Just When You’ve Lost the Will to Live You’ll See the Shore

(Drifting – Plumb)

 

As I continue to grieve, some days are definitely a lot harder than usual.

 

Monday was one of those harder days. My guess would be that spending a few hours at my old job Sunday was enough to remind me of what I have had to give up.

 

Grief is like an open wound, making things that should be of minimal consequence seem so painful as to derail my day. I checked my mailbox and had a bill for $435 from my new employer. This is not how working is supposed to work. I was so upset that I immediately started crying and screaming about how much I hated my new job and wanted to quit. I know it would be career suicide to quit at this point, but it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal when I’m in a position that I like so little with no hope of getting what I really want. There was a simple answer to this problem: call and ask about it, and once I calmed down enough to figure that out and then enough to make the call the problem was solved…the bill was a mistake and they’d delete the charges from my account if I brought the bill to their office…but once I’m that far gone my communication abilities are definitely affected enough that I really didn’t want to go to the office and really didn’t want to have to talk to the receptionist about what I needed. It was another overwhelming hurdle to jump.

 

As my shift started out, it was actually at least a little better than last week – there were at least more than like the same 4 drugs at the exact same doses to verify over and over…but the person I was assigned to work with was not easy to work with. I felt really frustrated and was very ready to leave. There were a lot of issues like getting yelled at over how I sorted my home med list which makes absolutely no difference one way or the other because how I default sort it does not in any way shape or form affect your default sort and if I am comfortable the way I like it then it doesn’t matter…and it wasn’t like this was a good teacher either. Yelling at me that I am doing it wrong isn’t very helpful if when I ask what I’m doing wrong your response is that the dose I’m typing can’t be given…especially when I know for a fact that it can and your protocol that I am working off of also says that this is an appropriate dose. If you always do it differently than the protocol then first, I think the protocol should be changed to reflect that, and second, it would be more helpful to tell me how you always do it than to just tell me I am doing it all wrong. I wish I were a little more bold so I could request someone else to work with instead of just dealing with it. Also, there is one particular protocol that while I am definitely not going to try to change it as the new girl, I definitely do not like it and don’t think it is a very safe practice. I hear in all my pharmacy practice groups that standardization is very important and there should very rarely be more than one concentration made of the same product because it leads to errors. In this hospital, pretty much every single pediatric dose of certain antibiotics is a different concentration. That really scares me because it leads to such a wide opening for errors. Especially in kids it is important to have a standard concentration and they are doing the opposite of that.

 

And of course because it is me, I got lost on the way home from work…I live about a mile away, but I didn’t get home until almost midnight…I understand random other people still awake that late not stopping to get my attention and ask if I need anything – I know I learned somewhere that you are supposed to be careful because single girls could be bait to attract you so bad guys can hurt you…but I would have thought that a police officer would notice a very obviously lost girl and at least ask if she wanted help…and I was desperate enough at that point I would have said yes…but nope, saw me, turned around, and went the other way…I miss the city I went to school in. It is questionable whether it is actually a safer place to wander or not, but there are a lot more street lights and a lot fewer trees which makes it FEEL a whole lot safer and less scary. Also, people there are super friendly and I am 98% certain that I had I been wandering around there SOMEONE would have said something to me. I was always so amazed how friendly people are there. You can walk through a neighborhood and people you have never before seen in your life will wave and say hello or people driving with their windows down will say hello to people on the sidewalk.

 

And in the process of not being fully unpacked, I realized I had no idea where my passport was. I opened every box looking for it before remembering that a signed credit card is an acceptable substitute (something that still boggles my mind…) and switching my attention towards finding something that will write on the back of my credit card…clearly though I finished that and then thought of a few more places to look and finally found the passport…

 

And I seem to lose a sock every time I do laundry and this week it was one of my favorites that didn’t come back out of the wash. I wish I knew where these socks went because I had the socks paired up in the laundry basket, brought the basket over to the laundry closet, put everything in, moved everything to the dryer, and then took everything out and put it away and so there really isn’t anywhere they could go except into thin air…

I’m holding on. Minute by minute. It’s so hard.

 

Totally unrelated, but I take the NAPLEX Friday and IDK if I am ready.

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.

Hey Girl in the Back of the Classroom, JUST BE STRONG

(Better – Britt Nicole)

So yeah, like I mentioned before, being still alive at the end of the day on June 30th was really hard. That had been a defined endpoint to work towards and even though I knew that God says no a lot and probably would say no, losing that was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Every remnant of hope was once again lost. It was a bit of a setback. There no longer seems like there is any way out and that is hard.

 

I hit a dead end. It is hard to let go of long-held dreams. There is truly no way to fully get my life back on track and that is really hard and frustrating. I worked so hard for so long for something that I can’t have.

