Tannenbaum

December 13, 2013

Randy brought the Christmas decorations down from the attic.  We haven’t had a tree in a couple of years, so they’ve been up there for awhile.  All I can think is:

He’s just brought the mice to the cats.  Yay.

I cant’ wait to have a tree again, though.  Ever since I visited my dying grandmother in her Hutterite community and had an early, mini-Christmas celebration with her, I’ve wanted to do this.  She’s German, so her tree was decorated with hand-made golden walnuts and stars, and real candles.  We sang a few Christmas carols, and my uncle read an old German Christmas story.  It reminded me of childhood Christmas visits to my grandparents’ home, and that evening has stayed with me.  My grandmother lingers, I’m told, though she continues to fade away.  Bringing Christmas into my home this year feels like a way to remain connected for as long as I can.

We’ll pick up the tree on Tuesday, and I’ll post pictures when it’s up.

 

Mirror Mirror

December 11, 2013

I’m dealing with a friend who is annoying the crap out of me lately.  She presumes to know me and what I’m thinking, complains constantly and thinks it’s cute or funny, makes excuses not to do what she knows she needs to do in order to improve her situation, but doesn’t.

In other words, she’s me.

How irritating.

Break

December 9, 2013

Alright, a couple of med changes and end of the semester later, I’m here.  I was depressed, but put on a med that could aggravate depression because the doctor thought it would treat the ongoing autoimmune itchiness thing.  Oddly, it generated a manic episode instead.  It was almost instant.  I was pulled off of that, and am being titrated off of the medication I take for bipolar.  It can cause rash, so she wanted to eliminate it as a potential cause.  It isn’t causing the rash.  She’s trying me on a newer medication for bipolar, one which treats both ends of the spectrum rather than one pole or the other.  I think it’s actually working.  I’m a lot more easy going and social, something I haven’t been in years.  On the other hand, it could just be burned out from school and happy that it’s winter break.

Either way, I’m in a good space at the moment.  If only I could get the itching to stop!  Three years is a bit much.

Getting Flattened

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October 15, 2013

Still depressed, I went to school where I was promptly made to watch a documentary about 4 people at end-stages of alcoholism; they were dying.  I was either those people (the words coming out of their mouths were my own, and I had begun a physical decline by the time I quit), or was/am friends with them.  I’ve lost friends who couldn’t stop drinking or drugging, or those who died after many years sober due to lingering physiological damage sustained during years of drinking.  I had to watch this video, deal with my personal reactions, then listen to my classmates’ shocked responses.

Fun.

Then I came home and began my readings for another class.  These centered on rape.

More fun.

It’s time to watch football, I think, while there’s still something left of me.

Fighting It

1
October 13, 2013

I’ve come to realize that I’m in the midst of depression.  I’ve known that something hasn’t been right with me for a few months now.  Initially I was a little hypomanic.  Somewhere along the way, though, I went in the opposite direction.  It’s a fight just to do the normal, daily things.  School is sliding a little, which adds to my lack of self-esteem.  I had a midterm the other day and, for the first time since high school, I looked at it and completely blanked.  I could have answered most of those questions in my sleep up until the moment she set it down in front of me.  Then… just gone.  I’m fairly confident that I failed.  I was devastated, and still can’t stand to think about it.  My only comfort is that almost everyone else struggled with it, too.  At any rate, I drove home in abject misery Thursday night, just trying to hold myself together.  That’s when I realized just how much I’ve been off, and for so long.  I desperately wanted to be somewhere else, far away, by myself.  In the mountains, by a river, lake or ocean.  Somewhere in nature where I could just be.  I need to find myself again, find my peace.  Unfortunately it was night, and I don’t actually feel safe by myself anymore.  I’m stuck.

This is a soul-sucking state of being.

I hate when every day is a struggle.  All I want to do is curl up on the couch and tune out the world, but I have school work to finish, people to see, relationships to engage in.  Thank God for Randy.  He holds me, lets me know that no matter what, he loves me and it’s all going to be alright.  I need those reassurances sometimes.  I keep fighting, keep pushing forward.  I know I’ll pull through, but it’s painful in the meantime.

However, in the spirit of overcoming, I’ll log off now and get some work done.

Just The Way We Are

October 5, 2013

As I caught up with friends’ blogs today, a theme emerged.  Several said that they don’t post often because they worry that they’re boring.   They worry about what their readers will think of them.

I have the same problem.

