Oh NO!!

We had, up until this evening, a tree on our tree lawn. A line of severe thunderstorms flew through the greater Cleveland area earlier. When the alert came through my phone, it said winds up to 80 mph. Looking at our poor tree, I can believe it.

It could have been much, much much worse. There are a few pictures of huge trees that came down in the area. AJ Colby says more storms are in the future due to the high temperatures and humidity we’re having. Check out this segment of him talking with images of the radar and satellite from the storm. It does look like we’ll have a nice weekend, knock on wood.


I don’t have many memories from childhood. Most of them consist of what I describe as “snapshots”. It’s like a picture of sorts in my mind. Sometimes I know the context and sometimes I don’t.

Seeing the tree on the ground brought back one of these snapshots. It’s me standing in a garden center holding onto the trunk of this (much smaller version) tree. There isn’t much more to it. I’m actually assuming it’s a garden center, because where else would you have bought a tree in the late 70s. I guess it isn’t even a picture so much. It’s more of like me looking outside from inside of me knowing I’m holding onto this tree.

For some reason, seeing the tree on the ground made me cry last night. I don’t feel particularly emotionally attached to that tree. Maybe because it’s one of the few nontraumatic memories I have? I don’t know. And at the moment, I’m overwhelmed with everything else and I don’t want to explore it. Maybe when I talk to Dr. D the week after next.

Getting Fitter

I think this is the first time I’m going to post a picture of myself…. actually a video. This is VERY HARD for me. I probably should post a before picture first.

This wasn’t even at my heaviest. I topped out at 440 pounds before having my first of two bariatric procedures. My treatment team saved my life. If you’ve ever seen “My 600 Pound Life”….. well, that’s where my life was going.

I ended up losing 275 pounds. I gained some pandemic weight, but I’m working on losing that. I’m working out with my brother three times a week doing strength training. And them I’m doing Couch to 5K three days a week. Sunday is my day of rest. Here’s the video from today.

Clearly a big change in the last 5.5 years. I feel better. I’m happier. I’m more confident.

Ordinary People and Good Will Hunting

I was browsing metafilter last night and there was a post in fanfare about the movie, “Ordinary People“. That’s a movie that Dr. D (in Austin) asked me to watch. That was roughly 20 years ago (give or take a year or two)

(Gidgette just crawled up onto my lap and is sitting on my arms. It’s making typing on the laptop quite difficult.)

At the time, it was pretty impactful. I remember us talking about it for a session or two. But I don’t remember what we really talked about.

Back to last night. I decided to see if it was streaming anywhere. Turns out, yes it was, on Amazon Prime Video. As I started watching, the plot came back to me. What hit me this time was how much the mother (Mary Tylor Moore) was obsessed with keeping up appearances. It was all about how the family looked to her friends. January of last year, I talked about that idea with Dr. JD (to differentiate her from Dr. D in Austin), but I know I didn’t really explain it well. I know this because I’ve been journaling daily since 1/1/20 and it gives me on this day in history. When that came up a few weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to talk about it again. But I never knew how to broach the idea. I think I’ll send her a text to see if she’s seen it. It’ll be a good springboard for the topic.

Around the same time Dr. D asked me to watch “Ordinary People”, he asked me to watch “Good Will Hunting” as well. “Good Will Hunting” hit a lot closer to home, so to speak. I think the scene everyone probably remembers is Will (Matt Damon) and Sean (Robin Williams) in his office as Will is finishing up therapy with Sean because he’s turned 21. You can watch it on YouTube. Just hearing the words, “It’s not your fault.” over and over was hard back circa 2000.

Being a glutton for punishment, I actually bought the digital download and watched it. It surprised me how hard that same scene hit me in 2021. The tears flowed just as freely as they did 20 years ago. I actually journaled about this after watching it. The app I use, Day One (iOS and Mac only), lets me record an audio entry. One of these days, I’ll go back and listen to it. Actually, I might do that before “seeing” Dr. JD on Tuesday.

Back to Work…

First day back after a long break. My anxiety level was climbing all weekend. It was so bad last night, I ended up taking a Klonopin. I even needed to take one this morning. My anxiety is usually much more controlled.

Once I got back, I got back into the groove. All the babies were glad to see me. L reached her arms up as soon as she saw me. I picked her up and she just giggled. I said “Hey D Man” to D and he turned and gave me a huge smile.

