Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Highlights

I feel so much has happened in the last few days, and I'm too tired to blog about it all. I've decided to hit the highlights tonight and come back and blog in more detail later the things I decide I want/need to.
  • Friend that was in the ICU came through surgery well and will hopefully discharge tomorrow. Still going to be on oxygen for awhile and has a long road, but he's slowly improving.
  • All of my dad's family was in town for Thanksgiving, and it was awesome!! We rarely all get together anymore, and it was so much fun, not to mention all of the good food!!!!
  • My wedding dress came in this week, so my mom, sister, and female cousins came with me to my first fitting on Friday. It should have been an exciting event.
  • Wedding dress looked nothing like it was supposed to. The coloring was wrong and it was 2 sizes too big. Plus, there was a big black spot on the train that the store owner swears she didn't do. I was crushed! I hated the dress, but we've already paid for 1/2 of it, and it's non-returnable according to the manufacturer, so now I have to fight it out with the store owner.
  • Mom knew how upset I was about the dress despite me trying to hide it, so she got me up early Saturday morning and we went wedding dress shopping again. I fell in LOVE with a dress at the store we went to on Saturday and my amazing mother bought that dress for me. So for the time being, I have 2 wedding dresses. The new dress was made for me though. I love it and am no longer distraught but am excited to walk down the aisle in a few months knowing I will look like a princess.
  • Saturday night got a phone call from the Army. Fiancee will be home on Friday (my birthday) very early in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Tonight at church, a good friend of mine told me a friend of her's committed suicide yesterday (I didn't know the girl). Losing 2 friends, a professor, and an uncle to suicide in the last 5 years, I know the pain she's feeling right now.... and that thought pattern of.... if I'd only known, maybe I could have done something....

All of this on top of the crazy week with co-worker has left me exhausted and emotionally drained. I really do not enjoy going from high to low to high to low, etc.. with my emotions. Seems I learned some emotion regulation skills along the way, but they're not really working in my current setting. It's amazing how much even positive stuff can drain you.

This upcoming week there's likely to be confrontation at work with co-worker (thankfully it's my last week at work til after Christmas) and fiancee coming home on Friday is going to be completely awesome and incredibly emotionally exhausting at the same time. I have been so blessed in so many ways over the past week despite some of the rough spots. My current stressors are "normal people" stressors, so that helps me not beat myself up over them for possibly overreacting, but it does make me want a day or two break from life so I can recouperate.

Life is crazy!!!! I think Phil Collins sums up my life best right now with a line from one of his songs - " I love this awful, beautiful life!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Talked to Supervisor

First of all, thanks TheSameSky for being willing to fly across the pond and put my co-worker in his place. :D Thankfully, we have been able to handle this one ourselves.

Talked to supervisor this morning. Think talk went really well. I don't think co-worker is going to be an issue much longer - or so my supervisor says. He went so far to ask me if I had experience as an A&D counselor. Oh how I wish I did right now. Co-worker is the A&D counselor for our university. All in all the talk went well though. I feel like (at least for now) supervisor really heard what I was saying and I didn't have to throw down any ultimatums or threaten to file a harrassment claim with Human Resources. Next week will be my last week until after the holidays. I am thinking there will be some major adjustments made before or when I come back to work in mid-January. Whew!

Of course, I'm feeling a bit guilty right now b/c co-worker has been as good as gold today and gone out of his way to be nice to me. I keep reminding myself it's b/c he knows how bad he messed up yesterday, so he's compensating..... and that there's a very good chance his nice behavior today is manipulative. Still the thought of "getting someone in trouble" if I didn't have to makes me feel so guilty. In fact, it's one of the reasons as a teen I refused to tell my parents about the abuse or seek counseling until I was 18 and a legal adult. It would have had to have been reported to the authorties if I said something while I was still a minor. My biggest fear at that point was that at trial, I might find out I made it all up and then ruin "a good man's reputation". And here I sit, in a very different situation, with different issues on the line, at a different time in my life with basically the same fears.

