Good End to a Bad Week

Thank God it is Friday!

It has been a hell of a long week!

Today I was with John. We started a new thing where we call one Quiet Room the “Calm Down Room” and go there when he screams. The other Quiet Room is still a Quiet Room. We talked about it and so far it seems to work! He walked there every time, whereas he stopped walking to his other screaming area. Also, he screamed less overall.

Haha, I actually saw Ginny today. She and Danielle worked in the rooms to discreetly observe, which I love! Ginny watched Music, but Ron wasn’t there. So, it was much smoother.

I had some self-injury, restricting,  and purging urges, but I struggled through all of them and won. No one bothered me too much today. Danielle asked if I wanted to join her and my boss on a trip to the gas station for lunch. I felt wanted.

Fringe_another Olivia smile

Because I felt wanted, I ate. I guess feeling wanted made me feel like I deserved to eat? Nothing at work made me want to SI. I was anxious on my way to work because I’m worried the co-worker who backed me up about Music is mad at me. She still seemed fine though. So, I’m not sure why I’m worrying this much when she seemed fine yesterday too. Anyway, this is a nice change of pace. It is more like it used to be where work is a distraction from urges.

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The Day We All Used Coping Skills

That moment when you get off work and realize you only had one self-injury urge all day:

Olivia_laughing about ella

My day was nice. I held my tongue when Ashley did something I wouldn’t do. Serendipitously, my boss walked in and told her the same thing I was thinking.

I was with the screaming student. He did well. I’m hesitating now because I don’t want to take him out of class too early. I think I did fine and he was awesome! He walked out of class to pick a coping skill and eventually went back to class. Earlier in the day, he chose to do a non-preferred academic task on BREAK because he knew he was leaving early today.

In the afternoon, I was supposed to be with one of the kids with fewer behaviors, but I ended up with the kid who said he hated me and who is now with Ashley every day until he is safe all day. Although, my boss said she’d put someone else with him tomorrow, even though he wasn’t safe… AND he knows that was the expectation. I don’t like that because they told him he had to be safe all day in order to get a new staff. Oh well. Being with him was nice because we’re always going, going, going. Either he is high energy on break or needs help in class or has behaviors.

I picked a bad day to restrict. I thought I was safe to restrict because I was staffed with a kid who I don’t restrain because he is too big. 9 times out of 10, he has not behaviors, but if he has aggression, we call more than one guy. So, I restricted and I chose poorly. I ended up transporting the student who was with Ashley because he tried to run away. Later he walked to the Quiet Room by himself.

I’m still working on my WRAP and coping skill list, but I’m going to a play tonight.

Oh! We have a new student starting tomorrow! We’ll be down staff because our new hires don’t start until next week. I’m disappointed I don’t get to be with him, but the classroom supervisor in his room and my boss will be with him tomorrow. That makes sense. I’m still disappointed though. I’m also still paranoid I did something wrong because she put me with the last new student for a week and never again (until it happened accidently today).

Monday Madness

I worked with the down syndrome boy again. He was cute and non-compliant, as usual.

It was fine, nothing good or bad.

My boss agreed that people are too easy on the screaming student. She made the call to remove him for being disruptive today. I said, I think people are trying to distract (Ex. *child screaming because he doesn’t want to write one more sentence* “John, I love your shirt!”) or talk him out of screaming.  In the past, we immediately cued him to use a coping skill, not try to talk him out of screaming because he’d calm down for a moment, but then work himself back up again (kind of like me!!). Therefore, it was pointless to try to reason with him. More often than not, it didn’t work. She said it sometimes works now. Apparently, sometimes is sufficient? She also thinks people are confused about what to do when whining becomes screaming because we’re not supposed to remove him for being disruptive unless his tone is above conversational level and his whining tends to oscillate between whining and screaming.

Fringe_Peter hit head bang

Ginny says if I say something and they change things months later to fit what I say, I should internally roll my eyes and shake my head, not get angry or feel ignored. But I DO feel ignored. How else am I supposed to feel when I say something and it is ignored, but then they decide to do the same thing I suggested a few weeks down the road? I’m actually not mad right now; I’m flummoxed.

I’m going to start seeing my psychiatrist twice a week until this crisis is over. Yay. At least, I’m not in the hospital. I thought I would be hospitalized. Granted, I wasn’t brutally honest. I talked about pills and how I got rid of them, but not what I’ve done since then. Oops. The look of my psychiatrist’s face scared me. I don’t want to be hospitalized and I knew he was close to making that call.

 

Edited to add: My mom is out tonight. I binged, but haven’t purged (and don’t really plan on it). I’m intentionally messaging Ginny less. I never get to see her at work now days. I’m messaging her less because I don’t want to bother her or continue being a burden. I don’t want to be a drag. I figure, if she wants to continue a conversation, she can do that. I don’t have to change the subject in order to keep the thread going. Granted, she probably hasn’t noticed because I still message her a lot. :p But I’m trying to be a better friend.

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.

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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

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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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The Anti-Birthday

I caught myself smiling on my way to work. The kids came back today and I’ve missed them!

