Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

No Bandwidth

September 14, 2019

I mean.

Ok.

Maybe a tiny bit.

There is some.

But it is small and slight and I chose to write a blog instead of using it for homework.

Don’t worry.

Shh.

Anxiety be gone.

I will work the homework is a serious manner tomorrow.

I promise.

I had one client cancellation, there will be homework done then.

And after I finish with my last client at 2p.m., aside from lunch, I have no plans except to bury myself in the work.

My fucking god.

There is a lot of work.

And I have been doing some over the week, don’t get me wrong, I have attended to it.

JESUS FUCK.

I am so grateful I just caught that, I had an assignment due.

I actually don’t know if I would have caught that if I hadn’t been writing this.

I stopped and popped into my online classroom and saw correctly that I had something due.

Good grief.

I am so glad I caught that!

I already had done the work, I just hadn’t formatted it to turn in.

Whew.

It’s turned in and now I can go back to whining about how much work this all is and when the fuck and am I going to have the time to do all the reading.

All the reading.

So much reading.

So much.

I have seven, seven, new books that have arrived in the mail this week.

I’m going to say that again.

SEVEN.

Ugh.

I keep reminding myself that I just have to do what’s in front of me today.

It really becomes impossible if I look at that stack of books, like maybe if I just sleep at my desk and never leave it and never move I might, might, get through the stack by the end of the semester.

But.

I have a life.

A big life.

A full life.

I also have a private practice I am trying to fill since, well, that’s like my income.

Not fully.

But soon.

Today, yes, today.

Today was my last Friday as a nanny.

I am still nannying, but I am reducing my hours down to three days a week as opposed to the five days a week I’ve been working for like, forever.

Thirteen years, give or take a few other odd jobs here and there, I have been nannying for thirteen years.

There is an end in sight.

And maybe that’s why I needed to write tonight.

To mark this.

It’s a big step.

Next week I work two days less a week as a nanny.

And soon, by the end of the year, by February at the latest, I am hopeful that I will be done completely as a nanny and be fully self-supporting as a therapist.

It’s a big freaking deal.

I have been working so long and so hard to get here.

I remember when I turned ten years sober how I was putting the finishing touches on my application to my Master’s in Psychology program.

That was four and a half years ago.

It’s been a long road, but I have been on it, working and working and working and the working, well, it does seem to be paying off.

I reflected this morning while I was doing my morning pages (I still do that, I may not be blogging every day like I used to, but I am still committed to that practice, I can’t not write, I would die) that I have really come far since last year.

I moved into my new place September 15th of last year, I started my first year of a PhD program, I was hired in August to work for Grateful Heart as an Associate MFT to establish my practice.

I left my other internship where I was not paid to transition to Grateful Heart in October.

I had four clients.

Now.

I have eighteen.

That’s a pretty damn big deal.

To make it through a year of a PhD program, work full time and set up a private practice therapy business.

I don’t know that I held down the fort in all areas all that well.

Oh.

And yeah.

I broke up with my soul mate, the love of my life, the one.

The fucking one.

I have been grieving that a lot lately.

It’s been a lot of sadness and tough at times and I don’t write much about it here.

Aside from the odd poetry post that I happen to throw up.

Tonight’s full harvest moon is also not helping.

It’s been excruciating when I think about the language of love that we spoke to each other through the moon.

How many text messages and phone calls looking at the moon wishing for him?

So many.

Crying for the moon in the sky, crying for him.

Crying all the time.

I still cry.

It catches me off-guard sometimes.

I think this last time it’s been different, more final, more ending.

Hopeless and heartbroken.

And still thriving.

Still alive.

My therapist reflected that to me this week after I shared some things about the current issues I have around the ending of the relationship and how I am still affected by it.

She said, “you can be heartbroken and thrive too.”

Heartbroken.

And.

Thriving.

And overwhelmed by the work, but up to it and ready for it and grateful for the lessening of nanny hours so that I can work more on my dissertation and my course work.

