Dealing with disappointment in clinical

Monday, I got to observe a cesarean section. I saw a tiny little peanut enter this world. It was messy and involved more fluids/tugging than I would have thought, but the second baby girl was out none of the “yuck” mattered. The tone of the room shifted as the nurses and doctors talked about how long her toes were, her perfect lips, and her curly hair. It was amazing that there was suddenly this new human being, the one her parents had dreamed about for months. The miracle of birth and experiencing so many new things should have been more than enough energy and excitement to get me through the day. The nurse I was assigned to actually gave me the tasks of 15 min vitals checks, the hourly assessment, and generally helping out in any way possible. My confidence grew because she could trust me and I was competent. That stopped once another nurse told my professor the patient was no longer wanting a student (aka me) to be a part of her care.

I wanted to cry. I didn’t consider any of the million reasons she could have made that decision. Instead, I decided that it was ME. I did something wrong, so wrong that she didn’t even tell me herself that she wanted to be left alone. I was a failure of a nurse. I am not competent. I annoyed her and said the wrong things. I didn’t make her feel comfortable. I was too peppy or shy or awkward. I was so focused on this belief that I had no room to consider other options, even when evidence arose.

I can separate this out better now, so I want to do that. I don’t need to believe these automatic negative thoughts just because they exist and seem true in the moment.

Evidence against these beliefs: my nurse continued to teach me and involved me in med preparation, my professor telling me that I had done a great job today, doing super well on charting and everything, positive responses from patients in the past.

One thing that really helped snap me out of it was a conversation with my mom. I called her, like almost every day, to let her know how things went. I told her about the incident and how down I felt about it. She immediately fought back with other reasons that the mom would request me to leave: emotional, sick of being at the hospital, tired, cranky, had visitors, didn’t want to be touched any more than necessary, wanted to avoid the questionnaire I mentioned. Those few minutes we spent talking about it helped me to realize that there wasn’t just one logical explanation. I’ll never know for sure why she made the decision, but I have to accept that I’m not some terrible person no matter what her reasoning was.

I have to remind myself that I am a student and I will make mistakes, tons of em. That’s why I’m a student. I am learning, not just the book stuff. I have to apply that to real people and situations, which is way different. I’ll have good days and bad, but I have already learned from when things haven’t gone well in the past. I am going to be a nurse one day and I won’t get there without stumbling because it’s part of the process.

I don’t want that small part of my day to linger and ruin the experience I had. Spending time in guilt and shame that I don’t deserve only brings more self-defeating behaviors. I have to move on and keep going.

Taxes and self-worth

It may see pretty odd that I would group these two things together, but it’s actually a big realization I had following this past weekend. Right now we’re in prime tax filing season in the US. I am no expert on taxes or anything, but the part I do understand is deductions. Whatever deductions you have will lower taxable income and increase taxes you get back. You can itemize deductions and get more back if you have enough over a certain threshold. Examples of deductions include donations to charity, having dependents or children, and medical/dental expenses. The goal then is to find as many areas to qualify for this since you can receive more money back.

My dad was working on our taxes Saturday when he called me into the bedroom. Originally, he wanted to try using medical expenses I paid to get taxes back based on my taxes, but I didn’t make enough income for that.

I knew that medical would be an example of deductions, and we have paid an insane amount of money this past year towards my treatment. I’m talking thousands of dollars (and we still have a dept, but anyways). When I found out that we could possibly get more money based on that amount, I went into overdrive. I spent at least 2 hours pouring through all of my payments towards IOP, the one for PHP, and residential. Once I had that number, I needed to subtract out what we did through insurance so it wasn’t counted twice. It was a super long process, but I had this intense need to do it. Ulltimately, my parents will receive double the refund of what they were supposed to before medical came into the picture.

There was a part of me that wanted to do this only to help them out. More money means more security, less stress, etc. What I’ve realized is that my drive to work so hard wasn’t entirely a healthy thing.

I feel like I need to do something in return for every way I’ve harmed my parents. They had to deal with all of the stress that comes along with loving someone who has mental illness. I tried my best to prevent it, but they did share the burden of medical expenses. Because I wasn’t able to work, I needed help with things like gas and insurance. These situations and many more are proof that I must be a burden. I try to fight those thoughts, but it’s difficult when there’s all of this “evidence right in front of me.

Helping them in this way reduced some of my guilt. I can’t be that bad if they get something back for dealing with me. I still feel terrible, and maybe I always will. Even if it’s not in a healthy way, my contribution here has increased my self-worth in the tiniest way. If I had instead failed to get a deduction after all they do for me, it would have multiplied the opposite.

I don’t want to be defined by how much I can “repay” others. That’s quite obviously not a healthy view of myself and makes my self-worth completely dependent on acts of service. While doing things for others can benefit me in the short-term, it will quickly become an issue. I need to build genuine compassion for myself so I can reduce this guilt and shame I constantly experience.

I loved how I felt after helping out with taxes; however, shortly after I went right back to self-loathing and negativity. My goal (which is far from easy) is to write and look at often reasons why I matter, am a good person, deserve love, etc. I am trying to believe that I deserve this grace, no matter how much I feel like I’ve failed.

