Insomnia Means Means More Time to Blog, Right?

Howling coyotes (if you can call the sound they make howling) woke us up at 3.  They must have been very, very nearby as they were so loud.  As suddenly as the howling started, it stopped.  But I was awake.  I thought for a few minutes about the wild rabbit we have seen the past couple of mornings, or as we like to call him, the Yard Rabbit.  But 3 is early for crepuscular animals such as yard rabbits, so I am hoping he is safe.

I tried to fall back asleep, but the room was too quiet and too dark. And dh was snoring.  And I just didn’t feel sleepy anymore. Then I started thinking about chores and laundry….I know I will  be miserable later because I started my day at 3 (well…technically 4:06 cuz that’s when I got out of bed.)  We are due for some nasty weather later today, so being home and napping in the afternoon is a definite possibility.

The question I am being asked is, “How are you doing?”

I am overwhelmed.  And I am surviving.  I have had a lot of anxiety over doing this all perfectly…Yes, I know.  The last thing I need is perfectionism right now, so I am really trying to cut myself a LOT of slack.  Basically, re-integrating the first couple of days, I just felt kind of stunned and numb.  Yesterday was much better. <phew>

I am eating.  That’s the first and most important thing, right?  And despite a lot of anxiety about it, I am pretty sure I am eating my meal plan correctly.  I won’t know that for myself, I need to wait to be weighed and then someone will tell me how I am doing, but they only will if there is an issue.  So…I will keep doing what I think is right and see where it leads me.

I saw the AT yesterday.  I was soooo glad to see him.  Despite me feeling pretty anxious and worrying about reconnecting with him, it went well.  We actually had a bridging phone call last week when I was still in the program. My program therapist, the AT and I talked for an hour.  I think it was key to re-building my trust with him.  And I wrote a self-assigned piece about what he needs to know about me now.  So, yesterday I felt a little awkward at the start, but slid easily into safe comfort with him.

I have reconnected/connected with half my team now.  (I mean of the clinical team…Dh is always part of the team, even if I don’t mention him outright every time.)  I met the new dietitian Saturday.  She seems okay…I have a couple hesitations but I am going with it for the moment.  I saw the new Couples’ Counselor (CC) with dh yesterday.  He seems really nice and I think seeing him is going to be really helpful.  As I just mentioned, I saw the AT.  I also had a phone “interview” with an OCD therapist.  At the end of the interview, he accepted me as a client and I will be starting with him next week.  So, that’s contact with 2/3 of my clinical team in my first 3 days home.

Today, I see my primary physician.  Tomorrow, I see my Psych NP and the AT (again).  Then the rest of the week, I get to relax and recover and catch my breath.

Between all of Team Heidi, I will have 7 appointments a week to start.  The AT commented yesterday that it is like I will be having a job and that it is exactly what I need to be doing right now.  I felt relieved when he said that because I worry that all of my appointments are selfish, or like I am taking too much from all of my clinicians.  Or that I should be getting a real job and diving right back into the world of employment (which would be a bad idea at the moment.)  I like it when my therapists say things that actually make me feel better.

Tomorrow, I will write about my/our (dh is on board and helping with this) project of changing the physical environment of our home to help me not fall back into old habits and patterns of behavior.

And I will write about my plates.


Mood Crash

I am depressed.  I hope this is exacerbation is short because I haven’t felt this depressed in a while.  I just want give up on everything and go home.  Trauma? I can just say I don’t have any. Eating disorder? I am sure it is fine (if you ignore this past weekend when I wasn’t feeling well.)  I don’t need the therapy and programming here, I can be fine without it.  I just want to go home where everything is normal.  I can try to keep myself together without relapsing.  I mean, I have to go home at some point? Right?

Last week, I told my therapist that I had high flight urges and she told me she was glad I hadn’t left.  But she doesn’t even know me….Why/how is she glad?

Ugh.  I just want to run away.

