Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mindfulness in a nutshell

After two mammograms and two ultrasounds (one done by the tech and another done by the radiologist "just to be sure"), it seems like I have a large nonmalignant lump in my right breast. "It doesn't look malignant," said the polite radiologist (before she sonogrammed she delicately asked, "May I examine...?" and then palpated me very apologetically). But I'm having a biopsy next week just to be sure.

So it looks like I don't have a Get Out Of Life Free card, and I'll have to find ways to make my life tolerable.

Therapy is helping. I've broken down the mindfulness process into three steps: notice, acknowledge, distract.

First, you notice what you're feeling and where you're feeling it. Anxiety in the belly. Anger in the shoulders and chest. Heat, tension, burning -- any sensations and emotions.

Second, you acknowledge: "I'm feeling really angry about X." "I feel anxious and I'm not sure why." "I'm sad and there's a heaviness on my shoulders." Recognizing the emotion and how/where you feel it can attenuate the intensity of feeling.

Third, distract. With something comforting or just different. Touch a piece of soft velvet. Grip an ice cube in your hand. Smell some perfume. Suck on a lemon, like I did in grad school.

I need to put together a comfort drawer. With perfume to smell, lotion to put on my hands, and something very tactile -- maybe a child's spiky rubber toy to grip. Because I got a job offer, so I might soon be back at work.

It's not the job offer I was dreaming of, but that job interview is scheduled for more than two weeks from now. I'll keep it, just like I'll keep another I have in a few days. I'm looking out for what's best for me; even though I've provisionally accepted another offer, I'm still keeping my options open.

Still, I do have an official job offer in hand, in part because a friend of mine from the methadone program came through with a reference.

After I was bullied and harrassed but before I was fired, I asked several co-workers if they'd give me a reference. They all said they would, and then they all stopped answering my calls and emails. I can't entirely blame them -- they work under my former boss, and they know what a vindictive bitch she is. Still hurt, though. But my good friend Vic didn't let me down:

It is not that easy for me to be brief about my friend, co-worker and colleague but I will do my best.

As a person she is very personable, very easy to be with due to her fast wit, good nature and engaging attitude.

As a colleague, when working together on an individual project or seeking her opinion or advise with our patients she has a tendency to really digest the information before giving me her thoughts on the subject. I liked that.

And I always admired her good knowledge of medication, mental health and mental health issues.

When working with Ayelet she demonstrated a high level of clinical and administrative skill as evidenced by some of the presentations and solutions to staffing concerns that our office had prior to her coming on board. We had to deal with a lot of inefficiency until she created some substantive solutions to the problem. Ayelet is detail oriented and a problem solver.

I heartily endorse not only her work but the person for the position. Knowing her, If she is seeking the position with you, it is probably because she has already researched and concluded that she could be an asset to the position.

Please feel free to call me with any questions or additional information that you may need

I don't have a lot. But I do have some good friends. They support me when I'm feeling low, they always believe in me, and they help as much as they can, which is a decent amount.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How was the bar mitzvah? Horrible.

I went to my nephew's bar mitzvah. He did great, I did not. I forgot my lithium, so I missed a few doses and then got a few doses fromr a different manufacturer, so I was physically sick, and the whole event was just miserable for me. Largely because I really can't stand being around my mother and my sister.

My cousin Yaffa has been trying to support me, but ultimately I don't want her support if she's going to act like I've imagined all the harm and insults my sister and mother infliected on me. It's easy to say "forgive" or "accept" when you're not suffering physical pain and tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs..The easiest way for me to not be constantly angry and resentful is not to be reminded of them.

If I were feeling better, I'd try to describe the interactions I had with Yaffa, Jerusha, and my mother that upset me so much. But I'm not. I'm feeling lower than I've felt in a long time. I can't say I'm depressed, because I don't think I cry this much when I'm actually clinically depressed. I'm just miserable. To top it all off, my doctor found a mass in my right breast and my insurance won't pay for the imagining until I meet a $4000 deductible. Good old Aetna. I'm fighting with them over it but I doubt they'll concede.

Whether I've screwed up my life on my own or whether I've had help, I don't see it getting much better. Especially now that I'm 45 and wanted only as a sex object by boys under 25. I'm tired of the pain. I'm tired of the loneliness.

