What is Self-Control?

I restricted, then I ate a few handfuls of gummy bears after work. Now I feel sick. I was going to purge at work, but stopped because I don’t want to be out of control.

I made a deal with myself. If I was alone in the house, I’d purge when I got home. I wasn’t alone, but now I am. Therefore, I want to purge. Blah, negative reinforcement is powerful! I want this sick feeling to go away. On the other hand, if I purge 2 days in a row, what does that say about my self-control? Maybe if I repeat to myself that REAL strength is eating and not purging, I’ll believe it eventually. In the back of my mind, I still believe the pro-ana ideas… Don’t be beaten by a cookie. You’re not a dog, don’t reward yourself with food. Empty is good. Empty is strong… okay, wrong train of thought!

…I could nap. I am sleepy, but that is also avoidance of the sick feeling from only eating gummy bears and a piece of popcorn today.

I promised my mom I would eat. If I don’t, she’ll be upset and we’ll argue about whether I am capable of moving and not relapsing. I can’t handle eating right now. Maybe later. No one will be back until 9 pm. 

I don’t like change. I’m going to miss everyone! My grandparents came over last night and gave me chocolate. My grandpa said, “Try not to eat it all at once.” as they left. Ha! I haven’t eaten it, but that isn’t the point. My point is they are extremely sweet to bring me chocolate! They’re 90 and 86 years old and they drove over at night to give me candy. I’m worried if I leave for a year, they’ll die. Also, my 14 year old dog could die. I told myself I’d be better about going to lunch with my grandparents on Sundays this semester. So far, I have not been better and I don’t have much time left!

 

I knew this would happen. My behavior is predictable. I am afraid I won’t measure up; I am scared my beliefs about myself are about to be confirmed. Plus, I’m already missing everyone! So, I binge, purge, and restrict. Why? I’m not sure exactly, to have an excuse if I fail or to stop myself from taking a chance that could end in failure in the first place?

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I’m just rambling so I don’t bother other people and trying to distract myself. Apparently, I’m channeling Whiskey/ Dr. Saunders this week!

Work was fun. We’re trying something new with one of my kids. I always find that interesting. I trying to smile and talk to people more. I’m leaving soon, but I’m trying to practice opening up. Not enough for anyone new to know me, just enough that they think I’m not always serious… Although, I am usually serious! 😉 I want them to trust and listen to me. That means talking about non-work stuff. But NOT mental illness, oversharing is limited to people I actually trust. Once, I tried talking more to a co-worker and then he said he had feelings for me. That would be great! … If he wasn’t married. 

 

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Office Supplies and Good Byes

Feeling overwhelmed.

I’m checking out apartments this week, but I also have 3 exams and 10 hours of lecture to watch between now and when I return home.

I need to create and print my students’ work for the 2 days I am out.

Ginny is leaving and that means there is no BCBA for my students until a new one is hired. In the mean time, Claire and I are trying to fill the gaps. I don’t see how that is possible!

The thought of leaving my kiddos and my co-workers makes me sad. I’ll miss them.

Jessica moved a few weeks ago and I’m worried about her because she is struggling with eating disorder symptoms.

However, here I still have Ginny and Madison. Even though we don’t hang out much, I have the opportunity to and that option makes a difference in my mind. It won’t be an option soon.

I don’t want to be that person who lets their work slide when they decide they’re leaving, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to finish everything! I guess I need a new coping skill that involves problem solving instead of avoidance. 

 

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I purged at work, for the first time in months or maybe even a year. However, I also took apart the tape dispenser, intending to cut, and did not. So, I suppose that is a minor win, sort of… The better option would have been asking to talk to Ginny, Ashley, or Claire again (we already talked as a group once in the morning, but I was still anxious) before getting to that point. Despite knowing that alternative was better, I didn’t want to bother anyone. They seemed annoyed or perplexed by my anxiety.

Self-Injury Scars and Interviews

Interview time!

I need to find appropriate business casual clothes that hide my scars (long sleeve) and don’t look out of place in sunny, 64 – 81 degree Fahrenheit, weather.

I’m not sure if that is possible!

 

Edited to Add: I know people at my current job think I’m capable and smart. I’m also being compared to co-workers with less education. So, I’m terrified when I move to a new environment, full of other graduate students, I’ll fall flat on my face and everyone will see how inept and stupid I am. I’ll fail.

Strong enough?

I’m nervous about Ginny leaving because I don’t know if I’ll handle things as well without her. I would never have disclosed to anyone 2 weeks ago, much less asked my boss for help dealing with my student’s identical history.


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Thursdays are bad news apparently because this Thursday I ended up in tears at work again! This time, one of my new students (a different one) disclosed abuse. I was “normally” upset; I felt sad and worried for him. However, I flipped out when I heard my boss’s boss called his PARENTS instead of calling the child abuse hotline.

I was furious. I abruptly turned to leave the room, but Ginny yelled at me, “Don’t storm away from me!” She knows me well enough to know I was probably about to self-injure. I stopped in my tracks and she took me to the same empty office we talked in last week. It took me some time to explain why I was upset and when she understood, she teared up. I was scared for him! He refused to get on the bus for a long time and I said I wouldn’t have gotten on that bus either! I understood what he felt, to a certain degree, because I tried to disclose my situation once and realized the school counselor would report me based on her probing questions. So, I recanted and never told anyone until last week. DFS wouldn’t get an investigator to his house that night, meaning he was alone. I remember a separate incident where I accidentally said something to a teacher, which my parents thought could get DFS involved. Their reaction was highly emotional and they’re relatively normal people. A few things were thrown at me and more than a few things were broken that night. I was imagining the worst for my student, whose story was much more straightforward. 

