Posted in Uncategorized

I Am Miserable- three months after moving back home with my parents

It’s extremely depressing to realize you currently have nothing to live for. My mood is a fucking roller coaster. It is exhausting and always refreshingly strong in its mania and depression.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For…

So, I realized why I’m so miserable since I came home from my year-long internship in Puerto Rico. (Believe me, I was miserable there too, but in a different way.) I have nothing to live for. I don’t have anything going for me in my life. I thought this is what I wanted. I thought I could use several months to reset and improve my life. To focus on myself and in a sense set myself up for success when I ultimately begin my career. Nope. That did not work.

I’ve been back at my parent’s home since July. It’s been three months. Feels like so much longer. I hate the emptiness. I thought I wanted to be free of school and work stress. I dread getting a job, because people stress me out. I can’t live without anything at stake though. I’ve gone from one extreme to the next and every day I feel like I’m worse off. I had the opportunity to move to West Texas with a friend and I decided against that because my father in a heartfelt moment told me “you’ve suffered so much already”. He pretty much told me to take a long deserved break. That got to me.

 

Another Flashback to my Less than Perfect Childhood. Boo Hoo. Feel Free to Skip; You’ve Read This All Before.

Thinking back, my life has been as easy as an unfortunate life can be. By age ten I was used to the idea that I had to look after myself. Moreover, I felt responsibility for my family (my mother, brother, and father). By 14 and for the entirety of my high school years, I felt little to nothing. I was practically a kid. My mind was older, sage and self sacrificing and my body was grossly overweight like a middle aged woman, but my age was young. Too young for how I went about life and how it treated me.

I felt almost nothing those years. I remember admitting aloud that I did not feel love from my parents nor did I have feelings of love for them, but from my behavior you would not have been able to tell. They were my obligation. Fact, not feeling. I helped in anyway I could. Ways that shouldn’t have been asked of me and, to be fair, ways that were not asked of me.

 

Why I’m Obsessed with Achievements and Why I am a Masochist

But that is who I was. Who I still am, if these last three months mean anything. I tried to keep them happy. As happy as they could be, given the circumstances. I felt like their protector. I felt strong and learned to enjoy that spark of a high. If nothing else made me feel anything, being responsible for my family made me feel accomplished. Well, not that I could really feel that then. That may be why it did something for me. I didn’t have to feel it. It was evident. On paper and not in my heart, it was clear my playing the part of comedian, translator, perfect daughter, etc. was an accomplishment.

That’s how I learned the intoxicating power of selflessness. Of putting myself last. Of suffering for the health of others. And liking it. So, yes, to all of my friends who have come to know me personally and have asked me why I put so much on my plate or why I’m such a masochist. I finally have an answer for you. Selflessness meant something to me when nothing else did. So, in a sense, it wasn’t true selflessness, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

It gave me a purpose. School also gave me a purpose. My parents were preoccupied with other much more important things than me. I understood that and accepted it. I still do as much as it still hurts. I wasn’t about to stress them out more by being a mediocre student. So, I had a goal of high grades and going off to university to escape my home.  As paradoxical as it sounds (and get used to that, because it’s the essence of my being), I strived for new academic heights as a way to please my parents, (well, not even that, just to not stress them) and I also did this for my own personal gain- escape.

 

But It Was Not Enough To Make Me Happy

I, understandably, was miserable. I grew up being told I was melodramatic. I believed it. I thought I should have been happy. My parents weren’t divorced, I had an older brother, had good grades, and a couple of friends plus those everyday things sometimes taken for granted like clothes, clean water, electricity, etc. and I was capable in many areas as my never ending new hobbies proved. I felt I should have been happy, but I knew I wasn’t. So I left.

Without more than enough money awarded to me by my high school to pay for the dorm fee and without the support of my father (to move several hours away) I left for university where my purpose was free from my need to please them. I learned my own values and began therapy. I learned to feel. I was finally happy. I was free. I was me. Then I, confused and without anyone knowledgeable to ask, I picked my major. Then changed it the next semester. (As always here is the link to that story.)

 

And I Set Myself Up For a Life of Self-Loathing

I feel as if I tried to fail out of that major throughout most of my time completing it. I almost did, in fact. An internship is mandatory in my career. I almost did not get matched….but I did. If you’ve read my blog during the last year, you’ll know how that went. (Hint: I say this in the truest sense of the word- I am traumatized.) Now I have to take an exam. That’s it. I’ve tried so hard to sabotage myself and this could be it.

I went through the education to become a pharmacy technician and simply did not take that exam. That sent my life in a completely different direction. I ended up doing hospitality/customer service work (more trauma there) instead of a much higher paying job in the field I originally sought to pursue. (Link to that story here.) This lead to my first choice of major (hospitality) and ultimately my degree (nutrition and dietetics).

 

I Believe I Could Be Happy if I Chose to Be… But Will I?

I think I could be happy in this career, but I spent so long fighting it, I don’t know with certainty anymore. I should feel blessed. I am grateful. I understand a bachelor’s degree is an accomplishment. But it doesn’t feel like anything to me. I feel like a failure. I am very disappointed in myself and my life choices. Half the time, I fully hate myself. After five years of working for this wretched career, I’m at a critical point of make or break. I have no doubt in my ability to pass the exam. I have the capacity to learn. I just have to convince myself it’s something I want to do.

That’s terrifying. I still don’t have an exam date. I haven’t registered. (I don’t have the money for it, plus I’m just putting it off.) I also don’t doubt the possibility that I simply will not take it. That I will have suffered though that despicable internship for nothing. I’m in limbo. If that’s the only thing I have to work towards, if that’s the only guiding light in my life right now, it’s no wonder I feel dead inside. I don’t have anything to life for. Worse yet, the only thing looming in front of me is a career that so far has brought me more pain than joy (and not the good type of pain!).

 

WOO HOO! Summary Time Finally!

That was to be my first point in this rambling: the biggest thing I have to work towards at the moment is something I’m almost convinced I dislike. Obviously, I’m resistant. Obviously, this makes me unhappy. My second point is that, being back in this household, I’ve lost the sense of myself I’d gained during the last five years on my own. I’m not the perfect daughter or sister, but I still have strong urges to help my family before myself.

With how depressed I’ve been, that has proven difficult, but when it comes down to it they are a higher priority to me than myself. That isn’t healthy. My third point, and one for a separate post because that’s a much longer complaint, is that triathlon training is slow. My faulty coping mechanism of emotional eating was never resolved during my years away from home, but it was improved, for sure. Nope. Now I hear my parent’s voices sometimes and instinctively reach for chocolate.

So yeah, TLDR: I’m miserable. I’m all kinds of messed up and I recently realized I currently have no pleasurable purpose in life.

SO… life sucks. Try to have a decent day, but if you can’t, I don’t blame you.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

I have four unfinished drafts. I haven’t written in four weeks… or more. I get four new ideas every sleepless night. There’s too much and not enough going on in my life. And I can’t take it anymore. I’m writing at 3 am and decided to publish whatever word vomit I create. A friend of mine once suggested (likely out of pity) that my readers must like the honesty that these sad writing sessions are born from. He said this after I expressed confusion that one such word vomit post did infinitely better, views-wise, than a post I spent upwards of eight hours on.

 

Audio of this post:

 

The Best Four Months of My Life

 

Living on my own, therapy, love, and more…

I want to write. I do. I used to fight for myself. I did very well- surprisingly well- the first semester I moved into an apartment on campus by myself. Sure I had apartment-mates, but I saw them each no more than three times that whole school year (they were worse recluses than me!). It took until finals time to falter. That semester in group therapy I gave more advice than sought it. My life was great and I ran with that. Literally. That was when I started running. I wanted to do a 5K. About two months in I was pushing myself and that was the only area in my life I would not be satisfied with. I wanted to continuously improve and did.