Sometimes I wonder, with as much progress as I make, if some things will ever change?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rough Day

I've had it with co-worker!!! I've done my best to be a team player since his explosion a few weeks ago, but today..... Well, enough's enough! Apparently he's not going to get over his issues of having to share an office with me 2 hours out of the day 3 days a week, and I'm not willing to take his crap anymore. I'm tired of ignoring his name calling and responding to all of his snide remarks with sarcasm and blowing him off. Technically I have enough on him that I could file a grievance/harrassment charge with Human Resources. Another co-worker thinks I should, but first I'm talking to our supervisor tomorrow and giving him one final chance to handle it in house. I don't want to make a scene. Anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE drama!!

Today's final straw: He pounded on the door and attempted to walk into the office while I was meeting with a client because he forgot his umbrella. That was just wrong on so many levels!!!! Not to mention there wasn't a cloud in the sky today. Rather than going into all of the reasons why what he was doing was ethically wrong and confidentially violating to my client, I'd like to focus this post on how this is another blatant example of his disrespect for me as a therapist, as a co-worker, and as a human being.

I'm so thrilled that my therapist is taking vacation this whole week. She doesn't take enough time off. But right about now, I'm thinking... Seriously??? Her vacation had to be this week?????

I talked to 2 of my co-workers today - not to gossip but to make sure I wasn't over or under reacting to the situation and to get ideas on the best way to talk to my supervisor. I would have loved to talk to supervisor today but he was booked solid towards the end of the day, and I had class tonight. So I couldn't stay late. He's booked solid tomorrow, but I don't have class, so I'll stay after hours to talk to him if I have to.

Basically, my other co-workers said it's time I tell supervisor that I'm not putting up with it anymore. Being a therapist is draining enough and I don't deserve to use any spare energy I have fighting off offensive jabs from a co-worker. One wants me to do an ultimatum... Ask supervisor to choose co-worker or me. Not sure I'm brave enough to do that, but I will mention that I can file a harrassment suit if I need to, and I can also go to those that hired me and ask for another assignment. Either of those take the situation out of house and will make other powers that be on campus aware of the issue. I know that wouldn't make my supervisor look good. My last day for this semsester is Dec. 9, and I don't start back at work til Jan. 14. I plan to tell him he has until Jan. 14 to figure out how things are going to be different (as in getting me my own office or making sure we don't overlap work times at all) or I will be taking more drastic measures.

I haven't worked this hard and this long in therapy for some grouchy old man who barely does anything at work to slowly pick away at my self-esteem and energy reserve. I feel so burnt out right now and the sad thing is that it has nothing to do with the clients or amount of clients I've been seeing.

Christmas break can't get here soon enough!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And I thought I was a planner..

I was on the phone with fiance' last night. At first the talk was going great. He'll be home in 2 weeks and said things should be settled down enough that we can plan and book our honeymoon in February. As of now there's no reason we won't be able to take it right after our wedding, but in Feb. we'll know for sure when we can go and can actually book the trip!!

This is where the conversation turned. The reason we won't know for sure until Feb. is because in March his unit will be 12 months out from their next deployment, and that's when they'll start gearing up for training again. It kills me that he already knows his next deployment date before he's even home from this deployment. I know he's telling me these things to explain that our wedding and honeymoon should fall at a good time as far as the military's concerned, but right now I just feel worse. He said he probably won't start traveling for training until July or Aug. - another way to say our honeymoon should be approved. The summer before his last deployment, he had to take 2 one month long training missions with the Army. So, in essence, he was telling me that less than 2 months after we're married, he'll be gone for a month and this probably won't be his only trip before he deploys again March 2011.

I did stop him and say, "Babe, can we just get through this deployment before you start talking about the next?" He was sweet and said of course. We talked about other things and then he had to go. Unfortunately, while I was able to get him to stop talking about it, we haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I've cried off and on last night and all day today about it. I love him so much, and I know he is the man I want to marry, but I don't know if I can handle military life. How long will we be together before we're actually together longer than we've been apart? I feel so selfish wanting a husband who will actually be around and be a support. I am so proud of what he does, and I know he doesn't enjoy being away from me all the time either. Also, it will just be the first 5 years of our marriage, and praying we get to be married for a long time to come, I know that can be a drop in the bucket.

