Breaking the Rules, IFS and Social Dynamics

Breaking the Rules

So, I have been desperate to go on a walk.  Not an exercise walk, but a nature walk kind of walk.  Currently, I am not allowed. I just got approved for movement this week which only allows yoga and NIA.  Walks aren’t allowed and it would be forever until I was allowed a solo walk anyway.

Today we were at another site for “Family Week” (more on that later and no, I don’t have any family here for family week).  The other site has two buildings with a long walking path between.  We were not allowed to walk the path, we had to take a shuttle back and forth.  But one of my peers walked on the path even though she wasn’t supposed to.  And she got a Non Compliance for it.

That’s when I realized….If I walked around the driveway loop by myself, all I would get is a non-compliance?  Really?  I can get two non-compliances without affecting my privileges, the third cuts me from the outings.  Now, I once said I didn’t care about the outings, but really, I do.  So, I have been trying to stay compliant enough to not be cut from the outings.  That means I could do two loop walks a week! Two!  The temptation is almost too much to bear.

I wish my peer hadn’t talked about this particular non-compliant act because it had never occurred to me to just say “fuck it” and walk anyway.

But….There is a snag.  Meg has been really respectful of my need to be outdoors and earlier this week, we did half a therapy session outdoors.  It was delightful.  And then yesterday, I had therapy at the other site with Meg and we were in this office with a huge window that looked out into the trees and Meg commented on the nature view.  So, she gets it.  She heard what I was saying and gets my need and has tried to support it. As always, I am kind of bewildered by her response as it is so foreign to me.  But she is being respectful of me and my needs.

So, I feel like I would be being disrespectful I just threw the rules out and went on a walk.  I hate having high moral standards. I guess I will keep the idea of non-compliant walks in my back pocket, just in case.

IFS

Speaking of therapy, we have been doing more and more IFS work.  It is fascinating and I am getting a better understanding of myself.  It is also kind of involved and confusing work but that is why I have Meg to help me through it.  I am learning lots more about myself though and what makes me behave the way I do.  Recognizing that is the first step to changing, right?

Social Dynamics

I haven’t said much about the social dynamics for the past few days because it has settled down some.  Things have still been a bit topsy-turvy as we got three new admits in a very short amount of time and now the place is at max capacity.  But the new admits are settling in and there seems to be a lot less colluding going on.

The downside to so many new people and the place being at max capacity and the high demands of some of the clients is that it has been harder to get support from direct care.  I feel a little bit lost in the shuffle and kind of disappointed.  Like, I had talked about sharing something with my favorite direct care person, but she has been too busy. I try to console myself by saying it’s not really important anyway.  But I am not sure I feel better.  What I really wish is that I hadn’t gotten attached to her because if I didn’t care, then I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Let’s see…What else…

I don’t know, I feel totally drained.  That seems par for the course here.  But I am barely holding it together.  I had to do a lot of faking it yesterday to make it through the first day of family week, and it used up a lot of my reserves.  This morning, I just feel overwhelmingly depressed.  I don’t know how I am going to make it through two more days of family week.

Obituaries and The Eating Disorder and This Week’s Nutrition Goals

Obituaries

A long time ago, I talked a bit about death at work and how sometimes, a patient death hits me harder than others.  Because the population at work is old and generally in poor health, I often read the obituaries to see who has died.  I don’t read them every day, but usually a couple of times a week.

Yesterday, I was doing my obituary catch up and one caught my eye.  A very sweet lady died.  I knew her from a couple of stays she had at the facility I worked at.  She was a wonderful woman and I really liked her and she really liked me.  Initially, she had a different rehab person working with her, but she ended up on my caseload.  The previous person had pushed her really hard and really far, causing her significant pain.  My style is a gentler, steady approach and for this the patient was both thankful and appreciative.  We were a good match of temperament and style and she was a wonderful, elegant sort of woman.

I had the fortune of going on a home evaluation with her, so I got to see her lovely little apartment.  Like her, it was wonderful and elegant.  I remember reading a poem on her wall about the loss of her husband and her feelings and hope to be reunited with him.  It was eloquent and moving.  I asked her about it and she had written it herself.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, it fit her perfectly.

So last week, her name was in the obituaries.  She lived to be in her mid-90s.  And I felt sad to know that she is gone.  There was no picture of her in the obituary…And often, without a picture, I can’t remember what someone looks like from just recognizing their name.  This woman, I have a mental snapshot of her…I even know her voice.

I won’t mourn her death, as death is often a good thing (especially for someone in their 90s who had been in poor health) but I will mourn the loss of a wonderful woman.

The Eating Disorder

And now, onto a completely different topic….