Down, down, down

Warning: do not read this unless you can safely handle a ton of negativity. No ED stuff or SH, just feeling really really bad currently.

I am miserable right now. I’m still not currently ready to talk about all of it. I haven’t told a soul all that’s going on in my head right now. I haven’t even explained all that’s going on outside of myself. I can’t just sit in these thoughts without breaking down. I’ve cried a majority of the time I wasn’t at work or with others. I’m isolating. I feel like hurting myself in a lot of ways, although the only I’ve acted out is mental torture. I have never felt this kind of pain. I would rather have pectus surgery ten times over than have all these thoughts.

I know this is all going to be vague, I’m doing that on purpose. Specifics don’t matter. If I wanted to type it all out I would be crying and probably end up giving myself a panic attack. I know this because it’s happened already trying to write this post. So in no specificity whatsoever, I feel like my entire future is pointless, I am pushing away from basically everyone, I am absolutely terrified, I have no control over 99% of what could/is going to happen, I feel really hurt, my entire purpose is gone, I am so alone, I am having worse thoughts than a few months ago or ever really.

Not just one thing set this all off. It’s been building for a long time but then the floodgates of disordered thinking and all of it opened up last week and I haven’t been able to stop it more than a little bit at a time. Work is the only time I’m distracted enough to ignore everything. I’m so thankful to have worked three days this week so far and I’m scheduled two more, then five next week. The problem is, the second I get home, or even if I pause at work, it all comes rushing back. I feel so unstable and out of control. I thought it might get better over time but I was wrong. I don’t feel any better. In a lot of ways it’s worse. I can’t even begin to see ways I can stop this. I can’t see a future. I don’t know what to do and i’m rejecting all help.

If something doesn’t change it isn’t going to be good. I’m already intent on ruining everything I care about and all the people I am close to and my future. I don’t even want to go to college or talk to anyone (except Livvy because she is the only one who basically 100% gets it or at least tries the best she can). All I can do is see where this gets me because I don’t plan on trying to get it any better right now.

This is not a Pows & Wows

I just honestly don’t feel like doing one right now. Maybe next week or something. What  I DO want to talk about today is my current state.

Jenny said it in session today. I believe it. I’m spiraling downward, and pretty fast. There’s so much going on in my life (Grandpa doing poorly, school, family drama, parents so stressed out they can’t deal with me, etc) and I’ve resorted to a lack of caring about myself. I’m not eating enough. I’m eating even less than I was at some points this summer. I’m hiding everything from everyone. I’m not reaching out to support. I feel really hopeless.

Jenny told me that if I continue she will put me into Forest View. I was angry to hear that. I absolutely cannot go back there right now. If I don’t finish school my parents will kick me out. If I don’t go to Calvin next fall they will kick me out. Failure is not an option. Even if they didn’t have these views I still wouldn’t be willing to go to treatment in the middle of the semester. I am almost done. There’s no way.

I am terrified. I don’t know whether I should just lie and keep going until May or if this could give me a little motivation to do better. I don’t need this fear to add to everything else. I mean yeah I am a tiny bit afraid of getting even worse, but I’m way more afraid that someone is going to find out and/or do something about it.

Apologies for the negativity and if this doesn’t really make sense. It is how it is.

What I (probably) won’t share in therapy tomorrow

Fair warning: this is going to be negative. As always I’ll do my best to stay away from triggering info.

I’ve been dealing with some really crappy thoughts lately. And by lately I mean the past forever. I ignore them usually (smart, right?) and haven’t mentioned them to anyone. I feel like now is a good time to talk about them so I don’t have to in therapy.

My lovely disordered thoughts are definitely changing. Before I would have extreme guilt and self-hate thoughts after eating and also before I ate. This would cause me to restrict heavily then feel bad even eating a tiny bit. Now that I’m all fully committed to recovery I have been eating better, but not really for good reasons. Basically it’s only because I feel extreme guilt letting my mom, Livvy, etc down. In doing this I am creating way more negative thoughts than I could have. It gets to the point where I hate myself and my new body and all of the gross foods I’m eating but I just don’t care about myself enough to change a thing.

The thoughts I’m dealing with now suck. I hate myself 100% of every single day. I can’t think about much else. I don’t even have confidence in things I normally would, like my ability to be a youth leader. Mirrors, old pictures, getting dressed, really anything can be a trigger. Once I head down the negative route it just doesn’t stop.If I’m being honest, I have had suicidal ones lately too. It’s not really wanting to do anything but more feeling like I should be dead. If someone told me I was going to die tomorrow I really wouldn’t care… I know there are people who love me (I don’t get why though) but it really doesn’t make a difference. I’m sick of who I am and who I’m becoming. I would rather not burden anyone anymore.

Well that’s the end of negative thoughts for the night. No way I’m sharing it with Jenny tomorrow. I haven’t told a single health professional about any of the suicidalish thoughts since… Susan maybe? So it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, that’s for sure!

I know certain members of my support would probably yell at me if/when they read this so let’s hope they don’t.