Angora

Today, I had two appointments at the doctor's office, one of course to see my therapist and keep on keeping on about this CBT and start approaching something called Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), but also a follow up with the nurse who saw me when I had my panic attack. That visit came first.

Catching her up on what has transpired in the last...month? Losing a dog, losing a job, getting screwed out of pay, she genuinely seemed shocked and understanding of how this much stress could be affecting me so negatively. But part of the reason I had gone regarding my massive panic attack was because my ass was bleeding after several bouts of diarrhea (cha cha cha). So, there was a rectal exam. Fortunately no lube was required and she said I looked fine. No news is good news. So, yeah, a diminutive woman who has been very nice and understanding had me "spread 'em." It's not fun, but I think knowing that was coming and actually having a decent pulse and BP reading beforehand, I was accepting of my fate. That's gotta be progress, right? No one is comfortable exposing themselves to relative strangers...well, not the dark sin hole nether regions and not people they immediately have to then continue speaking with anyway. Actually I take that back; I know damn well there are people who pay and get paid to do what I did for fun and way more money.

ANYWAY!

I'm fine from all outward appearance. So, next up is getting some lab work on my blood; rudimentary, across the board kind of stuff. I'm sure when I get the results tomorrow they'll tell me my triglycerides and cholesterol are high, I need to lose weight, watch my sugar intake, eat more fiber, blah blah blah. But as much as I'm concerned with getting my mind right, getting my body there, too, preferably in conjunction with, is a happier, healthier me all around. I'll update the findings tomorrow.

My therapy sesh wasn't for another half-hour, but I wasn't going to leave only come right back, especially with all the construction happening between here and there. So I had my book and I sat and read for a bit. I texted with my wife who teased me about being probed. I called in a prescription for the ANT. And, made an appointment to visit the campus of Community Care College to learn what it would take to become a medical coder. It's an office job in the medical field, so I could always find work, even were we to move away.

Since I was early and waiting, my therapist could see me early as she had nothing to do immediately before our appointed time, so why not get started?

In this session she wanted to know more about my past, what I thought defined my growing up and the hangups it might have given me. Now, family, if you're reading this, please be aware that the story I have is fragmented, told in half-truths, jaded memories, and the woman I knew as my mother was a different beast than everyone wants to remember. I disclosed events that could be viewed as traumatic, at least, my therapist saw it as traumatic. And I suppose it is. Being given up to an aunt for a brief period and the separation anxiety that developed as a result. Abusive significant others and clouded memories of events that admittedly my perception may be skewed on, but impressionable, nonetheless. I wasn't abused by any readily identifiable notion, I wasn't beat (severely; I was spanked, but usually in response to some crap I'd pulled as a kid, and before you caudal me, I understood the repercussions of my actions and expected spankings, that's what kids up to the 1990's expected, even in school, and I've got no personal problem with that course of discipline I was dealt), instead, I wasn't protected. You expect a mother to provide for a child, shelter and nourishment, both food and of the soul, but...I just didn't have that. Sure, I lived with my mom and I was never hungry, but there were actions, the aforementioned giving me up to an aunt for a period, the not protecting me from a couple of abusive male counterparts, a boyfriend or husband, maybe a grandfather-figure, and regaling me with tales of how she would terrify me by showing me a video of my birth in reverse, saying that would be my punishment.

Now, Irene was a habitual liar, I get that from her, sometimes I make shit up just to see what I can get away with (as I said, I usually had the spankings coming), but nowadays I try to focus that into my writing. Anyway, she may very well have lied about that and that that it would have been funny to use as a disciplinary action, but still, what the fuck, Irene?

Eventually, my dread of being disconnected from my mother evolved into a need to protect her, even if from herself. It was a lot of responsibility that I had built up around myself and whether that's directly her fault, as in did she purposefully put me in that position, is debatable, of course. But the fact the matter remains, it's how I felt, it's the childhood I experienced and it informed, informs, how I build relationships. My closer friends, the handful that I have, can no doubt attest to the fact that I overshare, that I can be overbearing, or conversely and simultaneously, fail to be human and friendly at all. I can even watch myself doing these things and plead with myself to cut out this destructive behavior, but the words or action are already done, and now I have new things to debate and wrestle with in my busted up psyche.

That's the point, though, isn't it? Recognizing it and doing something before it starts, instead of fretting about it forever afterwards.

I fancy myself an entertainer, I'm an author, I want to stimulate people's imaginations, and when I'm with people, I'm either walled up, arms folded, people-watching, or trying to make sure that people's perception of me is one of "this is a cool dude." But trying too hard, and not hard enough, are extremes my therapist recognized. It's either all on the table or not at all. I'm at 11 or unplugged entirely. Where is that middle ground? How do I find comfort and joy in letting other people entertain me? When do I realize that even if someone is bored with me, that's not the end of the friendship and they probably don't think any less of me than before.

So, what was my challenge for the next week? Well, keep doing this, journaling/blogging, it's exercise that I have to keep doing before I'll see any results. Also, and this is part of the DBT, put myself out there in situations I may not be so comfortable. Instigate interactions; actual, in-person human interaction, and let it go where it may. Also maybe let someone else plan an evening to hang out and not put any expectation on myself to "perform." So, Dave, Frank, Chance, Tony...anybody want to entertain me? I'm broke and broken and I like booze.

Afterwards I went to Hobby Lobby and asked to speak with a hiring manager (an exercise in the DBT, but also in finding a job). Up to now, short of being contacted by the temp agency I'm signed up with and meeting a couple of their reps, I've been applying nigh anonymously, hitting "1-click apply" or firing off my resume. I went to Hobby Lobby because supposedly they pay over $15 an hour for full-time employees. Supposedly. The manager said "yes and no." They only hire people part-time and that's at a significantly lower rate and to get to full time you have to put in an indeterminate amount of time and work to become full-time and get that raise. So, basically, even though they advertise this fantastic wage, they don't actually pay it, probably relying on high turnover of school students. That's okay, I wasn't entirely positive I wanted to work there considering their attempt to sue the ACA over birth control. But at the same time, I need to support my family, so I took an application, just to be cordial. We'll see how desperate things get. I also stopped at a couple of other shops closer to home, but pay was abysmal or I could only apply online...I tried.

Tomorrow, visiting the school, that'll put me out of my comfort zone, too, so, I've got more "exercising" to do.

Getting home, though, I decided to be unemployed for today. I listened to a couple of podcasts (which I'm woefully behind on and I do miss zoning out to them while I worked my crummy office job) and I cleaned and rearranged the kitchen. I also made some headway on my disheveled garage.

And that's my day. My blood pressure and pulse were good, though; not sure if that's being away from my previous employer or being on the Prozac...probably a mix of both. Baby-steps, all of it, all of the way.

"Where the fear has gone...
Only I will remain."

Step Right Up