When I left, A was rocking back and forth on his hands and knees. Now he’s properly crawling.

There’s so much development that happens in two weeks when you’re talking about babies under a year.

I found out this morning that I don’t have to do any office work. I don’t have to enter notes for the other teachers. I don’t have to answer the phone in the afternoon. Well, from 5-6 I do. The school age teacher is holding onto the phone until she leaves at 5.

I really think the owner is afraid of losing me. She really can’t afford to lose any staff. And she needs my degree to move her star for Step Up to Quality. It feels good to be needed. But not for the cost of my mental health.

Starting Up Again

It’s been many years since I’ve written here. I decided earlier this week to get back into writing on this blog specifically.

So what has been going on the last 3.5 years? A whole lot. I had a second bariatric procedure and I lost more weight. My highest weight was 440 pounds. I’m now 177. I was down to 164 but pandemic…….

I’m still working with infants in early childhood education. I’m still at the same place, though I’m brushing up my resume. I’m still coloring, though on my own. The meetup group doesn’t meet anymore because, well, *gestures wildly around*. I’m still baking and I’m part of an online baking “club”. “Club” because it’s only two of us. We are still trying to get people to join us.

A while ago, I quit therapy with Dr. D. I’m back working with her again. Dr. W (who I still see) encouraged me to start therapy again. I’m glad I did. The thing that made me walk away was her trying to dive into (what I recognize now as) my social anxiety. I wasn’t ready to tackle it and I was doing well in other ways. The break was good for me.

In terms of meds, I’ve been able to taper off the Haldol, Effexor and Celexa. In a few months, I’m hoping to start getting off either the Zoloft or Wellbutrin.

Last summer, one of the baby girls in my class at work had some possible vaginal bleeding. The way it was handled by my boss plus just the idea that maybe someone was hurting that little girl really messed with my head. At that point, I was seeing Dr. D. I ended up taking a week off to get my head screwed back on. The family left the center and I occasionally wonder what happened to her and hope she’s okay.

A couple months ago, we had a new family join the center. There are an infant boy, a toddler boy and a preschool girl. These children were removed from their mother. The toddler spent many hours just crying “mommy” over and over. The way the building is set up is there is a half door between the infant room and the toddler room. So I could hear every single scream. It broke my heart. It didn’t help that the toddler teacher was getting frustrated and would say “J, please stop crying.”. Let me say, that I totally understand her reaction. She had 6 other kids under 3 and it was overwhelming at times. I’ve been in her shoes. I was told A, the baby in my room, was born to a crack addicted mother. I need to do some reading on what the shorter term ramifications are of that. I’m probably most concerned about B, the preschool girl. She seems totally unaffected. I know she’s older than J, but she’s only 4.

I’ve been dealing with my reactions to those two incidents with Dr. D. After the baby girl, I took a week off to get my head back on the right way. Last week and this week, I’ve been on vacation. There were many reasons, one being the new family. Another is physical exhaustion. I’m still dealing with fibro. Two weeks ago we were so short staffed because of Corona. I ended up working 8-6 with a 2 hour break. It just wasn’t sustainable for me. I’m also the acting administrator for 4-6. Another staff member thinks she’s in charge and was being a general pain in the ass. I told my boss that E can be in charge since it seems that’s what she wants. My boss told me that no, you’re in charge and I deliberately chose you. And then there’s all the BS that needs to be done for Step Up to Quality. I was doing a good deal of other teachers’ work.

It’s definitely been a crazy year.

Therapy Thursday

Today’s discussion centered around feelings.  The one observation I had was I know how to label the basic emotions; happy, sad, angry.  But I can’t label things that are more complex.  I like labels.  I like to know what things are.  Sometimes the hardest question to answer is “What are you feeling?”.  Sometimes I throw around names such as jealously or anxiety.  I’m not always sure that that’s what I’m feeling.

We also talked a bit about automatic thoughts.  Things that I jump to so fast that I don’t even think about it.  Two of those thoughts are guilt and responsibility.  I jump and don’t even know it.  I’m trying to challenge those thoughts after jumping there.  I’m reminded of a passage from “The Magic Tollbooth” where the dog flies out of the car and onto an island by jumping to conclusions.  That’s me.  I jump to conclusions about the abuse and who’s responsible.  No more.  I’ll jump but not land.  I won’t be perfect, but trying is the key.