I am not sure that I am doing a good job of improving my eating disorder symptoms…Which is to say, I think they are getting worse.  Saturday morning, we ran errands and then when we got home, dh and ds went to the City to meet up with classmates for group projects (dh is taking a class this semester.)  I was home, doing chores, baking banana bread for dh and ds and I cooked their dinner and did some laundry, etc.  At about 3:30, I realized I hadn’t exercised. I sort of shook it off…But I was having a lot of guilt about having eaten too much at lunch (230 calories, which is more than I usually eat).

And though I tried not to worry about it, my anxiety got worse and worse.  All I could think about was those extra calories and that I hadn’t done any exercise and that I didn’t burn them off.  I really wanted to go on a long walk up the hill (a good calorie burn) but I didn’t really feel like the effort of taking the dogs, plus I had the banana bread in the oven.

Honestly, I was surprised at my anxiety…Anxiety over not exercising has not happened before.  Anyway, I ended up doing a short, but intense DVD workout. I figured at the very least, I burned off the extra lunch calories and realistically, I burned off some other calories too.

Then yesterday after supper, my anxiety was through the roof.  All I could think about was how many calories I had eaten.  I kept adding the calories over and over again…Did I eat too much? Exactly how many calories would the roasted cabbage count as?  Was that two tablespoons of applesauce with lunch or three?  How much milk did I consume with my bowl of cereal? (That one I know the answer to…2.5) Did I do enough exercise?  Should I have exercised more?

I am not sure that I need this new calorie-conscious anxiety….But I seem to have it anyway.

This Week’s Nutrition Goals

And since I am talking about calories…I am not doing a very good job at meeting this week’s Nutritionist goals.  Do I sound like a broken record?  I feel like I say that all the time!

This week’s goals are to eat a morning snack of 1.5 cups of fruit and to increase my daily calorie intake over 650 with 850 as the goal, but just getting over 650 would be okay.

Friday morning, I did have a small morning snack because I wanted to have energy for yoga.  But my brain won’t let me add that snack as additional calories.  I had to cut those calories from some other meal later in the day (luckily it was only 45 calories).  I don’t know how to make my brain think it is okay to have an extra 45 calories.  So, as you can see, my goal of increasing calories is really challenging me…which it usually does

I did feel somewhat better physcially over the weekend, other than being freezing cold the whole weekend, my other low calorie symptoms tapered off a bit.  I am guessing it is a short reprieve, but I will take it.

Weird, Weird Therapy and Let’s Add One More Player

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Weird, Weird Therapy

Art Therapy was weird yesterday.  Plain and simple: Weird.

The AT always wants me to lead in therapy…And I hate doing it.  And I was having my therapy-ambivalence, so I took in a whole page list of questions that I have been wanting to ask him over the past few months.  And I gave him the list and I settled into drawing while he went through the list.

I guess it was my attempt at having a less intense day…But I am not sure it worked.  Weeelllll….I am pretty sure it didn’t work.  And the AT was just oozing weird energy and I have such a hard time deflecting that….In the end…it felt just as intense as any other session. But at least I tried to do something different to take care of myself.  I get credit for that, right?

And I really needed to tell him something about the weekend…but there didn’t seem to be a right time to talk to him about it…And thus I didn’t.  <sigh>

Let’s Not Add One More Player

So, today I have an appointment with my primary physician.  It is my first depression/psych check-up…whatever that means!  When we talked about it in the summer, it made sense since she wants to be more involved…ummm….maybe just more informed about my mental health care.  Now…it seems weird.  And I am a bit anxious as to if she is going to give me the dreaded PHQ-9 because I know I will score really, really badly on it.  Let’s see…I bet I can find one online and take it. Yup…yucky score.

You know…this has been a really bad month for me mood-wise.  I am soo over October!

Day One of Absolutely & Totally Gluten Free

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Day One of Absolutely & Totally Gluten Free

I am plugging away on my work with the nutritionist.  My reason for going was to get my diet/eating under control so that I could lose some weight and thus decrease my blood pressure (which is just a smidge high).  I currently take a tiny dose of hydrochlorothiazide to help regulate my blood pressure and it would likely not take much weight loss to drop my BP and then I will be able to stop the med.  That’s my goal anyway.

Since I was seeing a nutritionist, I also brought up stomach issues I have had for years.  And so, at the moment, the bulk of the work with the Nutritionist has been trouble shooting my stomach issues.  And over the course of the past two and a half months, we have kind of gotten to the point where we have figured out that I am gluten intolerant.  (I was tested several years ago for Celiac disease, but it was negative.)  And so, I have decreased and decreased my gluten intake, and only when I have significantly eliminated gluten for several days does my stomach feel better.

Yesterday, she recommended I cut out gluten completely.  I am pretty close to that already…but I will have some work to do and some close food label reading to get the rest of the way.  Honestly, I am glad I am working with the nutritionist as this process is tricky and she has a ton of knowledge about it.

