Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I have been stressing over this whole thing for months.  I know that I am doing well; I can see some of it in how easy my life is now.  Like without all of the tension and stress-ors that have crippled my ability/abilities to do more than survive just one more day, just one more hour.

I recognize that some of that lingers.  I am having great difficulty losing weight.  Part of that is because I have been obese for such a long time.  My body is settled in my current tonnage, and has been for decades.  I have lost weight occasionally, due to unusually high stress and danger, but my weight has stayed the same for more than thirty years.  Man, writing that makes me feel like such a failure.  Whatever.

I think that my adrenals are healing.  I do not have Addison's, but I have had all of the symptoms.  The only one that is getting better is that not so much of my hair is falling out.  It took two years, but it is slowing down.  Yay.

There are many physical effects from all my crap.  The stress, depression and PTSD.  I know that it takes time to recover from everything, and I am doing my best. 

It just seems that, nearly two years since the day I left that other life, well, I should be making more progress.  I guess that it is not so much what I am doing, but what I still cannot do.

I still do not turn on interior lights at night.  Every day that I keep the place dark is another day closer to a habit that I might not be able to break.  And, I do need to break it.  I need to feel safe enough that I might pass between a lamp and a window and not worry about casting a shadow and letting anyone know that there is a person in here.  Stupid.  Worse is that it is saving me a lot on my utility bill and it might be difficult to give up that benefit.  Except, hanging on to this benefits me in absolutely no decent way.  It is pathological.

I should be more social than I am.  Truth is that I was more social earlier in my life, the few years before I left.  Part of that is being outdoors after dark, which I am planning to address by sitting out on my porch when the weather is nicer.  I have thought that I might even take a random walk back to the car under the pretense of getting something from that car. 

I have two friends that will come to fetch me for nighttime stuff, let me hang out with them and then be driven home.   There have been two recent offers. I thought that I would accept them, but at the last hour, did not.  Stupid.

There is so much more, and I am choosing to dismiss my attachment to any of it now, right now, in this moment.  Avoidance.  Stupid, but I am doing it anyway.  So often I get just plain sick of the sound of typing.  Round and round and never getting anywhere.  I do this to flush all the fear, stress and negativity, the self-loathing out, but sometimes the clicking seems like being stalked, the sound of someone with bad intentions following along just to see what dumb thing I will do next.

On the proactive side:

I take my medications. 

I try to be meditative as much as possible.  I used to do actual medications and visualizations and whilst I still could (and occasionally do in the DV support group), the larger process of that is not attractive to me right now.  Whatever.

I am more focused on eating a healthy diet.  I am tempted, practically seduced by Weight Watchers, but every time I think I really need to join, I attend a meeting and it all falls apart.  The truth is that I am not one of them.  I cannot get excited about the games and coins and tags and ribbons or whatever the group uses to measure success of one kind or another.  Frankly, when I go it is fine, and then I begin to feel a little squeamish.  So, no group tonnage reduction for me, at least not now.  I think that my response is because the whole process is an exercise in vulnerability and I could never join and risk inadvertently sharing what was happening at home.  It would have been just one more place where I would have to lie, which does nothing to help me feel like less of an outsider.

I am interested in exploring some physical activity.  Even though I am obese and do not have the right kind of clothing to go to the gym (and, yes, there are right and wrong garments for the gym), and am so out of shape that it is embarrassing.  I do take the stairs at work, up and down, and am able to resist the siren call of the elevator.  It is a start and whilst I do not do resolutions or goals, I really would like to start going, start becoming healthier and maybe meeting new people in the bargain.  That alone might be helpful in becoming more social.  Might.

My work is going well.  After 4.5 years, I just received my first complaint from a client.  I nearly fired her last week, but gave her some homework to do, and was willing to try one more time with her.  I have hopes, even though her previous four sessions here were difficult.  I am giving her one more session to just sit and talk and ramble like she does and then the two of us do the actual work or she has to leave.  And, not come back.  My supervisor is going to talk to her tomorrow and lay the groundwork for her coming back.

Okey-dokey, here is the interesting part.  Even though I feel as though I am not making any progress, you know, no decent forward and healing movement, this client did not trigger my usual shame spiral.

In fact, I felt no shame or regret or fear at all.  That used to happen every damn day.  Do something wrong and suffer the consequences, often over a long period of time.  It is important to remember that I never did anything that was actually wrong, just that someone who is not me waited for any expression of anything to use as an excuse to abuse me.

So, feeling, or, I guess not feeling that immediate fear response, is so cool.  Amazing.

I fell no guilt about not being able to meet the needs of a client whose needs cannot be met by anyone.  Even Mother Theresa might throw up her hands and hand her off to one of her minions.  She had minions, yes?

Not only do I not feel guilt or regret or failure at my inability to help this client, I feel really great about how I have been handling her.  I am doing exactly the right things with her, slowly moving her into becoming more connected and active about the process of the work she wants to do with me.  Not too much, not too little, just right.  Well, except for the other employees who want me to fire her, especially one guy who tells me all the time to not allow clients to pull their crap on me.  But, by the time they get here they have exhausted every other resource.

This particular client has told me that a local agency will no longer work with her.  His, the guy, response this afternoon is what the hell, you have alienated an entire government agency and you wonder why you are having problems.  Well, he meant her, not me.  But, I knew that, so no stress.

I am being totally supported here at work, something that is a basic part of working here, and it astounds me that I am feeling sort of settled and accustomed to this support.  Man.  Support.  Something I never experienced in that other life. 

So, I guess that I am making progress; it is just not the kind that shows, at least not every day or week, or, maybe, every year.  I am sorry that this client cannot seem to get along with anyone, but that does not mean that I can abandon her, at least not now.  She has another chance to come in and if she wants to talk only about how difficult it feels for her to work with me, that is fine.  She also has one more chance to do the work.  Then.  Well, I will have to tell her that we cannot continue to work together until she meets the, really quite small, task I have set for her.

It is not that I am positioning myself to be the person/party that does not have to make the ultimate decision, but the years of doing this work have educated me about how my clients have to be involved, do the work and not leave it to me to make sense of their mess and find solutions all on my own.

That certainly is not good my me and my work, and it most certainly is not good or helpful to my clients.  Just writing this, letting the thoughts flow through me reassures me that I am doing this work the right way.

That feels pretty damn nice.  Not stupid.


  1. Just keep doing your best, that's all any of us can do. I can see great leaps forward since I started reading this blog. Good on you for taking control with that woman, keep up the good work xx

  2. Thank you. It is often difficult to see progress from this side.

  3. J, I had a little giggle about the bit where you won't sit outside after dark as I wouldn't even do that and I have a husband and a son here. Also I hate driving by myself at night so I don't think your feelings in that area are so unusual. I am sure that you are making great progress but you just can't see it!

  4. Well, there you go. I now have the perfect excuse...reason...answer for not going outside at night. Chel says stay indoors!!!!! Yay.