Olivia Dunham is my Spirit Animal

1. Olivia is serious; her smile does not come easily. (s3e09, Marionette) People tell me, even during depression remission, I need to smile more and I don’t have a sense of humor. That is not true! I just don’t have your sense of humor!

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2. She is driven and stubborn. Mostly my drive and stubbornness are pathological. I’m a huge perfectionist, which in itself is not a disease, but it is a symptom of both anxiety and eating disorders. In fact, as a child, I refused to say “sorry” even when I knew I was wrong because I despised admitting any mistake.

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3. Most of the time…Yeah…Law school, not so driven, lol! In undergrad I was perfectionistic and driven in classes I liked. If I didn’t like the class or the teacher, I didn’t try.

Fringe_oboe for six months

4. She does not trust easily and often hides her feelings. She is guarded.

 

5. She tries to shield her loved ones, really she wants to protect everyone. I do this. On one hand, I lie every day to spare them worry. On the other hand, I lie every day because I don’t want them to force me to recover. So, I have her motive, but I also have an ulterior motive.

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6. She is intuitive and smart…Or so people say about me. Ha. For a long time I thought they were stupid.

hide blood sample glass

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7. She is really hard on herself (Grey Matters e10, e14,). Come to think of it, even though I have a ton of trouble getting myself to do the work in law school, I still hate myself for not doing and not doing it perfectly. Also, I hold myself to higher standards than I hold anyone else. My inpatient therapist gave me an index card saying, “What would you tell your friend, if they…” It was supposed to remind me to imagine my friend in my situation and self-talk as if it was my friend who did something wrong. For example, I got a ‘B’ on a test. My self-talk: “You’re such a failure! I hate you! Why aren’t you smart?! WHY didn’t you try harder? What is your problem? Why are you so lazy? You’re an awful person.” To a friend I would say: “A ‘B’ is a good grade!”

 

8. She is impatient.

Olivia_cut the yoda crap

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9. She hates her human weakness/ too strong emotions (Grey Matters e10). Newton: “And Olivia? Now I know how weak you are.” I remember at 13 or 14 wishing my heart would freeze (metaphorically). So, I didn’t have to feel emotions anymore and I could be more logical.

 

10. She is kind. For example, telling Walter it was he should call them any time he gets confused while Peter is away and she won’t let the government put him back in the mental institution. Plus, kids are her soft spot. The most common thing people say about me is I’m kind. I like kids; I think that comes with ovaries though! (not always, but mostly)ovaries

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11. She has a good memory, but can’t remember the illegal experimentation she experienced as a child (Jacksonville e14) I don’t have an eidetic memory; I wish I did! However, my memory is good…just not that good. In regards to childhood experimentation, she was 3 – 9 years old, while I was 7 days – 6 months old.

fire starter

My parents approved most of the experiments I was part of; however, we know of at least 2 that either were not approved by them or the doctors broke protocol, making them illegal. At my birth, the hospital was conducting trials for Surfactant, a drug used to help premature babies’ lungs grow, because previous studies showed promise, but it was not FDA approved yet. They expected us to be still born, but my brother came out crying. I was born 45 minutes later and my dad heard the nurse say, “Do it!” and another nurse looked at her suspiciously and said, “Are you sure?”, and the first nurse said, “Just DO IT!” and then the second nurse administered a light brown liquid.

The 2nd experiment (that I know of) which was illegal was a movement study. The study investigated whether NICU babies moved differently than healthy babies. My mom did not give permission until I was 2 months old, but they gave us VHS tapes from the study. My tapes were dated from 7 days old to 6 months old. Their Institutional Review Board would be unhappy! My mom refused to let them video tape me until I was 2 months old because she feared the nurses would be hesitant to check on me when the tape was recorded. I was also a case study about a medication, which caused me heart problems. My mom noticed the correlation between my tachycardia and the time of the medicine administration. The doctors insisted there was nothing in the scientific literature about the medication causing tachycardia in premature infants. My mom said there was no literature about 23 week gestation infants. They refused to believe her, despite her meticulous notes and her background as a statistics teacher at the undergraduate level. They told her if my heart kept this odd pattern, I’d die. She said if they gave me that drug again they’d hear from my parent’s lawyer and they’d get an ambulance to transfer me to another NICU. After that threat, they stopped giving me the medication and low and behold! My tachycardia stopped. The medication is no longer given to premature babies.

She has a large journal where she wrote notes of all my medical data. My parents also showed up at odd hours like 2 am to make sure Haha, some of the NICU people hated them! One nurse asked to be transferred to another patient. I visited when I was 16 because I was curious and that nurse was still there. It was…awkward…between my mom and her, lol.

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12. Olivia wants to remember, but she is afraid. I used to want to remember because I thought if I remembered all the painful medical treatments they carried out without pain medication or anesthesia (at the time, they didn’t know premature babies felt pain, but current research shows otherwise), I’d have an excuse to be messed up. I thought I needed a reason to have mental illness. I don’t anymore. Now I know sometimes it just happens and there doesn’t have to be some huge trauma someone remembers. NICU graduates have higher levels of mental illness and not just things like mental retardation, but also mood disorders like depression and anxiety

.little olive

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13. Intimacy scares her; she has trouble forming relationships (e14). That is an understatement in both our cases! I think all my issues somehow relate to this.scared

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14. She has insomnia and constantly goes over her choices again and again, beating herself up over them (Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver. e16). Ah sleep…perfectionism, depression, and anxiety are not your friend…Well, sleeping at night! I sleep too much during the day, when I shouldn’t be asleep because I can’t sleep at night.imageedit_7_3231508463

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15. Family is the most important thing to her (Over There: Part 1 e21 – spending her last night with Rachel and Ella and going to the hostile Other Side without a plan to save Peter). My family makes fun of me for wanting to spend so much time together. I don’t think it is so much that I’m just a loving person, as it is I’m afraid I’ll die alone and I want to keep my connections strong.

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16. “She is always trying to make up for something, right some imaginary wrong” (e22). *nods* Yes! Olivia, Nicci, and I.

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