So that I may cultivate more clients for my therapy practice so that I may, sooner, oh please, rather than later, stop nannying altogether.

I don’t know how it will look or when it will happen, but I sense it is out there just around the corner.

Just there.

Under the shadow of the moon.

Like my love for you, my love.

Always just there.

Lit by the moon.

 

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

I Passed!

June 21, 2019

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam!

I am so stoked.

And.

Tomorrow is the last day that I work for the family nannying for six weeks.

They are off to Europe and I am off.

Well.

Not really.

I’m still seeing therapy clients, and tomorrow will be a full day, work in the morning with the family helping them get all their ducks in a row before they fly out, plus four clients in the afternoon and early evening, and solo supervision.

Plus.

Four client sessions on Saturday.

But.

Then.

Freedom.

No weekend of studying and listening to the audio tapes and taking the mock exams.

I mean.

The relief is real.

Last Sunday I studied for three hours and took two mock exams.

I felt blown the fuck out.

I let myself have off completely on Monday.

I only listened to the pep talk, which was good and helpful and then I had a normal day at work.

Well.

Not really normal, all the kids were off from school and both parents were out, one traveling and one working long hours.

So I had all three kids all day long Monday.

In fact.

I got in an hour early and stayed 45 minutes late.

One parent got a delayed flight, so the other had to scrambled to cover me and get me out.

I was really grateful I had done all the rest of the studying on Sunday, despite being so tired of the material.

I didn’t do any studying after work Monday, in fact, the test prep folks don’t recommend it, I let all the work settle in and get situated, and hung out with my best friend and did the deal and went and ate at Marnee Thai.

Good company and good food.

No studying.

It helped.

I got up early Tuesday, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff ready for the day, I had to work and see clients.

And in retrospect that would be the only thing I change.

I was blown the fuck out by the time I got to work, my brain was scrambled and the adrenaline that had been coursing through my blood sucker punched me and I had a bit of a crash at work.

And I had all three kids and I had clients afterward.

The next time I take a test I will remember this.

Take the damn whole day off.

As there will be another test.

But not for about another year and a half, two years, which will be when I get all my hours accrued and it will be the last thing I have to do did get fully licensed as a MFT.

The board exam used to be one comprehensive test and it took four hours to do.

A few years back the BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) changed it and split it up into two exams.

The first exam, the Law & Ethics exam, has to be taken before you can renew your Associate Marriage and Family License.

The license has to be renewed after one year.

My license will expire on June 30th.

So I took it this past Tuesday, the 18th, to make sure that I had time and if something happened, like I got super sick, I could cancel and reschedule the test before my license expired.

There will be no expired license however.

I renewed the same day I passed my test.

The test was no joke.

And it was stress inducing.

Even the exam area was stressful.

No coats or jackets with pockets, no phone, no purse.

No watch.

I had to take off my watch.

The room was cold, thank God I had the sense to wear a cardigan, I had an intuition that the room was going to be heavily A/C’ed and it certainly was.

I did the test the exact way the prep course recommended.

Answered every question and marked the ones that I wanted to go back on.

I didn’t let myself get hung up on trying to figure anything out.

If I knew it, I knew it and answered.

If I didn’t know it, I spent a little extra time looking at the options, but I still answered it and then just marked it to come back to.

I did almost get stuck on the first one and then remembered, to do what was suggested, answer it, mark it, and move on.

I also took a bathroom break, which is allowed, but only for five minutes and they time you in and out.

I took three minutes.

I took the break after having finished the whole test.

The prep had recommended getting up, using the bathroom or walking around and letting your brain take a moment before going back into the test to the marked questions.

It was great advice and I came back in and answered all the marked questions, I had fifteen marked.

There were two questions that I thought were definitely experimental, the exam consists of 75 questions, 50 that you have to get right and 25 that are experimental, but the BBS doesn’t give a clue what the experimental ones are and I had absolutely no clue what the answers were.  I felt like I used good logic though, and that the purpose of the test, really what they are testing you on quite often, is if can you figure out the best answer by using logic.