The other big topic we are tackling is emotional eating.  It is not fun.  I have so much shame tied up with my eating habits/emotional eating that it is just ugly to talk about it.  But…I am getting better at it.  It is embarrassing and uncomfortable, but I am doing it.

We have also been talking about my mood and how my mood impacts my eating habits (really, it’s just an off shoot of the emotional eating topic.)  Yesterday, I wondered out loud why the past couple of weeks, I have been able to keep my dietary changes pretty much on track (with a few blips here and there) when I have had two horrible weeks in terms of my mental health.  And…she had the answer! (I am starting to like this woman a lot! She is pretty sharp.)  She hypothesized that my eating habits were something that I had control over…and so even though other things were not going well…I could have control over that one part of my life.  Her idea makes complete sense to me…Like so much so, that I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me!

Something else the nutritionist has encourage with me is self-care.  Ways to soothe/calm myself that are not eating, as well as integrating regular exercise into my days. (Which I had kind of gotten really lax about.)  It reminded me of a book I made several years ago to track different aspects of self-care in my life…and so I resurrected the book and have been filling it out.  I don’t have pictures of it for today, but I will take some later to share tomorrow.

But speaking of pictures…..Not that I spoil my dogs….okay…yes, I totally do!  But here they are in their matching 4 legged jammies! (They have 4 legged jammies, 2 legged jammies and coat style jammies.)

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Ah heck…since you now know that I spoil them rotten…Here’s a pic of the jammie pile when I pulled it out to organize it for the fall.

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Please…don’t judge me too much!  I am fully aware I have a jammie addiction! 🙂

I Don’t Need to Borrow Trouble and Heidi the Yogi

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I Don’t Need to Borrow Trouble

When I am feeling “sensitive” about things and get all worried about them, do you suppose this is just a manifestation of my anxiety?  I was thinking about what I wrote yesterday and how I was perseverating and torturing myself about if the Art Therapist believed me or not.  I realized yesterday afternoon that of course he believes me! Why am I questioning it?  All I can think is it is anxiety related…..Either from my own insecurity in the therapeutic relationship or from leftover baggage I have from Therapist #1.  I do kind of live by a motto of once-burned-twice-shy, so baggage makes lots of sense to me.  But…the AT is not Therapist #1, he is the AT.  I need to give him more credit.  So, why was I not giving him the credit he is due?  I guess it’s just me.  I’m still working on trusting the AT…I am doing better and better with it, but it is still hard.  And I like him and I feel hopeful with him, but I am so used to people letting me down…And to failing…

Today is another Art Therapy day.  I don’t have a plan as to what I want to talk about yet.  It is also a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner day, so I am getting a double whammy….And I am really nervous about the PNP appointment…We are going to have to discuss my suicidal ideation and I am not looking forward to that.  However, I will get to find out if my Primary Physician has actually called either of them yet.

Heidi the Yogi

So, I have been taking private yoga lessons.  It is with a local person who has a studio in her home.  She has been traveling quite a bit recently, so even though we started in April, I have only been 3 times (maybe 4?).  That works out for me since I am not exactly lush in money right now, so the intermittent schedule is great.  She also has a sliding fee scale and that has been super helpful too.  Anyway, I have been interested in yoga for a long time but have way too much body shame to actually go to a yoga class where there are <gasp> other people.  I almost have too much body shame to do the private lessons as well…but I am trying not to let it be a barrier.

Yesterday was the first day where I actually felt relaxed about being at the yoga studio.  I wasn’t at first, since it has been about two months since I was last there, but the teacher is very reassuring and I felt calmer and like I said, I felt some actual relaxation.  I like the yoga a lot.  I may have a huge body, but I happen to be very flexible and I have some decent strength, so it is nice to move my body during yoga.  I am super self-conscious, but yesterday, I even let some of that go too.

I think what is the most challenging part of yoga for me is the teacher talks about knowing and liking one’s body, appreciating one’s body, feeling beautiful and special and letting one’s self be open and receiving, etc.  And she has an amazing knack of honing right in on my emotionally sensitive spots….It’s almost spooky how she does it.  For instance, several times yesterday she was talking about affirmations and finding nice things to say about one’s self and feeling exquisite.  It was only a few days ago that I blogged about how I hate affirmations.  She also seems to have picked right up on my trauma history.  She hasn’t said anything directly to me, but she has talked about trauma and how peoples’ bodies react to trauma and made trauma-calming comments…..Again it was very unnerving.

I think yoga is a good challenge for me…but she almost had me in tears three different times yesterday by hitting those sensitive spots.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  If I can’t cry in therapy….I can’t cry in yoga!

Anyway, I was trying to get to a point…I think the yoga helped to center me and clear my head a lot.  I think that is what lead to my trusting that the Art Therapist does believe me and that I need to let my worry about it go. <Imagining blowing dandelion fluff off my palm> Gone! No more worry.

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