Evolution or Reinvention

I’m moving to a state where no one knows me. I could be anyone. Other than my stupid scars, I don’t have to have a past. I know I can pretend to be bubbly and extroverted because I was as a camp counselor. I also know I can make small talk because I managed to be the talkative one at a high school friend’s baby shower, where I knew no one.

Ginny told me a while ago that I’m too intense and it is off-putting to some people at work because I’m always serious. On one hand, I’ll be surrounded by other graduate students and they may be more serious as well. On the other hand, I could try being less Olivia Dunham Season 1 and more Olivia Dunham Season 5. ;p

quicker with a smile

 

In the meantime, I’m sad that I have less than 9 days of work left. I’m avoiding packing. As I feel more sad, I’m withdrawing from friends. I’m not sure if I’m isolating to decrease the pain of leaving or if I’m isolating because that is my MO when I’m sad.

 

Have you ever moved states? If so, how did it feel and how did you handle it?

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I put a deposit on an apartment and gave unofficial notice at work!

Felicia Day_happy dance1

 

Ashley straight out asked if I’d decided what to do about my practicum and I don’t lie well to direct questions, unless it involves hiding ED behaviors… Yet I’m going to miss my kiddos!

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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.

Fringe_olivia fire room

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.

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.

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.

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.

nicu

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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.

Olvia_family

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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.

make up for something