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"

Friday, May 22, 2015

Her not so perfect life

I had two friends who fell madly in love, were engaged in six weeks, got married young (24 & 25), had 3 kids, moved to the suburbs, bought a house, and had a perfect life.

After I read her joyous post about the gorgeous 15th anniversary gift he got her--a diamond eternity ring--I stopped following them on Facebook.

A few days ago, I saw his profile picture somewhere -- he joined a group or liked something. He was canoodling with a woman who was very definitely not his wife. I went to his page and learned that he had left her and their kids for a woman he met on vacation in the Dominican Republic. (He's no longer Orthodox, btdubs.)

I feel ashamed. I let my petty envy overshadow how kind she was to me. How much she loved me. How happy she was when I called her out of the blue and then friended her on Facebook years ago.

Recent pictures of her on Facebook show her smiling. I can't imagine the pain behind her smile. I might call her again one of these days.

(I know my brother-in-law did essentially the same thing, but my friend is sweet and beautiful, and my sister is a butt-ugly bitch.)
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Good for your brain, your heart, and your lady parts

For a while I was taking a probiotic supplement from ReNew Life called, very bluntly, "Ultimate Flora Vaginal Support." I tend to get a lot of UTIs, and I thought the supplements might stop that from happening.

After many UTI-free months, I stopped taking the supplements. Lately, I've been cranky and sad. I thought it was just work getting to me or the lack of a romantic life. But then I read about an interesting study that examined the impact of a multispecies probiotic on mood:

Compared to participants who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the 4-week multispecies probiotics intervention showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts.

That's the stuff.

I started looking for a probiotic supplement that contained all of the bacteria included in the study. And lo and behold, I found that all of them are in... the "Vaginal Support" supplement I used to take.

There's no guarantee that taking this supplement will improve my mood and functioning. But it's difficult to see how it will make things worse. There's also evidence that probiotics have a beneficial impact on blood pressure and serum cholesterol. While my blood pressure is low, my cholesterol is high and has been for quite some time, even though my diet is moderately low in cholesterol.

I think it's the stress and unhappiness increasing my cholesterol levels: cortisol thickens your blood in fight-or-flight mode so that you'll bleed less if you're wounded. Of course, my wounds are emotional, so the thicker blood is probably just building up the layers of plaque in my arteries. So if probiotics improve my mood, they might help lower my cholesterol.

So I'm adding probiotics back to my nightly medication cocktail, which also includes fish oil, vitamin D, and folic acid. Actually I'm out of folic acid, I better re-stock.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Full disclosure

Well, more like partial disclosure. I have a client who has some form of psychotic disorder and is currently very paranoid. Right now the only people in the clinic he trusts are a part-time counselor, the program director, and myself.

The part-time counselor is an intern who is very wise and has tons of life experience, but was really just an intern a few weeks ago. So as his supervisor, I work very closely with him and his clients. And one of the things we had to work on was getting this client to go back to his psychiatrist, so we met with him together the day before yeesterday.

This was an interesting challenge because I had to stay very, very calm with the client, as he's easily agitated and I'm ordinarily a live wire. Which usually works in my favor but would disregulate this client. I wasn't trying to argue that he needed medication -- I just wanted him to see his psychiatrist again.

The client currently goes to a community health care clinic that provides all services under one roof. Primary care, dermatology, endocrinology, urology, gynecology, dentistry, podiatry -- one-stop shopping. And the program has a coordinator who integrates behavioral health -- psychiatry and therapy -- with their other services. I know because I applied for that job and didn't get it. (Grr.)

"Going to the psychiatrist is just like going to your primary care doctor or any specialist," I said. "The brain is part of the body."

"Do you go to a psychiatrist?" the client asked.

I froze for a millisecond. Personal disclosure is dicey. Revealing too much information about yourself changes the clinician-client dynamic. It ups the intimacy, which can be a serious boundary violation. You have to be absolutely sure you're disclosing to benefit the client, not yourself.

I reveal very little personal information about myself to my clients, and not just because I have a stigmatized illness. On the other hand, here was a chance to be authentic and walk the walk. If there is no reason to be ashamed of going to the psychiatrist, then I should be honest if I go to one.