The CA MFT Law and Ethics exam is comprised of 40% Law and 60% Ethics. Within the Law portion, 14% is dedicated to Confidentiality, Privilege and Consent, 16% to Limits of Confidentiality / Mandated Reporting, and 10% to Legal Standards for Professional Practice. Within Ethics, 18% is dedicated to Professional Competence and Preventing Harm, 27% to Therapeutic Relationships, and 15% to Business Practices and Policies.

Passing this exam on the first attempt is very important, as the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) will require you to wait 90 days after failing the exam before you can retest, and you will need to take a 12-hour Continuing Education course on Law and Ethics and pay a $100 processing fee.

The California Law and Ethics exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. 50 questions are scored, and 25 questions are considered experimental and will not count toward your final score. The experimental questions can appear anywhere on the exam; the BBS does not indicate which questions will count and which are experimental.

I was told I would leave feeling like I wasn’t sure if I had passed.

I can say, this is true.

I really wasn’t sure.

I was hopeful.

But I wasn’t sure.

So.

The fucking relief when the exam paper printed up and the proctor handed me the results was huge.

HUGE.

They don’t let you know what your score is, only that you passed.

CONGRATULATIONS!

In all caps, just like that, you have passed the California Law and Ethics exam.

And like that it was done.

Such relief.

I almost burst into tears walking out of the test site.

I made myself sit in my car for a few minutes  before I headed out.

It was a damn big deal.

And I am very proud of myself for passing.

Super proud.

And so ready for a break.

Like.

Really fucking ready.

I just have to power through the next two days.

I can do that.

I got rainbow and sunshine and six weeks without nannying and a trip to Havana, Cuba to look forward to.

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam.

It was a good day.

 

Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.

Small Steps

January 6, 2019

Almost, even, baby steps.

But steps nonetheless.

I have not been exercising for a while.

Not that I’m super out of shape, work five days a week as a nanny, picking up toys, the baby, who is now no longer a baby at two years old, the six-year-old and the almost nine-year old, up and down steps, over to the park and back, and you’ll stay in decent shape.

However.

I haven’t really exercised much since I moved into my new digs.

I’ve been here now three and a half, almost four months.

Part of it is that I’m in a PhD program and the majority of exercise there is lifting a book and turning the page or fretting about having to write a paper.

I’m sure the anxiety of walking through my first semester of the program wore off a few calories, but not really in a way that was healthful for me.

I have been thinking a lot about exercise, partially because a dear friend of mine keeps sending me messages about going to this or that yoga/dance party class.

I keep saying no.

And.

I keep saying I want to.

I don’t actually like exercise.

Until after I’ve done it and then I’m all like, why the fuck don’t I do this more often.

Of course, that feeling often fades and exercise becomes a bit of a chore, but I also know, rather well at that, that feeling better is important.

It’s not just my body that feels better.

It’s my brain.

My brain needs the break from thinking.

Sometimes I just need to get into my body and exercise is a great way to do that.

One of the things I have been telling my friend is that it’s a scheduling thing.

I just can’t see myself getting up early and heading across town to do a yoga class then hauling ass back here and getting ready for work or for seeing clients.

Nothing is convenient.

I looked at pools last night, which I have done enough times to know that it really is a haul to get anywhere that has a pool.

Then I fret about how long it will take to deal with my hair.

My hair is a serious thing.

Not that I do a lot with it, per se, just that I have a lot of it.

In fact, I think my hair is the longest its been in years.

I love my hair and it’s actually easier to deal with when it’s long, I don’t do much with it, it’s just that it takes a long time to de-tangle, wash, condition, and dry.

I have naturally curly hair and if I don’t treat it right it goes bonkers.

So swimming, though imminently appealing is not always the best option for me where I’m living and with the schedule that I keep.

Then.

This morning I had a dear friend over for coffee and he mentioned the gym down the street.

Yeah.

Yeah.

I know.

There’s a gym around the corner.

I walked past it on Christmas Eve at sunset when I went for a little stroll around the block and I noticed it.

