Pessimism Creates a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I did well until I was alone with no accountability or schedule.

I slept for 36 hours and didn’t get out of bed for almost 48. Unsurprisingly, my weight is no longer stable. However, I’m not as happy as I usually am about weight loss.

I’m not talking to friends. I worry my quietness indicates I don’t care, I’m too busy, or I’m not thinking about them now that I am far away, none of which are true. Unless, you count literally staring at the wall as too busy.

I’m lying to family about functioning and daydreaming about locked psych wards.

Passive suicidal thoughts are back.

This can’t be over before it even began. I don’t start the internship until next week.

I identified a few contributing factors. I missed meds accidentally for 2 days (now 3 as a result of sleeping). I’m afraid. While I’m sleeping a lot, I’m not sure if it is restful sleep because I’m tossing and turning all night and having unpleasant dreams.

For example, I was talking to student, who shares my past, about getting kicked out of school. I’m trying to explain that being placed in a more restrictive environment than a normal school does not reflect on your ability to succeed in a typical environment and it doesn’t make you bad. Suddenly Ginny’s daughter appears, we make eye contact, and I know she overheard. I immediately feel ashamed and wish she hadn’t heard. Then some random person enters and says, “I heard you guys are weird and into crazy stuff.”

Another dream: I’m at prom with a friend who left high school to go to residential treatment and then went to a new school. We get kicked out because former students aren’t allowed to attend prom. Then transporting, in time and place, I’m at a middle school dance for the school that kicked me out and I’m “asked” to leave the dance for the same reason my friend was asked to leave prom.

It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to determine my dreams’ meanings. I’m scared I won’t fit in and I can’t handle this. I’m ashamed of numerous facets of myself like getting expelled from middle school and my perceived culpability in abuse. I worry I don’t deserve this internship and they’ll soon figure that out and ask me to leave.

Using behaviors ensures that outcome. Of course I won’t fit in if I’m constantly subtly self-injuring or I never talk to anyone because I’m too busy planning binges. I won’t be “smart enough” if I’m restricting and can’t think.

Part of the problem with posting all this positive stuff is I feel like I can’t post when I am struggling. On the other hand, that feeling forces me to TRY to be a little positive. I spent over an hour looking for inspirational sayings that tie into this situation. Many rang hollow because of my mood, but this one still resonated with me. 

I know I can still turn this around. What can I do to be successful?

So far, I’ve got:

1. Stick to a sleep/wake schedule (proving very, very difficult!)

2. Plan activities that get me out of the apartment and seeing other people

3. Create and use a daily schedule for studying, ADLs, and talking to loved ones.

4. Tracking positive, recovery oriented actions, instead of only focusing on “failures” Ex. Today I got out of bed at 8 am, took my medication first thing, and ate breakfast.

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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?

Alexithymia Annoyance

Annoyance is the feeling, but I’m not actually feeling it. I just liked alliteration.

willow_fake smile

 

I want to cut right now and I don’t know why. I’m not thinking about anything upsetting. I’m not dissociating. I don’t feel depressed. I can’t identify any negative feelings, other than, “I-want-to-self-injure”. Lame.

I told my boss’ boss on Friday that I was leaving. That made me want to cut. I think I felt sad because I also felt like crying, but maybe it was anxiety. I’m not sure.

dean supernatural facepalm

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. 

 

was I my best - Copy NO!!

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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.


people-have-a-tendency-to-go-away-miss-them_dawn-summers_buffy

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.

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.