The thing is, what these people share – the little details of their lives, or the thoughts chasing around their heads no matter how trivial – fascinate me.  I want to hear about your lives, or I wouldn’t be your friend in the first place.  You don’t need wildly exciting things to happen in order for me to care.  It’s the little things that make me feel close to you, though chances are we’ve never met.  So tell me all about your Great-Aunt Sally who farted and cleared out the room, allowing you to sneak the last piece of apple pie which you wisely chose to consume outdoors in the clean, fresh air.

Sometimes when I go to tie my shoes, the process looks wrong and I have to stop and think about it for a moment.  Boring enough for you?  But you read it, and I bet for a split second you thought about what it’s like to tie your own shoes, if you have any with laces.  I love my Chucks, but the laces are so long that I have to double-tie them.  Even so, they always come untied.  So irritating.

I don’t like my furniture, or my area rug, which incidentally needs vacuuming.

I have to flea bomb the house tomorrow, which is going to be massively inconvenient.  It will, however, kill the fleas.  That’s another thing: I hate killing anything, including annoying insects.  I feel bad.  I do it anyway.  I also try to avoid running over caterpillars as they cross the road, or the masses of frogs who appear on the road during a rainstorm.  Lord I hate that.

I love Jason Aldean’s music, but can’t stand the man.  This creates quite a dilemma for me.  I hate that I love his songs.

BTW, I’m into country music again, in addition to various other genres.  Get over it.

My  nose occasionally runs, but I don’t.

I still haven’t gotten beyond p. 141 of 50 Shades.  I really should get on that.

Still with me?  You haven’t run off?  You’re not asking yourself why you read my blog?

See, wildly exciting things don’t have to happen.  Even run-of-the-mill exciting things don’t have to happen.  You still like me, right?  And if you don’t, you can just piss off along with those who already left.  So there.

I’ve decided that I just don’t care.  You’ll either love me as I am, or you won’t.  I’ll continue to blog my inanities and you’ll read me, or you won’t.  It’s up to you, really.

As for me, I’ll continue to check in with you and see if your significant other has a painful hangnail.  Who knows what series of events may ensue?

 

 

Reality Bites (which is good because I can’t)

October 4, 2013

Let’s see.

Found out that I could have diagnosed Bruce’s mother rather than Bruce, as I wanted.  Oh well.

I had dental work done on Wednesday and was fine.  After all, I’d been loaded up with Novocaine.  By the end of the day, the Novocaine began to wear off, and I felt sore.  I expected that, so no big deal.  I took some ibuprofen and got on with my night.  It was a fun one.  I went to the 50th anniversary of the first AA meeting that I ever went to.  I was able to visit with people I hadn’t seen in years.  It was great!  Came home, blah blah blah… bed.

Then 9 AM came around, and I woke up in excruciating pain.  I desperately wanted ibuprofen, but that meant having to get out of bed, something I really didn’t want to do as it involved moving.  It took over an hour of suffering before I was finally able to pull myself together enough to get up and medicate.  I was miserable all day.  But I know that because I am malnourished, I take longer to heal and pain can linger.  I had a practicum preview at school last night, providing us with info for our practicums in summer.  This was supposed to be followed by my appraisal class, but I just couldn’t make it to the latter.  The prof took one look at me and excused me.  I came home, curled up and whimpered for the rest of the night.  Randy brought me flowers, sweet man.

I woke up today feeling a little better, though still in pain.  I got to share the wealth, so to speak, by bringing the cats to the vet.  Now everyone in the family except Randy has been traumatized in the past 24 hrs; for all that he does, he deserves the exemption.

We have fleas, but have treatment for the cats and plan to bomb the house.  Flea bombs, not incendiary devices.  Not that I would object to that, per se.  Destroy and rebuild.  Might be easier.

Ok, off to do other things now.  Or not.  Maybe I’ll just curl up and whimper again.  It’s a coin toss.

I Should Introduce Bruce to the Fleas

October 2, 2013

Right.  That was fun.

I’ll post the case I was working on, because it’s both simple and complicated and it’s just easier to do ye olde copy and paste.  Look for it at the end.   I spent days working this case.  I had to assess, diagnose, and treat the kid.  His symptoms didn’t match up well with any of the DSM-5 diagnoses, so it was a bitch.  None of us in class are happy with our conclusions; we just did the best we could.  My copy of the DSM, which I’ve only had for a couple of months, is on its way to being bound by duct tape.  Before I was done with the case, I’d taken calling 6 yr. old Bruce “Damien,” as in The Omen.  I referred to him as Damien so many times while discussing him with classmates that I almost called him that when I did my write-up!  But it’s done.  I’ve turned it in.  I can move on.