I loved my life that year. It was the best semester of my life. Best three or four months of my life. I did things because I wanted to and that was that. I tried the whole vegetarian thing. I was looking into studying abroad. It was glorious. And, of course, I was in love. My first boyfriend. That’s pure. Completely the wrong person for me and that became blatantly apparent in the next few months, but for that brief beginning… it was glorious. I didn’t know I could be so happy.

 

Friendship, Healthier Coping, and Constant Support

That was the semester I began a friendship with one of the most caring people I’ve ever met- Mariah. I’d never had such a close friendship with someone before. It’s incredible she’s still my friend. That was also the semester we both turned 21. Every other weekend we’d get together, just the two of us (well with her boyfriend playing video games on a nearby couch), at her apartment to hang out and try different types of alcohol. Not the wildest college drinking stories. Not even close. But the best I could have asked for.

I’ve had issues with emotional overeating since I was about 10 years old. That semester? Not until finals time. It was like I imagine nicotine cravings are. Awful. Constant. And gnawing. Obviously, it wasn’t without a couple slip ups, but until I gave up during finals week… it was amazing. I sang so much that semester. Constant music. That’s what they always say. Therapists and other positive role models I’ve had: replace negative behaviors with positive ones. It’s so difficult. Sounds simple, but a song isn’t as effective as a donut for me. Not at first. That’s the semester I learned to be okay with crying. I’d been told crying isn’t shameful since I’d started therapy two years prior to that semester, but on my then boyfriend’s shoulder I accepted it.

It was my first semester as manager at a little food shop on campus. I met my coworkers I’d be friends with for the remainder of my university career. I was so nervous about my first leadership role. The boyfriend was constant support through anything and everything that semester. I’d never had that. With him, my therapists, my friends, and a pinch of belief in myself I learned I could be happy. I didn’t have to keep punishing myself for something I felt I deserved.

 

Beginning to Like Myself and Learning to Enjoy Life

I can’t underestimate this next part. I’ve hated the way I look, especially my weight, over any horrible thought I’ve ever had about my intelligence or other abilities. I never in a million years thought I’d look at myself with anything but disgust and shame. That semester, sometimes I’d wish I looked like someone’s reflection or shadow I’d catch at the corner of my eye then I’d realize that reflection or shadow had been mine. It was extremely confusing and alien at first. I began wearing tank tops for Pete’s sake! I liked how they looked… I almost can’t believe I got to that point. I was by no means skinny. I’ve dreamt of being skinny for more than a decade at this point. I didn’t weigh myself that whole semester. Maybe once for a class, but I think I refused to look at the time. Yet, I’ve never been happier with my body. Sometimes I would look in a mirror (I hate mirrors) and like how I looked! Actually looked at myself and felt good- confident even!

Unbelievable! That whole semester… And I enjoyed the heck out of it. As I experienced it I knew it likely would end. I was terrified. Like an unsavory indigestion I kept swallowing down. Yet, I pushed it aside and had the best three or four months of my life. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re used to wallowing in sadness sure that that’s all you’re worth- pain and disappointment- four months is infinity. I regret nothing. I lived. I loved. And I sure as hell made the best of it.

 

Where Am I Now?

Wow. That was certainly not the direction I expected this to go. Usually when my mind wanders it reminds me how unhappy I currently am. Getting creative, Brain. You jerk. Well, since I doubt I’ll finish up those other four drafts anytime soon, here’s the summary.

  1. I used to publish just whenever I was inspired on my old blog which was about once a month. I’m done making promises I won’t keep. Not to be rude, but I can’t keep disappointing myself. I’ll publish when I publish. Sorry.
  2. I hate living at home. My friend offered to let me move in with her, but she lives in West Texas about six hours away from where I currently live. I said no. I regret that at least five times a day. Okay, maybe only three times a day.
  3. I’m codependent without anyone to be codependent with. That’s what those four drafts said in a nutshell.
  4. The fourth kind of overlaps with the friend offering her home thing. It was a pros and cons list of moving out or living at home with my parents.

 

I hate my life right now. I have plans to make it better. I hope I follow through with them. It’s kind of difficult at the moment to find motivation. But what choice do I have? It’s fight for myself or be miserable. I know I’ve written something like this at least five times before, but that’s what I’ve found life to be: a repetitive pep talk where I have to convince myself I’m the most qualified person to care and put in the work to make my life enjoyable. I don’t know what else I can do.

I’ve given up on people before and I will never forgive myself for it. I’m terrified of what will happen if I give up on myself completely. I’ve seriously let myself go, but I know there’s some line I’ve never crossed. I know I haven’t reached rock bottom. Things can be worse. And I’m afraid. I don’t want to get there. I won’t get there. Stupid pep talk after stupid pep talk- I won’t let myself get there. Thanks, Fear. Thanks, Unhappiness. I will only let my life get better because of you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Week of April 8th 2019- Chronic Disease Prevention (Wow. This was Worse Than the Renal Rotation.)

Monday, April 8th- Waiting for the Pain and Getting Bananas Instead

Woah! I’m being responsible and writing for my daily blog post on a daily basis instead of at the end of the week or worse yet, more than a week later…. Wrong! I mean, it is Monday, March 8th as I write this, but the only reason I’m here is because I don’t want to work on other responsibilities of mine. Woo hoo! Welp, this week I’m in a rotation with a name something along the lines of prevention of chronic diseases. Really, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just a super work heavy rotation. Ah, and it’s individual. Gia is at the food bank while I’m here. (I was at the food bank when she was here about a month ago. I’d much rather be at the food bank since that was all manual labor and no homework, but eh, I had my time.

People complain that this is the worst rotation. That the preceptors are super rude and crush any and all self esteem you may have. As of yet, it’s not that bad. Hopefully they’re just drama kings. Yes, the guys have been the most complain-y. Maybe us girls are just more used to constant criticism to our character and self worth. …that was a super stereotypical joke. That I do not apologize for because from my experience (I am female) it rings some truth. It doesn’t matter anyway. Suffering is relative. There is no greater or lesser suffering. It’s all just suffering.

Not much for me in this rotation yet. The director of my internship gifted me about 15 bananas. That one isn’t a joke. She just asked if I wanted to make banana bread and gave me a bag full of bananas! Not a bad day…

 

Tuesday, April 9th- Wow. That was quick.

So, it’s bad. I spent the day in the Department of Health working on assignments again. At this point it wasn’t so much the word she said, which weren’t rude, so much as the tone she chose to say those words in. I’ve never been a very self motivated person. So I arrived on Monday with the minimum amount of work done and the next day I arrived with a bit less than the minimum. I got home and procrastinated then set to work late and didn’t sleep much. Not much sleep=even less energy.

At this point I was sure the preceptor thought I was a lazy slacker, which… eh, partially true. Her tone just reinforced my negative thoughts and this was the fateful beginning of a downhill snowball week. :/ Gosh. I know if I thought better of myself and didn’t let my fragile self confidence snap at the ugly gaze of an uncaring stranger this week it wouldn’t have been bad. Maybe it is just me. Maybe it’s just in my head. Maybe there’s no such thing as depression. Or maybe there is, but that’s not my main problem. Maybe I’m just a “self indulgent little girl” and that’s the cause of my problems. That’s a quote from my favorite movie (Girl, Interrupted).