And it’s been taking up a little corner of my brain for a while now, but until today I wasn’t really taking it seriously.

My friend happened to park next to it and talked to me about it and how it was a key pad punch in and that it didn’t look busy and that it seemed really reasonably priced and wow was it close.

My friend doesn’t have a gym that close to his place and he works out frequently.

I knew when he was talking to me about it that it was the answer and I had also gotten an e-mail at the turn of the New Year regarding the gym as it was part of the mailing list I got popped on for my old yoga studio.

Too many signs saying, ahem, you want convenient and fits in your schedule?

Here you go.

So.

I went online and found out that it really is quite reasonable and there’s a student discount and I could get a membership for $55 a month.

Which is $30 less than I was paying for my yoga studio.

But I don’t have work out shoes, my brain tells me.

Buy them, you twit.

Today after my friend left I headed to the Mission to see clients and I had nothing really to do until my 7p.m. commitment and I thought, you know, there’s that place in the Inner Sunset that has a pretty good athletic shoe selection.

I went.

They didn’t have anything that worked for me, but I had the idea in my head and I knew when I got home that I would just go online and order a pair of shoes.

I had transitioned to Saucony running shoes when I hurt my ankle about five years ago now, and I wore the hell out of them for a while and I know what size works for me.

Plus.

Oh yeah.

I have an Amazon gift card my employers gave me for Christmas.

Voila!

Free athletic shoes.

And the decision to go to the gym and get a membership as soon as the shoes arrive.

I’m thinking I could even lose a little weight, not that I need to so much, but I wouldn’t mind dropping one more pant size.

“You just keep getting skinnier and skinnier,” my friend said over coffee this morning, “what are you doing?”

Not much, honestly, obviously not working out.

But when I had all the issues with the reflux I cut a few things out of my diet.

I stopped eating a hard-boiled egg in the morning with my breakfast and I stopped having a snack at night.

I think that was really about it.

I’m just basically eating less.

I don’t think I’m still losing weight, but it was nice to hear that from my friend.

I also don’t see myself very clearly.

I will often see myself as heavier than I am or think that I am bigger than I am.

Partially because, well, I was for a very long time in my life.

Anyway.

Here’s to baby steps and ordering new work out shoes and making the decision to join a gym.

A gym!

Ahahahaha.

I am now one of those people who joins a gym in January.

This isn’t really a resolution though.

More like an intention to do just a little more self-care.

The next semester will bring much work with it and I sense that having an outlet will help me deal with the homework.

And maybe.

You know.

Look sexier in a pair of jeans.

Heh.

Back Home

September 5, 2018

With a huge stack of books and notebooks and pages and pages and pages of syllabi.

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

I went from feeling pretty good about it all to feeling super overwhelmed after my last class.

The irony being that it was the class I figured I was going to enjoy the most.

Of course, with some perspective, I still think I am going to enjoy it the most, but I am awash in the anxiety of having to produce the work.

There is a lot of work.

Yesterday’s class blew me out of the water at the intensive.

I really liked the professor.

In fact, I am quite fond of him as he swooped in one morning seeing me sitting by myself at breakfast and made me join his table at the intensive.

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

Plus, he has had an extraordinary life, three marriages, multiple degrees, Harvard, Brown, CIIS, somewhere else I forget.

Of course he has a PhD as well.

And a lot of papers that he’s written and he seems to be the co-collaborator of the way the course work is designed.

First of all.

Let me say that I had some, well, not exactly contempt, but a little wiggle of worry that because my PhD is an “online” program, that it would not be academically rigorous.

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

In fact, as one second year told me, she thinks that we actually do more work than a traditional PhD program and I think she’s right.

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

I had this idea that the program is only two years long.

The course work is only two years long.

Then there’s methodology, the comprehensive exams, research, the writing, the proposal and the defense of said proposal.

The course work will be four semesters.

Then I can expect at least another four more semesters of work to finish the dissertation.

Which means two more years.