Therapy Monday

Wow.  Today was intense.  It started with a discussion about Father’s Day.  And all the loving posts you see on Facebook.   And the whole industry we have.  And how it makes me feel.  Jealous.  Green with envy.  I don’t love my  dad, or grandpas, or God father.  Nope.  No way.  And that good old Catholic guilt and “honor thy father and thy mother”.

From there Dr. D asked about something we talked about a few weeks ago.  One of the things I felt was that I lost something of myself with the use of Lupron.  I lost the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce.  I read somewhere (maybe on Not My Secret) about defining yourself by what society considers to be the defining traits of a woman.  That post really resonated with me.  So we talked a bit about other ways I could define myself.  Funny.  Blah Blah Blah.  Dr. D said that I was smart.  I couldn’t say no fast enough.  Which of course lead to another whole discussion.

In the end, I said that my mother said I was smart when it suited her, when she got to brag.  Any other time, I was dumb, and idiot, etc.  Then I said something really significant.  I said that I hated her for that.  That was really significant.  I had never said that word before.  I didn’t know how deep it ran.  That scared me.  It felt overwhelming at the moment.  Thank God that Dr. D was there because I was overwhelmed.  I was shaking and crying.  On some level it felt good to let out those emotions.  On the other hand, it was really scary.  I knew I had a safe place in her office.

I tend to stuff things down.  Dr. D told me it was a defense mechanism.  And now that I’m home, the old defenses are coming back.  I don’t feel safe to experiences the anger and sadness that I felt earlier.  At least I know now that I can feel without becoming overwhelmed or out of control.  I was even going to write a blog post in all caps.  I still may.  Maybe I can do it at the library where I feel safer.

It’s amazing how seemingly innocent trains of thought can lead to breakthroughs.  I see Dr. D again on Thursday (and on Mondays too).  I think at this point, that’s what I need.

Divide

This was the prompt for today.  Sometimes I feel so far apart from other people.  I see it in therapy.  It is issues of trust still.  I’ve worked hard to build trust with Dr. D.  On some levels, I do trust her.  On others, there are some things I’m not ready to tell her.

She has this view that things would get easier if I told my brothers.  We went through this a while ago.  At that time, I did everything I could do to resist her.  Now, it’s not so cut and dry for me.  I think it might help a little.  But I’m not at that point in time yet.  would

I know that they would go strait to the parental unit and ask about it.  I’m not ready to deal with the fall out from that.  I guess I am divided on that idea.

Sometimes I feel so separate from other people.  I feel apart.  I can’t explain it.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.  I would rather read a book than socialize.  I can do the socialization thing, but it’s draining physically and emotionally.

Sometimes I feel divided from other survivors.  Now this I can’t explain.  I don’t know that I want to explain it right now, either.

Signing off for tonight.  I baked cookies and I’m exhausted.  :(

Out of Left Field

I love ER.  I have since the first day it aired.  Now I found in syndication and it cheers me up; at least for an hour it does.

Tonight was not one of those nights.  The plot and the characters weren’t important.  But seeing them examine a 6 year old to confirm sexual abuse was out of left field.  I guess I should start reading the blurbs that DirecTV has.

It wasn’t the exam part.  I never went through that.  It was the thought of the little girl being violated that got to me.  I got pretty close to that flashback spiral.  It didn’t hit me so hard that I couldn’t control it.  I went out to the kitchen immediately and took my PRN anxiety med.  That helped.  I got out of my room so I didn’t have to deal with the bedroom stuff.  That helped.  I turned to a mystery novel to get my head in another place.  It helped.

I have a feeling that Dr. D would be proud of me.  I did the right things to keep my head in the present.  And that’s been hard for me all along.  I can only take one day at a time.  I made it through 19/20 radiation sessions with that attitude.  I know this is a long trek for me and I will have bad times.  Right now the bad seems to outweigh the good.  But I’ve got friends who support me.  I have a fluffy white kitty on my lap right now and another mutt hanging out under the blankets on my bed.

Baby steps.  Just remember baby steps.

“Our Shower”

Holy shit.

I’ve finally pulled myself together after a good 10 minute panic attack.

Dad loved to fondle me in the shower.  He did call them “our showers”.  Ugh.

Dad was getting ready to take his shower.

He said I’m going to take “Our Shower”.

Not a good afternoon.