September 13th 2010 10:44 am
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Today was our first day of CGC class. There are only 3 dogs in the class, all German Shepherds! It was you, a black and tan girl named Schatzi, and Kohl our trainer’s black GSD. What a pretty group you were! The class went well. The only new things we did were stands and emergency downs, which you understood quickly. We will have to practice those. I think they will both come in handy!
One of the items on the test is a supervised 3-minute down-stay while the handler is out of sight. Our trainer watched you and Schatzi while we (the 2 handlers) hid behind a wall of bushes. We did three sets of down-stays, one for 3 minutes, 4 minutes, and 5 minutes. You only got up a few times (and went straight back down when I asked). By the last time you only got up once, and that was because a man with two dogs walked up to where I was (you usually check if I’m ok). I think with some practice it’ll be no problem.
What I was really excited about, though, was how the class started. There was a group of basic obedience before us, and I started a conversation with a man standing there. He asked me about you, and went to pet you, and I stopped him. I told him he could throw your Frisbee if he wanted, so he did. I didn’t even have to facilitate, you brought it straight back to him! After the second throw he petted you on the head. I asked him to stop because some of the dogs in class were getting distracted, and you let him pet you while he was kneeling down. That’s a first!
Another man walked up and started talking to me about what type of dog you were. He said his wife had a Beauceron, and that your body type was exactly like her dog’s. While he was going over every characteristic, he was pointing them out to me and ‘examining’ you. He leaned over, and pointed at your dewclaws, stuck his finger in your face to show me how your nose is hooked at the end, pointed at your feet to mention the color, etc. You stood there VERY patiently. I was so proud of you! You are usually sensitive when people get so close to you (at any point in time any body part of his was only a foot or less away!) but for some reason you weren’t phased. What a good girl!
September 13th 2010 10:42 am
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I had my long awaited appointment with someone at CU’s Psychiatric Department to talk about the possibility of bringing you to school with me next semester (or the next…) I was extremely nervous, and had a really hard time keeping my thoughts together. She asked me a few questions and my mind went totally blank… for example, she asked “How my symptoms manifest”. For some reason that simple sentence was completely out of my range of comprehension. I asked her four times to repeat the question, and I couldn’t think of a single thing.
I was able to talk about you, though. This was the part of the appointment I have been rehearsing forever. I told her about PSDs (gave her a brochure too) and explained how you help me. Though I could only think of a few examples… again, brain malfunction.
We talked a lot about my symptoms (the basic ones I could remember) and how they affect how I function. She asked me if I would think about taking time off of school to “take care of myself”. I asked her what she meant, and she suggested I drop out of my classes and go to an IN-PATIENT FACILITY. Whaaat? I told her that would only make things worse for me… especially with my travel anxiety, and not being able to be away from home. I explained to her that I already had an idea of the treatment I wanted to go through to get over this. I have 11 years of school ahead of me, and I can’t take ANOTHER year off to ‘take care of myself’. I probably should, but it would really mess up the way I’m living right now… I’m not so sure which would be more stressful; Being stuck as an in-patient and feeling like I’m not going anywhere in life for another year, or gritting my teeth and powering through it. I’m voting to power through it.
She looked very confused. I told her that I think the problem I have with seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists (and the problem we were running into at the moment) is that I KNOW what’s wrong with me. I don’t need someone else to tell me. For god’s sake, I’m a psychology major! I’ve assessed myself head to toe from the inside out a million times over. My ‘traumatic event’ was age 14-15. I didn’t talk to anyone about it until I was 18. I spent four YEARS in my own head, picking myself apart over this. I know myself pretty well by now, and I can see that meds make things tolerable. EMDR made things worse. Hypnotherapy made things TONS worse. And I can tell you right now, being an in-patient would drive me over the edge.
I told her I had talked to my psychiatrist about doing BioFeedback (or NeuroFeedback, though that isn’t covered by insurance so…) to work on monitoring my stress reactions. I want to take a stress-related group therapy to help me learn new coping skills, and hopefully socialize myself with people who will understand. I am going to call the lady who specializes in learning disabilities and see if she can help me with my school-work problems. On top of all that, I want Mina with me to help me stay functional.
She told me she was very impressed by me, and that I was an anomaly (wonderful… an anomaly). But she saw my problem… I come across as fairly normal because I try my hardest not to show my feelings and be emotional. I’m a smart person, and she could tell by the way I speak. I can see what’s wrong with me, and have so many great goals in mind, but am hindered by ‘all this shit’. (yes, her words)
I don’t remember much after this point. I was really relieved that finally someone was able to see through me. I wasn’t getting in the way of myself anymore. She went to talk to someone about disability services and about the PSD idea in general, and came back with some paperwork. I can’t remember what she said about it, but she made appointments for me to see a psychiatrist and a therapist.
I really hope this works out… this could very well determine the course of the rest of my life. At 19, that's a really scary thought.
September 13th 2010 10:39 am
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Today I went to see my psychiatrist. It was just a quick check-in, but we talked about some pretty upsetting stuff…
I have been having a really difficult time learning. I can’t seem to understand the information in my text books. I can’t remember to do my homework. Things are just falling apart, no matter how hard I try to keep it all together. I am trying SO hard to do well at school, and things are just not working out for me. I spend hours a night reading and taking notes out of my text books. I pay attention in class. I write every assignment down in my planner, and still I’m not falling into routine. Things aren’t getting easier, but more overwhelming.
The worst part is, I used to be so good at this! Knowing that I was able to do this once, and well, and with little to no effort is so upsetting when all I do now is struggle and struggle and yet have nothing to show for it. I graduated high school in three years with a B average. Then I went to my first semester of college and everything crashed and burned. I can feel it going that way again, and there’s this feeling of desperation rising inside me… I’m trying so hard to hold on to my goals, my dreams, and myself, but it’s all just slipping out of my grasp…
Seeing how upset with myself I was, my psychiatrist asked if I had rejected that my condition was the cause of all this. I asked her what she meant, and she said “Your PTSD”. I thought about it, and told her that no, I didn’t reject it. I just had no idea it would affect me to this extent…
She referred me to a lady who specializes in learning disabilities and teaching people with them to cope. Now, that phrase scares me. “Learning disability”. I have 11 years of school ahead of me… the goal of being a psychiatrist with an MD/PhD degree, and … a learning disability?
I know it’s a product of my PTSD, but it is messing with my plans for the future either way. I’m sure it’s temporary, but I don’t have my whole life to work through this! I want to be a college student! I want to go to classes. I want to learn new things, expand my horizons… I want to have friends. I want to have FUN. The more I try the more I feel it’s just not going to happen the way I’ve pictured it.
Sorry for the rant…