Now I have to deal with fleas.  The cats are going to the vet on Friday to be treated, and the house will be flea bombed at the same time.  We went through this last year around this time, too.  I hate fleas.

BUT

I don’t have class again until Thursday night, so I can do whatever I want tonight.  In between squashing fleas of course.

***********************************************

Bruce is an attractive 6 year old boy whose mother brought him to the emergency room because she was frightened that she could prevent the child from setting fires, which he had done several times in the last year and a half.  Although he had so far managed to put out all the fires he set himself, his mother was afraid that he would set the house afire while she and his sister were asleep. She complained that he was sneaky about setting the fires, making it impossible for her to control him or to know how many fires he had actually set.

 Bruce says that he has set fires because a “man in my head tells me to.”  This “man” stays in his room when he is awake and “goes away when he is asleep. The man makes a noise (“brr”), which Bruce interprets as a command to “set fires.” He is afraid to talk to anyone about the man or not to obey his commands, “because he might beat me up.” His mother apparently does not take the voice seriously, stating that Bruce has offered a variety of different reasons for setting fires, depending on to whom he was talking. Both agree that he sets fires in retaliation against his mother when he is angry with her.

 Bruce has been fascinated with setting fires for the last 2 years. His mother remembers that he and a friend set the first fire by burning holes in the plastic sheets on his and his sister’s beds. His mother found out about the incident later and reacted by hitting him on his hands and telling him how dangerous fires were. During the next fire-setting incident, Bruce used a lighter to try to burn a door frame that his mother had just painted. This time he was not hit, but was forbidden to ride his bicycle for a week. His mother was sleeping during a third episode, in which he set the garbage on fire with a table lighter. He then took a broom and beat out the fire. His mother awoke to a funny smell and remembers that he was running allover the house in a peculiar manner. She related this incident with amusement at the child’s antics.

 The last two fires had taken place 3 weeks previously, when Bruce first tried to burn a dishtowel on a gas flame. After he burned the fringe, he rolled up the towel and threw it in the garbage. His mother, who was just outside the apartment at the time, sent him to bed and later explained to him again about the dangers of fire setting. During the last incident, he took a stretch monster toy that was kept in a styrofoam box and burned holes with a lighter on the sides of the box that corresponded to the monster’s arms and feet.

 Apart from these incidents, his mother remembers that Bruce would often find matches or go into the bathroom with a lighter and try to smoke. His mother has talked to him at length about fires, how they get bigger with alcohol, and can be put out with water. He becomes excited during these discussions, but then promises never again to play with fire.

At the present time, his mother reports, Bruce is unhappy in school and misses his former friends from the neighborhood the family moved from 3 months before this evaluation. She says that he has made no new friends outside school, and that he and his sister complain frequently of boredom.

 Aside from the fire setting, there is no history of any other aggressive or antisocial behavior. His mother reports that Bruce has been difficult to discipline, but mainly because he ignores her. Bruce’s schoolteacher was surprised to hear of his fire setting. She described him as a lovely, bright, obedient child who played and worked well with both the teacher and his peers. Upon further inquiry, she could say only that at times he was a little “wild” in his play.

 Bruce lives with  his l0-year-old sister and 26-year-old mother, who herself was hospitalized as an adolescent after she had been truant from school for 7 months in retaliation for her mother’s remarriage. In an initial discussion with the interviewer, she acknowledged that at times she becomes violently angry, to the point where she is unable to control herself.

 The findings of Bruce’s physical examination were within normal limits except for the second-degree burn on his hand, which his mother initially said came from her attempts to “teach him that fire hurts” by insisting that he put his hand in a gas flame. (She later denied this, but Bruce insisted that she had done it.)

 When interviewed, Bruce was somewhat guarded and distrustful at first. This seemed to be a manifestation of shyness and fear of what his mother would do or say. Over the course of several evaluation sessions, Bruce’s play revolved around themes of fires getting bigger and out of control.  He knows that he can get burned and that a big fire could burn his house and that “ I woulddie.” When talking about fires, his affect was either inappropriate  (laughter) or blunted. When discussing the “man” and his command hallucinations, Bruce seemed to be genuinely frightened, as if he regarded the man as real and threatening. He denied suicidal ideation, although his mother reported that he had recently said that he wished to die.

Hold Up

October 1, 2013

Don’t worry… haven’t forgotten this blog again, just been super busy with a case analysis.  Tell you about it later.  I’m about to be late for class.  See how important you are to me? 😉