I don’t know what to think. The facts are these. I spent the day re-working and re-doing two powerpoint presentations I was responsible for presenting to high schoolers and middle schoolers the next day. I also turned in the radio skit I’d been slaving over the previous day. When I’m sad, stressed, self loathing, depressed, whatever you want to call it those feelings will manifest in different ways. I feel like they are inevitable. That I can’t fight them, so I don’t. But maybe I can… I don’t know. Two big ones now are that I’ll be extremely tired. I was falling asleep as I worked. Also, I hadn’t slept much, which didn’t help. Another is that I’ll work/move much slower than normal. I wonder if it is all in my head…

 

Wednesday, April 10th- Presentations at a High School and a Middle School

My dream is not to be a dietitian. I studied for that career path for my Bachelor’s degree and am currently in an internship to become a dietitian. But this isn’t my dream. My dream is to be a teacher. Specifically a high school teacher. When I tell people that’s my dream job they look at me like I’m crazy. They don’t understand that I want to teach high school because I feel like that’s a deciding time for people. That’s when a supportive teacher who believes in students could change lives. It’s when students are still kids in the sense that they are still growing up, but are close enough to adulthood that they don’t have to be babied. That’s the way I see it.

Under any other circumstances, I would have been stoked to present an educational topic to a library full of high schoolers. But not this day. This day I had to present a topic I didn’t even know anymore after so many revisions. I looked for so many sources and between working on this presentation and the other one and the radio outline plus my heavy feelings of self pity… well I couldn’t even explain the things on the slides well. Much less make them entertaining for an audience of blank faced Puerto Rican high schoolers. It was completely embarrassing and a waste of a morning assembly. But I was comforted by the fact that I’d likely never ever run into any of these island dwelling teens after I completed my internship and moved back to good ol’ Texas.

The dietitian supervising me gave a short presentation to make up the rest of the hour I was supposed to fill when my presentation ended too soon. For my presentation she chidingly told me to make it more engaging and take up the whole hour. This one had only been corrected once and honestly, I didn’t know it in much detail. It was about the different food groups. How was I supposed to talk about why you should eat your fruits and vegetables and stuff to middle schoolers for a whole hour?! I just nodded my head and jumped into it blind. It went a million times better than expected. The kids were interacting and (expect for the usual lulls in teenage attention spans) they paid attention. It was amazing! The first presentation broke my heart and began cracking at my dreams of being a teacher, but this presentation, it renewed my convictions.

 

Thursday, April 11th- Yesterday, I Spent the Afternoon in the Emergency Room (not the patient) and Today I was on the Radio.

Yes, so yesterday after the school presentations I was working on assignments at the Department of Health when the director got a call from Axyl. It was a medical issue and one that he should be in the emergency department for. The director dismissed me from the last hour of my day to go with him. If you guys have read my older weekly blogs, you’d know that most of us interns from abroad do not have family here in Puerto Rico. You would also know that Axyl had a falling out with a couple of other interns too, namely Robin and Karen. So…that left me. I’m the closest thing to family he has here and the director knows that. I met up with him then headed to an ER (emergency room) where we stayed until around midnight when they dismissed him, saying his abdominal pain wasn’t anything serious. Oh well. Good news, I guess.

At the rotation I was supposed to be on the radio in the morning and then do a supermarket tour in the afternoon. Well, I didn’t get to work on the supermarket outline of what I was going to say because other than being sad and unmotivated, I was in an ER the whole afternoon. I bumped into the dietitian I am with this week when I arrived at the Department of Health. She greeted me and asked how I was. I was visibly tired and replied “So-so, something happened.”, then proceeded to explained how I’d come to spend the previous day in the ER keeping my friend company. You know what this grown, insensitive woman’s reaction to that was? She asked me “but did you get to finish the assignments for today?”.

I’m not going to get into it here, but I know that dietitian and Axyl have bad blood. Regardless, that’s just cold. Okay, moving on. This is making me mad all over again. We went to another town to do the radio show with her and her (slightly nicer) dietitian co-worker. The radio bit was fun. It was probably the thing I was least nervous about this week and I’d be delighted to do another radio show someday (with different co-hosts, of course!). In the afternoon the heartless dietitian I’m with told me I was lucky she and her co-worker were free the next morning so that I could do the supermarket tour then. Of course, (“this is important!”, she said) I would get points off for it being late, so I’d have to do a great job tomorrow or the points wouldn’t add up and I would not be able to pass the rotation. It’s not the first time she “hinted” at my not passing the rotation, so eh, it didn’t faze me.

 

Friday, April 12th- Shopping Tour Disaster

As you may gather from the title of today. The tour didn’t go well. I didn’t dilly-dally. After the radio show it was as if all my self doubt was magically lifted. I didn’t feel the heavy pull of sadness and self loathing on my limbs. I felt light and able! I felt awake and up for the challenge! I read through material convinced that it’d be better if I knew the material than simply taking notes to read aloud. Seems I was wrong. But it doesn’t matter. Anyway I prepared for this, I know it would have been a disaster. I had notes for the first section. I supposedly had knowledge for the second.

I was her face. Both dietitians came, but it was my preceptor’s face that disturbed me. From the first fruit I discussed (a wretched pineapple [one cup of contains about 133% of the vitamin C you need in a day, by the way]) she had this concerned face. If it had been disgust or doubt maybe I could have pushed through, but it was concern. Like she was watching a train wreck and just couldn’t look away. It was awful. From then, I stumbled over my facts and promptly forgot what I’d studied and not written down convinced I’d remember. It felt like I was being dragged around the grocery store being poked and prodded for facts and knowledge nuggets I did not have. *sigh*

“Well, I failed this rotation.” Those were the first words I spoke to the director when I returned to the Department of Health after that pitiful supermarket tour. She told me not to worry about it, probably thinking it couldn’t have gone as bad as it did. I didn’t argue. I had had enough. I’ve been through so much criticism throughout this internship. From preceptors (dietitians that are supposed to take us under their wing and teach us, a new one each week), fellow interns, even the director of the program herself.

Preceptors have told me I have no initiative because I’m quiet. My internship partner has told me I’m a bad human being and a terrible partner. The director assured me three times in the course of 20 minutes that if I wanted to leave the program that she would understand and support my decision as if she were urging me to get out of her internship. Those things hurt, but I thrived. I proved them wrong. I’m still here. My partner has since told me I’m a good partner and thanked me for helping her in anything I can. The director has since had a change of heart after seeing my renewed spirit when I didn’t let her bully me out of her internship.

But this dietitian with her concerned face by the rack of pineapples broke me. I spent the afternoon holding back tears and gulping down the lump in my throat as I worked to finish the last few assignments for this nightmare rotation. I wonder if self confidence would have made as much of a difference as I suspect. Maybe. The mind is a powerful thing… but mine’s a weakling.

 

Saturday, April 13th- Brooding

Another Saturday that I spent laying in bed amongst my filth of granola bar wrappers, mounds of clean unfolded clothes and random papers piling up in the crevices.

 

Sunday, April 14th- Delayed Dad

My dad was supposed to arrive this afternoon. He’s coming to visit me for Easter. Why Easter? Well, we got the week off. No rotations! So I have time to show him around the island that has been my home for (almost!) the past year. However, the corrections for my assignments from hell week are due next Monday, so I have to work on that this coming week while he’s here. :/

Not sure how, but he missed his flight and instead of arriving around 3pm, he’d arrive at 3am on Monday. Surprise 12 hour change of plans. :/ It’s fine because that gave me time to laze around in the morning, pick up the key to the Airbnb we’ll be staying at until Wednesday, and clean. Yes. I finally cleaned! It’d been at least a month of stressful living in the mess of my creation. But I know the mess bothers Axyl, so before leaving for the week I made sure to clean everything. I tidied my bed area, dresser, mini fridge, and desk. The only thing I didn’t do (it was 2am by this point) was wash the remainder of my dishes. I’d swing by the next day to do so.

At 2am I left for the Airbnb and waited for my dad’s taxi from the airport to arrive. When it did at 3am, I began to excitedly plan out the week’s events before falling asleep, satisfied and at peace for the first time this week.

 

Coming up Next Week!