Did you know that I have stopped crying?  I just can’t let myself cry anymore.  This concerns me because I feel like I am moving backwards.  I didn’t shed a tear when I left all my friends at PHP.  I didn’t shed a tear when I said good-bye to Kyla or to my self-assigned adjunct therapist, Callie.  Nope. No tears anymore.  I am done with feeling.

I am so tired inside.  I just want to numb it all.

This weekend was hard too because I had a lot of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks.  And something I found very disturbing was that some of my intrusive thoughts were from other people’s stories.  I have heard some pretty awful stories of other people’s trauma here.  I mean, things that you just would never fathom would happen to people.  Can I be traumatized by other people’s stories?  And why now?  Why am I coming unglued now?

And I feel so much pressure from the IOP program right now.  We are supposed to find a job, get a volunteer position or take some sort of class within three weeks of starting IOP.  I have applied to three jobs and not heard back.  The volunteering that I would most like to do is human services (like hospice) but those programs require background checks and training and by the time I got through all that, I would be pretty much done here.  Classes?  I was told they could be as simple as classes at Michael’s….but they all cost money and require supplies that cost more money.  The best I have done is found some programming at some local libraries, like Knit Night kind of things…But that doesn’t help occupy my time during the days….And I feel this incredible pressure because now I have two weeks left and no leads.

And I can’t handle any of it anymore.  None.

This is not a good Monday.

To Work Or Not To Work? and Having The Driveway Sanded

To Work Or Not To Work?

It has been decided.

I saw my Primary Physician yesterday.  It was a good appointment, meaning I felt like she really was taking the time to talk to me and listen to me and I felt good about it.  I also got bloodwork done, I wasn’t feeling as good about that—ouch! And evidently, she loves my heart so much that she did another EKG.  (Which was fine.)  Heck…she even gave me a nice hug (after asking permission first.)

And I waited until the very end to ask her the question.  Should I go back to work? (Partly, this was prompted by a text from my boss that was already a few days old, asking about me working on Saturday.)

My PP said, “I don’t think you should go back to work. I think you should take the time and focus on yourself.”

So…It has been decided. And I am relieved.

And then after I got home, I made a phone call and I got a forbearance on my student loans.

And now, I need to re-run budget numbers without the hefty student loan payment.  As family CFO, it is my job to make sure all the bills get paid.  It was going to be super tight, but the forbearance will give us some breathing room.

Having The Driveway Sanded

You know…I appreciate the simple things.

So, our driveway goes up a hill…Not a crazy bad kind of hill, but enough that sometimes cars can’t get up it in the winter.  When we moved here, my car wouldn’t go up. Lemme tell ya, that car got traded in lickety-split. Parking at the bottom of the driveway and hiking up in the freezing cold is not fun.


In the winter, the UPS man doesn’t drive up at all and drops our packages at the bottom of the driveway.  We get better service from FedEx, who will drive up most of the time, but if he elects not too, he walks up with our packages.

But…The fuel oil delivery folks are fussy.  They won’t even bother to come up, and forget them trying to use those handy chains hanging off the bottom of the truck, it isn’t happening!  So, now they call the day before they deliver to give us a heads-up. Then I can call the plow guy and have him come sand.

This all happened yesterday.  The fuel oil company called to check on the status of the driveway…Packed snow over ice, not good for the heavy fuel oil truck to back up (did I mention they back up the driveway as there is no spot for a truck to turn around at the top?)  I called my plow guy and asked if he could come sand.  Within ten minutes he was here and sanding.


And not only did he sand, but he drove really slowly to get a good layer of sand down.  And he knows the tricky spots in the driveway and went extra slowly over them to get a really heavy coat of sand.

And I watched him do it and felt a lot of gratitude for his diligence.


The Price Of Mental Health

The Price Of Mental Health

I have been procrastinating about something. Partly, I wanted to talk about it with the AT, but I am guessing that will never happen (though I did bring it up a few sessions ago).   I have come to a point where I have to make a decision….Do I go back to my per diem work? Or do I take a “leave” and take care of myself for a while?