"Yes, I do," I said. "I go to the psychiatrist, just like I go to the gynecologist -- and it's a lot more comfortable than the gynecologist."

I was hoping to inject some humor and distract him from asking for particulars, and it worked. "Well, you have to go to that doctor, you're a woman..." he said, blushing and averting his gaze.

So we got him to agree to see his psychiatrist again. And now the former intern is the only person at my job who knows I see a psychiatrist. But I'm pretty sure he can be discreet, because he sees one too. I found that out during supervision. Didn't ask -- he disclosed. Which was fine.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

99 problems but insurance ain't one

Something bad happened at work last week. Something really awful, painful, and humiliating. I can't describe it, and it wasn't my fault. But I should have had some supervision about it -- a debriefing, really -- and I didn't. As usual, my supervisor is too damn busy.

So I called our Employee Assistance Program, shaking, and asked for assistance. And learned that you can get three free therapy sessions to deal with an issue, assisted by the therapist of your choice. (As long as the therapist accepts the insurance. You have two sessions to decide if you think the therapist can help you.)

"Here's your authorization number," said the quiet-voiced EAP rep. "It covers the first three sessions, After that, if another issue... emerges... the therapist can call us to request reauthorization to deal with the new issue.

"It's not like you can't talk about former issues after a reauthorization," he reassured me. "But as long as there are new issues to discuss, the therapist can keep calling to request more coverage."

Essentially, as long as you've got a new issue to list, you've got at least three more sessions. It took me less than 15 minutes to come up with:
  1. Last week's horrifying event
  2. My mother and her degenerate pervert boyfriend
  3. My sister rejecting my Facebook friend requests
  4. Being overworked and overstressed to the point where I get fired from jobs
  5. Being racially harassed by the jerk who said "I think you don't like me because I'm black"
  6. Being written up for writing "ax" instead of "ask" in a progress note (I was quoting the client)
  7. Having my knees wrecked by that personal trainer and the horrific commute
  8. The constant emergence of new bipolar symptoms. Most recently? Terminal insomnia AFTER daylight savings ends. Traditionally that's when the terminal insomnia has ended.
  9. Being single, childless, and middle-aged, with no home and no family
  10. Always feeling like I'm on the verge of being fired from my job, because I have been fired from so many jobs.
  11. Losing my religious idenitty.
  12. Having burned so many bridges in this town, including at The Bad Place.
  13. Needing to learn how to supervise people to do what I want them to do
  14. Losing my father when I was young
  15. Taking almost everything much too personally
  16. My explosive, ever-ready anger
  17. My weight and dislike of dieting and exercise.
As Al Pacino said, I'm just gettin' warmed up. Any suggestions for what issues I might also need to tackle? I showed my psychiatrist the list of therapists EAP sent me. She recognized one name, and I will call -- and Google -- that person. Soon.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Deja vu all over the now what was I saying?

Yesterday I clicked "interested" on a gentleman's Jwed profile. He seemed attractive, nice, interesting, age-appropriate. Today I got an email from him:

Hi, We went out last year. It didn't work out. Good luck finding a match!!

I have absolutely no idea who he is or what happened on the date. No. Idea. Either I've repressed the memory or I'm entering dementia. Or, more likely, I've been dating so fucking long, almost everything is a blur, with flashes of painfully clear awful incidents.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

She thinks a little too highly of me

Not a lot of social workers have their LCSW and CASAC. If I were fluent in Spanish, I'd be a unicorn; as it is, I still receive expressions of interest from recruiters at least twice a week. I had a fight with my supervisor and actually called one back a few weeks ago and went on an interview, but the job would have involved working with entitled adolescents, a population I doubly despise. I like working with underprivileged adults, preferably with comorbid substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. What can I say? I like a challenge that doesn't sneer, "That's so lame" or whatever the kids are saying these days..