  • Easter week off!! Hooray!! My dad is here to keep me company. 🙂 I’m so glad to have him here. I want to show him everything, but he’s getting old and can’t keep up like he used to. Let’s see where all I can take him. 😀
  • Working on assignment corrections from this week’s hellish rotation. Ugh. :/
  • Maybe getting volunteer hours at the food bank with my dad? Maybe? heeheehee…. I’m too lazy for my own good…
Posted in Uncategorized

My Experience with Self Harm (Don’t Worry, I’m a Wimp)

It Started Again with a Zit

I had this monstrous zit, almost on the tip of my nose, this past week. I’m talking massive, like the size of a reasonable thumbtack. A zit that my roommate kept bugging me to pop. I have a bit of a problem with picking, so I’d been restraining myself from doing that. Plus, I know every time I’ve popped a zit in my life, it’s gotten worse and taken longer to heal than when I’ve left it alone and let it go away on its own.

He kept bugging me about it. I popped it while he was asleep. Pus oozed out. Then blood. A lot of blood. I felt there had to be more pus. Why was there so much blood? I wanted all of it out. Like when I pick at an ingrown hair with a needle until I manage to get it out. I needed all the pus out of this enormous zit. So, I told myself not to, but I got out my pack of needles. And I start stabbing holes into this blemish then squeezing out more blood.

Eventually, some clear liquid comes out, but it’s still mostly blood. I keep picking with the needle, going around this slow forming blood clot and squeezing until only the tiniest drop of clear liquid is struggling to come out. It was oddly satisfying to pick at my face with the needle. Sometimes it hurt, but at the tip of this zit I couldn’t feel anything and managed to essentially pierce from one side of the zit to the other. I pulled up, but the skin I’d pierced was too thick to rip apart. I was slightly paranoid my roommate would wake up and find me with a needle to my nose, and the two bloody tissues smeared with blots of blood. He was sleeping naught two feet away from me, but he didn’t wake.

I’d Wanted to Cut, At First, but I’m More of a Picker

I’ve always thought myself a pansy for not being brave enough to cut myself. The two times I’ve tried it, I couldn’t commit. I was too scared. But, I like seeing the blood when I’ve picked at ingrown hairs on my legs in the past. Now this with my nose. I had another instance where I got something stuck in the palm of my hand. I think I fell on the sidewalk or something which pushed some rock or metal into the palm of my hand.

Thing was, there was this diminutive, pathetic bit of something lodged in my palm and I was extremely stressed with the stuff in my life. This was last fall, by the way. So, it was my first semester of my nutrition internship.  That was awful. One day, my roommate, seeing how stressed out of my mind I was, asked if he could do anything to help and what did I want? I wanted to borrow his thin, precise tweezers to get this stupid thing out of my palm. I did manage to get it out. Or I thought I did.

A few days later I went in again, with his tweezers (and then my needle when that didn’t work) to get some black stuff out of the same spot where I swore I’d already taken out the foreign object. Looking back, I’m almost certain that second thing I agonized about, and near surgically removed with my needle, was a blood clot. It just bothered me so much. I didn’t want a marred palm! Especially from something as stupid as falling! It was deep. I thought I might be giving myself a scar with how far I drove that needle into my skin. But I couldn’t stop.

I needed the stuff out of my hand! At one point it did hurt, but I needed it out. My vision was laser focused on that one point in my palm and everything else was blurry. The world didn’t seem real when I turned away from my hand after the job was done. It felt… amazing. Satisfying. I get that way when picking at my legs. I’ve never picked without a purpose. Ingrown hair, thing jammed into my hand or, now, giant zit on my face. But… it worries me that I’ve found a way to make myself bleed that doesn’t scare me.

 

“We all do things”

I’ve been tempted by self harm for years, but like I said, I’m too much of a scardy cat for that. Also, I don’t like the concept of scars. I don’t want to be reminded of how much I hate myself everytime I look at my skin. I don’t like marks or imperfections on my skin, as you guys can probably tell from the hand picking story. So, cutting just never added up for me.

But, as a character in my favorite book, Cut by Patricia McCormick, says, “we all do things”.  Yes, we all find a way to cope with our miserable existence. Some people cut, some people drink, some people work even harder.  I binge eat, sing, and recently, sleep. As calming as picking is, I don’t want it to become a thing. It doesn’t bother me, but I know it’s understandably gruesome. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. I just wanted to vent about having a big zit on my nose. And it turned into a whole post. Gosh. I suck.

 

Note:

Wow. Okay. It’s a day later, but it feels like much more than that. Sorry if that upset anyone. I am not promoting self harm, just sharing my not so disapproving personal experiences on the topic. I understand self harm isn’t ideal or a good coping strategy. I’m very stressed at the moment and find it hard to make sense. I’m not taking the post down, because it’s more of my story as jumbled and nonsensical as it was written. Also, I’m having a really hard time writing for this blog and a post is a post. Yeahh, sorry again.

Posted in Uncategorized

Health Doesn’t Just Come From Your Doctor: The Importance of a Team Approach to Health.

I’m easily triggered. Just because someone isn’t diagnosed doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. Do you know how many people have medical diagnoses that either aren’t discovered until years after the onset or at all? It’s not uncommon. And often times medical diagnoses have physical symptoms. Can you imagine how difficult it is to go about life with constant or extreme pain, inflammation, fever, cough, whatever it may be, and all the doctors, specialists, and medical professionals tell you nothing is wrong, when you clearly know it is? How can everyone- professionals especially- doubt what you feel so strongly every day?!

Now imagine that same negation, doubt, and being brushed off but no physical symptoms. Or the ones you do have aren’t even considered. I’m talking about undiagnosed mental disorders. I’ve gone to the doctor. Other than being overweight and having a twinge of high LDL cholesterol, I’m fine. You know, the last time I went to the doctor, the nurse asked about any signs of depression or anxiety. It’s a complicated, but simple question. I mean, the whole concept of mental illnesses are things most lay people (in my experience at least) don’t seem to understand. It was nice to be asked. I replied, “yeah, some anxiety”. I was too anxious to mention my depressive tendencies.

 My Experiences at the Doctor’s

I’ve been going to therapists/ support groups on and off for the last four years now and I can say that it’s really helped me. However, all of that was when I was in university. It was either free or really cheap, super close to where I lived, and on my own account. I remember the doctor I went to a couple years ago didn’t say a word to me about mental illness. But she sure did waive the mood screening she supposedly did. Just because I wasn’t bawling my eyes out or trembling as I spoke, I’m ruled out for anxiety and depression, not to mention all the other known disorders? I didn’t know the DSM had changed their criteria!

Mental health isn’t that easy. You can’t just look at someone and know they are mentally okay. Sometimes you can. I would argue that when I went to the doctor this winter, I was a stereotypical depressed person. I looked tired even through most of what I did during the day was sleep, I hadn’t showered in several days. I know the doctor and everyone else could tell by my greasy hair that fell slick over one side of my face. Maybe I looked better than I remember feeling, but the not having showered thing was evident.

Despite that and the fact that the nurse seemed to have written down something about my anxiety comment, the doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. I understand doctors are much more physiologically inclined, but health is multifaceted! You couldn’t run a hospital with just cardiologists. What would people with diabetes do? Or burn patients? How about a hospital filled with dentists? No! Each medical professional has a role.

Collaborating with other Medical Professionals as a Dietetic Intern

As you guys may know if you read my weekly blogs, I am doing a nutrition internship at the moment with the end goal to become a licensed dietitian. My first rotations were mostly clinical which meant I was evaluating patients at hospitals. One thing that I got harped at for? Not referring patients to other medical professionals. At first, I assumed, well they called a nutrition specialist so I should focus on the nutrition aspect. Makes sense, right?