Dh has weighed in that he wants me to be happy. He hasn’t been really thrilled that I started doing the per diem work because he knows I am not super happy at the facility.  Of course, he would never tell me I couldn’t work there…but I know he would prefer that I didn’t.

Me?  I have all sorts of feelings about work.  Mainly, I feel guilty that I went back to school and incurred student loan debt thus I feel like I should be earning my keep.  The pay is really good doing per diem work…Of course, it would be even better financially if I worked full-time, but I don’t think that’s in the cards at the moment.  Work makes me crazy and challenges my ethics every time I go.  But I also feel good and competent at work, it is one arena where I rarely question myself…Well, until I hit those tricky ethical issues, or poor quality patient care issues, or time crunching for quotas issues.  Ugh.

But…it all comes down to brass tacks.  Can we afford to give me some time off?  I spent the morning yesterday running the numbers.  Some things are in our favor, we paid our car off last year, dh got a really good raise last year, dh forgot to sign up for flexible spending last year (which isn’t great, but means there is more money in each paycheck.) But other things are not in our favor…like home repairs that need doing (we weren’t happy to see large bits of shingles on the lawn after a huge windstorm a couple of weeks ago), depleted savings, a ten-year-old car, accident prone pets (one of our cats broke his foot last Friday), lots of co-pays and prescriptions for medical stuff for me….

What do the number say?  Unfortunately, the numbers don’t help much.  Not working would be tight.  I can’t quite parse if it would be uncomfortably tight, or workably tight.  Of course, my working would be extra money  and then things would not be so tight.  Or I could defer my student loans for a little while. Maybe I should have bought a Powerball ticket last week. <sigh>

So…here I am, left in the same place that I started.  Keep working or take a break?  I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

Honestly, I think I would do better not working for a little while.  But like I said, I just don’t know what to do.

Detour #2

Detour #2

No mandala today, I am too tired and I don’t really have a mandala in me.

Yesterday was supposed to be a normal work day….But right when I left for work my tachycardia kicked in again. I went to work anyway expecting that it would settle on its own…But it didn’t.  One hour went by, two, then three and four…And I was feeling tired and starting to feel kind of weak and I could tell that my heart rate was really booking it…So, I asked one of the nurses to do a manual blood pressure (I don’t trust those machines) and check my heart rate.  Let’s just say…..things were crazy high…at that point my heart rate had spiked to 180 (had been running 120-145 most of the morning) and my blood pressure was 180/100…I have never had BP that high!  And I wasn’t feeling particularly anxious (i.e. not an anxiety attack.)

The nurse told me that I was not allowed out of the chair that I was sitting in and that I needed to go right to the ER.  So….I got to go in an ambulance to the ER.  And….more bloodwork, more EKGs, more IV fluids and….Still nothing conclusive.  I won’t complain too much as they ruled out cardiac stuff (for the moment anyway) which is a relief.  But still…What is going on?

This ER doctor was better. He listened to me and he didn’t try to give me lorazepam.  I like doctors who actually make eye contact with me and listen to what I am saying.

So…I am supposed to be getting a call from Cardiology today and be set up for a Holter monitor (you wear it for a day or two and it records your heart function) and then…We’ll see. Hopefully, this will all get straightened out soon…I am out of veins for IVs and I am kind done with the whole ER thing.

My PNP has been great…She has been available and trying to trouble shoot this from the psych med angle as well as medical possibilities…I really, really appreciate her support. I hate taking up peoples’ weekend/vacation time and she hasn’t seemed put out at all.

The only downfall about the whole thing is that work is a huge gossip mill.  So, being taken out by EMTs on a stretcher in front of multiple colleagues and patients and family of patients and the social worker….I will be the talk of the town for days.  Plus, I had to spill my med list and other personal info (anxiety/depression) to the EMTs and I know that a couple of people overheard.  <sigh>  Not much I can do about it…an emergency is an emergency…Hopefully, people will remember that HIPPA applies to co-workers too! (They won’t…but I can fantasize.)