Anyway, this morning I got another message from a recruiter:

I found your resume on [social work job site where I haven't bothered deactivating my resume]. Please reply to this email if you are interested in discussing the following job opening:

[Placement agency I've never heard of] is seeking a Regional Director of Clinical Services for a full-time permanent position located throughout NY. As director you will develop and implement clinical programming, staff training, and prepare financial plans. This position does requiring travelling to multiple locations in New York. An office may be set up in any of the boroughs or Long Island according to your convenience.


  • Master’s Degree in Social Work or related field, psychiatry, psychology, and medicine
  • Licensed Clinician in NYS
  • 10 years of leadership experience preferably in substance abuse facilities
  • Knowledge of OASAS

Please contact me if you are interested!!

Well, I have a master's in social work and I'm a licensed NYS. I know OASAS fairly well. However, nowhere on my resume does it state that I have 10 years of leadership experience anywhere. I have about eight years of clinical experience if you include my second-year internship. Of that, three years constitute clinical supervision, and I have about 10 months of administrative supervisory experience. And my performance at my last job wasn't exactly a stellar success story.

I'm definitely not going to respond; I'm no longer mad at my supervisor, and I'm nowhere near qualified for this position. Why on earth would she contact me?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, February 06, 2015

How to lose a guy in one text

At work I seem to have developed a reputation as a hardass. Today one of my counselors asked me if it was true that I call HR at the main office when people are late.

Much as my German half would find that infinitely satisfying, I don't. I'm not sure how the rumor got started. My supervisor is much better than I am at dealing with people's peccadilloes. When an intern lies to me or a counselor messes up, and I have to deal with them, it doesn't seem to touch her. She tells me what needs to be done and I do it -- but the way I do it, apparently, isn't tactful enough.

It's strange, because when I had to write someone up for doing something monumentally stupid, I agonized. I flashed back to all the times I've been written up. (Well, three times, once at each job after social work school.) I felt horrible addressing the behavior, and I tried to be as supportive as I could. When the counselor followed up that monumental piece of stupidity with an egrigious display of unprofessionalism, I didn't do a formal writeup, just a supervision note.

And yet, the people I supervise are rumorizing about my rigid and punitive punctuality..

I need to work on that. Yes, I know I'm supposed to be finding a therapist, but my schedule is still not final; we need to hire a few more people so I'm not working so many late nights. But it's only been two months and already there are hurt feelings. Some are not justified, but some might be. I thoguht I knew how to balance supervision with friendliness.

Part of the problem miight be (I hope) that I'm not getting regular supervision. My supervisor has been promoted; she's only staying until she finds a program director to replace her. In the meantime, she has a bazillion new duties. So she's often not around. Today we finally actually sat down to talk about how things are going.

"If I thought there were problems, I would not leave you hanging, Ayelet," she said. Apparently she thinks I'm not broken and don't need much fixing. Which is a relief. But I still think I really need more supervision, and I hope they find a cool program director soon.

As at work, so in dating. I am a bull in a china shop.

I haven't been blogging much about the guys I go out with, largely because I think that's healthier. But there have been several:
  • The brilliant, damaged engineer, who was so much fun to talk to until he told me he would never, ever, ever consider getting married again. It was great to feel so attracted to someone, to have that excitement and chemistry, to conversate like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in an old movie -- but after two glasses of wine on our second date, the awful truth emerged. I could have sworn he'd said on our first date that he was open to remarriage and possibly a baby, but he didn't have as much wine that night. Buh-bye. After Ivan the Terrible, I should have forever sworn off divorced engineers.
  • The disheveledly balding, bushily bearded guy, who wore a hoodie and dirty jeans and made me hug him hello and kissed my head. I could feel the wires of his beard press into my scalp. I've never been a fan of facial hair, and his beard was not attractive. Shave and a haircut, anyone? He wanted to go out again, but when he tried to hug me goodbye, I cringed and he looked stricken. "I'm not much of a hugger..." I offered feebly. He never called again, which was mostly a relief.
And then there's a guy that I was supposed to go out with again, but maybe I won't. Because he sent me a few cute texts, and I sent a horrible one.

