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.

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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!

do the next right thing

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:

2016-7 Memories_whiteout - Copy

The Icy 7 Hour SPED Bus Ride

Oh wow!! First of all, the kids didn’t get home until past 1 AM. Second, that bus driver and bus aide are saints!! I can’t imagine diving in an ice storm, with those 3 kids (John and 2 from another program), for over 7 hours!! People at work who didn’t stay said we’re awesome, but we had internet and toys to keep the kids entertained. We had McDonalds to feed them (food soothes ~almost~ everyone 😉 ) and a better than 1:1 ratio. They had one bus driver and one aide!

I’m going to make them cookies and get some type of gift.

Hmm, what should we get for them? We don’t know them well enough to get a gift we know they’d actually enjoy. Personally, I’d prefer money to baked goods or a random gift. Yet putting a cash value on their amazing work seems awkward. How could we possibly quantify that?!??

school-bus-driver-special

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Ice Storm from Hell

A few kids were stuck at school until 7 pm. I finally got home! I have a bad track record driving in ice. So, Ginny drove me home even though it is (usually) 20 minutes out of her way. It took her 7 minutes just to get out of my neighborhood!

BEFORE the ice storm, my day was stressful and from about noon onward, I looked at the clock every 5 minutes wishing it was 3 pm.

I put myself with Joe because he was mad that I switched out his staff yesterday morning. He came to school in a bad mood. He ran to recess. I made him go back and walk with me and he spent the rest of recess banging on walls and running toward doors. I thought he was going to throw a chair at the new BCBA, but he just slammed it down next to her and hit the door. I’m surprised he didn’t melt down. He is the student who takes 4 or 5 adult men to keep him safe when he melts down.

Recess was insane as a whole. Gage had at least 2 timeouts, Ron told him to shut up, Sean played on the computer (there should be no tech on recess, but I picked my battles today), Joe, as I said, was running and hitting objects, John wound up in the Quiet Room after aggression because he couldn’t play with the foam blocks, David threw a temper tantrum because he didn’t win a game, and the new kid (who I haven’t made a pseudonym for) also wound up in the Quiet Room after trying to run away and then hitting whoever stopped him. Cory was the only safe, appropriate kid who followed directions!

Sean relatively good; as usual, he purposefully annoyed others. For morning work, we worked on a word wheel where you make as many words as possible using any of the eight outer letters once and always using the center letter once. Everyone engaged in solving the puzzle, but Jacob loved it best and kept working on it during lunch. He had 33 out of 44 words. During one of their breaks, Sean erased all his work. When Jacob noticed he ripped up his paper and started crying. At that point, someone walked in and said his bus was here early because of the approaching storm. Good timing!! Jacob didn’t know who did it and Sean was smart enough to keep his mouth shut.

John was the last kid in our program at school. We were there over 3 hours past their usual time. The kids dealt with it better than I did. I scratched, bruised, and used my keys to cut when that wasn’t enough to help. My final exam is due Sunday and I haven’t studied much at all. I planned on studying, but I was stuck with the kids.

Also, someone left a pumpkin muffin on my window sill and I ate it and all the M&Ms I use as reinforcers for the kids. FAIL. I was going to purge, but Ginny was standing right next to one bathroom and one of the students was using the other bathroom. I refused their offer of dinner, but you can’t really call it restricting since I binged on stolen food.

Electric Play for the Win

I need to get more sleep. I’ve been so busy lately!! Today we made circuits in Science class; it was a hit with almost everyone. I know they won’t always love the lesson, but I’m excited that my first class went well! Everyone, except Sean, participated and even David answered some questions correctly! Cory switched to the older kids’ group and did well. He interrupted staff and peers much less. However, in the morning, he intentionally set off two kids in his room by targeting their triggers (You’re a weak baby and no one is your friend, respectively). However, everyone turned it around.

Jacob was incredible today! The new kid cursed him out during break and Jacob simply removed himself from the situation and left the gym! When he came back from break, I asked how break was and he started crying. We talked a bit, but he was still upset. I asked him if he wanted to go to the Quiet Room and calm down. HE DID; HE WALKED TO THE QUIET ROOM BEFORE BEHAVIORS!! So, I’m going to give him a 5 minute break pass that he can use at any point tomorrow.

Sean actually did work today and didn’t call me a whore, so, yay? Lol, we’re alike in many ways. I think he is depressed right now. All he wants to do is sleep. Therefore, nothing motivates him. Also, more importantly, he didn’t run out of the building. He eloped 3 times yesterday. Surprisingly, he walked back to class from outside without help, although I got down to “1” in my countdown.

Joe was upset and made me nervous because the principal left for the few hours and Joe is a strong, big kid. When he has a meltdown he needs 4 or 5 men to keep him safe. I’m proud of him for walking with me to the Safe Place (aka QR) and talking about why he was upset. It was great!

Apparently, my boss knows me better than I realize. The new BCBA asked if I was dating. I said I wasn’t and my boss chimed in that I need a dominant man. Someone suggested ChristianMingle and she said, “No, Christian men are too nice for you. You need someone to take control.” The way I responded made her choke on her food while laughing, “How do YOU know that?” I guess it takes one to know one, she said he husband puts her in her place, but not in a mean way; he is dominant.