Monday, March 31, 2008

Psychotherapy anyone?

Stuff happened last week. Lots of stuff. And most of it annoyed me.

I could just end the post there and everything that would need to be said would have been.

Last week Ibrahim decided to resign from the Middle East Center. Abruptly. I didn't write about it last week because it was generally agreed upon in the office that it would be best to keep it all quiet, but as Ibrahim is telling students and encouraging them to write letters to the University president.....I think that blogging it has now become fair game.

When I came into work last Monday, Linda pulled me aside and told me what happened. Apparently Ibrahim wanted to tell me himself, but you know.....he never got around to fact I had found out that everyone else (with the exception of Kellie who was on vacation in Europe) was personally told about the resignations (note the plural because the Associate Director resigned as well) but me. I admit, I fumed over that. Ibrahim never did try to talk to me, and it seems that he has been actively avoiding me this whole week. Which is probably for the best.....I would tell him exactly what I think of his little gamble and I think that he is avoiding my 'honesty' at the moment.

Anyway, why the abrupt resignation? What else.....a problem with the Dean. And ultimately, that is all that matters. The Dean and the MEC Faculty are again not seeing eye to eye on something. The Dean takes an unusual (and perhaps illegal action by violating the Faculty code) and Ibrahim resigns. No negotiations. No meeting to explain his actions to the staff. No sense or logic....just a resignation.

Of course, as with everything that comes out of the Middle East, one event causes a doomsday worth of speculation. We all thought we were going to lose our jobs, the Center was going to be closed down....we were worried about possible was endless. Nicely, the Dean had a meeting with the staff on Friday and calmed most of our fears. And I was hoping that over the weekend everyone and everything would have calmed down.

Nope. Not by a long shot.

Ibrahim made a gamble in this resignation. He was hoping (or at least I assume that) the President of the University was going to step in and fix it.....or perhaps that the Dean would have begged him to stay. Nope. No word from the President's office, and the Dean immediately accepted his resignation. The rest of the faculty however are all smiles in this show of solidarity of Ibrahim's resignation....they are all happy about impeding lawsuits....and I just want to smack every single one of them over the head. Because this isn't a great is a crushing defeat, they just haven't realized it yet.

Ibrahim was in DC most of last week, now that he is back we keep hearing (or rather I hear from others) that he is bandying about terms like "occupation", and references to other staff members who have clearly allied themselves with the Dean as "collaborators". In such cases, Linda and I agreed that we should be called "settlers"= there from the beginning and caught in the cross-fire. I am not exactly sure if it is right calling it an 'occupation' if you voluntarily gave up all your rights. And if we have to continue with the Arab/Israeli references..... Ibrahim has yet to realize that he just lost the Sinai. Whoops. So now that 1967 is over.....I am curious to see what the 1973 war example will turn out to be.

In any case, it seems that the most diplomatic person I have ever met has suddenly become the most politically ignorant. They are all crazy and playing a very silly game.....maybe they should be in psychotherapy, which I am happy to say that I started last week. I am quite thrilled. Job 1 has always been the stable thing in my if it can't be stable at the moment at least I am starting to make headway in the section of my life which has been the most chaotic.

It's strangeness grows by leaps and bounds everyday.

Such as, Mr.3's diploma came in the mail last week. Which means that he paid that overdue tuition bill from Spring 2006 OR that there was a glitch in the system and they sent it to him by accident. If he did pay the bill, that gives more evidence of his intentions (for however short a period that it might have been) of returning. I've been thinking alot about him lately. I found out that a friend of mine just bought a house and is now pregnant....and it makes me seethe with jealousy and anger. Jealousy at her. Anger at him.....because that was the future he had promised me. We were going to have the house and the kid...and now I have to face doing that all on my own now. And it brings back the anger of learning that last summer he was actively trying to have a baby with baby... (Why is everyone having the baby that I was meant to have?) Driving home from work today it dawned on me, What would have happened if he had gotten her pregnant? Would he still have left her? Or would he have stayed and continued life with her for a long as possible? Would her having his child have given him reason to make her take care of him as well? Or....would he just be a jerk-off and still leave her....or was leaving her with a dog enough of a keepsake of their time together to leave behind?

In any case, more for me to work out in psychotherapy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Should Be Abolished!