But right now I'm feeling scared and unsure. I don't feel I can talk to anyone about this though because I'm so afraid it will be misconstrued as doubt about marrying fiance'. And I feel selfish for saying I don't like what fiance' can offer me right now. It's not his fault when he had to deploy or when he has to go to training. I've been aware this went a long with him since our 3rd date.

And then I tell myself, this doesn't even matter right now, and I need to stick to the same thing that I told him. Get through this deployment, enjoy his time home, our wedding, and then start worrying about his next deployment.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two down, two to go

2 projects turned in, 2 more to go and then all I'll have left is finals!!! That's incredibly exciting, but my last 2 projects still have a lot of work left to be done on them. On another positive, yet stressful note, fiance' is scheduled to arrive home in 2 weeks (the week these projects and presentations are due). I CANNOT wait for him to get home, but seriously, I don't think the Army could have picked a worse week to send him home. If he could come home one week earlier or one week later, then I wouldn't be forced to choose between him and school. Obviously, he will win, but I'm running close to getting a 4.0 this semester, and it destroys a part in me who takes our job and academics seriously to think that I would jeopardize a whole semester for "a boy".

I know her reaction shouldn't make me laugh, but I wonder if she'll ever understand how he is so much more to me and other parts than just some boy. I also know a 'B' in a class won't kill us either or prevent us from getting a good job once we graduate.

Ahh, the pros and cons of being a multiple...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lyrics That Touched Me

A guy I go to church with by the name of Nate Hale wrote this song while he was in college and we recently started singing it in some services. The lyrics to this song touch me greatly everytime I hear/sing it b/c the beginning reminds me where I was 18 months ago and then 2nd half reminds me of all God is doing for me now and how He is faithful in his blessings. The song is based on Psalm 13.

Psalm 13
How long, oh Lord,
Will you forget me forever?
How long, oh Lord,
Will you hide your face from me?

Long enough, long enough
Have I carried this load of sorrow.
Long enough, long enough
Have I lived with this heart full of pain.

I want to look life in the eyes
I'm tired of falling down on my face
I'm throwing myself into your loving arms
And now it's time to celebrate
Your rescue

(clap, clap, clap)

So I will sing at the top of my lungs
I will sing of your unfailing love
For you have delivered me
From the worst of my enemies.

I will sing to the Lord
For He has been good to me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Still at the ICU

My friend is still in the ICU. He's off the ventilator now and seems to be functioning okay on a bipap machine. His carbon dioxide levels did get a big high overnight, but they seem to be in an okay place again today. They're working dilligently to move his surgery that was scheduled for December up to sometime this next week, but it requires getting a number of different specialists to coordinate their schedules. No one thinks this surgery will be as helpful as they originally thought it would be, but I know they must still think it will make a difference or they wouldn't be proceeding. My biggest fear is whether he's strong enough to withstand the surgery.

All the while, the rest of life goes on. Saw therapist yesterday. Our sessions lately are very helpful but are typically embarrassing and push my comfort zones. It's a mixed feeling going places that you know you need to go in therapy and wanting so much to continue just to avoid that part of your life at the same time. Making the choice to do the therapy adds an interesting dynamic to the situation as well, b/c now we can't blame anyone for "triggering" us or making us go there. We're choosing to go there. Ugh!

Fiance' will be home from Afghanistan in about 3 weeks. We are so ready for him to be home. This past week and especially the past few days, we've wished for his support so badly more than through e-mails or phone calls. A hug of comfort would be so nice!!!!

This afternoon I'm supposed to meet up with a good friend for coffee and then meet up with another great friend for the night. It feels weird to go and have fun when others that I care about so much are struggling so hard and fighting just to hang on.

Such is life, though, I guess.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prayers for a friend

My best friend from childhood's husband (who is only 34ish) is in the ICU right now on a ventillator. He had to be taken by ambulance last night. He's been struggling with some major health issues over the past year and they only seem to be getting worse. He's such a fighter, but I believe he's starting to give up. He can't give up yet! My best friend still needs him. They have two kids, 5 and 4. He has an upcoming surgery in Dec. to get a diaphragmatic pacemaker that has the potential to fix the majority of his symptoms/problems.