And lastly…When it was time to leave the ER and I was peeling off the EKG stickers…and finding more and more and more and more….I collected them all and stuffed them in my pocket so I could bring them home and count them (because I like to know these things). Between the stickers from the ambulance and the ones in the ER, I had 17.  Craziness!


Exhaustion and Sleeves and Food/Eating & Shame and Flower Bulbs



Last night, I was beyond tired.  I don’t know if it was the stress of Christmas Eve and Christmas catching up with me, or if it is from decreasing my Fetzima dose or what…But I was so tired I was in bed at about quarter to seven and I slept until about quarter past 6.  11 and 1/2 hours!!!  I never sleep that long!


The bruises on my arms from the IV and blood draw in the ER are pretty big…One is quarter sized, but the other is half dollar sized.  And they are dark and really show.  I am not happy and I hope they are gone by tomorrow when I have to go to work.  I never wear long sleeves to work and I don’t even have a long sleeve shirt that is compliant with the uniform.  I also have a bruise on the back of my hand (from the first blood draw attempt.)  And to top it off, I have a pretty big bruise on another spot on my arm (I think maybe from falling in yoga?).  I am pretty much the worse for wear.  <sigh>  I’m hoping for miraculously quick healing!

Food/Eating And Shame

I realize that I have been talking about my food issues on my blog a lot recently.  If my blog topics are any reflection of the amount of time I spend thinking about a particular issue, then it makes sense my food issues are getting more blog time lately.

Also…since the AT is gone forever on his vacation, I don’t have any Art Therapy inspired thoughts to share.  And since I never talk about food or food issues in Art Therapy, it makes sense that since he is gone, I feel like I can talk about that stuff.

Why don’t I talk about that stuff with him?  Shame.  Plain and simple.  It is way too shameful to bring it up and then to look at it. (Because you know you can never just bring something up in therapy…it has to be processed and discussed.)  I do talk about my food stuff with my PNP as we have broached it in the past and I don’t quite feel like I am going to die of shame to talk about it more.  That said, we skirt the heavy emotional stuff and mostly talk about the medical stuff.  And the Nutritionist…Well…I still burn from shame in there…But seeing her and not talking about food stuff would be sort of pointless…She is after all a nutritionist! And that makes the shame tolerable.  But with her, I don’t get into all the feelings stuff either, I really just gloss over it.

So, the one person who would be most helpful to discuss it all with, the AT?  In his presence, I am paralyzed by shame and can’t even broach the topic. I have pretty much no shame tolerance with him at all.   It’s my fucked up brain screwing me again.  If I talked to him, I would build some tolerance, but since I can’t, I perpetuate the shame.

Funny…I was going to talk about my eating issues today, but I feel a little guarded about it so I think I will let it go for today.  And I didn’t expect to talk about how shame impacts my ability to talk about this stuff in therapy….Must be the shame is a bigger issue than I realized.  I guess that doesn’t really surprise me.

Flower Bulbs

I want to talk about something totally different now.

So, we have been having the craziest mild weather for December.  These snowy hinterlands are not snowy at all!  Because of this, I was able to get my bulbs into the ground on Thursday morning.  I planted some tulip bulbs, red, yellow and purple which I am pretty excited about.  I also planted crocuses (croci).  Little crocus faces popping out of the snow in the very early spring are one of the most uplifting sights of the season.  Pretty much everyone one has them, some nicely planted in flower beds, but many just pop up here and there on people’s lawns. I realized last year that I didn’t have any crocuses anywhere on our property.  Clearly, that needed fixing!  I only planted about 3 dozen crocus bulbs…another 6 or 7 dozen would suit me just fine!! J  Next fall, I will plant more.  And hopefully I won’t procrastinate until mid-December to get them finally planted!!




Christmas Stress and The Art Therapist (Again) and Christmas Gifts and Workity Work


Christmas Stress

9-13 (Yup, this one is super old!)

We do not drink at our house.  I think I was smart enough as a younger adult to realize that the lure of alcohol might be too tempting for me.  And I also never acquired a taste for it…It all kind of tastes like nail polish remover to me.  Dh has no interest in imbibing either…And ds is a product of our habits and had a good head on his shoulders, so he does not drink either.  (Mind you…he is not old enough to drink yet…not that that seems to stop his peers.)