It seems as though every Thursday is a plague lately. It all started out innocently enough, it begin with the Thursday of my period week would be my most emotional day. Last Thursday, the failed day off when I attempted to do paperwork but emotionally collapsed instead. And now, today was bad too.... (not to mention the lack of good tv which equals no new CSI). Three Thursdays in a row, this has got to be a sign.

I had a friend who abolished the month of February for two years, she just referred to it as the 'month after January'. I wonder if I start calling it "the day after Wednesday" or "Friday Eve" if that will lessen the emotional stress of this day.

What happened you ask? The Employee Assistance Program happened. So I few weeks ago I waited for three weeks to get an appointment (as you have to see these lovely certified social workers before you can get a referral to talk to a real shrink). I spilled the whole story, was asked what made me happy, and told that I was really strong. Whoopadedoo. I was supposed to see the 'counselor' (the woman with the hamster name- Fritzie) every two weeks, but her schedule is so full you can only see her every three weeks....if you are lucky.

So apparently I was supposed to see her today but a work meeting came up and I couldn't make my appointment, so I called to reschedule. On Thursdays she has an open 'crisis hour' appointment at four. The receptionist told me that she should be able to switch my 1pm appointment with the 4pm but that she would have to double-check with Fritzie and call me back first thing this morning to confirm. Fritzie only comes into the office on Thursdays and Fridays.

She didn't call....(because that would have been convenient wouldn't it?) So I called her when I got back from my meeting at 1:50pm. After being on perma-hold I was told that Fritzie would call me at 4pm. Call me. I wasn't even allowed to see her.

My one goal for this meeting was to insist that I needed to see someone every week. While I have been so strong in the past, it is because I have repressed alot of emotions and I really need to deal with them to move on in my life. Three weeks ago, Fritzie opened up my can of worms and I have been hemorrhaging ever since. Therapy is supposed to be about having a safe place to work out your issues....what the EAP does is open up your wounds and leave you exposed to the elements. So, at 4:01pm she calls, and for the next 5 minutes and 36 seconds I talk with her. This is what I find:

1. She took no notes of my previous session. She classified it as 'marital problems'.
2. Said that she couldn't give me a referral without a diagnosis (which social workers can't do). She asked if I was eating. Yes. She asked if I was sleeping well. No. She asked if I felt depressed. Yes.
3. She is processing the paperwork to have another random office person who I have never met to give me a referral to someone else for my 'depression'. Because apparently when you drown out all that I am saying that is what is wrong......and nevermind that I specially asked not to be treated for depression.... but hey, I'm not the social worker.
4. Oh, she is really sorry that our sessions aren't working out for me.

Final conclusions: The employee assistance program does more harm than good. My two experiences with them have left me worse off than when I went in. Nice people aren't qualified to help those in need....and even then, they don't really care that much anyway.

Most importantly......the EAP has now WASTED six weeks of my life. That is six weeks where I could have been getting six weeks of me becoming progressively more unstable and absentminded.

And these things seem to happen only on Thursdays. No more!

Monday, March 17, 2008

So the next time....

....someone asks me how I managed without Mr.3 for so long I am going to direct them to this quote from Ian McEwan's Atonement:

She did not miss his presence so much as his voice on the phone. Even being lied to constantly, though hardly like love, was sustained attention; he must care about her to fabricate so elaborately and over such a long stretch of time. His deceit was a form of tribute to the importance of their marriage.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Week Like Many Others

I know that by the looks of it nothing has happened since Fred's untimely end, but there has been. There is a new chameloen now, named Grizzley Will, and Phil the frog has been moved to a new home.

In many ways this week has gone by like lots of other, work, work. Except that I am becoming less and less numb to my work-yourself-to-death coping mechanism. Maybe it was just in me recognizing that I work as much as I do in order to avoid. Due to the strangeness in my work hours this week I took Thursday off from Job 1. I had grand plans for the day, most notably taking the divorce paperwork to the notary and then filing them with the court. Most grand plans fall did these. I started to go through the paperwork and unfortunately starting thinking about the situation that I am in. I'm angry. Angry that this is my responsibility to bear being hurt so, my responsibility to be strong for all of the others who are hurt, my responsibility for all of the legal all falls on me.

When I went to that counselor she told me that I should be proud of how strong I am and how well I've handled all of this. So many people tell me that, and I wish that they wouldn't. Being 'strong' is the biggest burden of all. Being strong means that while I have bourne this well, that even though you want to show everyone how hurt you really are...that you can't. Being strong means that even the appearance of weakness destroys your self worth even more. Being strong means that stoically handling things makes your struggle more noble. In that nobility is the absence of shame. No one should feel shame in my situation....which means that being strong is of the upmost importance....and in so saying....being strong leads to you crying, curled up on your bed, trying not to crinkle up the divorce papers and being thankful that no one is at home to see you in such a shameful and weak position.