And the professor made it very clear that the fastest anyone could possible do the whole shebang was 4.5 years.

What I heard from most of the people in the program was that if I did the course work and stayed the course with my research, readings, writing, methods, etc, that it would take in total about 5 years.

So.

It’s no different from any other doctoral program with the exception of the majority of the coursework is submitted online and that a large component of all my classes is to interact and engage with the learning community on-line.

There are 30 of us in the cohort split into two sections.

There are three classes.

Introduction to Transformative Society; Self, Society, and Transformation; and Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century.

I am the only student from San Francisco, though the school is located in San Francisco.

There were a lot of students from the East Coast, New York mainly, I think six of my fellows were from New York, one from up state New York.

One from London, a University Professor of Psychoanalytics and Psychodynamics.

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

Another from somewhere in the East Bay, a few from up North, somewhere in Canada, I totally forget now, another from D.C.

The woman from D.C. was also an MFT and teaches as well at university level, specifically Art Therapy and Play Therapy for adults, she was super sweet and insisted I call her if I have any questions about marketing or setting up my private practice internship.

Said internship that although I took materials with me to work on I did absolutely no work on at all, I was so immersed in the classroom experience and the work at the intensive.  And I read a lot while I was there on my breaks, as much as I could without totally isolating myself in my room.

Anyway, a lot of high-caliber, smart people.

Majority of them women, which was very, very cool.

Grateful to be part of some smart, intelligent, driven women.

Very grateful.

One of whom came up to me with a piece of paper today in a notebook that she was keeping to show to our future selves, our name with Dr. in front of it.

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

And now I can stop giving myself grief that I maybe was in an “easy” PhD program because it was two years and online.

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

The great thing that I realized though, after having a bit of panic and overwhelm when I was in my Creative Inquiry class yesterday, is that the material is not beyond me.

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

Oh sure, a lot of the material is new to me, I haven’t studied these things before, but I have been reading academic papers and books now at a higher level of understanding for the last three years and the materials are not cowing me.

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

What was causing the panic was the number of deliverables that I must have for Creative Inquiry.

8 papers.

8!

And though some of them are short, I have a couple that are not, and two that are quite big.

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

I have to actually publish a review of a scholarly journal.

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

What the fuck?  I remember thinking I have to get something published too as a requirement of the course, Jesus, plus, oh, great, thanks, I also found out that I have another book to read, in addition to the books already lined up for the course, I had to pick one of four others that were presented.

Let me say this.

I will not be going anywhere without carrying a book or an article to read.

That’s why I got overwhelmed, 8 papers for this class, three for Self and Society, and one big whopper for Intro to Transformative Studies.

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

I worked a lot on my calendar yesterday and I’m not 100% certain, but it looks like I will have to read two to three books per week to get through all the material.

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

Plus the articles, many of them big, long, academic papers of over 30 pages, and every class has three or four of these a week.

So yeah.

The material doesn’t scare me, it’s just getting the time to do it.

I’m not sure what’s going to have to go out of my schedule, but somethings definitely are.

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

For now, I’m just happy I’m home and all my stuff is put away and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

Waiting For

August 6, 2018

The offer letter.

It was supposed to come today.

I didn’t get it.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get the position!

“I’m offering the position to you, it’s yours,” she said emphatically 3/4s of the way through the interview.

I was so thrilled.

Yesterday morning I got up super early and headed over to Alameda to interview for the Grateful Heart Therapy private practice internship.

And I was hired.

The director let me know that she would be writing up the offer and sending it to me to officially accept today.

But.

Well, she had some things come up and I will get the letter tomorrow.

I was going to hold off on writing about it until I had the official letter in my hot little hands, but I have been very excited about it.

I really am, eventually, going to get paid for the work I do as a psychotherapist!

This is very exciting.

There will be some big transitions, but I feel like they are going to all work out well.

I was also extremely pleased to find out that the group supervision which is required for the first six months of the internship, the supervision that only happens on Thursdays, might also actually work for me.