He's a single dad. Child lives with him. So we went out on one of his non-custodial Saturday nights, a week ago. I thought we had a decent time, although he looked significantly older and scruffier than his profile picture. But he asked me on the date if I wanted to go out again and I said yes. We made plans to go out again on his next non-custodial Saturday night, which is a week from tomorrow.

Yesterday he sent a text:

I'm in an excruciatingly boring meeting. Please do not send me racy texts or I might burst out.

Ironically, I was in a fairly boring meeting myself and I didn't have my phone with me. So he texted again:

Unless you want to torture me with an unprofessional giggle attack.

I was still phoneless in my own meeting.

Meeting over. Resume arousing messages.

This guy is smart and funny. When I left work, I texted him,

ROFL... Sorry I missed this!

He responded quickly

There's no shortage of excruciating boredom. You'll have another chance.

And what did I think? He'll text me when he's bored and has nothing better to do. How flattering.

And very stupidly I texted,

How flattering.

Dead silence.

Why, why, why do I do such stupid things? I think better of it and I do it anyway! Stupid stupid stupid!

This morning I tried to muster some damage control

Sorry, that came out a little harsh.

No response. I called and left an apologetic voicemail -- said something like, "I'm sorry about that last text. It was... silly."

No response.

So I don't know if I have a second date with him. That's how Ayelet loses a guy in one text.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Not at the top of my 11-letter game

I'm using the light box and taking Vitamin D, but not operating nearly at my best. Proof of that is that I just typed "I'm using Vitamin D and taking the light box." True, I have TV blaring in the background, but my brain is stilted. I don't feel suicidal, I don't hate myself or feel guilty. But I can't deny that I've got some seasonal affective disorder affecting my concentration and processing.

This feels very apparent at work. Increasingly I feel like I don't know what I'm doing and I've bitten off more than I can chew. I've felt this at other jobs, of course, but at this job it's especially pointed because people keep coming to me for answers I don't have.

My supervisor, the program director, has been working at several other tasks and programs around the agency. She's not always in. When she isn't, people come to me for direction. I just got there.

Maybe it's acceptable that I don't know agency policy and procedures. I asked for a manual but never got it. But I'm starting to feel like I don't know anything about clinical work or social services. When faced with a situation or crisis, I either freeze or fumble.

Yesterday my supervisor announced that she's been promoted. She will be overseeing our clinic and several others at the agency. It's wonderful for her but totally sucks for me. She was a big part of the reason I took this job, and now she's leaving.

Touchingly, several of my co-workers begged me to apply for the program director position. "You have the credentials!" they said. "I know you can do it!"

I have 11 letters after my name. But most of the time I feel like I don't know anything.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Unexpectedly good New Year's

So my plans with the millennial fell through. Not a surprise. They're pretty flaky. Just in time, I was invited to another party -- in Teaneck, NJ. With people my age and older. (Some younger.)

Fortunately, I got a ride there and back fairly easily. But I wasn't thrilled. I hate going to parties by myself, even if I know I'll have friends there. Nevertheless, this party was unexpectedly good. By which I mean that I received a flattering amount of male attention -- although at one point my anger got the best of me.

I've reached a point where I can recognize that my reaction to a situation is completely wrong and irrational. But somehow that doesn't yet prevent me from carrying it out. Here's an example: I started talking to a non-repulsive guy who seemed to be in my age range; call him Doc Maroc, since he's Moroccan. A friend of mine, Delila, came up and started talking too, and Doc Maroc focused more on her than on me. I felt edged out of the conversation, got mad and walked away.

That would have been fine, except that later I went back up to Delila and hissed, "Worst wing-woman ever." Which isn't even true; earlier in the evening she diplomatically found out the age of another guy I was interested in (too young). But I was angry that Delila distracted Doc Maroc from me.

It's not even that Delila  was interested in him. She wasn't. But I got mad, walked off, and then basically attacked her. Looking back, I can't believe I did something that petty and stupid, although readers of this blog probably think that petty stupidity is Ayelet's hallmark. I apologized later, but I know she was taken aback. I hadn't seen her in years, I was thrilled to hang out with her -- why did I ruin it?