His family is asking for a miracle, which makes me think things are even more bleak than I realize. I can't get over to the city he's in until this evening, so for now praying is my only tool. But why do I say it like that? Prayer is my strongest tool. God has more power than any of the doctors working on him.

Those of you that believe in the power of prayer, please pray too. It's not his time to go. He is still very much needed on this planet!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Water Works

So the tears started falling earlier today and they've barely stopped. Right now it feels as though I may never stop crying, but rationality tells me that's not true. I don't know all of the reasons I'm crying. Part of it I'm sure is hormonal. Another part is stress and anxiety related to upcoming events and conversations to be had. Another part is frustration-not at friends-but at myself for feeling like I can't be there for a few of my friends who are really struggling despite how badly I'd like to help them. I'm mad at myself too. In my efforts to help one friend, I think I may have inadvertently made things worse, and I have no idea how to fix it. I don't know yet if my efforts will result in a negative outcome, and I won't for a few days, but I so wish I would think before I act sometimes. Even if things work out better than I could hope, I still think it was a stupid move on my part.

Stupid emotions! I was always so careful, so calculated in every decision I made before they came into the picture. I would always think things through, make the logical choice, and know 99% of the time I was making the right and/or best decision. Now I find myself making decisions based upon what I feel is right. I HATE IT! You make potential stupid mistakes when you decide things based upon what you feel without thinking everything all of the way through. I've had feelings long enough to experience good feelings and bad feeling, and I still would give them all back in a heartbeat if I could. Even the great feelings I've had aren't enough to make up for the bad feelings or the ones that cloud my mind and cause me to do things without thinking.

If the situation doesn't work as I hope, I can only pray that my friend will understand that my heart was in the right place, and when I "tried to help" it was because I want so much better for her than what she has now. I don't expect her not to be mad. I only pray that she will forgive me with time.

Wondering if maybe I should just go back to only focusing on myself. At least then I'm only screwing up my own life.

Tears, tears, tears. Maybe this is all one big pity party and I need to grow up and get it together. Everyone makes mistakes. The majority of the human race has feelings. The majority of the human race deals with it. We just need to deal with it too.

I hate days when we do things where we feel like a total idiot and know there's no way to remedy the situation.... You just gotta wait it out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Text Message

I received a text message this evening from my crazy ex-roommate. I went back through blog entries b/c I was going to link to the blog that explained about crazy roommate for those who are newer to reading my blog and realized I started this blog right after I moved out of her house, so she never made a blog entry. So before I explain tonight's text, I need to give a little background.

I lived with (let's call her B) from May 2008 - Jan 2009. We went to church together and she seemed cool. My previous roommate's sister was moving to town and they wanted to live together, so I was desperately looking for another place to live. My job didn't pay enough for me to get a place of my own. Plus, at this time, I hadn't had the best track record of staying safe when I was alone. B had just bought a 3 bedroom townhome and was looking for roommates to share the bills. Seemed liked perfect timing, so I moved in with B. Of course, her boyfriend (who was a friend of mine from college) broke up with her the week before I moved in because that's my luck. Now, before you think I'm taking an awful situation about her and making it about me, I was very sad for her and supportive. For several months I didn't talk to my college friend b/c I was being her friend and roommate. The problem developed when I realized how obsessive she was about this guy and how many times a day she called him, drove by his house, sent him text messages, and anything else she could think of to still be in contact with him. She was also constantly accusing him of having a new girlfriend and cheating on her. I don't know how you cheat on someone you've broken up with, but she was a wreck. In all honesty, I don't think I would have lasted as long as I did, except I met my fiance' about 2 weeks after moving in with her, and he was a huge support and distraction for me.

