September 25, 2013

"Normal" ??!!?!?!?!?! ugh!!!

I spent well over 4 hours today in a car with a coworker. We had to drive quite a ways to see a client who does not live near our workplace. Anyways, the whole way to the far off city and back to our work my coworker kept telling me how lucky I am to have had such a "normal" life, while comparing it to her own "Jerry Springer Show" life. I sat there and listened to her talk about my life. I shared with her that I don't know how normal my upbringing really was, really if you think about it what does normal mean?

Normal according to Merriam-Webster, click for a link to the definition.

Really the many many (8, plus the subgroups of each number...) definitions here do not clarify this for me. Numbers 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 might not apply at all, and that leaves 2, 3, and 4.

2: a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
2: b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern 
3: occurring naturally 
4: a: of, relating to, or characterized  by average intelligence or development
4: b: free from mental disorder: sane

First lets address 2: a. We would have to devise what is the norm, and of which part of the population does the norm address?  Middle class, white, christian families from (insert name of city where i grew up)? The greater population from my area? I don't even know where to start with this idea...i suppose you could say that the norm in society while I was growing up and experiencing my so called "normal" childhood was divorced parents and substance use for the parents, which do not apply to my family, and who knows what all else. What is "normal" in my small little part of the world is not going to be "normal" for everyone...

Now for 2: b. This is basically the same as before, in order to understand if this definition fits you have to know what it means by the type, standard, or regular pattern. I suppose my family worked hard to keep up appearances to meet the standards of those around us.

Next comes 3. Yes, my siblings and I were all born "naturally" no C-sections happened, however we were raised possibly "unnaturally" and were cut off and sheltered from a lot of the world around us...

4: a. I suppose I have average intelligence, although I was part of the GATE (gifted and talented education) program at my school growing up, so maybe that is not entirely true, perhaps I am above average in this area and therefore not "normal".

And last but not least, 4: b. This just does not apply, take a second and glance through my blog if you disagree.

Suffice it to say, "normal" is such a subjective term. It means something so different to so many people. I am not a huge fan of the term "normal" perhaps because people like to use it to describe my childhood. No I did not have any particularly life altering things happen when I was quite young (I was never sexually or physically abused, my parents never split up, I went to a good school, I got good grades, etc.). As I got older I did have some life altering things which happened, I am not going to go in to detail now, because I am falling asleep writing this, but I just wrote this post to talk about how I hate the term "normal" haha.

I had the childhood I had, I have lived the life that I have lived, I have gone through the things that I have gone through, and I am a better person for it. yes, I may have had a relatively "easy" childhood compared to some, but that does not make my struggles and negative experiences in life disappear.

And I bid you goodnight.

Emmy R.

July 3, 2013

A few weeks ago...

I always find myself coming back to this blog like an old friend each time I just need to type something out, express some of my feelings or something, not sure exactly. I even attempted to start a new blog, but I always find myself wanting to come back here to this one. I guess maybe it is familiarity? This blog has history to it, I have been posting here for so many years, albeit posts few and far between, that this blog really is like a friend.

Anyways, on to the point of why I have returned to my dear friend.

A little over two weeks ago I went back to visit friends and family in the state where I went to college. It was so wonderful to see people, some of whom I hadn't see in over a year and a half, and to reunite like we had never spent a day apart, I loved that. One of the first friends I was able to meet up with was one of my supervisors from my internship which I completed during my final semester of college. In my previous posts I have referred to her as C, this post and this post mention her, there may be more but I don't remember. She is a pretty awesome woman. She knows some things about my struggle with self-harm and has struggled with self-harm herself. We had agreed to meet up during the week prior to my flying out there, and so I texted her when I arrived and we planned a meeting place, a little coffee shop near where she lives, date and time. I was incredibly anxious about meeting up with her. I basically always get that way in social situations, always thinking that people will think bad things about me. I know it pretty much doesn't make sense at all, but it is always where my mind goes. Anyways, after some initial awkwardness where I was having to force myself to breathe and listen and laugh when appropriate we got into having a nice conversation. We talked about pretty much everything, from religion to self-harm to tea to basically anything that popped into our heads. It was so natural, as if we were long time friends and had continued talking for the year and a half where we actually were out of touch other than the few texts sent back and forth. We literally sat there outside of the coffee shop with our tea growing cold and talked for three hours before they started closing up the coffee shop and we realized how late it was getting.