There are a number of groups that meet on Thursdays and the incoming fall cohort would typically all be together, forming a sort of support team for each other as we all learn the ropes about how to craft and create and sustain our own private practices.

However.

I was told, the director knew that I have a full-time nanny position, that there might be some flexibility there for me.

I was happily surprised.

I was getting ready to tell my employer I wasn’t going to be able to work on Thursdays anymore and I was already trying to figure out how I would manage with the loss of one day of work a week until I am established with enough clients to pay my bills.

Which may take a few months.

But.

No.

The director told me that she knew of my dilemma and that though it was typical to start a new hire with other new hires, there was an opening in the earliest group of the day, Thursdays at 8:30a.m.

Granted.

Sigh.

This means getting up really early on Thursdays so that I can drive over to Alameda for group supervision until 10:30a.m and then driving back over the bridge to Glen Park for my nanny job, but fuck, it means I won’t lose out on income while I am making the transition.

I was super surprised that she made that offer.

Then I realized.

They really wanted me.

The director had already come up with a way to facilitate for my needs!

This was just moments before the position was offered to me, I felt this warm shift in the room and then, boom, she told me they wanted me and that she thought I was the perfect fit for the organization.

I could also tell that she was moved by my honesty and vulnerability in my interview.

Interviewing for a therapist position would be the place to be vulnerable, you might guess, and it paid off handsomely.

I am very pleased.

So today I reached out to my former professor and updated her on my situation, I will be renting office space from her and eventually she will be my solo supervisor.

For the first six months of the internship I will be with the group and I can continue to do so if I want, and/or implement supervision with my professor.

What Grateful Heart does is provide all the administrative support, overhead, insurance, and tax infrastructure that an AMFT (Associate Marriage Family Therapist) needs to be able to practice and get paid.

Effectively helping me to establish my own private practice.

So that by the time I have licensure I will already have a private practice up and running.

They will deal with my lease, they will pay my rent, they will pay my supervisor.

I will pay them $350 a month for the administrative work and to pay out my supervisor.

The money my clients pay will be directed to them, they take out fees, rent, supervision costs and then they will cut me a check out of what is left and it will be direct deposited  to my bank.

I will learn about how to get referrals, how to network, how to build up my own website.

Holy shit.

My own website.

I have been doing this blog for a long time, but I have never had my own website.

I have been thinking that I want to write a blog for my website, something therapeutically oriented, a sort of gift to clients or would be clients, a tool that can be used for their own self-care and as a way to promote my business.

I have to think about what I will call my practice.

I am nervous, but in a good way.

This is very exciting stuff.

I will leave my current internship at the Liberation Institute, where I was told rather sweetly by members in my group yesterday how much I will be missed, sometime in October.

Some of my clients will go with me.

Not all of them, however, I will be charging $80-$100 a session.

When I get licensed I will be charging $150-$200 a session.

And some of my current clients won’t be able to afford that, Liberation Institute is community mental health with an extraordinary sliding scale where no one is turned away for lack of funds.

But a few of my clients will be able to afford it and I suspect that a few may decide to stay with me as well, despite the raise in rates.

I am hopeful that I will get referrals from people I know in community as well as from my professor.

Even my own therapist said she would refer clients to me.

So it feels good.

Hopeful.

New.

Exciting.

I will share the letter with you tomorrow.

And whatever else happens as I move forward into this next phase of my developement.

Oh!

Before I forget.

I bought my books for my PhD program today too!

Things are really happening.

REALLY!

Shaky Hands

June 10, 2018

I actually had some nerves today.

Oh.

I suppose, I have a touch of anxiety all the time, but I do manage it for the most part decently, but today, I noticed, shit, my hands are actually trembling.

Big.

Deep.

Breath.

Everything is ok

And of course it was.

Everything was fabulous, but I was still nervous.

I was putting together all the pieces for my BBS application for my AMFT#.

This number which will prove to the therapy world in general that I actually graduated from an accredited university with a program that fulfills all the BBS requirements for eventual licensure.

Graduated with a 4.0 to boot.

