Thinking Doesn’t Make It True

I move in 4 days.

I miss my kids at work and I’m afraid. Not only am I uncertain I am capable of independence, but also things keep going wrong with my internship placement. For example, my semester starts in a few weeks, but I just received an email about their summer session starting in June.

 

My last day at work was wonderful. The kids made me a book of memories and advice.

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Everyone in my program (kids and staff), the speech and occupational therapists I’ve worked with, the behavioral staff, and the principals all wrote short notes.

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Claire and Danielle also gave me cards and going away gifts.

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Plus, I got a framed picture of all my kiddos. None of the kids went to the Quiet Room. I heard Mark mention that it was my last day and they should make it a good one multiple times, which was sweet of him.

All this brought home the idea:

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Saying good bye is hitting me more now that it is a weekday and I should be at work. So, I’m taking sentimental pictures of my gifts and wondering how my kids are fairing, instead of packing…. Ha, I should probably get back to that, if I want to leave on time! Part of me, a large part, doesn’t want to leave. However, I know I’ll learn a lot and be a better practitioner in the future. Plus, my replacement was already hired!

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

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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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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.

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.

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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.

Trying to Teach my Kids this one

Earlier this week, we had a tough day. Joe ran out of the build and almost made it to the street! As he ran down the hallway, I ran after him, and yelled, “JOE, FRONT DOOR!” into my walkie talkie. Immediately, 6 or 7 of my male co-worked dropped what they were doing and ran after us. Joe is 19 now and easily more than double my size. I don’t remember if I posted about this before but… A few months ago he eloped, but waited for  me to catch up and make eye contact before running out the door! When Danielle got in front of him, he started punching her. I thought I could calm him down because we have rapport, but he tackled me and bit my face. A male co-worked arrived and pulled him off me. I went to urgent care… Anyway, now a walkie talkie warning about him eloping out of the building gets an immediate response!

Back to this week… Once two men passed me, I stopped running because I knew they could handle it and I was useless for helping to restrain him anyway. However, this time it took 4 men to carry him. Usually, once someone gets ahold of his arms, he walks back. This time, that wasn’t enough. We put him in the biggest Quiet Room because supposedly it is too wide for anyone to climb. We found out that was false. Joe can still climb. He reached the sprinkler and tore a piece off. Idk why there are sprinklers in the QRs when the doors only lock when someone is standing there holding a magnetic button. Anyway, the principal of the school opened the QR door and told him to get down. He did… and then he tried to hit the principal. But we shut the door quickly enough. Joe continued trying to climb, but every time we opened the door, he jumped down. He rarely curses, but this time he was cursing at us and threatening us. It is the worst I’ve ever seen him. 😦

A lot of stressors are happening though… We’re getting a new student in the fall. Barb finally left (she worked at our school for 7 years and Joe has been there most of that time, her departure was tough on him), but on Monday she returned as a substitute. Also, our internet was out all week and his favorite break choice is surfing the web. Moreover, he thought he lost a break when he ran (he did not).

So, we didn’t get out of the QR for over an hour. By the time he was out, it was time for lunch. A few minutes after we get to class, Jacob starts leaving the room (they’re supposed to stay in class for the first 20 minutes of lunch), and doing minor property destruction, all while staring at me. He desperately wanted my attention. At one point, I offered to play a game with him when he was back in class being safe, but he ignored me. I was positive he’d elope too. When it was time for recess, he had a 5 minute delay for not following directions. Amazingly, he walked back to class and sat in his desk!

I internally did a happy dance and externally, praised him once the 5 minutes was up for making the next right choice!

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Maybe I should make this poster for my room! Except, not in pink. 😉

Goodbye Meds, Hello Warm and Fuzzies

I skipped one too many psychiatric appointment and now I’m running out of meds. My next appointment is on Memorial Day, so I don’t know whether my pdoc will be in the office. The following week, I am out of town. I’m using this opportunity to titrate (or go cold turkey on the meds I’m completely out of) off meds.

It turns out my “self-control” is all about amphetamines at the moment! I only started Ritalin and then Adderall in college, so I successfully restricted without meds in the past. However, my lack of self-control over food and studying is hurting my self-esteem.

My parents commented that I “look better”. Argh, thanks guys. In my head, “you don’t look like you’re starving anymore” is an insult.

On another note, I’m on a two week break from work and this is something a student turned in on Friday:

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I’m Failing Them All

My boss always pushes hands on activities, but the only reason we have the kids in groups is so they can handle a group educational setting after transition. Therefore, maybe it is okay to lecture.
 
I HATE THIS. I HATE THIS. I HATE THIS.
 
What I am being asked to do is impossible (teach such variant grade levels in one class (1st grader, 3rd grader, 4th grader, and 5th grader in Group 1 and two 5th graders, an 8th grader, and a 9th grader in Group 2) with some only coming 1 or 2 days a week, while others come to all 4 classes/week), but I still feel like I’m failing everyone.
A few minutes after typing this, I started venting to Ginny anyway because WordPress was acting up and wouldn’t post. Yet, in talking to her, I felt like such a depressing, annoying, burden. So, I lied and said I had to go to dinner and I’d talk to her later. I cried for a minute, then I stopped fighting. I smashed a light-bulb and used its shards to cut. It was on my arm too!! That means my mom will notice. She’ll be so upset. FAIL.
I guess sleeping to cope only works for so long before you blow up with behaviors.