little I am good at. I have been told so much I would never make it. The one thing that made me good was that I had known what I wanted to do since fourth grade and wasn’t going to let go. Then I didn’t get that one job that was part of my plan. If I’d gotten a different pediatric PGY-1 in phase I, I think I would have been a little sad but mostly okay, but without that particular job and then without a pediatric PGY-1 and then without any PGY-1 and then without any job, any little remnant of my identity was gone. There are so many ways that it hurts. I know I can make it through though. If I can get through what happened at school, I know I can get through anything. My all of me hurts, but I will be okay.

 

I have always needed like three times as long in the morning to make up for staying up late, which is almost exactly what I took this morning…I stayed up late trying to text my friends, and eventually after staring at the blank screen for way too long, I had to admit that I probably wasn’t going to come up with the words that night and it wasn’t an emergency. I don’t think it is JUST staying up late exhausting my body though…there are three things right now that help me dull the pain even just a little. Being with people helps, but I often don’t have the social ability to ask for what I need, and even if I did, the world doesn’t revolve around me and I can’t expect my friends to let me be with them all the time; that wouldn’t be fair to them. Eating (Especially Dominos or candy) also helps…but occasionally eating is still hard, and eventually you reach a point at which eating no longer feels good. That leaves being in motion. Someone commented on Monday that I must really like exercise because I’ve been walking a lot lately…actually, I do not like walking. I do not detest it as I detest running, but it certainly isn’t something I normally choose. When there isn’t a line you better believe I will take the elevator to get up or down only one floor. Being in motion makes the emotional pain hurt less…but most of the time when I am not grieving I spend 90% of my time laying on my bed in front of my computer. My body isn’t used to being in motion so much. It doesn’t physically hurt, but I’m sure my muscles are tired and needed some rest.

 

I don’t have a scale, so I literally can’t use numbers talk right now to talk about how I am doing physically in terms of food, but I can say that my guess would be that I am doing well. I have been eating a lot of food…like three donuts and a chocolate chip panera bagel for breakfast yesterday…and eating dinner twice because food was available and I was hungry again…I have certainly been doing my best, and that is all that anyone can get from me.

 

Interesting story…so I was walking back to school yesterday and suddenly there were police cars driving erratically all over. I used my thinking brain and stood still well away from the edge of the sidewalk. There must have been some donuts somewhere because the cars were randomly driving down one street then parking then turning around and driving down another street, parking, and doing it again until they all chose one street and all parked their cars there, got out, and seemed to be having some kind of party…lol…once they were all out of their cars, it seemed safe to cross the street without being smooshed by a police dude not paying attention so I minded my own business and continued back to school. Maybe I should be a police officer so I could have donuts too. Plus, I am super indecisive also, so I could totally turn around like three times trying to choose where to park…although my parking ability is lousy so I’d need to do it a lot more slowly which would probably take away the thrill of slamming on the gas and steering like a crazy girl….

 

I also used my thinking brain before that. I ALMOST used my fingers to strain my noodles…I figured out just in time that I should probably not do that. My fingers appreciated not having hot water poured against them…

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

(Stand in the Rain – Superchic[k])

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

More awesome lyrics:

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

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

 

(Accidents Happen – Thomas and Friends)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

I might drive a million miles but I know who my friends are.

(Unbroken – Stephanie Pauline)

 

I love this song. And it is very true. I know who my friends are and am SOOOOO thankful for them.

 

If you hate numbers talk then don’t read this paragraph. I’ve gained 8 pounds since Easter. That is an awesome thing. I still have 7 more to go to reach the weight on my driver’s license, but 8 pounds in a week is a lot…and possibly not the safest way to gain weight, but whatever, I didn’t exactly lose it safely either…I think what worked is that throughout the week I had contact every day with people who really care about me. And I mean, those last 7 pounds would still put me net negative 5-10 pounds from when this all started, but I am okay with that. Although the number on my driver’s license was a completely random number because they had us filling out the paperwork in school in 10th grade and I hadn’t a clue what I weighed so I made it up, and then when I renewed my license I subtracted 15 pounds because the weight I had originally selected was nowhere close to what I actually weighed…but anyway, that number has become my goal. I gained plenty of weight spending lots of time at the buffet in South Dakota, so staying a little net negative is not a problem. I am a stress eater…and a boredom eater…and maybe just an eater in general…so I have no concerns about whether the rest of the weight that I want back will be back. It’s a matter of when, not if. Remember that I am a girl who had no problem putting away half of a dominos large 8-topping pizza in one sitting. Sure, I am still struggling with meals sometimes right now when the grief catches up with me (okay fine, a raspberry and a single bite of chicken is not an appropriate dinner even if the chicken is breaded), but the times that I am eating far make up for it…and I will definitely admit that eating WITH people continues to make my meals a lot more successful, but even alone I might be eating junk, but most meals I am eating something and most meals at least part of that something has nutritional value (umm, hashtag today’s dinner was a cookie sandwich, skittles, and ice cream…I totally did pack an awesome and nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I only ate the breakfast).

 

I finally have reached the point where I am able to be numb maybe 80% of the time and only feel the hurt 20% of the time. Sure, that means I still cry sometimes and still have a hard time with things, but it is so much better than the initial 99-100% of the time struggling I was living at before. I haven’t gotten to the 99-100% numb stage yet, and I don’t think I’ve ever come to a point where it was really a choice when the emotions will be turned on vs turned off, but I will definitely take what I can get at this point. If I can hang out painting all day and feel okay, that is awesome. I love not crying and not using inordinate amounts of energy that I really don’t have to hold in tears. I don’t need to feel excited if it also means I am not using up all my energy pretending everything is awesome nor am I crying uncontrollably when asked about graduation and placement. Some people say that going numb is bad, but I am not one of those people right now. I would rather have both pain and excitement muted than to feel nearly constant overwhelming pain. Does that mean that sometimes as the emotions get turned back on I am surprised when years later I still am upset about something I thought I was totally over…ummm…okay fine, yes indeed it does, but I am still totally thankful for the longer stretches of time that I didn’t have to feel it. I am also thankful that I am finally averaging 5-6 hours of sleep a night. It still isn’t quite enough, but it is so much better than the three I was getting. I will survive. This is awful, and there really isn’t any way that it can be fixed, and I almost cried in church today, but at least physically things are better. If things are better physically I am going to be okay. I don’t have a job. I have plenty of other problems, but physically I am doing SO much better.

 

“‘Cause when life gets shipped from here to there…”

Yep, totally story of my life right now. It is crazy to think about how many beds I have slept in this year and how many different states I have been in. I am a girl who lives for the status quo, and have definitely had to learn the art of constant change. Umm…yeah…of location a zillion times and of losing the constant of my dreams and my wonderful job.

 

“Some things are too heavy for even friends to lift.”

Sometimes I feel like I am too much. I don’t think my friends will want to deal with me. And so I isolate. And feel lonely. But my friends have shown me that they are willing to help me and hold me together when I am falling apart. My friends have each done way more than their share to serve me and I appreciate them so much.

 

Mostly unrelated side note: I’m not sure if my phone only saves messages for a certain period of time or if I somehow managed to accidentally delete one of my messages, but I definitely had a whiney scream-fest at my phone for a couple minutes this morning when the message I wanted to hear wasn’t there…