She encouraged me in a lot of things. She encouraged me in my counseling while also sharing how she has been doing with her own counseling and even confessing that she still has thoughts about self-harm even though it has been years since she last did it. That really eased my mind. I guess sometimes I feel like those thoughts should just disappear if i am doing things right, which of course is not the case. Courtney is very strong in her faith and I guess I would say that being around her makes me wonder if maybe there is a god out there somewhere who really does care. She has such a strong belief, but she didn't push it on me. She shared about her own faith story but didn't force her beliefs on me. I don't know how to explain it really, but basically she shared things that are a part of her reality but treated them as an opinion instead of a fact and treated me like I mattered even if I didn't necessarily agree with her. I am going to say that she is a really great person. She encouraged me to pray (again, not in a forceful way, I really don't know how to explain it...) She said "Pray for something specific and you will see your answer" and "when you decide what to pray for let me know and I will pray too because I firmly believe that when two people pray for the same thing it will happen."

I really appreciate her offer, and have even tried to figure out what on earth I would like to pray for, but I don't honestly know what I want. I want things to change and stay how they are. I want to be me and to be more not me. I want to feel something inside of me that could lead me to believe in a higher power but I also just really don't give a fuck. I want so many things but want nothing at all. I want to know what I want and what will hold meaning for my life but I have been searching for so long that I don't know if it exists.

Anyways, as it gets later and later my mind is beginning to ramble and lose concentration. Tomorrow I have a counseling appointment again. I had almost decided to just give up on counseling, but I think I want to try to be assertive tomorrow (I teach my kiddos aka clients about assertive communication, if I can't put it into practice then why should I think that they can?)

Emmy R.

April 20, 2013

So, my life has been incredibly insane lately. I could take a whole lot of time to explain it all, but I think i will give a few bullet points and a basic outline.

When I last posted I was trying to decide if I wanted to take a certain job, I didn't take it. I decided to stay with the job I have had for nearly 9 months now (I can't believe that it has been so long).

Since then I have:

  • Moved (to my second place of residence since moving away from home)
  • Bought a car
  • Had car for about a month
  • Crashed said car
  • Was given a one week notice to move out of my place of residence after having lived there for just over a month, due to absolutely nothing that I had done, but rather because the people I was renting from broke up.
  • Sold (now totaled) car
  • Moved (to my third place of residence)
(It should be noted that the above all took place within about a month and a half)

Now I am in a new (and hopefully semi-permanent) home and renting out a room again, but hopefully in a place where there is far less drama.

Anyways, the reason I wanted to write this blog post was because I just have been feeling the desire to make a post recently. Obviously a lot has gone on for my in the last few months of my life. There could even be another bullet point there saying that I have found a counselor and been to one counseling session. This counselor is a lot more promising that the first one I saw while at my current job. I feel a lot more comfortable with her right off the bat than I did with the last lady. At least this lady doesn't seem like she just wants to throw a bunch of diagnoses at me.The last counselor I saw told me I had low self-esteem, was codependent along with other things like that, and then kept telling me to buy this book or that CD in order to heal myself from these things (isn't that what she was supposed to be helping me with?). It was not a good counseling experience.

I have only been to one appointment with this lady, but she seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and asked me about what brought me in and, although I didn't tell her everything right off the bat (of course) I was able to talk about some things. One thing she mentioned to me was that she thinks I have complicated grief (my friend Paige died when I was 16). I thought I had dealt with that and moved past it, but she said she noticed that my face looked really sad when I talked about her. She said that she thinks I might be a good candidate for EMDR (which apparently helps a person to separate the emotions from a memory, so that you don't automatically associate that memory with the emotions and they go  hand it hand, one example would be someone who was sexually abused as a child, EMDR would be used for the person to think about the things that happened and talk about them but through the EMDR process you are able to removed the fear or anger or sadness from that situation I guess.) Now I don't really know about anyone else, but I want the ability to be sad about my friend dying, so my one concern with this is that I don't want to go numb about it all.

One other big thing that has happened recently is that I opened up to a coworker/friend about my self-harm. I talked to her about my past struggle and how it was hard to hear a Foster Parent talk about their foster child who is struggling with self-harm. She basically kept making "cutting" movements with her arm and just was saying stuff that to me just made me anxious and not feel well. My coworker thinks I should talk to my supervisor so that I will not get put on any cases in which someone might struggle with self-harm. I don't know that this is a necessary step to take, I mean I want to be able to work with kids who also struggle with self-harm.