Yeah, well it isn’t that simple. Some patients were sedated, others had a tube down their throat, and yet others just didn’t understand their disease. I couldn’t just waltz into their hospital rooms and focus solely on nutrition. Everything was entwined. From the patient’s medical diagnosis (doctor), their ability to move (physical and/or occupational therapists), ability to swallow (speech pathologist), will to live and eat (psychologists), any damage/ deformity that could alter nutrition intake or absorption (surgeons), to when blood sugar was checked (nurses) and how much family support/ financial stability they had (social workers), it is all intertwined. If I had a patient who was hungry but was in too much pain to eat, I couldn’t do my job. Or, more like, it wouldn’t matter if I did my job because the patient still wouldn’t eat. That was doctor territory. I wasn’t about to tell a doctor what to do.

The Intertwined World of Medicine

Health is a complicated thing. It even goes beyond medical professions to each individual. It includes, yeah, any diseases, dental caries, and so on, but also diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and emotional balance. I knew that when I was doing nutrition evaluations at hospitals, but I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. I didn’t want to boss around professionals with more studies than me. But that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. This is what I mean when I say health is simple and complex.

I don’t have to know all the inner workings of the body or mind or even that patient’s life. All I have to know is that if I see something not quite right, it’s okay to consult someone. It’s okay to take a couple minutes of someone’s time if I believe it would help. I am not a dentist, but if I have a patient who can’t eat because their dentures don’t fit right, it is my responsibility to call one. Otherwise, I’m being negligent. It’s wrong to recognize a problem (worse if you also recognize a solution and even worse if it’s a relatively simple solution) and then do nothing about it.

A medical professional shouldn’t leave a patient to figure things out if they have already figured it out. The least they can do is mention the observed problem to a patient and suggest they seek help from a specialist. Better yet would be to call in a referral. That being said, it is all health care worker’s responsibilities to be observant and help where they can. I know every profession is busy with their own work, but if you see something that’s not quite right, no matter your line of work, say something!

If Only my Doctors Read my Blog…

I’m getting better at it. I wish my doctors were better at it. I know I need some sort of mental health specialist to get out of this rut I’m falling into again. I’ve never experienced such extreme symptoms as I am right now. Yet, my doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. She asked if I’d gone to the dentist though, so I guess that’s some positive points there.

I don’t know if I am certifiably insane. I don’t blame my doctors for the fact that I haven’t gotten up the courage to set up an appointment with a psychologist. I’m not saying people’s health is solely a doctor’s responsibility. In the end, you are in responsible for your health. What I’m saying is doctors are the gatekeepers that connect most other health professionals and a quick referral can change someone’s life for the better in a matter of weeks versus the months or years it may take that person to figure it out on their own or, as is my case, build up the courage to do something for themselves.

Oh, well, I guess that’s what natural selection is about, right? Hooray for not knowing what, if anything, is wrong with my mind!! Maybe I’ll feel like making an appointment with a psychologist next year…

Posted in Uncategorized

Do Anything

Note: Let’s try something, every time my mind yells a swear word I’ll write “frick” and every time I zone out I’ll mention it, both in italics. Other stuff in italics will be inner thoughts. Prepare to enter my mind. Sorry.

***

Do anything. When I’m feeling extremely unmotivated, this is my only plea. Do anything. I’ve had days where I am so zoned out, it’s difficult to type “written by: Laura”. (That happened a week ago…) Frick. I’m zoning out now. I don’t know why other people annoy me so much. Zone out I feel inadequate. In comparison, I feel inadequate. Yeah, yeah, don’t compare. Moreover, my flaws are another’s dreams. Yeah! Well, same here! I don’t like me. What I do like, I feel like I can’t mention, because then people make faces and say I have a big ego. What I don’t like I can’t mention either, because then I’m told I’m exaggerating. That I don’t appreciate what I have. Frick.

When I’m in a bad place. Let’s say in a funk. (I don’t want to say depressed, because some people get uppity about the use of that word. Plus, I haven’t been to a psychologist since about half a year, so I don’t have a professional to confirm that.) Anyway, when I’m in a funk, Zone out, frick I –my mind zones out a lot and also does some not so nice things. The first is that it curses. I curse? In my head? I don’t know.

Example, Zone out if I zone out, the moment I realize I was doing something and zoned out, I’ll hear “F**K!” in my head. I don’t tell people about this or the other thing my brain does. So, often, people will think I’m exaggerating when I say I’m down, can’t concentrate, or anything negative. They’ll quote how smart I am or some accomplishment of mine. It could be grades, or how organized I seem, something along those lines

What they don’t understand, is that I have to be that “great”. I have to be super organized and a try-hard when I can, because I know how horrifying it is to sit in front of a blank computer screen with my mind just as blank. Frick *Remembering the last time this happened* I know how bad it gets, so when I am okay, I need to be better! To make up for what I know will come. Because my funks are a cycle. Zone out Or a roller coaster. Who knows?

Zone out Ummmmm But most people only see the “good” parts of me. They see when Zone out I work on assignments or give presentations (for context, I just graduated university in May and now I’m in an internship that also has a ton of assignments and grades). They don’t see when I get home from a business trip out of town and flee to the bathroom to quietly sob before wiping my eyes and pretending nothing happened.

They see me watching YouTube on the couch all afternoon for days in a row and call me lazy. They don’t know that it’s either that or stare into space. Sometimes I believe them. I think, why am I so lazy and unmotivated? Why don’t I just work on what I should? I tried this last week. In my defense, it does work sometimes. Sometimes, I don’t want to get to work on homework, but once I start, it’s okay. I get into a rhythm and I’m fine. Last week, I just succeed in getting progressively more self-loathing and blaming myself for not starting. Think: staring at a blank computer screen.

Do anything. That’s what I tell myself in those moments. Even if I should be working on an essay or a case study (*cough cough* me right now…), I allow myself to work on whatever I want or am motivated to. Doing anything, even if that anything is making a faux Christmas tree out of tissue paper (featured picture) or writing this blog post, is a million times better than last week when I started “working” at 3pm, and “worked” until 12pm because it took me that long to type up four paragraphs on lactation. Frick.

Blah. This building I’m in doesn’t have working air conditioning. An— Frick!! I was looking up the temperature where I am, but got distracted by my friend texting me. Twice. Frick. Frick! Stop it brain! Umm, so yes. It’s about 84 degrees outside, and hotter inside this non-air-conditioned building. And I’m cold.

You think my normal posts are long and rambly? Yeah, well, my mind is worse. What was I going to say? What am I doing? Yeah, do anything. That’s it. Zone out. Man! Um, so yes, do anything, guys. Doing something is better than nothing. Unless it’s harmful. Then try not to do that.

Thus, the second thing my mind does: it flashes scenes of me hurting myself. After seeing a flash like that usually I get uneasy. Other times, I feel desire. For the more gruesome ones, I tend to feel scared that one day my body will actually go through with something I’ll regret.

A common one is smashing my hand against a wall. I don’t know why. I know I’m not in the best place, but I don’t want to hurt myself. Well, maybe I do want to do that. <— Example of an intrusive thought that just popped into my head uninvited. Fine, yeah, I don’t love myself and I do want to hurt myself, but not severely! Not noticeably! That’s a good topic for other post: what I feel I deserve and how I punish myself.

I don’t want to publish this. Zone out. Zone out again. I’m afraid of getting put in an asylum for the mentally ill if I were to admit self-harm desires/behaviors. Frick. Plus, it seems personal. I’m sleepy. Don’t want to be awake. Video idea! You know how some people talk about all those things they do to stay positive and happy? How they say things like I get up and stretch, open the blinds, and feel the sun on my skin and appreciate the universe? Or some crap like that? (No hate. In my better days, it’s those hokey pokey things that really do help.) Well, what if someone made a video/tip sheet of the habits of sad people? My first one is: Daily morning ritual, wake up, realize you are now conscious, grumble, curse the world, declare you don’t want to be awake, and throw the covers over your head before falling asleep again. Do not wake before 1pm, if it can be avoided.