Then everyone kept saying happy birthday. I don’t like my birthday. First of all, it means I am another year older and still don’t have my shit figured out. Second, my twin brother died on our birthday. Last, my paternal grandma died on my 22nd birthday.

I remember hearing my mom tell my uncle that for the first few years of my life, my birthday always made her sad because once she found out she was having twins, she imagined her life with two babies. Now my birthday makes my dad sad too because it is the day his mom died.

I’ve often felt like the wrong twin survived. I feel guilty. He would’ve been a better child. I’m a burden on my parents. I also feel like I need to live for both of us because somehow, it was my fault he died. If I wasn’t around, he would’ve gone full term and lived. Therefore, I need to make up for it by being perfect.

I like to think my grandma was aware that day and tried to hold on until after my birthday, so that my birthday wasn’t associated with her death. She was in the ICU for over a month and a half with sepsis. For a day and a half, her vitals kept dipping, then they’d recover. My dad leaned over and whispered that it was okay for her to let go. 10 minutes later she was gone. I’m not talkative offline, but I remember talking for hours to my grandma while she was unconscious. One time she opened her eyes while I was talking to her. I asked if she knew who I was because last time I talked to her, she was disoriented and didn’t recognize my mom. She said, “Of course. You’re my sweet angel, (me).” and lifted her hand to my face.

There was only one time during that ICU stay that my grandma was completely awake and aware. I still feel guilty that I left her hospital room early that day. My dad needed to catch a plane and I’d ridden with him to the hospital. My uncle offered to drive me home so that I could stay, but I decided I didn’t want to be stuck at the hospital… I thought she was getting better. I didn’t know it was my last chance to have a conversation with her. I said goodbye and I love you, then I left. They played cards after I left and a few hours later, she went to sleep and was never that coherent again.

 

My co-workers took me out to lunch. I was anxious about it because I no longer have the potential study making it “okay” for me to not use eating disordered behaviors. When the study was a possibility, I could quiet the monster by saying I couldn’t restrict or purge because that would disqualify me from the study. When I don’t use behaviors, I feel guilty, but I could assuage the guilt because of the study. Consequently, lunch yesterday versus today with co-workers was a totally different ballgame.

I was annoyed because the co-worker I’m replacing (Barb) invited herself to lunch. Initially, I was only going out with Ginny, the new behaviorist, my boss, and the O.T. therapist. Then, someone invited Heather as we were walking out of the building. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me, but I was already on edge because it was my birthday. Furthermore, my anxiety built up because we had to wait for an all staff meeting before we could leave for lunch and we were stuck waiting for the meeting to start for 15 minutes.

I don’t like big groups. I get lost easily because I’m quiet and introverted. Then I feel invisible and unwanted. So, 7 people is too many people for comfort. If I know all of them well and I’m in a good place emotionally, I can handle that, but I don’t and I’m not. Barb often talks about triggering subjects like childhood abuse and I’m still jealous of Heather. Eating without those 2 would’ve been much better.

OH, then Heather started talking about her mental illness and the new behaviorist brought up suicide (I don’t fault her because it is a very personal subject for her and because Heather already brought up mental illness). Both of which were triggering. Then people started talking about weight.

Fringe_Peter_head bang

Plus, they gave me free ice cream. It was good, but difficult because ice cream is a huge purging trigger for me. I wanted to purge, but I felt too guilty to purge because Ginny paid for my meal.

 

Edited to Add: My aunt just posted on FB and reminded me of something my cousin said… He told my mom that Grandma and I now have a special bond since we share a birthday. He views death as your birth in heaven.

Too Sick for a Clinical Trial

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Too many feelings apparently…

I’m too high risk because of my past suicide attempts and current suicidal ideation, even though it is passive suicidal ideation. (Passive suicidal thoughts are ideas like: I wish I was dead. Everyone would be better off without me. I want to go to sleep and never wake up. Active suicidal ideation is making suicide plans, writing suicide notes, obtaining a means of suicide, etc.)

Moreover, I am too chronic. One of the reasons I wanted to do the study was that I’ve tried almost every type of medication (SSRIs, NSRIs, Atypical antipsychotics, Tricyclic Antidepressants). The only class I haven’t tried is MAOIs. It turns out, you CAN be too sick to get into a psychiatric clinical trial.

Fauxlivia_Fringe_angry glare

Since I’ve tried (and failed) so many medications, it is less likely that any new, untested medicine will work on me and (understandably) they want their medication to work, so that they can get FDA approval. The doctor hastened to add that he wasn’t saying I was beyond help. He recommended Vagus Nerve Stimulation or Transcranial Magentic Stimulation.

His comment rang hollow; despite his assurance that he didn’t think I was hopeless, it feels like that is what he meant. I looked up TMS and it is less likely to work on the chronically depressed.

Research Studies for Depression

I’m investigating clinical studies for depression treatment.

Okay_olvia_Observer Boy_Fringe

Sadly, many of them exclude people with eating disorders.

My mom’s reaction surprised me! She wasn’t completely opposed to the idea. Now to broach the subject with my psychiatrist…

 

Dentist: It was perfect! NO teeth problems!