Not that I think any of my clients are every going to ask what my GPA is, none have so far.

I certainly didn’t think about asking my therapist that, didn’t cross my mind.

Didn’t really need to.

I know she’s licensed and she was transparent with me and let me know that she had gone to CIIS as well, which was so helpful, has continued to be helpful, and she has become such a resource for me.

She was an advocate for me going after a private practice internship and she told me point-blank that she would refer clients to me.

That’s probably a better recommendation for a client to know than my GPA.

Granted.

I am damn proud of it, I worked my ass off to get through his program and I got through.

And sitting at my table watching the YouTube instructional video on how to fill out my BBS application really brought it all together.

How much work to get to this point.

Filling out this huge application.

Getting LiveScan fingerprinting, which basically goes to the DOJ and the FBI and then to the BBS to find out if I have anything wonky on my record, which, of course I don’t.

I mean.

I have been background checked for two different nanny jobs, plus my school’s program requires it before I am allowed to go into practicum, as I would be seeing clients, so I knew nothing was going to come up.

But the DOJ and the FBI?

Wowzers.

Next to the stack of application were my two envelopes stamped “Do Not Open” in bright red block letters, from my school.

One envelope held my transcripts.

The other envelope held the program requirements and verified that my program met all BBS requirements, like that I took Child/Elder/Spousal Abuse, or Psychopharmacology, and of course the big guy, the class on the DSM V.

Attached to the application was also my passport photo that I got at the Walgreens in the Castro last Saturday.

“You’re really pretty,” the young woman said who took my photo.

Thanks sugar, I was busy scrutinizing the furrowed lines in my brow and wondering if they had come about from all the reading that I had done over the last three years.

Then.

Another check, this time made out to the Behavioral Sciences Fund.

I don’t have a clue what that funds, but hey, here’s some money.

Now please.

Process my application and get my number to be ASAP!

Please and thank you.

And when I was in group supervision today I found out that the turn around time on the AMFT# is far quicker than I had thought.

I was told I would probably get my number in a month!

Holy cats.

So.

I let said cat out of the bag and told my supervision group that I had obtained a private practice internship and I would be leaving them for her.

It was really nice to receive the congratulations and the acknowledgement of the work that I have done and also that I was super lucky, one of the members in my group has done work with my soon to be supervisor and we both gushed about her.

It was good timing to, for me, to find this out, because it started me in the mode of what I will do next to wrap up with my clients.

I will begin telling them soon, giving them all the opportunity to find closure with me and also that I will be available to them if they want to continue working with me.

It feels super great too that any clients that opt to come with me will be able to continue to go to the same facility.

I won’t be moving at all.

I will just be in a different office, instead of in a different office every night.

So.

Yes.

I noticed the shaky hands and I told myself it was ok, that I was doing great, that I had it all filled out correctly and if I had somehow fucked it up that would be ok too.

But I don’t think that I did.

I am pretty damn sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all the i’s.

I headed to the mid Sunset and dropped it all into a fat envelope and spent the extra money, as the YouTube video insisted that I do, for tracking and I sent it certified mail so that it is signed for and I will now when they receive it.

I was told they would get it by Monday!

Holy crap.

So.

Sometime in July, fingers crossed, I shall get my AMFT# and I will be able to make the transition to the other internship.

An internship that I am very ready for.

I also called CAMFT and talked to a person there about what my supervisor and I need to do to set up the private practice internship.

I was given really good suggestions and directed to an article on the topic.

I will be reading that soon.

I have a “next steps” meeting with my new supervisor July 11.

I can’t wait.

I don’t know if I will have my number in hand.

But I know I will have it awfully soon.

And hopefully I will have a steady hand when I open the envelope from the BBS.

Fuck.

Who cares.

I certainly won’t.

But I might whoop with glee.

I have done that a few times today.

It feels so good to take positive actions.

So.

So.

So.

Good.

First Day

June 1, 2018

No tears.

Since Saturday and the bomb drop.

I also took a few actions today that helped with that.