Anyways, the longer I lived with B, the more "issues" I realized she had. Now, I'm not one to move out on someone b/c of issues. Heavens knows I have tons on my own, and I truly do have compassion for people and their struggles. The problem is that she had/has no desire to overcome or even acknowledge her major issues and instead uses them to manipulate situations and people to get her way and always be the center of attention. There are several examples, but one is how she somehow guilted me into throwing her a surprise birthday party for her birthday in October. The main issue B liked to focus on was her eating disorder. She did have a legit eating disorder. The ED itself didn't bother me. The fact that she told everyone under the sun who would listen to her that she had one and how hard it was and how she was working to overcome it, and then at home would come into my room to tell me she just took a box of laxitives. After a few ER trips, it became apparent that her ED was out of control, and I was tired of taking off of work to take her to and/or pick her up from the ER if I was unable to stay with her the whole time.

In November, she finally admitted she needed help and left for a 3 month inpatient ED program in California. At the time, I was so proud of her for finally wanting to live healthy and being willing to take the necessary steps to do so - meaning she would miss Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family, plus risk losing her job. I didn't understand why she invited 30 people over to our place the night before she left. Everytime I've been IP, it's been hard enough for me to tell my family and closest friends, and most of the time I've only told those it was necessary to tell b/c my absence would be noticed - like at work or a roommate. But at this point, I still thought - to each his own.

The events that pushed me over the edge actually occurred during the 3 months that she was gone. She was constantly texting me trying to get me to pay her portion of our bills b/c she had no money b/c she wasn't working and was in treatment. I didn't have money to pay her portion and she wouldn't give me her parents info so I could ask them to help me pay her part of the bills. One day towards the end of her stay in California, I received a text from her asking for prayers b/c she'd done something wrong and gotten in trouble at the Ranch. That evening she texted me again and asked me to purchase her a plane ticket home b/c she couldn't take it there anymore. She was too upset to talk to me on the phone and tell me why she needed to come home but wanted me to shell out the money for a plane ticket for her. When I kept asking questions, she quit responding to me, and I didn't hear anything for 2 days.

At this point, I'm really struggling with my own issues. Fiance had recently deployed to Afghanistan and I was in the process of trying to survive a Christmas and January that didn't end in a hospitalization of my own. I didn't have the resources to deal with my roommates issues as well, especially since she was hundreds of miles away. Finally, I decided we needed some boundaries in place before she came home, so I texted her and asked to have a conference call with her and her counselor or social worker before she came home. She responded by telling me she'd already left the Ranch and was at her parents' place in Indiana. She would be coming home tomorrow. I asked her what happened, and the actual story was nothing like what she led me to believe had happened or was going on. I was livid! She'd been manipulating me the whole time. After we hung up, I thought about the entire 9 months we'd lived together and began to see that she carries a lot of traits of someone with borderline personality disorder and all of the ways that she had manipulated me and those around me.

Even before this last conversation with her, my family, close friends, and therapist had been encouraging me to find a new place to live b/c my own mental/emotional health was going downhill rapidly - so rapidly I couldn't even fake things. The conversation on the phone that Sunday night was the final straw. I found another friend I could move in with, called my parents and asked them to come over and help me move the following weekend, and I texted B and told her we needed to have a serious conversation when she came to town the next day. When she arrived home, I told her I was moving out and that I would continue to pay the rent that I owed her, but I would not be living in the same house with her or be part of her support system now that she was back home. She spent the next week using her grandparents, parents, prayer, and any other method she could think of to guilt me into stay and to convince me she had changed. Sadly for her, she didn't realize that everything she was doing only reinforced that she had not changed at all, still put her interests before anyone else, and was as manipulative as ever.

In the end, this entire situation ended up being very triggering for me and parts inside. Typically we're not good at moving, but everyone was happy and felt safer the day we moved out of that place and have not regretted the decision once. We still have to interact with her some, but thankfully it's less and less. I know this is a long entry, but sadly it doesn't do the situation near the justice or explain the torment she put my system through.

All of this to say, I guess I forgot that she still has my cell number and she sent out a mass text this evening. She included me on the text, as she does on most even though I've asked her not to. The text said " My dear friends, tomorrow is a celebration.... it marks 1 year since I've abused laxitives and left 2 go 2 treatment! Praise God! Thx 4 the prayers and support!" In and of itself, I guess this isn't a horrible text. Other than I KNOW she probably sent this to everyone in her address book.... and we were NEVER dear friends! I think what bothered me most is how many awful memories this one text brought up for us. Sadly this text was a pretty large trigger for us this evening. We felt a lot of anger, pain, sadness, and hurt... So many of her manipulative behaviors were linked to manipulative behaviors of our ab*ser b/c of similarities in tactics, so after the horrible memories associated with her, I got hit with a wave of childhood memories. Amazing the small things that will throw your system for a loop when you least expect it!