So, it was a near scandal when I went into the liquor store attached to the grocery store and came out with a large bottle of vodka.  I could see it in ds’ face…And then I could see the realization and he said to me, “You’re going to make vanilla.”

Indeed.  I have started some vanilla for holiday gift giving.  I dislike Christmas and pretty much everything about it…from the blatant consumerism, to the tug-of-war between my parents and my MIL, to the fact that it is one of a handful of times each year when I cannot escape the family obligations.  Dh and I have hijacked Thanksgiving and Easter and now hosting them at our house (Which makes them sooo much better…I wish we did it years ago.) But Christmas…We have to go to our respective parents’ houses.

But…I wandered off topic….Vanilla.  Vanilla is about the easiest gift to make. You need a bottle of liquor (vodka, rum or bourbon) some vanilla beans (easy to order from Amazon) and some time.  I prefer glass bottles of vodka, somehow the plastic bottles seem too unnatural for my precious vanilla.  You cut up your vanilla beans, plop them into the liquor and shove it in the back of a cupboard for a few months, giving it an occasional shake to mix it up.  Eventually, I will order little glass bottles (Amazon again) and bottle up my vanilla into gift-giving size.

I am doing vanilla because I don’t feel like playing the consumer game this year.  This year will be a homemade Christmas.  I plan on making some vanilla sugar and orange sugar to go with my vanilla…add in a few hand-crafted items and I will have lovely little baskets to put together to appease the relatives.

The one saving grace about Christmas is that my little nuclear family does not celebrate Christmas.  Yes, we get together with our parents…but it is their holiday, not ours.  By the time December 25th has come, we have already had our celebration and have been able to enjoy it and our time together without the fucked-up dynamics of our extended family.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t make Christmas easier for me…It just means our holiday celebration is not tainted too.

The Art Therapist (Again)  (Today’s Actual Post)

I am aware that my last couple of posts have been about the dynamics of my relationship with the AT.  I’m not sure why that’s been on my mind so much lately, but clearly it has been.  I guess I get frustrated that I still struggle with trust….I mean, I have been seeing him for ten months now…I ought to have pulled myself together to be able to trust him all the way.  Sometimes, I just don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I guess I should push myself harder and take some of those leaps of faith and maybe try talking to him about some of the things that I am loathe to talk about with him…Maybe that will help build trust?  I just don’t know what the right thing to do is.

Christmas Gifts

So, as an addendum to the above old post…I have put together quite the assortment of homemade Christmas gifts for our parents.  I have my vanilla and vanilla sugar and orange sugar.  Then I also have candles and some jar mixes (gingerbread pancakes, brownies and cookies) and soaps and ornaments I made in pottery class.  For my parents, I have some dog biscuit mixes and dog treats.  My MIL has a cat and I haven’t quite figured out a cat treat recipe that will work, but I am still working on it.  I don’t think I need to add much more to the baskets, at this point, they are pretty full!

Workity Work

Another day of work.  New Guy doesn’t work on Sundays, so I don’t have to worry about him.  But Maternity Mom does work on Sundays and I adore her…so that will be a treat to see her.  SS usually works on Sundays and I would have liked to have worked with her as well, but she is taking the day off which is why I got asked to work.

Work has been going okay…It hasn’t been too stressful.  I need to dig out an article and post it, it does a good job explaining my frustrations with work and why I have to minimize my exposure…Lemme see if I can find it.  Here it is.  The Personal and Professional Cost of High Productivity In the Skilled Nursing Rehab Setting.  It is a lengthy read…but well worth it, in my opinion, especially if you want to understand my frustration with work.  The one thing about working per diem is that I don’t seem to be as tightly under the watchful eye of the productivity police…for that I am thankful!

Oh…and when I was working full time…I think this really summarized how I felt:  (And I really wanted to get this to hang over my desk…but I knew it would get me in more trouble than it was worth!)