Here is the email I want to send my cousin:

Yaffa, it's great that you're able to forgive my mother and my sister for the harm they've caused me and the pain I endure every day, but I guess I'm just not as serene as you are. Not that Jerusha thinks she ever did anything wrong, because it's always all my fault. Even though she promised to pay for gym membership and personal training and then left me on the hook for thousands of dollars, on top of the injury and continued pain for 10 years. Not to mention the thousands and thousands of dollars I've spent on treatment and pain medication, and will most likely have to continue to spend as long as I live. None of this is her fault, of course.

Neither of them has apologized or tried to make it up to me in any way. So it's just too difficult for me to be around them and around people who don't think they've done anything wrong. Thus, I need a break from you. I'll let you know the results of the scan and biopsy, if there is one. But if you're going to act like Jerusha  hasn't done awful things to me, and say she's "afraid" of how I "irrationally" react to the pain she helped put me in, then I don't want to be in contact with you.

Sorry if this sounds petty or small-minded, but it was also pretty small-minded for Jerusha to delete my friend requests instead of just saying she didn't want to be connected on Facebook. And it's too painful to watch her be actually nice to other people while struggling to be even polite to me, so I'm done with family events.

The same goes for my mother. I realize that I am an adult and responsible for my own life, but I can't help but wonder how different my life would have been had I not been exposed to so much pornography at such an impressionable age. I have no doubt I would have been messed up somehow, but I don't think I would have been messed up as badly. And I'm alone while that disgusting pervert has a comfortable retirement in her house. I refuse to forgive and say it's okay, because it's not. I have to live with the consequences: I'm alone and I will probably always be alone. So I don't want to be around people who act like my mother hasn't done anything wrong, when she let him sexually traumatize and warp me. Even now, she has more compassion for him than for me. So I am done with her.

I don't want to be around anyone who acts like my mother and my sister haven't hurt me. Acceptance is difficult when you're in constant pain and the unrepentant source is in your face. So I think for my own health I need to distance myself from them and the people who love them.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Ayelet drives off another man

If you follow me on Faceebook and/or twitter, you may have deduced that I was recently terminated for taking an ethical stand at work. I don't want to go into the details, only to say that after months of aggressive nonsupport, I am no longer a clinical supervisor. At any particular agency. I'm still a good supervisor, and what happened -- what led up to my firing -- was almost not my fault.

That's the deduction from my social work mentor group. They were incredibly supportive as I described the circumstances leading up to the termination. Clearly my supervisor was retaliating unfairly and unethically against me.

However, I was "provoking" her. Not because I was doing anything inherently wrong, but because I was highlighting areas of disagreement with her. The mentor in my group thought I should examine why I felt such a strong need to do that, if I knew it would piss her off and little good or difference would actually come of it. Especially since a few of the decisions I made included deliberation of whether I would regret the action -- and I proceeded anyway.

Why do I do things I might regret? My therapist and I explored this yesterday. I engage in confrontations over abstract principles. Often the only outcome is negative for me, which I recognize, yet I stick to my guns. Why? Apparently I'm sick of people bullying me, hurting me, being nasty to me and not suffering any negative consequences. I need to point out their error, even to my own detriment.

It has happened so much in my life. I've been bullied in numerous jobs. Hurt by men, family members, personal trainers. There's never any retribution. So I keep fighting -- even though at this point, the outcome of my actions only hurts me more.

That may or may not be the reason. It's the first time I've engaged in such deep introspection with this therapist. We also discussed my mother, to make it almost entirely psychoanalytic, and I'm happy to report that she told me it was okay for me not to talk to her after what her degenerate pervert boyfriend did. And yet I dreamed about them last night.

As a behaviorist, I'm uncomfortable with this much subconscious, so back to the here and now: I was fired, and even though I felt ashamed to admit it to the mentor group, they were incredibly supportive. They believe I'll be okay. They believe I'm a good clinician. They believe I'll get another job.

I sure hope they're right. I've actually already turned down a job offer. I applied for an LCSW position and was interviewed for a program director position. I turned it down after being offered the job because 1) I don't think I'm ready to be in charge and 2) they changed the terms on me.

When I interviewed, I was told that Angela would be my supervisor. She's a mid-level administrator in the agency. The offer letter, however, said that I would be reporting to Corrine, who is much higher in rank.