If this was Mr.3's purpose, then he did his job well. He caged me within my own strength.

It is at times like those where I don't even want to bother with the divorce....I'm married to someone who doesn't exist, to someone who even if he was going to be the one filing the paperwork wouldn't even have documentation to prove his identity enough to complete it.

Being single again has it's own levels of complexity. I've determined that twitterpation is not only bad for my anxiety levels but my skin. I've face has been broken out...and it hasn't been this bad since middle school. I've tried to be more social....and I have even been dating. Although I am not sure if my two dinners and one on one conversations with Craig could be called dating anyway. The first night where he made dinner at his house was marred with me being nervous and feeling stupid the whole time. I sent mixed messages, I know that I did. I agonized over every gesture I made for almost a week. Then Friday when it was my turn to make dinner I tried to not to be nervous....being in my own element helped a bit. And I talked alot about how much I loved Jimmy and how I was glad that he wasn't going to move out (another new development from this week) and I talked about Mr.3. Not too much, not in the depth that I wanted to....but I talked a bit about my pain. In any case, I know that I have a good friend in Craig and if whatever we have going on gets classified into something more he at least knows about what he would be getting himself into. He knows that I have baggage, but he doesn't know the full scale of how tarnished I feel. In many respects, I don't understand those depths either.

Since my anti-botic month, my system has been in a horrible state and I have been trying to fix it with probiotics. I haven't been doing enough though and was woken up this morning (and I really needed the sleep) by a tightening in my chest. It turned out only to be gas, but I was in pain for quite some time. I then decided that I needed to go to Wild Oats and get something that I can take on a daily basis rather than wait for the next time my system decides that it hated me. Going to Wild Oats and a local new-age bookstore sounded like a good idea. So I sent Libby a message this morning and started working Job 3 for a bit while waiting for her answer. She wasn't able to so I finished my four scheduled hours and went out by myself. Going out by myself felt like a huge extravagance... it feels easier to do things lately if there is a purpose, and someone else being there with me creates a purpose. The Wild Oats trip was fairly quick and I got a free sample of probiotic to try from the employee in that section....which I think was only due to her having recognized me as being from the Center. I had talked to her class earlier in the year. Then it was off to the bookstore.

I am not sure if I was looking for anything in there. I thought about getting a tarot reading but couldn't justify the expense....and even then, I am not sure what I would have asked anyway. As I was walking around I just felt that everyone in the store looked at me and knew that I was in pain. I felt emotionally naked. I was hoping to find something....some book....some object...something that would give me a puzzle or a riddle that I could sit down and use to figure me out, to figure Mr.3 out. All I have been hoping for is to find some little logical puzzle that I could work on and make me feel like I found an answer. Anything to make me feel like I am being productive....anything that will make the logic of things take away the emotional pain.

I wasn't even gone from the house for 40 minutes. I couldn't even make myself dawdle in a bookstore...I kept feeling that I had to rush home and do something. But there isn't anything to do. I've done with work for the day (nor do I have the attention span to do anymore). The house is clean. I don't feel like reading. Jimmy isn't home for me to listen to. I'm just left with myself.... and what is worse than that is that I am left with myself, and Ms. Fix-it that I am can't fix what is wrong with myself, I can't clarify the problem so I can't being to work on the solution.

I guess that I will just walk around the house, publish this banal post, and wash the tears away from my face before Jimmy gets home from work. At least it is movement..... an attempt to make my physical inertia match my mind.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Goodbye dear Fred. You were loved and still are.

Normally I wouldn't be blogging at 5 in the morning (especially after a late night) but I don't think that I would be able to get to sleep and have it be a productive hour of sleep before I had to get up anyway. Besides, after what happened it would feel wrong somehow just to go back to sleep....something so normal and mundane.

There was a tragedy this morning. Or rather between midnight last night and 5am, there was a struggle in the animal kingdom that comprises my brother's bedroom.

A couple weeks ago, Jimmy acquired a frog, his name is Phil. I was surprised about the addition, but Phil has been fun in his own froggy way. Originally, Phil had his own tank and then Jimmy moved him into Fred's tank. Chameleons can live in tanks with other species fine, but not with other chameleons. My only objections to this change in living arrangements was a feeling of indignation on Fred's part for being forced to share his room.