I’m not sure I have much to say today.  I feel like bursting into tears.  And I am tired because I was awake between 3:30 and 4:15 (ds got up and went to the bathroom at 3:30 and when he closed his door it startled me awake) and then I was up for good at 4:50.  I felt irritable the second half of Saturday and all day yesterday and I might still be irritable this morning.  I have AT and I am feeling frustrated about not making more progress.  I work today, but have not idea of how long (she never tells me ahead of time…Could be for 3 hours, could be for 7 or anywhere in between).  And it is pitch black out and cold with some snow.  And the dogs are nagging me for breakfast, but it isn’t time yet.

Yup…It’s very possible that I might be grumpy on this Monday morning.  It’s likely that will level off some as I get moving and have some breakfast.  And I won’t/can’t be grumpy at work, so I will have it under control by 9:15.  I can be grumpy at Art Therapy, but it’s kind of counter-productive, so hopefully, I will have it under control by 8.

K…Best way to combat grumpiness? Cuteness!  Here’s a picture of the little dog under the tree waiting for Santa.  ❤





Death at Work


Death at Work

Yesterday at work, the last patient I saw was dying.  If she is lucky, she will be dead by Monday….If not, I hope that it will be soon after that…She is a very nice woman who has metastasized cancer invading her brain.  And she is aware of her rapid physical and mental decline…It was very sad.  The one benefit of working per diem is that I am not there frequently enough to develop strong attachments to the patients…So it makes it a little easier when they die…Especially because there is no time allowed at work to mourn the losses.

When I worked full-time, about one out of every half dozen or so of the deaths would hit me hard.  Honestly, many of the folks are so near the end of life, or have had such declines in quality of life with no chance of getting better and for them, death is really and truly the best thing.  And many of them want to die…not in a suicidal kind of way, but they are ready to die and ready for leaving this world. But it is still hard when you have developed a relationship with someone and with their family.

Two summers ago, I did some work for a nursing agency and I was working as a personal caregiver.  One of the things they asked me was what I thought about working with hospice clients…And the woman who asked said that it was something she would never be able to do.  I didn’t bat an eye and I told her it would not be an issue for me at all.  I have lots of experience with death and dying from my “real” job (I was on a hiatus from my “real” job at that point and that is why I was working with the agency.)  Not only have I supported the patients, but I have been there and seen how death impacts families…how they deal with the imminent death of their loved one, and their tears after….And I have hugged them and mourned the loss with them. Death and hospice work…It’s just another part of life.  It doesn’t scare me, it doesn’t bother me…and honestly, there is something about that kind of work that seems sacred…and a privilege to be a part of.

As I type this, I am thinking of some of the deaths at work that impacted me….Some were because of the genuine loss of the person.  Some were because of the kindness family extended to me and some were because of the beauty of the death.  And I think I will always carry those moments with me.

I dunno…I’m not sure why I am dumping this today on my blog…Must be it needed saying.

Therapy & Work and Yoga and A Little Book


Therapy & Work.

Excited about therapy. (Yup…you heard that right!) I feel like I have turned a corner since Monday, so I am ready for the next step. Welll…it might have to be a baby step (there’s only so much I can handle!)….but I am ready!

Not excited about work.  Especially since a couple of patients I really liked died over the weekend.  Occupational hazard when you work in geriatrics….People die quite frequently.


Yoga was great yesterday.  She challenged my body in ways that I was sure I would not be able to do, but I did them!  Yay me!

I also took some time before we started with the yoga to touch base with the Yoga Instructor about the issues I have been working through (depression, anxiety, ptsd) and that I was hoping yoga would be another helpful modality for me. (I just want to point out that that was super brave of me.)  And she was, as always, kind and thoughtful in her response.

Hmmm…maybe this courage thing is starting to sink in!!  Or…as I said recently, I do hard things.  I just never realized that meant I am courageous!!!

A Little Book

I made a little book yesterday…Just something simple…but I have an idea in mind as to using it for/in Art Therapy.