So even though I'm mindful of my mistakes, I'm not arresting them. It's even stupider than stupid because later I talked to Doc Maroc and he friended me on Facebook. And said he'd take me to a museum. Of course, he hasn't contacted me since New Year's Eve to make any actual plans. I guess if I don't hear from him in about another week or so, I'll unfriend him.

I met another guy I'm somewhat hung up on. Not just because he's really cute and has an amazing body. He said something incredibly hot to me, and now I can't stop thinking about him. I shall call him Shikker, because when he and I spoke, he was beyond wasted.

I first met Shikker early-ish in the evening. Before I yelled at Delila, who is quite a party girl, she and I were standing and talking with Shikker and a few others. Delila likes to joke that if she gets drunk enough, her clothes will come off. "His too!" she squealed, pointing at Shikker. Now that was something to look forward to. He is medium height, with dark hair and dark blue eyes. Burly, solid, well-defined musculature.

I didn't think Shikker noticed me; honestly, I considered him out of my league. That's why I flirted with Doc Maroc. But later in the evening, Delila and I and a few others were relaxing on the couch, and Shikker wandered over. He was wavering a bit. Plastered. I myself was good and tipsy.

"So are you going to take off your shirt like Delila said you would?" I asked. She and I began giggling. He looked amused, then began to unbutton the plaid button-down shirt he wore loose over his jeans, not tucked in. Underneath was a thermal Yankees shirt. Delila and I shrieked and tittered. He moved his hands over his shirt front vaguely, like he was having trouble working the buttons.

"May I help you with that?" I asked. He smiled vaguely, didn't say yes, but didn't say no, so I stood up and began fumbling with his buttons. He wasn't the only one too drunk to work them easily. But I managed to close them. Then I began stroking his chest and arm.

"Wow, so strong," I said. "Do you work out?"

He regarded me. "Well, sort of," he said. "I practice wing chun kung fu."


We sat down. I think it was at his suggestion. I kept stroking his chest and arms. And face. And ears. He reached around behind me and groped my ass. Maintaining the intense eye contact.

I can't recount our conversation word for word, but it seemed passionate and potent. He told me I was very pretty. I told him his skin was soft. When I think back on it, all I remember is a pleasurable sense of excitement and flirtation. I wasn't thinking about who he is or who I am, what I want from him or any other guy. It was just fun and intoxicating in the moment.

Then he said the most thrilling thing:

"I'm very drunk," he said, "and I want you. I want to take you into another room and do things to you that no man has ever done before."

Every fiber in me sang. Although I can't imagine what exactly that would be, it was exhilarating to hear. Even more stirring was what he said next. Again, I can't remember the exact words, but I believe the upshot was that he didn't want to take advantage of me, so he was just going to take my phone number and then go to the bathroom, because he had to pee "like a racehorse. I heard someone say that in a movie once."

"I've heard the expression," I said as he handed me his phone. I entered my number and hit send. But his phone died before I could save the number with my name as a contact. So I texted him a very flattering selfie I took that evening before the party, after I'd gotten ready.

I've since learned that he's 34, flakey,and divorced with six children, courtesy of my friend Faigie. So he's not a likely candidate for anything but a quickie or brief liaison. But I can't forget what he said to me and how intently he said it. gazing deep into my eyes.

Of course, he could have been beergoggling, and he might not think I'm at all attractive when he's sober. So I'm trying to put him out of my mind.

I posted about this situation in one of my Facebook Jewish singles groups, and ended up attracting the interest of another man.

Went to a fun New Year's party. Two guys took my number, but neither has called. Hate waiting...

He commented: They sure have their eyes closed because they must not know what they're missing out on

He's a Syrian Jewish clothing retailer; call him Secondhand Mose. He's also much younger than I am -- 35, nine years -- but says it doesn't bother him. He seems very nice, and not at all sexy.

But he doesn't mind about my age; he's divorced with a child, and not necessarily interested in having more; and he seems to be a very kind and non-judgmental person. We're haivng coffee tomorrow, and I guess I'll see if I can develop some interest in him.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"