I like Corrine. I met her at my first interview for the position. She told me, "We think you're a brilliant clinician, and we want to train you to be a superlative manager." (I might have forgotten the adjectives but the nouns are the same.)

I was flattered. But I was also flattered by the last two people who hired me -- who then turned on me for not being what they wanted or expected. And I just am not confident enough in my management skills to trust myself to do well in that kind of position yet. Also, Corrine is exponentially more busy than Angela. Even though she said I'd get supervision -- well, I was promised supervision and support by the last two people who fired me.

So I said no. Regretfully, and apprehensively, because I don't know when I'll get another good job offer. But I can't afford to flame out a third time in another six months. I am so tired of being on probation. I want to be at my next job for a very long time. (If you're a bit confused, I confess that I was too ashamed to admit I was fired from my last job. You should hear how I spin that on interviews.)

More importantly, I want to work in a psychiatric setting. I'm tired of trying to jerry-rig a treatment regimen with outside psychiatric practitioners, which is what happens at almost all substance abuse programs. Eventually New York State will merge its substance abuse and mental health oversight agencies (New Jersey did that years ago, which is kind of embarrassing), but for now, while most treatment focuses primarily either on substance use or psychiatric issues, I want to focus on the latter. It's why I sought training in substance use -- to better serve people with psychiatric disorders, almost all of whom use. I need to make the switch, and now is the time.

So I'm interviewing again. I guess it's good not to take the first job you're offered and to trust that there will be others. Although that was my dating philosophy for decades, and that was quite a debacle.

Speaking of dating debacles, I had another recently. Low-stakes, since the guy's not Jewish and arguably not desirable. His OKCupid screenname is XChristianGreyX, and here's a sample paragraph from his profile:

l am Gods gift to women, I was sent down from heaven for the sole purpose of providing womens pleasure, so consider yourself to be extremely fortunate that I am talking to you and privilaged should I allow you the opportunity to meet me. After a lifetime of being a debonair international playboy, I have decided to abandon that lifestyle by hanging up my James Bond tuxedo, throwing my Hugh Hefener smoking jacket in the garbage and look for my ONE TRUE LOVE.. 

His profile picture is a smiley emoticon. Not someone I'd usually be interested in, but he wrote me:

I eat melted mozzarella by the pound......literally by the pound. Amazingly my cholesterol is normal as is my in proportion to my height. How I don't know (smiley smiley smiley big smiley)

Now I don't feel like tigger anymore !!!

Why am I interested in communicating with him? I just want to see if I can keep his interest. If I can flirt successfully. I didn't know how to respond to his initial contact; I do say that I love melted cheese in my profile, but how do I keep the conversation going?

Genetic luck, most likely. OKCupid is warning me not to transfer funds to you and to keep my conversations safely on OKCupid.

My cholesterol is terrible. Really, really terrible; you'd think I live on steak and heavy cream.  Since I don't, it's either the result of bad genetics or one of the antidepressants I'm on. Obviously I'm not going to cop to being on antidepressants. Also, OKCupid was giving me that warning, so I might as well use that, right?

It's a day later and I'm still not sure why I wrote that to him. I guess I didn't want to engage with a scammer, but otherwise it looks like I'm.... highlighting a disagreement of sorts. Like I always do.

Ahhh I know why they do that.......because I have an option to contact me on kik in my profile. But thanks for the heads up luv

Okay. Now what do I say?

Well, that's a relief. I thought you were some kind of deranged pervert masquerading as a normal guy ;)

Because of all the Christian Grey references. Sarcasm. Is that flirtatious? A day later, I'm thinking not.

Lmao. I'm a regular guy luv. I am actually a little offended that they would even put that up there.

I don't know what to say. I'm so bad at flirting!

You do look a bit jaundiced. Have you seen a doctor?

Because the emoticon is yellow. That's clever, right?

Maybe it's from the melted mozzarella!!! Lol

What do I say? What do I say? I know, I'll spring a mini-truth bomb on him.

Now I'm hungry ;) I actually have to watch my melted cheese intake, sadly.

Aaaaaand.... crickets. I could have stopped at "hungry." Why did I have to admit that I'm either inclined to fat or high cholesterol?

Again, it's low-stakes because I wasn't actually interested in getting involved with him. But why did I think I had to disclose something negative so early on? Because I'm afraid that nobody will accept me and my diagnosis as a package deal?