Anyways, back to the counselor. I sort of wonder if the EMDR thing would also help me to remove the emotional associations I have with self-harm and then help me to be more capable to work with clients who struggle with self-harm. I guess maybe it could give me a better overall perspective of the situation rather than just an emotional perspective.

I just read an article about EMDR treatment being used on a girl who then immediately stopped self-harming. I don't know if I am ready for that. Maybe I can mention it to the counselor (although just the thought makes me nervous).

And a final note to add to this crazy random blog post, I am currently not on any medications for my anxiety/depression or whatever. I took myself off the last one because it was causing me to have dizzy spells that were really messing with me. I tried about four different medications, not sure if these are the right ones, I would have to go look at my chart at the doctors office, but I think it was these. Most recently I was on Celexa (citalopram), but the side effect of dizziness caused me to take myself off of it. I believe I was on two different dosages. I am pretty sure the other three that I tried were Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline). The sertraline side effect that got me was tenderness in my breasts. I work with kids in my day job and am around them a lot outside my work as well, and when you work with kids you get elbowed in the boobs often enough that breast tenderness is not a good thing. It was no fun! haha

Anyways, it is way past time for bed. Maybe I will post at some point in the near future (just trying to be honest!) (:

January 27, 2013

I don't know what to do.

I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do.

I have to make a decision today. A decision that two weeks ago would have been easy as pie (which apparently is quite easy). I would have taken the job. I was so so so dissatisfied with my current job. I still am but I am not sure if this new job is the right next step for me. I know I have terribly neglected this blog lately, but I really need a place to figure this out, and where else except the confines of my head which I have poured out on these pages for so many years. It was suggested to me to simply create a pros and cons list for the job.

Taking the job:

  • Pros:
    • Not having to deal with the supervisor I do not get along with at all.
    • Getting paid more per hour and potentially moving up to full time within the next few months.
    • Starting off in a new job where I can better use my degree.
    • The potential for growth is higher within this job.
    • A fresh start.
    • A job which will look great on a resume and in any future career choices.
  • Cons:
    • Starting off part time.
    • Leaving a place I have just started to put down roots in.
    • Leaving MourningStar.
    • Moving back in with my parents.
    • Having to start all over and learn a new job all over again with no for sure promise of getting along with coworkers/supervisors or of  having this job be my forever job.
    • Less contact with coworkers/ability to make friends.
    • Not having weekends and for sure days off. I would be working less hours but more days during the week to start.
    • I have to be available 12pm-8:30pm.

Not taking the job:

  • Pros:
    • I get to stay in a familiar job.
    • I get to see if there will be any improvement in this current job before just moving on to another job.
    • I get to keep doing MourningStar
    • I don't have to move back in with my parents.
    • I know I can make ends meet with my current pay.
    • I get to stay close to my new friends
    • It will look good on a resume to have stayed in a job longer than 6 months rather than leaving after 6 months.
  • Cons:
    • I do not get to see new experiences.
    • I stay in a job which I know I do not get along with my supervisor.
    • Same pay, same experience.

For some reason I just cannot decide what is the best choice. I have had this huge desire to get away from my current job for so long. Maybe taking the first job that comes along is not the best idea, or it could be the best decision I ever make.

I read this post on tumblr the other night. It said something to the effect of "Imagine you are standing somewhere and a stranger just comes up to you and hands you a book. You start reading the book and realize it is your life story. Would you read the book until the end?"

Right now I would pick up that book and turn to the pages where I am making this decision. I sort of imagine that the book at this point would become one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books that I used to read all the time. I could read each section and see what the consequences and benefits of my decision might be. Wouldn't that be nice. It might help me decide which is the better option, of course both have the potential to end abysmally, the same as both have the potential to be wonderful in the future. Like Laura said last night when I was talking to her, there is not a right or wrong answer.

Potential and Definite Benefits of taking the New Job:

  • P: Higher pay (at least once full time, which makes it potential)
  • P: New experience which could be the perfect fit for me.
  • P: Making new friends.
  • D: Being near old, high school, friends.

Potential and Definite Consequences of taking the New Job:

  • P: Not being the right fit for the job and never moving up to full time.
  • D: Moving back in with my parents.
  • D: Not being able to do MourningStar in Victorville.
  • D: Leaving behind my friends in Victorville

Another thought that just popped into my head is that I don't want to disappoint the person I interviewed with by not accepting the job, she seemed to like me so much. How co-dependent of me. *sigh* I am not sure if this is helping make things clearer or not.