This post is getting out of hand. Bye.

 

Note: It’s a couple of days later and while I’m still terrified of posting this for the darker involuntary desires I mentioned, but I figure I don’t have enough people who read this blog for it to be a problem. I hope. I’m fine, guys. I don’t self harm or anything like that. I’m open to professional help. Not to being committed to a mental hospital. Got that? ‘Kay, now bye.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Why am I not enough? (Remembering to put on a fake face to survive in the “real” world)

I’ve had problems with depression and anxiety …also probably paranoia and anger management at least since 8th grade. Everyone has traumas. Mine happened when I was 10 years old. It was no one’s fault. Who was I to be angry at then? I think humans need to blame someone or something or else all that anger gets internalized. At least that’s what happened to me.

 

Brief Overview of my Life Growing Up

I’m not ready to write about what happened. I don’t want pity. What I want is to explore its effects. At 10 years old, I learned that loved ones aren’t a given. They can be there one day and not the next. (No one passed away, if you’re wondering.) But I learned no one is a sure thing. Not even my parents. However, through this turbulent time I still had my teachers and classmates. I learned that was my constant.

Middle school years

That’s all that I carried with me: my school friends and academic success. (More so my friends, but at the end of the day I chose academics and switched schools.) 8th grade. New school. I don’t know why since I’d always been the kid who had a friend by the end of the first day of school, but I didn’t make any friends that year. I didn’t feel the need. I wasn’t interested in talking to other people. So I didn’t. Academics. That’s all I had.

High school

I tried, but by now it wasn’t just a lack of desire. It was full-blown anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I’d only talk when teachers called on me in class. Even then my heart worked overtime from the stress of being called on. Academics. That’s all I had. Not having friends, I dreaded school breaks. Winter break, spring break. The worst was summer break. My mind would over think. I’d get into existential crises. At 15 years old, I knew I needed a distraction. I needed a purpose. Without school, my life, I feared death. Or maybe I feared not living.

I lived (arguable choice of words) like this for 3 years. By senior year of high school, I began to wonder. What if I didn’t treat academics as my life. What if I did poorly? I felt my parents weren’t proud of me with all A’s. (My dad praised anything and everything, while my mom questioned my A+’s for not being 100’s.) Would they freak if I got C’s? So, I stopped trying. I tanked my GPA in the last year. Began failing tests. (I’d never failed an exam before then.) And. Nothing. Happened. They were disappointed, but they didn’t lecture me. Just told me to try harder.

Or maybe they did care. I don’t even know how I felt. I’d say I didn’t care, but I did because I was worried that they didn’t care. I was nervous watching my grades drop and them not bat an eye. I wanted them to care. I wanted to matter to my parents. Not that I didn’t. I knew, intellectually, that they cared about me, but at the time I needed to proof to believe it. My dad’s praise was so frequent it meant nothing and my mom’s was nonexistent. Positive wasn’t happening, so I sought negative attention.

But I didn’t get it.

Then I went to university

I’d made a friend during those last two years in high school. I’d stopped trying so hard to keep my grades up and still passed. My priorities shifted. I learned the wonders of human connection. School didn’t matter. I had friends! Maybe it was my depression or paranoia or broken trust in family stability (no one got divorced either, in case you guys are wondering). Whatever it was, I could not feel or believe that my parents loved me. I knew that as a fact. Not as a feeling.

But I knew my friends liked me! And that feeling was indescribable! A feeling! That itself was surprising! I was numb all throughout high school. The only time I felt anything was during that short-lived flirty time with the boy I snuck off to the library with (blog post on that here). Often I remember anger. But that was it. Anger or nothing. It was like I wasn’t alive. Emotionally, at least.

But in university, I made friends and felt emotions. The most important of which was happiness. I’d had that spark of nervous flirty happiness with the boy in high school, but not like this. Not from friends, and later happiness all to myself, from myself. I found freedom in university. I wasn’t always at school or at home surrounded by people. Being watched all the time. Or not, but that’s what the paranoia told me. I had my own space. It was scary at first. I still struggle to do things by myself. I don’t think I was ever allowed to be alone growing up (bedroom doors were not allowed to be closed in my household and I didn’t go out with friends, much less on my own). University was life changing.

I learned what happiness is. I learned what friends are. I learned who I am. When no one was watching, I knew who I was and amazingly, I liked myself.

What did books matter when I was learning all of this?! They didn’t. And while I was learning who I was, I had to decide on a career. (Blog post about how I came to that decision here.) And now I’m here. In Puerto Rico. A place I knew nothing about when I decided to move out here for a year. Much less did I know anyone here. All the interns in my program were strangers. Now, I wish some of them still were.

I’ve learned that people can be mean and care only about themselves. I’ve learned people can be indifferent or too interested. I’ve learned people can be angry. They can be distracted. They can be cruel. And they are hypocrites.

I knew these things as fact before. But now I know them as feeling. …It makes me wish I didn’t have emotions again. It’s an empty wish and a common one of mine, to go back to the numb high school days. But in those moments with friends, some with romantic interests, and others through my own personal accomplishments,  I’ve learned what positive emotions are and I believe they are what makes life life. Only being able to feel anger, which later morphed to sadness, is not life.

When I was in high school, it was a numb, unfeeling depression. In university, with happiness, I learned sadness. Harsh, deep sadness. The peak of which occurred in my senior year of university. This year I lived with a great friend of mine. And I hurt her. Before her, I always had a facade up. An act. It wasn’t to be cruel. It was to be kind. I didn’t want to expose others to my sadness. But with her…

Life Changing Friendship- Learning to Trust and that it’s Okay to be Myself. Flaws and All!

To Mariah I gave all of my trust. I let go completely. I let her in as far as she wanted to go. And she went far. She saw me at my worst. I’ve never been that depressed since. Even though she’ll deny it, I know I ruined (or at the very least) inconvenienced many of her days. We spent Thanksgiving (2017) angry with each other and that weekend trying to drag me out of bed, literally. I made her suffer. It wasn’t on purpose; it just goes with depression. With depression and anxiety and paranoia and anger issues and what ever other labels exist for all the not positive aspects of my personality.

But she refused to give up on me. We’re still friends. I know that woman would do almost anything for me. And I don’t know what I did to deserve her. I don’t feel like I deserve her. It’s rare, someone like that. So loyal (against their own good even). And I was spoiled.

Post Graduate Nutrition Internship- Learning to Distrust and that it’s NOT Okay to be Myself. Flaws Should be Well Hidden.

Now, I’m here in Puerto Rico working on a dietetic internship (when I doubt I want to work as a dietitian for the rest of my life) almost attached to the hip with my internship partner. I go from rotations where I’m supervised and evaluated. Hello, paranoia and anxiety! Oh, there you are anger! To an apartment where everyone has beef with at least one other person. The environment is toxic. Doesn’t help my depressive tendencies.

Sorry I can’t be positive and supportive 24/7. I still try. It hurts, but I try. Thing is, I can’t give what I don’t have. Every day I feel more paranoid, more anxious, angry, and sad. Or then I’m manically happy! But one misplaced comment and I’m underground again trying to dig myself out. Or not. Sometimes I don’t ever want to surface. (Related blog post here.)

I let myself believe, due to my experience with Mariah, that people can be trusted 100%. I can let go and be my completely flawed self and not worry about the repercussions. But I now know how truly lucky I am to have someone in my life like that, because that’s not the case with anyone else. I already had trust issues. Maybe everyone does. However, I was healing. I was learning to trust again.

But now, I feel as if there is nothing to learn. From my experiences here, no one wants the real me. No one wants my flaws. I am, as I always feared, an inconvenience. I have to pretend to be only the best parts of myself, because that’s the only parts people care to get to know. That’s understandable to me with the preceptors who supervise and evaluate us, but I mistakenly thought it wouldn’t be the case with my fellow interns. I was hopelessly optimistic. And I was wrong.