One positive thing is that we have been able to recognize that we were able to get ourselves out of the unhealthy situation with B and that we can look around and see that we're in a different home now and safe and that we continue to move through time further and further away from our time with B.

For those of you who made it all the way through this post, thank you for reading. I tried to reach my therapist tonight, but she didn't respond. We're not in crisis and this isn't near an emergency, so we're just going to wait and talk to her at our session tomorrow. Her reassurance and support would have been nice tonight, but maybe handling this on our own and just blogging about it will prove to be better for us in the long run.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Client With an Ab*se History - TW

I made it about 9 weeks into my job as a counselor dealing with about everything under the sun with my clients except abuse issues. Today I met with a sweet girl for the second time and she revealed that she was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by her father for most of her life. She presented to me originally with signs of depression and trouble focusing on school work. After much discussion and probing as to why this is the first semester she's struggled with these issues in college, she shared that she's in her mental health rotation for her nursing degree and finds a lot of the topics hit really close to home. In other words, her classes this semester are constantly triggering the mess out of her. She's spent the past 4 years since she left home stuffing emotions and as many memories as she could. As many of you know, that works well for awhile, but eventually the walls come crashing down and you feel as though you whole world is falling apart.

On one hand, I'm glad to be the counselor she was assigned to. Sometimes I wonder if another counselor would have just treated her symptoms rather than trying to find the root of them to hopefully get rid of them or would have taken many more sessions to get to the real reason for her struggles. Also, I know a lot about how to walk through, handle, deal with memories at this point in my journey. I have a large knowledge base and repetoire to draw from to help her find what is best for her. One thing I will definitely have to keep in check is that what worked for me may not work for her, and I'll need to remember to keep my mind very open.

On the other hand, I'm scared to death to have this girl as a client. What if she shares a memory I can relate to too much, and I forget that I'm the therapist in the room? There is no need for her to know my struggles or history at this point. That's why I have my own therapist. What if I get triggered? What if I keep my stuff together while I'm in session with her, but then pay for it for the rest of the day/week internally like I did 4 years ago when I thought we could be a crisis counselor?

Somewhere inside there is this feeling and resolution that this is not too much for us to handle. We can take this case, offer support to this girl, and help her deal with her painful past. I really want to believe this feeling is accurate, but there's a small part of me that thinks it may be pride or an over-eagerness to prove just how far we've come in our own walk.

I let my supervisor know some of her issues hit close to home to me, so it may be an issue in the future, but I wanted to keep her on my caseload for now. He said he was fine with that and he trusts me to let him know if I get overwhelmed. I appreciate that because I haven't told him anything about my history or current therapy or diagnoses and I really don't want to.

I guess we'll just take things one session at a time and see how they go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just saying hi...

I was down with the flu all last week. At one point I thought it'd be a good opportunity to catch up on a few blog entries I've been wanting to type. However, I turned out being too sick to even sit up with my computer and type. Then once I was well enough to type, the need to get caught up on school work seemed more pressing than endulging in my blog.

Things are going along okay here. Fiance' will be home in approximately 30 days! 95% of us are so excited about his return. I'm sure therapy will help us with the 5 percent that have gotten used to and comfortable with not pushing the envelope with a romantic relationship over the past year.

Still struggling with lonliness in our new city, but it's getting a bit better. We make plans for every weekend and have made more of an effort to be social at least one night during the week. Also, feeling like the depression is back in check has allowed us to focus on school work better and be more productive in the evening rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves.

We have our first face to face session with therapist on Friday. We're slightly nervous because we haven't met face to face in 2 weeks. Web sessions are good but are not near as intense and we don't feel near as connected to her. Something about that connection seems to help open things up. I appreciate that most days, but some days it does make things more challenging.

Anyways, back to school work. One more month and this semester will almost be over with! Yay!