Thankfully, he came to school the next day and he impressed me with his control. He eloped a few times and hit, but also talked to us and vented. He had more self-control than I did.

I would have self-injured the day before if I hadn’t talked to Ginny. When I turned to leave the room, I wasn’t thinking rationally anymore, I was going to look for a blade. I would not have stopped on my own, but her yelling bought me time to talk and calm down. My boss promised she will never be a part of that again and Ginny said she is going to try to convince the administration to have everyone undergo mandatory reporter training to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I hope it works! However, I’m worried the next time I encounter something triggering at work, which seems to happen frequently lately, I won’t be able to handle it.

On another note:

I wonder why Bulimia is correlated with childhood sexual abuse more than other eating disorders. I can’t stomach anymore journal articles right now, but I wish I could find out why.

Child Abuse Reporting

Has a child ever disclosed parental abuse to you? Did you call a hotline about the suspected child abuse?

If you thought they were lying, did you call their parents?! 

Is that typical?

I looked up my state’s reporting laws and neither their laws, nor their handouts to potential reporters, mention notifying the accused party.

Mind Wipe

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Please?

My urge to join the Dollhouse has returned!

I’m not sure why I’m ruminating on this so much. It isn’t like these are “recovered” memories. I’ve always had them. Then again, I didn’t always know that student had the same types of memories and I’ve never told anyone. Now whenever I see either that student or the 2 people I told, that is the first thing that pops into my mind.

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All Cried Out

This week I cried more than I have in years.

Monday

My boss, Ashley, told me I was getting a new student from another part of our school. Ginny (my BCBA friend) and the other classroom teachers were in the meeting. I thought I was doing an okay job covering my emotions, but I looked angry because Ginny texted me on the way home from work saying my boss was worried about my reaction.

I was definitely mad. I cried while driving and hit 80 MPH a few times. I had no problem with that particular student. I was angry because we were getting an entirely new student, but Mark got that student. Whereas, I got the easy kid. Plus, one of the harder kids in our program switched to the 3rd Classroom Supervisor’s room. My interpretation of that was: No one trusts you with challenging students They don’t think you’re good at helping children; that is why you have the easy students.

Ginny helped me see that I was misattributing the student changes and Ashley did trust me.

Tuesday

I told Ashley I was upset yesterday, but only because I was disappointed I wouldn’t get to work with the new student and I was excited to see how the dynamics of my classroom changed. Plus, I didn’t want to give up any of my current students.

Wednesday

Ginny tells me my new student has a trauma history. I head bang immediately because it hits close to home. Way to be professional MM! I cry at home because I doubt whether I can handle it if my student discloses their abuse to me. However, by the next day, I’ve decided to try.

Thursday

Claire gives me further details about my students’ trauma and I realize it mirrors mine. I find Ginny and say, “I don’t think I can handle this.” We go into an empty office and I tell her what Claire just told me. Then I start tearing up and ask her to get Ashley. We sit down and for the first time, ever, I tell someone what happened and I’m hysterically crying in front of my boss and Ginny. Clearly, this is an unresolved issue for me. I’m terrified of somehow passing on the shame I feel to my student if I react emotionally.

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It was awful and embarrassing.  I’ve only focused on minor events and foggy memories in EMDR and on this blog, not the full extent of things. Ha, can’t even type it here. I’m pathetic like that… 

For the rest of the day, I’m exhausted and on edge. I don’t feel safe driving home, so I stay at work an hour and a half late to calm down. I finally drive home and tell my parents I’m sick.

Later that night, I realized some of my tears were compassion for my younger self. If I couldn’t blame my student for enduring the exact same thing as a young child, how could I blame myself? I can’t.

Fringe_Peter finds little Olivia in LSD cartoon

After talking to Ginny about what I should do, I sleep until the next morning.

Friday

I’m still exhausted and frayed, more crying before the kids arrive. Ashley puts herself in my room for the day. The behavior assistant in my room complains to Ashley about my work, in front of me and my students! I’m livid and trying to juggle intrusive memories. Thankfully, they weren’t flashbacks.

Ashley asks to talk to me midday. She says she talked to Mark and we’ll switch classes. I feel like she thinks I’m too weak to handle my new student (AHAHA, first I’m too weak because I’m getting this student, now I’m too weak because I’m not… My brain is fun.). I’m going to lose my current kiddos. However, there are plenty of positives.

I stay late again because my brain wanders to triggers when the kids leave for the day.

When I check my email at home, I see my academic advisor’s message saying I can’t use my practicum site as a practicum, what?!?! I cry AGAIN and panic. I message Ginny and we talk about it.

She also tells me she is leaving for sure. I’ve known this was coming for a while, but the timing sucks! I write a quick note to the Dean of my school asking for an exception.

Then I spend the night arguing with my mom over nothing because I’m stressed out.

Saturday

I go to breakfast with Ginny and I’m able to talk about her departure, the practicum fears, and trauma without breaking down! I’m extremely proud.

When I get home, I receive a reply from the Dean granting an exception!!!

I spend a few hours looking up statistics on specific types of incest. That was unwise. There were more tears. Eventually, I find my way to PTSD coping techniques because the intrusive memories were still bothering me. It is weird that the mere act of admitting something happened magnified the salience of the memories and thoughts surrounding it. It isn’t something I spend much time thinking about, but now it is constantly on my mind.

Sunday

I have a final exam this week, which I am not prepared for. I’m currently procrastinating, yet worrying about getting my first B.

Through all this I basically didn’t use behaviors! I drew on myself with red marker and accidentally left a bruise and I restricted a little bit. However, I did not cut or purge and my fasting never lasted more than 25 hours.