I have to learn how to fake it. Something I wasn’t 100% successful at during my customer service-y job as a cashier during university breaks (2015 to 2018). I could do it, but only for so many hours a day. Here, I share a room, I go to rotations where I am supervised and evaluated 5 days a week with my internship partner plus travel to the site and work on assignments outside of those 8 hours with her and I come home to an apartment where people aren’t happy to see each other.

 

Constant People, Constant Need to Fake It (to fake sanity/happiness)

The only saving grace is that I feel that genuine care and friendship from my roommate. But, he’s still another person I am around every day. In university, I had space. I had freedom. Now, it’s back to how it was when I lived at home. Constant people! But higher stakes! The only time I’m alone is when I go out by myself. Remember my friend anxiety? Don’t forget depression! To motivate myself to go anywhere is difficult enough. To not change my mind is another thing. Depression tells me it’s not worth it. Anxiety tells me it’s all going to go wrong anyway, so why try?

I don’t wish to blame my hard times on these mental health issues, but I know they are a big factor. And I feel like I have to keep them to myself now. My struggles and thoughts should remain my own to not affect others. Even then, there’s nothing I can do about my energy or aura. If I’m that depressed and empty inside, it doesn’t matter how big I fake smile. I’ve lost my ability to act believable. Thank you Mariah, for making that ability obsolete in me and damn you.

I’m truly going to have to fake it and hope I make it. Seven more months until the end of this internship. Wish me luck, please.

 

 

Note:

Featured image is of me last Halloween (2017). I’ve always loved goth fashion, so I enjoyed expressing myself that day through dress, hair, and makeup. I use it as the image for this post because it represents how I feel at the moment. I am in no way saying goth culture equates to sadness or anything like that, but that’s how most people seem to take it. And I feel like this is how I come off to people without make up and even when I do put on non-goth makeup. I feel like no matter what I do outwardly, all people see is my obvious sadness or negative aspects of my personality. And what can I do about that?! (Nothing overnight!) Why am I being punished for that?! Isn’t the depression, anxiety, paranoia, distrust, anger, and self loathing punishment enough??

Posted in Uncategorized

Week of October 15th 2018- Nutrition Support (Beware of Burnout)

My life is stress. I know this. I feel like I should be prepared for this. But no matter how much I’ve lived through, I feel as though I’ll never be ready for what lies in front of me. Maybe I never will be. I definitely wasn’t ready for this week.

Monday, October 15th-First Day at a New Hospital- Nutrition Support

New rotation! Another clinical area, this time Nutrition Support. For those who are new to my blog, I am doing a dietetic internship with the Puerto Rico Department of Health. This consists of completing assignments from the Health Department itself plus going to different hospitals or community locations to experience a week or more in about 20 areas over the course of one year. Each rotation has its own dietitian preceptor that is in charge of us. They essentially guide us in that area and give us more assignments/ work to complete for them.

This preceptor had us define 36 medical terms that relate to nutrition support. Nutrition support is exactly like it sounds. When a person can’t eat in the traditional way (by mouth) hospitals support their nutrition by feeding patients via a tube to their stomach or intestines or through a vein (using an IV or catheter, basically a tube attached to a vein). There’s much more to it than that, but I hope that gives y’all an idea.

Our first day we turned in the vocab and saw our dietitian preceptor do patient rounds. 11am, we were on our own. We were given a patient to do a case study and that was it. No further instructions.

Tuesday, October 16th- Learning TPN Calculations?

So, we got all of Monday to work on the case study. After a while we went to ask the preceptor for further information on how to do the case study and she gave us our patients’ laboratories and told us we needed to interview the patient. My patient (which I essentially got randomly, since we didn’t get much information about who was whom) was so ill, even the preceptor didn’t go evaluate him. She told us he was on death’s door, and wasn’t about to go in and ask him how he was doing. …great.

Today the preceptor dashed through an example of a TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) calculation. This is the math a dietitian does to figure out how to “feed” a patient through their veins in order to meet their total needs for the day. My internship partner, Gia, and I had done this during our general clinical rotation at another hospital, but were both completely confused by the end of her “teaching” us.

So, after going to see the daily patient rounds it was about 11 am and we got the rest of the day (until 4:30pm) to work on our three calculations that were part of our homework. We spent the day puzzled trying to figure out how to calculate things the way the preceptor did. I was sleep deprived. Don’t remember from what, but I was running on about two hours of sleep and couldn’t think enough to figure out the math. Gia went to ask the preceptor and came out even more confused.

Wednesday, October 17th- All Nighter for Nutrition Support Homework

What did we even do at the hospital today? I don’t remember. So, I’ll tell you about something that I didn’t mention about Tuesday. At the beginning of patient rounds, our dietitian preceptor turns to me and Gia and, almost like an afterthought, says something along the lines of “Oh Laura, your patient died”. … Okay. That was it. Then we went up to see the day’s patients. When we were in the hallway that led to my deceased patient’s room, the preceptor mentioned the family was still there as the medical staff were preparing his body for removal. …Alright.

I didn’t say anything. Later, the preceptor told me the nurse she works with had told her to give me a new case study, but she’d decided not to, because that’s part of life. That’s what happens. At that moment I said, “Yes, I know. He’s my third.” That I know of, he’s the third patient that I evaluate that I later learn has passed away. Even though I just had a conversation with them, it’s an odd feeling to know that one day you were talking to someone trying to help them eat/ get better and the next… there’s nothing to get better. They’re gone.

Thursday, October 18th- All Nighter for Department of Health Assignments

Since this week we had a meeting at the Health Department on Friday, our rotation at this hospital was cut short. This meant all of our assignments were due on Thursday. I typed up those calculations we didn’t really figure out how to do, the case study that we were also not 100% clear on, and the summary of an academic article about TPN. Gia and I worked on it all night. I was able to sleep one hour before waking up at 6am to take the train to the hospital. That hour was glorious. I felt renewed.

After presenting our case study and turning in our work I’d planned to sleep about 5 hours to then finish another case study I had to present during the meeting on Friday. I felt awake though, so I didn’t sleep. I worked on the case study and told myself I’d finish by midnight and then I could maybe sleep two hours before working on a grant proposal that was also due on Friday. Nope. I barely finished the 20 page case study and power point presentation that went with it by 6am. I didn’t take mindless breaks. I laid on the cold floor to wake myself up. I was running on an hour of sleep. But I finished my terrible work. I didn’t even get to begin the grant proposal.

Friday, October 19th- Presenting Clinical Case Study

6am. Meeting started at 7am. Printer issues. Chaos. I presented with a shaky voice and without an idea what I was saying. It was disastrous. At one point the director of the program (I was presenting to her and my fellow 9 dietetic interns) asked me a question and I was so tired, so beaten, that I responded the truth. She asked me why I’d decided on some supplement for my case study patient and I said, “honestly, because my preceptor told me to.” This was my first patient. Ever. This was during my first day at the general clinical rotation way back in September. I listened more to my preceptor than to myself. She’s the one with the experience. She was supposed to guide us. *Sigh* Trust no one. Make your own decisions.

Saturday, October 20th- Sleep Blissful Sleep!

I fell asleep at 8pm and woke up at 1pm today. It was so needed. When I woke up Gia and I went grocery shopping. Mostly ramen. Both of us hardly ate this week. That’s not okay. Hardly any sleep or food plus a ton of stress meant we were working ourselves empty. I didn’t even have pasta at home and subsisted mostly on ramen.

Luckily, this hospital feeds its employees and for the four days we were there, they fed us too. That was the majority of our food. Even there, I’d only eat a scoopful of rice or the meat. Because of the stress, I just wasn’t hungry. I bought a cookie and it tasted bland. Things were getting bad. My body didn’t care much for food. To avoid that, I bought pasta and tortillas. The most basic of foods for me. The easiest filling things to eat. I don’t want to go through a week like that again.