 

But God hasn’t put a period at the end of the sentence. There continue to be secondary losses and hard times, but I have to believe that someday life will be less difficult and less painful.

 

Even with no hope and no end in sight, I am still working really hard at recovering and making the most out of the rubble. Slowly, life is getting easier. I’ve had to let go of my forever dream of working in pediatric critical care probably NICU or maybe emergency at a dedicated pediatric institution. I’ve had to let go of a lot of friendships. I’ve shed a lot of tears. I might have failed, but God doesn’t see me as a failure. God sees my success. I am eating okayish now. I am sleeping more than a couple hours at night. As a driver I am less often on the relying on other people to keep me safe and more on the watching out for everyone else side.

 

I still feel a profound sense of loss and there are still days that are so incredibly difficult, but gradually I am more and more able to experience little glimmers of joy sparkling underneath the heavy blanket woven of pain and sorrow that has been covering me.

 

People say that you should only own things that bring you joy and not own things that make you sad or don’t elicit any emotional response. I think that is dumb because by that logic I shouldn’t own a toothbrush and toothpaste because brushing my teeth is most definitely not fun and at times in my life has been downright overwhelming. I am willing to admit that when the OCD was at its worst, there were significant periods of time I didn’t brush my teeth because it was too scary. Anyway, most residency related stuff has been thrown in the recycle (with a few perfectly good books going to the goodwill)…and as I was sorting through piles of things, I found a thank you note that every time I come across makes me feel a surge of anger. I wrote a physical thank you note to every place I interviewed in person in phase I. One of the places rejected the note without even opening it and sent it back to me. It showed up at my house again about a month or so later. It wasn’t a place I was super thrilled about so at the time it was frustrating but not a huge deal because if they didn’t want me then I didn’t want them and I had no reason to believe I wasn’t going to be selected for a job I’d love more than that one anyway. It wasn’t until I was rejected from every job to which I applied that I was angry. I spent a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to apply for and interview for that job. If you disliked me enough to not even read my thank you note then you should have let go and cut my losses before dragging me out to an interview. I poured my heart and soul into phase I and was treated like a child’s toy, played with and then discarded without a glance behind. Everyone has always told me how much of a community the world of pharmacy is with everyone supporting each other. Instead, it feels like everyone is against me. Sure, there are some pharmacists who care about me, but they seem to be outnumbered by the ones who don’t really care. Whether you liked me enough to hire me or not, I would appreciate a response to my emails even just to say sorry not interested, especially if I am following up after already submitting my application. I think that is a respect thing. I might not be a good communicator, but I am a real live human who deserves respect.

 

On the other hand, there have been some really caring people in my life, primarily outside of the pharmacy setting. Life hurts so much, but over the past few months I have been shown more love than I ever could feel worthy of. I am so thankful for people who have been willing to enter into my life and love on me when I had minimal to no ability to give anything back. People have cared about me while I was hurting so much that they were at risk of becoming collateral damage. Despite the penetrating loneliness and isolation of grief, people have shown me that I am never really alone. They could have given up on me and ignored my pain, but people have chosen to love me way more than I deserve.

 

Making friends isn’t my forte and neither is letting people in, but the people I do have in my life have gone way beyond the call of duty to show that they accept the itty bitty approximations that I attempt.

 

With time to cool off and think, I have come up with a new way to soften the blow. I am ready for God to come back. Yeah, I know it isn’t the ideal solution for me to be thinking about, but even that solution didn’t seem like an option originally and if making that feel like an option is able to give me a less hopeless existence then I am pleased. God coming back would mean that there wouldn’t be any loose ends to worry about because no one would be left trying to tie them up…plus it means immediate heaven, and I definitely believe that heaven is a place where the pain of my earthly existence will melt away and I will be purely joyful.

 

So realistically, I don’t know what I am doing with my life. I do have one career-related dream left that isn’t AS impossible anymore, but I know it is not a great idea…I had only wanted one thing since early elementary school…until second year when my counselor (the good one, not the abusive one) challenged me to come up with something I could do if I wasn’t able to be a pharmacist. The other thing I want to do is be a social worker and work with kids. I’m not even totally sure what a social worker does outside of clinical social workers who do counseling…I think at the time I made the decision I had just watched a video on the internet where a person identified as a social worker was hugging a child and that sounded good to me. I know the phrase social worker is used in the foster care system and I am kinda interested in fostering. Also, on the counseling side, I have loved my psych classes, so I mean maybe it is a fit, but I see myself very quickly running into the same roadblock in social work as I have in pharmacy – who is going to want to take a risk on a girl who is way behind on learning communication skills? In fact, that is probably a field in which my lack of skills might be even more apparent and more likely to interfere with my potential for success…but maybe that is a field where the studying and training might actually teach me how to communicate…and working with kids doesn’t need to involve a lot of words. I mean, I really think some of why I am so skilled at calming kids is because I don’t usually start with the same method as everyone else of trying to talk to the kid until they can’t help but respond…I now do have enough communication ability to use that method if I am running low on options, but I start with physical comfort, distraction, and parallel play before I jump to that option.

 

I am still alive. I am still hurting, but I am not defeated. I will keep fighting until either God ends the fight by coming back to Earth or I come out on top and am able to spend much of most days happy. I am strong. I might have been dealt a lousy hand, but I am still playing the game.

sanity

Also, I’m not sure what happened to my other results, because I know I have taken this quiz a zillion times before, but it is pretty incredible to see how my score has moved from the edge where you just about as insane as it gets to where I am now hovering around the “average” score. The bottom score is from when I was in an active “relationship” with my abuser (aka, before everything blew up and the abuse became public). The middle is from when I was about three months from phase I, so around 2 months from phase II and was still actively grieving. The last one is from a few days ago…I am certainly still grieving, but it isn’t affecting me as severely. The physical effects of the grief are significantly better, and emotionally I am sometimes making it through entire days without tears. I like taking quizzes…that’s why before the MMPI as removed from the internet I took it a ridiculous number of times…at first trying to approximate my original answers because my counselor at the time never talked about it after I finished it, and then just with who I really saw myself as at that particular moment in time…

 

I may have almost cried in Panera last week because I couldn’t find on their menu the item I always order for actual meals at panera (vs just snacks), but that is possibly a good thing…it means that I cared enough…and I definitely did not have the bravery right then to try ordering something they might not have…

 

And I almost cried at the Honda dealership when my email dinged with a notification that I didn’t get the position I interviewed for in Bemidji, MN. I know I currently have a full-time job and should be thankful, but so far I’m kinda bored because the parts of my position I’ve been shown are kinda easy and brainless for me…and even if I didn’t want the job, rejection hurts. I’m hoping it gets better where I am and I hope that as the position gets better that maybe it will help decrease the pain of loss and soften the blows of the secondary losses. Like this one blog post I read recently said, wasn’t one loss enough?! But loss never stops at the primary loss; it always leads to some kind of secondary loss whether relatively minor like loss of a routine that you kinda wanted to change anyway or more major like loss of sense of safety…there are so many things that continue to come up as further losses. It is hard to put into words how much it still hurts and how these secondary losses continue to rub salt into the still very raw wounds, but I have to believe that God can and God will heal the wounds somehow whether I have to keep waiting for more time to run its course or whether the world ends and I get to go to heaven. Someday, somehow life won’t be so hard. I think. I just want to let go and drown. Sometimes I wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to stop fighting and just let myself stop eating when I don’t want to and end up malnourished in the hospital where maybe I’d have enough disruption in my life in a different way to shock my body and mind into not hurting about this loss anymore and even if that didn’t happen at least I’d be with someone 24/7 who was paid to at least pretend to care and would never be alone.

 

I’m still holding on and know that is a bad idea, but it is hard when there is no end in sight and no visible hope. As much as I really WANT to enjoy this position, I can’t force myself to like it. To really enjoy my position I think I would need to either feel challenged, be able to stay busy, or be passionate about what I am doing. I think I probably don’t need all of those things – maybe just one would be enough – but right now I don’t have any. What I do have right now is that I do feel at least mostly wanted, but that is very confusing. I don’t understand why this position for which my qualifications certainly did not make me an ideal candidate wanted me when no one else wanted me. Other places where I was much more qualified for the offered position turned me down. The other problem is that being wanted is great, but I would prefer to have a sense of being needed. Even if no one really realizes what I am doing and doesn’t know how much they need me, I feel fulfilled when I feel useful. That is also not happening. I feel like I do a lot of sitting around waiting for something to do…and because I am in training and therefore always paired with someone else, I don’t really feel like what I am doing is worthwhile because if I am doing something then the person I am paired with is just sitting there watching me…the other problem with this job is that everyone is sick…a lot of them it sounds like with real sickness like vomiting and strep throat sick. I am doing amazingly well considering the circumstances, but that also doesn’t make the transition easier or make me look forward to showing up in the morning.

 

I really want to like this job, but I am still counting down the minutes every day until I can leave and thinking about how long I might be stuck here. I really think that if nothing changes then I am going to need to find some way to get back to my dreams. There is talk of perhaps adding an emergency department pharmacist and if that happened and I could get into the position maybe I could stay a little longer, but that addition if it even happens is likely years into the future and even when it does, the chances of being selected as someone with no formal training is very slim. But so are my chances of getting anywhere else. Without going directly into a residency from school it will be even more difficult now to get into a residency, and without a residency even decades of experience is often considered irrelevant. No one wants a pediatric pharmacist without a residency and no one wants a critical care/emergency pharmacist without a residency, and I want into the very crevice of those two specialties; I want either NICU in a dedicated pediatric institution preferably with a mother-baby partnership, or pediatric emergency in a level one pediatric trauma center in a dedicated pediatric institution. I don’t know how I can break into that field, but I do know that right now it feels like I will never be happy again and never really work past this smothering grief without a change. I can’t keep living this way forever with the feeling that weights are strapped onto my mind and body weighing every part of me down.

image

I found this image that sort of explains what life has been like. That person is in the middle of the ocean, attempting to stay afloat, but a very heavy animal is standing on the person’s body, and there is a hand under the water also pulling the person down. Yet the person must stay above water to breath. Forward progress, while necessary, is not the focus. The focus is just staying above water. While getting to shore would make this better, it is a difficult proposal when just staying above water is so challenging…this image and explanation I hope explains to more than just me what life has been like and why I have been such a lousy friend and very likely may seem to not really be trying hard enough to recover. I am trying…but most of my energy out of necessity has gone into staying above water.

 

I don’t want to be a debbie downer though. I feel really bad that I continue to be so negative. I really am functioning a lot better than at first. I am back to being a little more dehydrated than I should be, but I am trying really hard. Although thinks are still really difficult, they are significantly better than they were a few months ago. While it is easy to look at where I am now and think that I should try harder or that I should be further than I am by now, I think (hope?) that where I am is understandable and put into perspective by where I came from. Sure, I am not rocking it at eating, but I am for the most part having three somewhat balanced meals every day. Much better than the solitary chicken strip and strawberry that could very well have somehow been considered breakfast lunch and dinner in the early days…and far better than the less than a handful of cereal and a couple sips of water that passed my lips on the second match day when in retrospect I really was doing a lot worse than I even let on which is scary considering how much emotion spilled through the mask I was trying to put on. I hid as much as I could, but it is really by God’s grace that I didn’t get into any car accidents. At the time I was driving to school for that last rotation I was pretty upset and driving through tears that were certainly not being adequately replaced by the miniscule amount of water I drank…and when the second phase came around I honestly don’t even know how I got from point A to point B. I could barely see where I was going. I certainly couldn’t think. It took everything I had in me to remember how to stop and start and not run into anything and really I totally would have run into other cars if they hadn’t been doing a good job of avoiding me. If anyone really knew what was going on I would have most likely ended up in a locked behavioral health unit because I know how I was living was threatening the safety of myself and others. I am so lucky and so thankful that no one knew what life was like. Now I am able to be mostly back to my usual self, giving other people plenty of space on the road and sometimes being a little too considerate in my driving (yes I am that jerk who feels bad for people waiting to turn and will stop so that people who have been patiently waiting at a not-four-way-stop sign can have a turn…). I actually slept reasonably well the past few nights – still not back to normal sleep, but sleeping hours at a time rather than minutes is a huge improvement. I still have a long way to go, but I am super thankful for all the way I have already come. I am so so thankful for the people who have helped me get this far. I don’t even know how to express how deeply I appreciate the people in my life who have been supporting me through this. I would very much like a support system where I am right now, but I wouldn’t be able to function as well as I am right now without one if I didn’t have all the people at school and back home who have poured so much into me.

 

And now it is time to stop writing because I haven’t been doing a very good job of studying and in six days at this time I will be getting ready for bed in a different city so that I can be ready to take the NAPLEX in the morning that I am not feeling ready for…that is an expensive test to fail…prayer appreciated 🙂

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.

And there were times I cried myself to sleep at night only to wake up wishing I didn’t

(The Reason – Lacey/Flyleaf)

I read a blog post recently that I think corresponds really well with where I am right now. The gist of the post (since I can’t seem to find it again…) is that sometimes things happen in life and you are in the middle of a river, drowning. All you can do is hang on to a log floating in the river and hang on. It is not ideal, and it is tiring, but it is saving your life. Eventually, though, you need to realize that you can’t stay there forever. When you can see the waterfall in front of you it is no longer safe to keep holding on. You need to let go and get to the shore. So you try to let go and swim to shore. Sometimes you get a little bit away from your log but it is exhausting and scary and you can’t get to shore so you hold on again, but you are getting closer to the waterfall, and it isn’t safe to keep holding on. It is frustrating, and exhausting, and seems hopeless, but you have to try again to reach safety. There are times when you are not safe (not on the shore), but also not in acute danger (not holding onto the log). You are swimming. It is hard, but even though you aren’t safe, it is self-care that will eventually help you reach safety, hopefully before it is too late. I was drowning when I realized I was going to have to remain alive, but now I think I am ready to continue trying to swim for the shore. I’m not safe and I am certainly vulnerable while I am trying to reach safety, but I am not actively headed towards the waterfall, so that is positive.

 

After I went to bed very much alive on June 30th and woke up alive on July 1st, it was incredibly difficult to realize that the endpoint I had been living for over the past few months was gone just like everything else I had lost. It was a secondary loss that was incredibly painful and dunked me back under the waves of extreme pain. What little hope I had was pried from the death grip of my fingers. It is still very painful, and was certainly a setback in my emotional recovery from the deep grief I have been walking through, but you know what? I know that God is in charge and my opinion isn’t ultimately the one that matters. I have to continue to face each day knowing that chances are I will be facing this every day for a long time and will need to figure out how to be okay with that.

 

I know that I am strong and over time the pain may not completely disappear, but I really want to believe that over time it will fade to a point where life is not so difficult and the wound isn’t so raw. Maybe it is just the shear physical exhaustion and lack of sleep, but last night anyway I slept a lot better than I had the past few days, and while eating and drinking are definitely still hard, I have today at least been thinking about food at the correct times of day which is a helpful step in normalizing my eating. I have done a really good job of at least mostly maintaining my weight once I achieved my goal, but of course I also know that being completely responsible for myself in a few days versus sometimes having meals as a family a home where I just need to show up can greatly increase the level of difficulty of keeping myself fed somewhat appropriately.

 

I tried to go ride my bike or rollerblade or something to help get some fluids in, but I didn’t even step outside before I realized it was way too hot for that…and besides, I was already going to be breaking the rules I set for myself of drinking something before doing anything active. It is so hot outside 😦 Speaking of outside, I am still pretty sore, but externally I am healing really quickly…unless you know how well my skin heals and how long it has been since the injury, my back doesn’t really look bad anymore – just a little scraped up. I can now lean against things without pain and pick at the scabs without re-opening the cuts…sounds like a weird thing to comment on, but it is super helpful, because I will totally admit to being a skin-picker, so once I could reach my back without a lot of pain, it was a conscious effort to not pick at the scabs…

 

I should be studying…but that is still something that feels too hard, and I just want a break. I don’t have that long until the test though so I really need to work on that…

 

I am playing with the idea of a quick celebration trip if or when I pass the exams. A trip to Lake Superior is something that I have kinda daydreamed about for years but never very seriously considered because going on trips isn’t really who I am…my idea of an adventure is sometimes as simple as going the opposite direction that I usually go around the block. I also have a lot of friends that don’t live near me that it might be fun to go see…Considering that I am a single female who would be traveling alone, IDK how safe Lake Superior would be, and since I am a people-lover, it might make more sense to go somewhere with people and make it a separate mission to find a lake as beautiful and clean as Lake Superior that is closer to home to fall in love with…

 

I usually celebrate with food, but as a totally new chapter in my life has been unfolding this year, I thought maybe it was time to think about something crazy that I usually would never consider. The loss I experienced is still an open wound and I figure either this could turn into something really cool to shock my mind out of the pain even if only for a little while, or it could be a really stupid idea where the stress and new experience causes a setback, but I figure doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING and since I am viewing a trip as something that would be a huge achievement of stepping outside my comfort zone for me, I think it would probably tend towards the former feeling like an accomplishment…of course, if I went somewhere and the trip was a fail, it could also be another failure, but I’m choosing to think about how it could totally be an esteem-building success. Like toll roads. That was terrifying, but when it was over I was SO proud of myself! I did it!!

If I reach out can I trust you? Will you help me see the light of one more day?

(Take the bullets away – We as Human)

So yeah, I fell on two Sundays ago. I’m blaming it on the red bumps at the end of the sidewalk, because I already hate those anyway, but in reality I have no memory of falling. Partly I hate the red bumps because in school I was told that everyone appreciates having those and I don’t like when school tells me what I like and what I don’t like…but partly I actually legitimately dislike those red bumps because they make it more work to skate and because they collect yuckiness on the sidewalk.

 

So anyway, I remember looking both ways and starting to cross the street while singing to myself and listening to an audiobook, and then I remember being on the ground and in a lot of pain. I honestly have no memory of actually falling or what happened. I know as soon as I realized I was on the ground I looked around to see if anyone saw me and noticed someone had heard me fall and turned around to see what happened. Hashtag embarrassing…based on the scrapes on my skates my ankles were facing towards my right which is already weird because I naturally tend to lean towards my left when I’m on my back…although maybe that is why I was falling. Seeing as how I don’t remember falling and I was too concerned with getting up ASAP to preserve as much of my pride as possible, I have to judge what happened by the marks left behind, so what is really confusing is that the bruises are definitely worse on the lower right, but the cuts are worse on the upper left on my back. Based on what my helmet looks like I am pretty sure I caught myself before I hit my head.

 

Someone suggested that maybe I fainted…IDK…my best guess is that I was dehydrated because I hadn’t had anything to drink all day and I was dizzy and between that and acting out the song I was singing to myself managed to get off balance and maybe it all just happened too fast for my brain to keep up with what was going on…IDK…Either way, I know dehydration isn’t good for me even though it does feel like it helps sometimes, so new rules have been implemented that if I want to do anything active I have to drink something before I leave and especially if the goal of going in the first place was to create enough motivation to drink something, the water needs to come with me unless I am not going further than the end of the driveway.

 

I might not know what happened, but I do know the impact was pretty significant…the plastic on my left wrist guard broke just a little…and the person a block away heard me hit the ground. I initially thought the cut on my hand was from the broken wrist guard, but as I realized later the break is a lot lower down than where the cut is, so my hand must have scraped against the pavement which is also super weird because that is the hand that was holding my phone and would therefore have most likely hit the pavement later but hit more with the fingers than at the base of the thumb. My phone survived the fall (besides how it already didn’t have service). I also know it is significant, because none of the injuries I can see explain why it hurt so bad just to breathe the first few days…also, while the injuries I can see explain why it hurts to lean against anything, it doesn’t explain why I can’t twist or bend at the torso without pain and why doing really anything but laying down mostly flat on my front hurts at least a little. Yeah, I know that sometimes being strong means letting other people in and getting help…but sometimes I just am not that strong. I can handle a lot, but even I have a limit.

 

Two and a half month olds are not heavy…but I have to admit that as much as I love infants, that it probably was not nearly as good for me physically as it was emotionally to hold that cutie for an entire service to put him to sleep, keep him asleep, and then let him gently wake up. It was so hard to give him back to his mom when she returned. But anyway, although I was holding and carrying bigger kiddos before and after that, I was being more careful to hold for as short a time as I thought I could get away with without the (child’s) tears coming back, so it wasn’t as big of a deal…but I have a soft spot for infants…and yeah, I could have at least sat down to rest more of the weight on my lap and the chair, but I didn’t wanna…but it was totally worth it. On the way to church I was working really hard just to remember things like using my turn signal because I was having such a hard time, but on the way home I was doing a lot better. Life is still hard, but any small moment I can experience even of just better and not good is something I am super thankful for.

 

I felt super lazy taking the elevator last Monday, but carrying three (empty) cardboard boxes was way more weight than my body was telling me I should be carrying…I got halfway down the (not very long) hallway and wondered if I needed to abandon the boxes and get a wagon to pull instead of carry, so there was no way that I was going to be able to get down the stairs carrying the boxes and make it back upstairs by the end of my break…so yes, I do really need a lot more boxes than I brought home, but my ability to carry the boxes is a definite limiting factor in the number of boxes I can bring home…and if the elevator can allow me to remain functional for my shift then I might need to be lazy and realize that is okay.

 

While I certainly do not want to indicate that I believe intentionally creating pain is okay as long as it will be beneficial for emotional health, because I certainly do not condone deliberate self-injury, I have to admit that this was super awesome in the emotional realm. Without recognizing the role that physical pain plays, it would be easy to have just found myself on the ground and been annoyed that I wasn’t dead or to just lay there and hope to become dead by someone not seeing me and running over me or something…but that isn’t what happened. For the first time since March 17th, I didn’t really strongly desire to be dead. In fact, I actually felt thrilled to be rollerblading. It took until Wednesday for the thoughts that I’d rather be dead to come back, and even then, the thoughts come in and out. The strong desire to die is no longer a constant companion…at least not right now. The physical pain seems to have done a really good job whiting out the emotional pain.

 

I know it is not healthy to live with the desire to die whether that desire is accompanied by suicidality or not, so really I just exchanged physical for emotional health. It seems like a good trade because one thing I have always thought was pretty fortunate considering the severity of my former, also unwanted, buddy OCD, is that my skin heals pretty quickly. Partly wiping up the blood quickly made my back look a lot better immediately, but beyond that, in the past few days the puffiness around the cuts has mostly healed and the cuts are definitely shrinking really well. I wish the pain went away just as quickly…both the emotional and the physical pain. I know grief is more like a marathon than a sprint and I can’t expect it to completely go away by utilizing pain. I also know that it is unacceptable to intentionally use pain to heal my mind…it is not a long term solution and definitely not something I am going to allow into my life. If God wants to gift me with physical pain I wouldn’t complain (except for that most of my ibuprofen is an hour and a half away already and I already am in a decent amount of pain without adding new physical pain to help with emotional pain. And I know that my body is the temple of the Lord and it is wrong to damage his home…but at the same time I am thinking about the teen in the nursery with cuts on her legs and arms and how easy it would be with all the blades at work to try out a few cuts to try to get an emotional release. I don’t want to do it. I know it is wrong…but the thoughts are there. I don’t want to be alive and I know that hurting myself physically will dull the emotional pain. I promise I won’t do it, but the thoughts are scary because it was such a big deal to stop hurting myself the first time…I know that they say once you do it once the thoughts about doing it again will never fully go way even years later as an adult so I guess it is kinda normal to have these thoughts, but it is kind of like how even normal things to be grossed out about make me nervous sometimes because I don’t know where the line in the sand is between what is normal and okay to think about and what is not normal and not okay to think about.

 

I had like three more paragraphs written and then my computer froze and when it woke up those three paragraphs were goners…I don’t even have the energy to care that much, so I’ll just continue with what would have been the fourth paragraph…lol (not literally)…

 

Since I am posting this, I suppose it is evident that God refused to take me home on June 30th like I told him to. It is so hard continuing to live like this. I cried myself to sleep Friday night. I was so thankful for the sleep I got even if it wasn’t much. I guess I didn’t realize how much having an end in sight was helping me get through each day, so I didn’t realize how much harder it would be when the end was no longer in sight…I guess I should have. I am so tired of living with this pain. I don’t want to keep going. I don’t see an end in sight. I don’t see any way out. I don’t see any hope. All I see is how much life hurts right now and I don’t like it, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to make it okay. It will never be okay. I will never be okay. Being alive hurts too much, but death doesn’t seem like a good option anymore either. Dying would just leave a bunch of messes mostly figurative, but some literal. Death wouldn’t fix enough to even be worth it anymore. The only alternative between dead and alive is for the world to end and everyone to go to heaven. That isn’t really a fair solution either though because then people who have worked hard and are actually seeing some kind of reward from it wouldn’t get to experience the fruit of their success. That isn’t really fair to them. So basically all I can see in life is despair and hopelessness. I can experience little glimpses of joy like when my coworkers surprised me with gifts and pizza on Friday and it was completely overwhelming in an awesome way, but most of my day is spent crushed in the pain of rejection and loss and inadequacy and frustration. I can tell how out of life I am by the fact that I let my mom throw away things that had been important to me for years and despite the fact that I don’t watch tv, when my mom insisted that I needed a big tv I gave her my credit card and let her use it to buy one…which then led to further frustration later when the stupid tv hook ups didn’t work in the apartment where they needed to so unless the cord was going to be stretched across the apartment it wasn’t going to work anyway.

 

I should be studying for the NAPLEX…and probably to retake the MPJE when I find out that I failed…but I’m just so overwhelmed that I just can’t right now. Life hurts too much. I don’t know why God makes me live through this but I know that I don’t like it. I want a stop button on life so I can have a break. I also want someone to hang out with and hug but I don’t have that right now either. And I really want to go to Lake Superior and to a few places where I know people…but while I am an adult and can therefore go on vacation if I want, the only place I should be going right now is to finish putting things away in my apartment…vacation is not on any agenda until that is done and my room in my parents house is clean and empty and my tests are passed…and also I don’t know how to plan a vacation.

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.

do you see a rescue or a deeper kind of hurt…just when you’ve lost the will to live

(drifting – plumb)

 

Life is still really hard. I still want to be done with life. I have been telling God what day I thought would be best for me to die, but on the somewhat positive side, I have also resigned myself to the fact that God is most likely going to say no. And I will have to deal with that. It is hard when my whole life I have been working towards one thing and that one thing is gone. Everyone told me I wasn’t good enough and it feels so much like they were right. I realized to have any chance I probably have to wait at least two years before re-applying, because besides not being at all in my personality, it probably isn’t kosher to be like hey, I know I started training like two days ago, but would you like to be my reference for the job I actually wanted more than this? That was a really hard realization, but it also really helped because it put a timeline on getting back to my dreams.

 

I recently read this article about helping people in crisis. The author’s explanation of each concept wasn’t necessarily exactly in alignment with my opinions (though some weren’t far off at all), but the concepts themselves seemed pretty good.