Any psychoanalysts reading this are welcome to comment.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I could not be more wrong for this guy

Today on Jwed I got a message:

Hi, I like your pictures. I come to Manhattan once a week. Please view my picture. The password is [redacted.]

So I looked at his profile and his pictures. He's not physically unattractive, but he's definitely what they call "black velvet yarmulke," which translates to "too religious for Ayelet even when she used to keep Shabbos and kosher." And then there was this in his "About Me":

Caring, loving, kind, considerate, passionate, sensual, handy, Hoping to get married between Yom Kippur and Sukkot. It is a propitious time to marry according to the Holy books, especially for someone who has been divorced. It is a hectic time, yet very spiritual time. A moment when the soul is cleansed from the Atonement of Yom Kippur. Well, it's not a must, but a plus.

I'm not opposed to an autumn wedding, but I'm thinking more in terms of color scheme than cleanliness of soul, He lists his occupation as "Kollel & music." I do not want to be with someone who learns professionally; I can't afford to support that lifestyle, and I don't approve of it.

This is what he's looking for:

I don't have any specific restrictions. I would like to feel comfortable with my wife, and not have the need to converse at all times or else. I believe a husband and wife should feel naturally comfortable with each other, nevertheless I enjoy conversation, and a good laugh. 

Well, that's not too bad. After all, I like talking but I also like companionable silences.

I would like a wife that the bedroom is important to her. Once or twice a week is not what I need. I feel that husband and wife should be more open with each other in these matters and less shy.

We all know Ayelet would be happier with once or twice a day. Maybe we are compatible.

Another simple point is oral hygiene. When the moment for closeness comes, I feel for myself and my partner it should be obvious to be clean and have good breath, by brushing and taking mints. It seems kind of obvious, but the obvious at times is forgotten, due to its absolute, logical, and universal understanding. 

Is it really that difficult to establish the need for good oral hygiene? Oy. I'm starting to see why he's divorced.

Another thing, please ladies no major PMS issues, and please no Bipolar stuff. I'm trying to cut down on torture.

Well, that settles that. I'm trying to cut down on torture too, but I can't wish away the bipolar. So I wrote back telling him that we weren't a match. His response?

But I love u

Yeah, right. And people think I'm crazy. I was tempted to write, "Well, I have bipolar disorder and I'm offended by your profile" but I think it's best just to ignore his last message and block him if he gets annoying.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A homely man with VERY high standards

Recently, a man in one of my Facebook singles groups posted an update asking if any women in the tri-state area would be interested in meeting a guy who has a good job and a nice house. I should have known that such a generic appeal would only come an unappealing prospect, but I commented and we emailed and exchanged phone numbers.

After a few days of aimless texting ("How are you?" "I'm at the pool having lunch" "How far are you from Penn Station?") he texted me on Saturday night:

What r u doing tonight I'm home relaxing. What r u doing tom

I responded

Going out with friends tonight, busy tomorrow

Not entirely true; I didn't have Saturday night plans. But I wasn't going to meet up with him last-minute. That looks desperate.

Let me know when we can talk and get together

he asked. I wrote back:

Let's talk tomorrow evening and make plans :)

The next day he texted

How are you.

I said,

Good Tired. But it was a productive day. How are you?

We exchanged a few more words, then he texted me Monday morning:

Gm. I'm at work. Let's talk later

I didn't want to chat with him while I was at work.

Okay. I should be home by 6:00 or so

He didn't like that.

I have my gym class at 6

It's not a big deal...

Call me after

I responded. He didn't. He texted me:

Do u have a pic or 2

and then texted me a picture of himself at the gym in a muscle T. Decent body, homely face. Well, it's the heart that counts, right? I sent him a selfie-- more or less a headshot.

Pretty. Do u have a length pic.

I didn't respond to that. All day. He texted me that evening:

Going to the gym. I'm glad mon is over

I indicated I was as well.

I didn't get a length pic

Wanted to text "And you won't," but there's no need to be hostile, so I filibustered.

I don't have any

He's a problem-solver:

Just take one phones have cams I took one for u

As though we had agreed to do this. I sidestepped again.

I didn't ask you to take one, and I'm not good at long selfies

Seriously, dude -- if I'm willing to meet you with that face, you shouldn't be super picky.

Take a half selfie. I have no idea how tall u are or your body t ype. I came prepared.

And I'm prepared to stop texting with you.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"