I became a member of the San Francisco Tenant’s Union.

$35 for a year-long membership.

I think it will come quite in handy.

I plan on getting up early and going to do drop in counseling regarding my landlady asking me to move out 90 days from tomorrow on Saturday.

I also placed a phone call with the Union, of course I did not get a live person, but as a member I was allowed to place a call and get a call back, which I think is very cool.  The Union will not take phone calls from non-members.

I left a succinct message regarding the situation, that I was planning on coming in on Saturday, that I had done a good bit of reading of the handbook and that I wanted to know if there was anything that my counselor would need when I came in.

I quickly asserted that I had no lease, that the landlady had given me a verbal notice to quit the in-law, and that I had been living here for five years paying rent on a monthly basis, $1200 a month plus utilities for the first three years and $1250 plus utilities for the last two.

I didn’t get a call back today and from the information on the message I may not get a call back before I head in on Saturday.

But.

It felt good to take a small action.

I also put it in my God box.

I wrote a note, I said some prayers, I asked God to take care of it and show me where I’m supposed to live next.

I also did my morning readings and prayer and that always, I mean always helps.

Especially when one of the readings was talking about principles before personalities and I realized how applicable that was to my situation.

I don’t like my landlady’s personality and I have found myself wanting to ruminate about that when it really has nothing to do with my situation, who she is as a person is none of my business.

How she treats me as a tenant is and I am not in agreement with what she asked of me to do.

I am in fear, I won’t lie, that it’s going to get uncomfortable to live here if I find out that I have rights that are due me and when I request for them to be honored I suspect that there will be push back.

But.

Until that happens I am trying pretty damn hard to stay out of that crazy making in my head.

I have already decided that she will tell me I’m not allowed to use the washer and dryer in the garage and that she’s going to want me to get anything I have in storage in her garage out.

My bicycle, my Burning Man bins, my tents.

I also suspect she will ask me to park my scooter on the street instead of next to the house.

But.

Again.

Those things haven’t happened and are not happening right now.

They may.

And if they do I will handle them at that time, worrying about what happens in the future doesn’t actually prepare me for what’s going to happen and so often my experience has been that much of what I’m afraid of doesn’t come to pass.

Thus attempting to stay present and stay in the moment where there really is nothing wrong.

My rent is paid for this upcoming month and I have time to find out what my options are and I have time to look for a new place to live.

Because no matter what comes of the Tenant Union drop in counseling, moving is on the table, on my plate, is going to happen.

It just is a matter of how it happens and when and if I get any sort of compensation to more.

Even if I find out I don’t have to move and I suspect that may very well be an option, I just feel like the landlady will make it hell to live here and I’m not much interested in that.

I feel like the best case scenario is I get some money to help facilitate the move and I am able to make a jump to a bigger and better place.

I have been seriously considering the option of getting a three bedroom house in the Outer Sunset.

I have been doing some Craigslist research and there are some very doable options out here.

I have seen a few other homes that might work in the Richmond neighborhood and one or two elsewhere, one in the SOMA which is a no go, I don’t want to have to worry about street parking and a few in Portola, one in Glenn Park, some in the Outer Mission/Excelsior.

But the Outer Sunset seems to have the biggest amount of choices and I am really liking the idea of having a house.

Granted I don’t have the furnishings for a house, but I believe they will come.

If I can get another couple of folks together I could easily snag a place that’s big, sunny, has parking, maybe even a garage, washer and dryer on site and/or hookups for them.

A few places also have fireplaces and yards.

I mean.

That sounds fucking terrific to me.

Two of the houses I really liked also have Master bedrooms with their own baths.

I could be the Master tenant, pay a little more, have a big room, my own bathroom and then full access to the rest of the house.

It’s beginning to sound more and more feasible to me.

And exciting.

I’m not exactly looking forward to the uncomfortable conversations I feel are  going to occur, but then again, I am feeling very positive that I am heading into a much better housing situation than I currently have.

And for that.

Well.

I am fucking grateful as hell.


%d bloggers like this: