Day hospital has ended

Rob, Marlene and I all took our bows and graduated last Friday. I was given a tiny tigers eye by my case manager which, thanks to insurance I can’t afford to see as an outside therapist. It’s really got me down. 50 hours of therapy a week reduced to none. I don’t know what to do with myself. Number one struggle for all the alum is finding structure without group. I went from a 12k deductible before group to 6k as of graduation.

Currently I’m trying to enjoy myself. I’ve been watching vh1 and horror movies at my new dog sitting clients house. He is a lovely man as are his two dogs. He’s nearly 7 foot and has a couch large enough for someone of his stature. This couch? Amazing. The comfiest of any house I’ve worked in. The apartment is quaint but the living room area has been completely relaxing.

Unfortunately, aside from the upcoming job I’ve committed myself to next week, I’m not sure the inconvenience is worth doing the job. There was zero parking within a mile of the apartment complex. I hate Chicago for things like that. It’s not the first neighborhood I’ve worked in that’s been that way. Especially on a weekend you need to park and not go anywhere. No plans for you! I am going to a bonfire Sunday night and finish this job Sunday afternoon.

I’ve never been in an apartment with punching bag. And yes, I went at it for a bit.

I was relatively social on spring break, the best day visiting David and our friend Jeff. Besides the good company we watched some amusing things including Lords of Salem (which was awful, shame on Rob Zombie) and of course played Magic: the Gathering.

Right now I need to focus on staying grounded. It’s getting closer to the time when Chris is coming home from Washington and I have no idea what to do. I do know I won’t drive him to and from work like I used to. I’m setting a boundary as much as I want to help him out because if I don’t there’ll be truth to.”we’re just the same people doing the same thing over and over.” I’ve put in a lot of work to change into who I am now, I can’t flush it all away.

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Nothing I Care To Deal With Right Now

To go back to a subject I prior touched upon a few blog posts ago, I was dogsitting for a woman I’ve dogsat for for YEARS. I’ve always done an A+ job and I love that dog more than any other. He’s recently been diagnosed with cancer and while I was sitting for him I called the vet because he was having constipation followed by accidents in the kitchen. The vet assumed it was his diet change that his owner had started and told me to feed him rice and make sure he was acting like himself. Well. He had gone upstairs while I was sleeping and pooped in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I didn’t smell anything nor was I aware he’d even think about going upstairs because he’s 11 and a half and doesn’t like doing stairs much anymore. When the owner came home the day after she sent me a rough message about ‘how could I let this happen’ and ‘I don’t even know what to say to you’ after I had apologized profusely and melted down.

Now we come to today. I was planning on waiting a couple weeks and asking her how the dog was. Instead I get a message from her about five minutes ago telling me “Taz is fine now. I know you meant well, but when you neglect you own well-being every thing else declines. If you’d showered, you would have seen the mess.” followed by some other “and another thing” statements. I was insulted she wouldn’t even think to ask if I had stopped home to shower and change clothes. So apparently I’m a disgusting piece of shit who does a bad pet sitting. So right now I’m speaking very emotionally. I don’t care if she ever hires me again. I’m far too insulted and humiliated from all the bullshit she’s spat at me the past two weeks to ever even want to see her again. Likely I’ll change my mind, but right now I’m pissed. And now I have to talk in my last day of group therapy tomorrow about this situation because I’m internalizing the situation all over again but now that no dog sitting job I’ll ever do will be good and I should quit doing it entirely. That’s how I feel right now. And I’m supposed to sit for a new client this coming week so I’d better adjust my thought reframe.

On another note, It was bittersweet leaving Sunny’s house. I tutored his kids for the 2 hours and Sunny didn’t pop his head in the room like he normally does, he didn’t come home until 7:30 and I was there from 6-8:30 annnddd they actually PAID ME ON TIME which was great, the mom was there too and the whole family made me sit down and eat cold taco bell and they also had me try some korean veggie thing that was fried and she sent me home with ‘starter’ chopsticks and seaweed. Every one of them hugged me and said that I raised their grades and that if at any time I can come back even if it’s not regular to help tutor them they’d like that and they said maybe we can go out to eat for Justin’s birthday which is in April, Justin was asking his dad if it was okay and Sunny was like ‘any time any time’ so it was cute. Much better than I expected. only thing that killed me was my back in that crappy chair they have to sit on in their room.

Lastly, I’m babysitting for 6 hours today, getting paid $30 when I should be paid $10/hour but since they’re friends of mine I haven’t opened my mouth yet to challenge anything because I don’t want to challenge our RELATIONSHIP. I’ve been babysitting for three years…The last time we had a falling out about what I should be getting paid I didn’t see the kids for months and only when I apologized for making waves in┬áthe waters did we mend our relationship. I don’t want to go through that again but I spend about $10 in gas and $2 in tolls going there and back every week. Their argument could be that when Tony was out of a job I came by every week just to visit, and didn’t get paid anything, so why not just accept what they’re paying me? My therapist and group think it’s unfair and that I should approach them about the situation. Unfortunately, I’m not mentally capable of facing that conversation tonight. It’s been a long day, and now I got the comment from Suzanne which has put me in a horrible mood.

Thanks for reading. I wanted to hold off to blog until tomorrow, my last day of day hospital, but this just got me up in arms.

Day Hospital Part 3

In goals group we fill out our purple medication sheets to make sure we’re all taking our meds properly and haven’t fallen since the last time we filled out the form, and on MONDAYS we fill out a yellow sheet on which we record our progress as well as what we’d like to work on, our satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the program, read them, and get feedback from the rest of the group. We read the yellow sheets in the Psych Ed time slot (the third group of the day) which makes Monday’s the best day of the week for that time slot because every other day Psych Ed is pretty boring. This weeks theme is assertiveness and boundaries, which I can use some sharpening of my skills on however.

This is officially my last week of the program (Day Hospital) and I’m both relieved and saddened. I take night classes so I DON’T have to wake up at 7:30am on the regular, but doing so has also led to some positive structure in my days. During my down time I’ve had a habit of sleeping every moment available which could be hours at a time, sometimes oversleeping and missing out on important events. Sleeping is the easiest escape any anxious or depressed person can depend on unless you’re going through a bout of insomnia like some of my group members were talking about earlier today. The only time I ever really have a problem making it to bed is when I’m manic, and that’s under control for now.

Marlene can’t sleep though. Marlene is stuck. She’s 61 and had her first manic episode a little over a month ago. She was admitted to Day Hospital the same day I was. She was really quiet the first couple weeks but then started to participate in small group psychotherapy and does a LOT of crying, more than I’d like to see anyone do. She just feels hopeless, she’s not coping with the fact she’s got bipolar disorder particularly so late in life and she has to take pills everyday and she feels so overwhelmed by everything she feels she has to do as well as compares herself to everyone else from people on the street to television stars. She’s been stuck in her rut the entire five weeks I’ve been in the program and no matter how much support we seem to give her and all the ideas we try to blossom for her she seems to think she’s too weak to implement any of it, and therefore…she doesn’t. And it’s hard to see, because we all just want to see each other get better.

Robin (from group) finally got her hearing aid over the weekend so she’s been living up being able to hear everyone. She’s got a mass in her skull that’s pressing on her brain and has one of her ears 100% deaf and the other, which has the aid, was 60% deaf, but is now getting some amplification.

After my meltdown last week in group after the bad news I got from Suzanne about Taz’s accidents in the upstairs bedroom I thought nothing could possibly get worse, then I got to school on Saturday and checked my e-mail.

To preface the story, I had missed the prior Saturday’s class because my medication was making me physically ill, so I got a doctor’s note, a note from one of the staff in the program, told my professor in an e-mail that day that I would get said notes and provide them on the coming Saturday of class and sent her the powerpoint presentation I was supposed to have presented that day. I checked my e-mail every day over the course of the week expecting to hear back from her and on this past Saturday, as I sat down in class and turned on the computer to check my e-mail I saw she had responded an hour earlier. No one else was in the room yet, so I left right after reading it.

It read that she would not accept my presentation NOR my doctors note, and thus giving me a 0 for the assignment the highest grade I would be able to receive in her class was a D meaning that I’ve failed out of the class. (And basically, no graduation in the Spring for me) She said that both heads of the department both got a copy of the e-mail she was sending as well as agreed with her on her decision. She told me to withdraw. I was shocked, in denial, I don’t know what I was feeling but my heart was surely racing and I didn’t know what else to do, so I went back to Lisa’s house (where I was babysitting the night before and slept over because it was closer to school than my house) and told them the situation. Both Lisa and Tony (her husband) were livid and thought it was an extreme abuse of power and that it was an unwarranted judgement and told me I should and CAN fight it, so I will. I’ll take it to the dean since the head of the department seems to think that this professor made a brilliant decision…

At least I had somewhere supportive to go when that happened, and the kids were glowing when I came back. I had spent Thursday babysitting them, then came back Friday, stayed overnight and around 2am the five year old came downstairs and wanted to sleep on the couch with me, so we cuddled and it was adorable. Those kids love me and let me know it too. I’ve been helping raise them since they were tiny things and I feel like they’re my babies too. I know they’ll take care of me when I’m old, as long as our bond continues to grow which I’m sure it will. That entire family sees me as family too and vice versa.

Everyone in small group was very supportive of my decision to fight the judgement I received and both my friends Marissa and Lucy pointed out over the course of the weekend how far I’ve come and how proud they were that I handled this situation in such a calm way, because a month ago I would have broken down and not known what to do with myself, but now here I am facing big girl issues and kicking their ass. Group really has helped with a lot.

Today is my last day tutoring which will be a HUGE burden off my shoulders. I quit for my own health and for the fact that I was making pennies on the hour of what I should have been making, and it’s not worth my time to do it anymore. So here I am making progress in my life. Baby steps.

Rank my mood today 1-100: 60

Feeling Physically?: Tired.

And emotionally?: Hopeful, grateful, scared, frustrated, angry, impatient, sad and anxious.

Just your average day.

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A Rough Day

I spent the weekend dog-sitting for a dog I’ve been taking care of the better part of a decade. He’s my soul mate, I love him, no other dog will ever be Taz. Now he’s 11 and a half and has cancer. It was a shock for all of us. From the 5th to the 9th he was my responsibility. I kept him in my sight every moment that I was awake. I called the vet when he started having accidents in the kitchen and she said that if he’s still himself that there’s probably not a problem, and to feed him rice with dinner. So I did. And he was his loving, energetic self all week. The accidents even stopped happening.

Then I get a message this morning with a picture of the upstairs bedroom with pools of poop, some dried over, some puke stains. Obviously he was not okay. The woman who owns the dog messaged me the picture and said she didn’t understand how I could let that happen, she was upset, and even after I told her I didn’t smell anything, and he was downstairs with me every moment I was awake, she still said, “I don’t know what to say.” and that she had to take care of Taz.

I got these messages while I was in small group psychotherapy during Day Hospital and I lost it. We were talking about Galaxia’s relationship troubles and suddenly I started bawling my eyes out. We stopped and focused on me. I told them what happened, I held Marissa’s hand who was sitting next to me. Galaxia grabbed the tissues and sat next to me, rubbing my back, someone got me water, Michael got me an ice pack and I stared only at him while he talked me down. I couldn’t stay in the moment and he wanted to ground me. He told me to feel the cold of the ice pack, squeeze Marissa’s hand, feel Galaxia rubbing my back, and BREATHE which was the hardest part.

Eventually I calmed down, but I told everyone how guilty and miserable I felt and how it was all my fault. Everyone was overwhelmingly supportive and talked about how the woman is speaking emotionally right now and the dog is sick, sometimes animals hide things like that when they’re sick. Eventually I just exhausted myself. I had wished that the woman could have seen me go off like a bomb so she’d know how sorry I was and maybe she’d be a little less critical of me, but that’s out of my control.

This is my last week of Day Hospital. I’m doing my work to get better, I’m taking it a day at a time, and I think I’m probably ready to go. However, today was a major setback to how I was feeling. I took a long nap when I got home which left me feeling rested, and I got on Pintrest to pass the time. I did some homework, I worried about my school situation, I ate pesto pasta. Soon it’ll be time to take my Seroquel and go back to sleep, I’m looking forward to group tomorrow, always do.

Day hospital: part 2

I am now on half days, which means I don’t come back after lunch for the afternoon hour. That works well for me this week because I overbooked myself and have little spare time. One thing that came up in therapy is that I have a problem saying “no” and that’s what usually gets me into these situations.

Good news to share! My case manager Michael would love to take me on as a private client once I’ve graduated from day hospital. He only has a private practice on Saturdays and I’ll be squeaking in filling his calendar to capacity. He is by far the most stand up guy I know and for someone like him to believe in me and like me enough to fit me in his busy schedule makes me feel like a winner.

Another accomplishment is that I said hi to Paranoid Lisa and she didn’t freak out. In fact she’s been smiling at me. There are two Lisa’s. Violently Depressed Lisa and Paranoid Lisa. An example of such paranoia is when she went out for a cigarette and yelled “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” To a passerby.

The newest addition to Michael’s small group is Greg whose social anxiety and insecurities have made him the only person in group I can’t make smile or friends with. It makes me self conscious about how to hold a conversation with the guy. Why does that bother me? Let’s be curious about that (as Michael would say). Michael is a particularly curious therapist.

What conclusion I’ve drawn if he won’t open up to me is that there’s something inherently wrong with me, I’m not worth being friends with or to be loved and I will never be accepted by a man again. These are obviously cognitive distortions that can and should be reframed. After all, I don’t need his friendship but I do want it. An important distinction.

Overall, group has been insightful, helpful and supportive. The support just engulfs you like the warmth from the sun. I will miss everyone dearly when I leave. My discharge date is next Friday.