Thursday, October 01, 2009

A couple of surprises

"Please come into my office, Ayelet; I need to talk to you," said my boss.

"What did I do?" I thought frantically. "I've been back less than a day!" I called in sick Tuesday, after Yom Kippur, because I'd been feeling lousy for about five days. (I went to the doctor, who called yesterday with my blood work results. I don't have strep, mono, or swine flu, but my white blood cell count is low so I have to take antibiotics.)

It turns out that it actually wasn't my fault. My agency, which has several locations in NYC, is moving the dual diagnosis recovery program to another location. I face a choice: stay where I am and go back to being a regular drug counselor, or move with the program (and the majority of my clients) to the other location and continue to coordinate it.

It's not really much of a choice. I have to go with my clients if that's reasonably possible; that's the ethical thing to do, since most of them are attached to me. There are a few who have never been officially diagnosed with a psychiatric illness but need to continue working with me. I don't say this out of vanity -- it can be difficult to establish a new therapeutic bond, and some of them have huge issues we're only starting to delve into. It would be better clinically for these clients not to have to start all over with another therapist. My boss and I will have to get a little DSM-creative about finding diagnoses for them so they can transfer with me.

But I'll miss most of the people at my current location, and I'll sort of be starting over again. And it's my first job out of social work school. It will be a wrench.

"I'm surprised -- and touched -- that you're so ambivalent about leaving," said my boss.

"I like the people here," I said. And I do. Most of them.

The bigger surprise came from Jurassic Vassilievitch, who is a very convincing liar via email. Without getting into detail (I know, I'm usually all about the detail, but this concerns someone who actually cares about his privacy), he still has a lot of feelings for me, most of them very positive. Before, he said,

As I told you when we spoke, I loved the girl I knew 20 years ago. On some level, I will always care about you, but I can't go beyond that.

More like, when he looks at me now, he sees that girl and feels that love again. (Did I mention he's now a lot cuter with his new haircut? Also, he seems to have grown a spine since I knew him, which makes him a lot more interesting and less annoying, because he doesn't always give in to me. Apparently Russian fathers are very strict, and now that he's a Russian father, so is he.)

However, JV is dealing with one nightmarish ex-wife, and he's understandably wary about getting involved with someone who has a history of bipolar disorder, psychiatric hospitalization, and all my other baggage. Honestly, I can't blame him. It all sounds pretty frying pan-fire scary, especially if you've read my entire blog within the space of a few months. (Engineers. So thorough.) Also, he's not frum, and doesn't want to be. He keeps kosher, he observes Shabbat, but he does some things I currently don't.

I guess all I can do is spend more time with him, to see if we can find workable compromises to our differences, and bring him to an appointment with Dr. R, to allay some of JV's concerns about my stability. And get him some new glasses, because his current frames aren't helping him any.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. AHA! I had a feeling. :D

    He's shomer Kashrut and Shabbat, that's a really great start. The rest is stuff you can figure out together.


  2. I agree with Anonymous. Did you remove the shmirat mitzvot vs. love post from FB? Because that was a great question, and I think love wins. Especially if he's doing shabbos and kashrut.

    Regardless - I'm glad his feelings for you are positive and that you're happy about it. Enjoy. And go slow. Mwah!

  3. He's shomer kashrut and mostly shomer shabbat, but he does not like orthodox Jews. I guess I'm an exception, but he'd like me to stop being quite so orthodox.

    I left that FB thread up. I thought about publishing it here, but if people want to see it, they can see it there.

  4. Maybe its because I am an outsider and when I was "Orthodox" I was a whole different "Orthodox" than you, but I am confused. I understand that you are socially Orthodox, as in, when and if you go to shul, it is an Orthodox one, but you don't describe yourself as Orthodox either.

    Is it the community association that differentiates the two of you?

  5. Actually, I define myself as "modern orthodox."

  6. Hi, Are you the Ayelet who commented on my post on

    If so, I answered you there...


  7. It sounds like you and JV have a lot to sort out. You each have reservations about the other, but lots of good feelings too. Like Carmen said, take it slow. Keep your mind and heart open, and see where it leads. And enjoy the ride. (Apologies for all the cliches! UGH)

    Where will your new office be? Better or worse commute?--Riva

  8. Commute is basically the same, a few extra minutes of walking. But tonight he reminded me that he's not orthodox and thinks kosher restaurants are a) overpriced and b) not as good.

    Takin' it REAL slow.

  9. They are overpriced and not as good! But we persevere. And you are an awesome cook!!!!

  10. Yes, I come from an MO background too.