This morning Jimmy came into my room crying. When he had gotten up in the morning he had noticed that Phil was in an unusual spot in the tank and looked really bloated. He turned on the light to check on the frog thinking that it was ill only to discover that Phil had eaten Fred during the night.

Jimmy is devastated.

He at first wanted to get rid of the frog, then considered sticking it in with the crawdads, or even taking it outside and leave him exposed to the elements. But he shouldn't punish the animal for its natural instincts. The frog doesn't have the same sense of morality that Jimmy does. It can't understand that Jimmy loved Fred most of all....or the dynamics that a $20 frog should not eat a $100 chameleon that is its roommate and almost equal in size. From the frog's point of view, he probably watched Fred eat night after night and then decided that not only was this other entity a competition for the food supply in the tank, but also that the competition was getting heavy and might be a tasty meal. So he waited until he could sneak up on it at night while it was asleep and eat it. I hope that Fred was asleep because the thought of waking up to frog eyes and a giant mouth trying to eat me is not a good one.

And poor Jimmy! I know that he has been wanting to build a vivarium where he would put several species in together. They would live in harmony or it would be survival of the fittest. He liked the idea. Hopefully he will re-think that idea after the devastation of Fred's death. I think that he will be grieving for Fred for a long time. Fred represented alot for Jimmy besides the pet/owner bond. Jimmy had to work for Fred. He invested alot of money in him, Jimmy was almost cut off financially from my parents because my Dad didn't think that he should get him if he didn't have a job. Jimmy negotiated the rights with my Dad. Fred also represented a new line of freedom for Jimmy. A time where he made the decisions as to what to buy with his money and didn't have to fight for the right to have him in the house. Fred represented a new type of adult freedom for Jimmy.

Just to think of the logistics of trying to get Fred down to Arizona at Christmas time! That was a herculean task, but Jimmy was determined that my parents meet the newest member of the family.

Jimmy plans on getting another chameleon and admits that it will never truly replace Fred. He will probably do this soon as the empty tank will only be a sad reminder of the loss. Of course, the frog will have to go. For the frog's own good because it doesn't deserve to be the brunt of Jimmy's anger. It was just a frog and Fred was just a meal to him. I do wish that I could have done more to console Jimmy this morning. But I was half asleep and in shock ...and he did have to leave for work. I couldn't even pick up the frog this morning...I could see the odd bony bits pushing out his stomach and couldn't even fathom touching him as he was digesting poor, dear and now deceased Fred.

I hate to see Jimmy hurting this much. I know that I have been nagging him because he hasn't been working on his financial stuff as he should...but he has been directing that energy into love and care for his animals. They calm him. I can't protect him from the heartache out there in the world. Maybe though, if he can come to terms with the fact that two animals, "tank brothers" as it were, could turn on each other....he can come to terms with how the same happened to him.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Defining Happiness

Not quite sure what to make of my appointment on Friday yet, although I will give it a couple trys to see if this helps. She did ask me a weird question though...

What makes me happy?

And the answer is that I am not really sure. She was looking for some black and white answer, and I can't give that. I can't see my life in terms as just happy and sad. There are shades of gray to it. I find things that give me satisfaction, things that calm me.... but I wouldn't say that unequivelantly that one of those things qualifies as making me happy. I think that happiness is more internal than that....more subjective on a person's mindset than on specific items. It has more to do with the how all the little things add up into the whole picture.

Libby says that three years ago I would have been able to answer that question. The thing is, I don't know what I would have said back then. I do know that before Mr.3 I felt really trapped. I was trapped by debt, trapped by my desires in life, tied down. And this isn't to say that Mr.3 "saved me from my entrapment", in fact I still felt trapped in many ways when I was with him.

Now, I don't feel trapped. I guess you could say that I feel "happy" with where I am in my life. What I have I worked for myself. I am no longer trapped by debt. I am content with my job, I love my job! I don't feel like I am trapped in Salt Lake anymore....I want to stay here. I love it here! I live in a nice house, I have friends that love me, and I have found a new source of strength and patience that I never knew I had. It was tough finding it and surviving it....but damn am I glad that I have it.

So....maybe in that sense....I am happy.

And you know what? I'm having coffee with a friend on Wednesday, and that pretty much kicks ass!