 

  1. Stay calm – so true, if I am already in crisis, I don’t need you to add drama to my life. I don’t need you to make life more difficult. I need someone to be an anchor in the storm. That doesn’t mean you don’t show emotion (also not necessarily good) but that you don’t freak out and make this about you rather than about me.
  2. Understand – no one (probably) wants to feel bad, but when we do it can feel very isolating. Grief takes a lot of energy that makes it hard to have anything left to do anything but survive. Crisis makes us less good friends as the primary focus is on survival. When it feels like no one gets it, especially when for a reason that feels shameful, I feel that much more alone. Taking a minute to listen and try to understand is a huge gift to me.
  3.  Touch them (if they’re okay with it) – I love hugs and stuff. In most situations, it makes me feel safe. It is a good way to help me feel less alone. IDK about this for everyone though since I know some people hate being touched.
  4.  Stay with them – grief is lonely and isolating. It is super awesome to be willing to come into my life and try to help me, but in my story of abuse and rejection, it isn’t just the loneliness and isolation that return when you leave again. Although sometimes I am so desperate for help that I want any possible thing I can get, but most of the time I feel like it might be better to have no one at all than people who leave again…but at the same time I know I don’t really want that, because I really need people even if they aren’t always exactly what I need. I know that studies show that support tends to last about a month and at most 3 months, but grief or other crises tend to last at least a year. That is a minimum of 9 months of isolation while the pain is still very raw and very intensely painful. I just need more hugs sometimes…or just a quick text hi. I finally figured out that was something that would help but then I never actually completely followed through on making sure it happened…I asked…a couple times…and then I ran out of energy to devote to a task that wasn’t as directly survival based.
  5.  Ask why they haven’t – so this is referring to why they haven’t hurt themselves in response to the negative emotion. While I am not sure how helpful this would be to me, I think it is a good question to ask to gauge safety. On a smaller level, eating and drinking was SO hard at first and such a chore (for that matter, even now sometimes I am okay in that arena and sometimes I am packing goldfish and skittles in my lunchbox and calling it a success that I am eating something even when half of that pathetically non-balanced lunch comes back home with me), but almost every day I tried really hard to get three meals into my mouth. Why didn’t I just do what was easiest and just not even try? Mostly because that might worry people and draw attention to me, and I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself and I didn’t want to hurt anyone. So, yeah, I am a major people-pleaser. I am pretty much always okay, especially when I am not. It is good when people can understand this and see through my mask to see that just because I am smiling and laughing instead of crying at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean I am not still fighting really hard just to make it through every day, and it is also good to realize that because of that, when I am in crisis, I might be a lot more sensitive to the perception of letting people down, so recognition is huge if I am doing something right. On a bigger scale, why have I not killed myself even though I want so badly to not be alive? Because I strongly believe that life and death are in God’s hands, and my religious beliefs tell me it is wrong to hurt yourself in any way. This probably makes me a lot safer, but also means there should be a big red flag going up if my faith becomes less important to me…luckily even when I couldn’t believe God cared or was even good, my faith was still super important to me.
  6.  Make a plan – consistency, structure, routine, and predictability really help me in life, and even more so in grief. Helping me know what to expect is really helpful. Waiting to offer something to me until you are pretty sure you can make it happen is awesome so the change in plans later doesn’t crush me. Remember that what seems small to you can be a lot bigger when it is the one thing that I am counting on to help me through the day, and when a minute is an eternity, the idea of a generic ‘maybe later’ is a forever that doesn’t even register on the time scale.

 

 

Moderately unrelated, but I also read this post recently where this mom claims she did a study and found out that she is invisible. Her logic is that she intentionally only wore one earring every day for six months and no one said anything…ummm…dude….what an idiot. First, if anything you proved that the earring, not yourself was invisible. Second, people are generally paying attention to YOU, not analyzing your attire. Third, your ears are on opposite sides of your head so depending on how good of eye contact you are using they might have no way of knowing that one of these things is not like the others. Fourth, people are generally respectful and mind their own business. Why should they point out that your appearance is less than perfect? And especially by the end of the six months if they had noticed they probably figured you liked it that way…yep, people be dumb…but using that logic, then I know that I am also invisible. I wore a shirt with a nice oxycodone stain on it a few days ago and no one said anything…I don’t know what bright drug manufacturer decided that oxycodone should be bright red, but I do know that whenever I spill it, particularly when I spill it on myself I do not appreciate the color…it stains…on the positive side, I mean, my shirt wouldn’t have been stained if I hadn’t caught the bottle that I lost my grip on. Because I did grab it, I only lost like a mL of oxycodone. I lost it all over my shirt and the counter, but at least I didn’t lose almost the entire bottle on the floor…