The rest of the night Gia and I worked on a powerpoint presentation and handout due on Sunday. Yes, our preceptor for the next week told us it was due on Sunday. …Okay. So we got it done, because I really don’t want another week like this one.

Sunday, October 21st- Catching Up on Priorities

Woke up at noon and then went to the store to buy some ink. Gia recently has printed a lot of my assignments because I’ve been having issues with the printer at my apartment. So I felt like I owed her. After that we wandered around the mall. I bought some food, but since I’d made an effort to have a filling breakfast (eggs and apple juice) I was stuffed. Gia put the fries in her bag and I did the same with my chicken nuggets. We wandered some more when I saw that the flower stand was there. (I posted a picture of the flowers I bought from there on instagram a few weeks ago. Links to my social media below!) Today I bought some yellow daisies before returning to our apartment complex. Gia went to her apartment and I to mine. Since then I watched a bit of YouTube and began writing this blog post.

Oh, and that grant proposal I didn’t finish? It’s due in two weeks now. Catch is, passing grade is an 85. This week is another intense rotation: Trauma (aka, critically ill patients). Plus! Gia and I were just notified on Friday that we will be going to another city (about an hour and a half away) this coming Friday to put up a little information booth about nutrition for older adults. OH! And! Next week our (five day) rotation is in that city. Ah! And we don’t have a car. We might just stay from this coming Friday till next Friday when the rotation there ends. But… how will I turn in the grant proposal? (It’s due as a hard copy.)

 

Who knows?! Isn’t life fun?! I should be going crazy, but I’m taking everything in stride. Either I can get through this internship or I can’t. Simple as that. I’m going to do what I can, because I can’t do more than that. If my best is enough, great. If it’s not, then I wasn’t meant for this. That’s okay. There’s much more to life than a  single career path.

Take care, friends. Eat well and sleep. Nothing is worth your health. I learned that this week.

Posted in Uncategorized

Slipping off the Mountain of Progress

Originally Published February 23, 2018

My mind is like a switch. It can go steadily up. Reaching higher and higher heights. Doing things I never thought I would then one comment and I’m at sea level again. This used to frustrate the hell out of my ex. I can see why. It frustrates me too.

I have struggled with negative thoughts for years. Before I understood my pattern, I saw my behavior as signs of being a failure. Now I see it as me being an almost hopeless failure. I don’t know where I get all of this hope from. Let’s not dive into that today. Instead here’s an example of the pattern I was talking about.

I love learning new things. I will get obsessed about a new project or skill and will spend hours learning it. A couple of weeks later though, I’m over it. When I was in high school, and even now in college, my peers or teachers would praise me for it. Just the other day, one of my classmates said “Oh Lizzie, you have the most interesting hobbies”. I told her I was translating lyrics and was hoping to translate them in a way that they could be sung to the music in the other language. Those lyrics have been sitting on my desktop screen untouched almost since she gave me that comment. I spent a good four or five hours straight working on them. Some syllables were too long others did not make sense. I remember my roommate wanted to do something, but I was so focused on the task at hand that I made her wait.

Now, I want to buy a keyboard. I want a good one because I think I may like it and dedicate my time to becoming a master pianist. I know from experience that the more likely thing is that I will obsess about piano for a few weeks at most then drop it like a hot potato. I just am not built to stick to things. Things or people. I am other. Yeah, yeah, doom and gloom. I know I’m not special. I know others of y’all feel this same way. Yet, there is something isolating about it, isn’t there? I want to be alone so much. I feel the paranoia gnawing at my face. Yet every time I see or hear my roommates I run to them. I run to the people close to me.

I’ve always had someone. In fact, I have a blog draft dedicated to this topic. It’s dedicated to the fact that I’ve always had someone despite the fact that I’ve never sought anyone out. It’s such a big theme in my life that it is the only draft I have not outright deleted or taken the time to perfect. That’s another of my problems: perfectionism.

Now, this blog post is rambly and long. I aim to only bombard y’all with one of those nuisances, so I apologize. I do that a lot. Apologize. There are just so many things I wish I was better at. So many things I’ve tried and let go of. So many people I’ve done the same with. I’m afraid of good things. I’m afraid because I don’t believe I deserve them. I know that is subjective. I know it doesn’t really matter because the world does not take care to keep things fair. Yet, I care.

All of this to say that one wrong step, one little comment, takes me from climbing the mountain of self improvement to tumbling down the ravine of self pity.

***

That was another post from my old blog when I was a senior in university. Whenever I read things like what you just did I get the strongest urge to give past me a huge, tight hug. But, I can’t. I can’t change the past, only my future. So, while I still feel like I wrote sometimes and I still have that pattern, I choose to work on improving myself and my habits rather than dwell on them. I will keep climbing the mountain of progress regardless despite of how often or how badly I slip. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Why Be Happy?

Originally Published February 18, 2018

Hey guys, I found a draft from a post I was working on during winter break. It’s got a tiny story moment so I figure why not post it. I’m doing better in regards to the happy issue, but that’s today. Here’s that old blog:

Y’all deserve a happy blog. But, I am not happy. I feel like I should be. Not for myself. That seems like a nice perk though. I feel the need to be happy for those around me. After all, who wants to hang out with someone who is sulking in the corner? In public, such as when I am walking around campus (background info, I’m a senior in university), I used to feel pressured to hold a light smile. Why? People in high school would periodically approach me with a concerned look on their faces and ask if I was okay. It’d baffle me every single time. First, that someone was talking to me as that was rare in those days. Second, by the question itself. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?” was my common response. The answer? Infallibly, it would either be “You looked really sad.” or “You looked really angry.”.

This didn’t end in high school. Once, maybe a year or two ago, I was on campus looking for the electrical engineering building. There was a meeting for the software development club that afternoon. Now, I’m not an engineer or a programmer, so I gave myself ample time to find the building. By the time I did, I still had at least fifteen minutes to spare. So, I did what any sensible socially awkward person would do. I sat outside a side entrance and waited in blissful solitude. It began getting dark when a young woman exited the building and approached me with that same concerned look I’d forgotten about. She asked me if I was okay. Baffled as always, I replied I was fine. She looked at me a second longer and explained that I looked very sad. Just as quickly, she gave me a kind smile and walked away. I sat there dumbfounded under the setting sun before deciding to head inside despite the likelihood of social interaction.  (I never went to another one of those meetings.)

Why do I feel the need to be happy around co-workers, subordinates, friends, and family?

***

I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be the weakest link. The last resort. I want people to want to hang out with me. I want to promote friendships. I don’t want people to equate me with a boring or sad time. In high school I dedicated myself to my studies and only my studies. I was quiet and sullen. No one talked to me unless I had cupcakes, it seemed. (A strong factor in why I learned to bake, I’m sure.) 

Being positive and happy around co-workers makes people want to work with you. It makes work more fun and easier. Around subordinates, it helps to get work done because people are generally more receptive to orders given with a smile than a furrowed brow. With friends, positivity makes you a good option to have fun together. Same with family, and all the other categories.

It all comes down to this: Looking happy (even if you don’t feel it) builds relationships. It lets others know that you are receptive to fun or positive experiences and thus, encourages people to invite you to have a fun, positive time with them. Happiness is a social beacon. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to attract happy, positive people. Even if they are people like me who may not feel like that all the time. That’s okay. I want to be able to put aside any pain or pessimism in my life and be able to have fun and be happy despite it all. And I want to find people who can do that too. 

So, I’ll continue to smile, even as I cry, because I want people around me to know that those two things are not mutually exclusive. I hope you reading this can find a smile within you today and all your days to come (no matter how small or fleeting that smile may be). Take care, friends. 🙂