So, as if this mornings stress wasn’t enough, my stress just took on a whole new level. I just came out of a meeting with the training standards officer about accessibility stuff surrounding assignments, exams etc. So it went like this. She asked me if I knew anything about word, and I was like sure I do, so then I asked the instructors why they decided to start me on spreadsheets as the first module, instead of word, when I know absolutely nothing about spreadsheets. I told them it would be so much easier if I was allowed to start with word, because I know quite a bit about it and if they need help with jaws and stuff I can help them with it as they don’t know a lot about jaws. You see, half the group of us are doing word as the first module, and the other half are doing spreadsheets. So when I actually said to them that I’d prefer to do word instead of spreadsheets they agreed to that. Thank god! So next Monday I will start word. There will be two exams in word, and one assignment which is also graded. They were trying today to figure out the best way for me to access the exams and instructions for the assignment. I asked if I can have a reader, the officer said possibly, but first they are going to scan in the material and see if it can be read with jaws. I know jaws reads pdf files but I tried to tell her it wont read images, and tables are also pretty hard to navigate. She said they’d try to scan the instructions and exam paper in, and then if it doesn’t work, if jaws doesn’t read it they will look at an alternative, but first they have to prove that they’ve tried the other way. Pretty stupid if you ask me but that’s how it is. I’m just glad to be starting with a module that I am relatively familiar with. I was so worried about starting into something I know zilch about. I’m sure that we’ll get the accessibility stuff sorted in time. We have a couple of weeks before the exams and before I have to start the assignment so that’s good. It gives us time to iron out the problems.
Here it is, my care plan, the plan I made with Mark my OT, for managing and overcoming anxiety around starting school. Feedback is appreciated.
Management Strategies Identified
- Anticipation and Preparation
- Breathing techniques
- Body Scans
- Think about 3 things near to me. Sounds in the room. Sometimes require prompting.
- Use quiet room
- Time out and collect thoughts. Perhaps toilet break. If triggered can use water.
What am I looking forward to:
Learning new things
Building computer skills
Getting into the workforce
Having a satisfying routine
Structure to the day
Something to get up for in the morning
What do I see as obstacles to course engagement:
- Instructors not knowing about jaws or equipment
- Equipment breaking down
- Lack of awareness about dog
- Not familiar with spreadsheets etc and difficulty with such
- Concerns about becoming unwell and unstable
- Work Placement and finding the right placement Will companies want to take me on
- Mobilising around the building
- Exams and exam process (Will I get to do the exams on same day)
What Strategies can I use to overcome obstacles?
- Ring Brain Manning form NCB and he can give training on Jaws as it is specialised equipment. I can help out re commands etc. On email support lists and I can get answers from this around technology supports.
- They have tech support and also Brian Manning can help with such.
- Have had Natalie (trainer) in and if needed she could come in again. Perhaps get leaflets about guide dogs if needed. Like the Basement, people get used to the dog and more familiar. Confidence will be developed being around the dog.
- There will be individual support when needed and I will have an opportunity to confirm items and question if I have not processed information or grasped concepts.
- Use weekly appointments to discuss about impacting items from past aswell as current stressors. Prioritise what needs to be talked about. Do things in personal life to maintain wellness i.e. relationships. Basement resource centre. Fill up evenings and use distraction techniques. Talk to link worker on the course so they are aware.
- When go to do work placement anticipation and preparation will be key and using resources in NLN and outside of this to get the best opportunities available.
- I have done route familiarisation and I know much of the building. The first two weeks of induction will give me time to adjust fully. Confidence has developed already and staff have been so friendly and will be helpful if required.
- The exams are every 6 weeks approximately. It is continuous assessment as opposed to one exam at the end of the year. This takes stress off. I have initiated availing of extra time and supports for exam to maximise likelihood of best outcomes. I will link in with my key support worker in NLN leading up to exams and discuss any concerns as they arise. Link with Mark (OT) leading up to exams as an aspect of exam preparation.
What preparation do I feel I need prior to commencing NLN on Sept 7th:
- Adjust sleep pattern: Starting Monday 31st August getting up at 7am and going to bed before 12. I will adjust body clock as when I commence NLN I will be getting up at 6am. This preparation will give me confidence to start the course.
- Ring Brian Manning as I need guidance on a scanning ap on the phone. This will be necessary to scan printed material on the course.
- I feel ready for the course.
FEELING INTENSE EMOTION RIGHT NOW. AM REALLY TRIGGERED. SENT EILEEN A TEXT TELLING HER I FELT OVERWHELMED AND EMOTIONAL AND TRIGGERED. DIDNT HAVE WORDS TO TELL HER WHY. SHE’LL UNDERSTAND. SAW THIS ON ANOTHER BLOG AND DECIDED I’D TRY AND FILL IT OUT. HERE GOES.
Name: LIZ Date: 8/27/15
Primary Emotions: SADNESS, ANGER, OVERWHELM, DESPAIR Intensity (0-100): 90
Prompting event (for emotion, who what, where, when):
WAS HAVING FLASHBACKS. THEY CAME ON SUDDENLY. REMEMBERED STUFF AROUND MY ABUSE. STUFF ABOUT BEING RAPED. COULDNT GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD AND SPIRALED THEN.
Interpretation (beliefs, assumptions, and appraisals of the situation):
THIS IS NOT HAPPENING, IT CANT BE. ITS NOT FAIR. I HATE FLASHBACKS, I HATE MEMORIES, I WISH IT WOULD JUST STOP.
Body changes and sensing: FEELING LIKE PUNCHING SOMEONE, PREFERABLY MY ABUSERS, WANTING TO CRY, FEELING ALONE AND FRUSTRATED.
Body Language (facial expression, posture, gestures): EYES TEARING UP, SCREWING UP MY FACE, HITTING MY HAND ON THE TABLE
Action Urges (what did I feel like doing, what did I want to say):
PUNCHING SOMEONE, CRYING, LASHING OUT, REACHING OUT TO SOMEONE, CUTTING.. Taking PILLS. .
What I said or did in the situation:
EMAILED MY THERAPIST, DRANK A CUP OF COFFEE, LOOKED AT MY EMAIL, PATTED NITRO.
After Effects (secondary emotions, memories, thoughts, state of mind, behavior):
THE ANGER TURNED TO OVERWHELMING SADNESS ONCE THE RAGE SUBSIDED. FELT LIKE JUST CRYING MY EYES OUT. NEEDED A HUG FROM SOMEONE.
(expectations) and the root emotion (anger.)
Function of Emotion: ????
Other possible interpretations:
I SHOULD USE MY COPING SKILLS, IF I DO, THEN PERHAPS I’LL FEEL LESS INTENSE EMOTIONS AND BE LESS TRIGGERED.
New Intensity (0-100): 50
Yesterday in therapy we did a lot to work with some parts insiders. After I welcomed Eileen home, I told her how last week things were really tough for us, and how on wednesday I was very distressed, having heard both that my account with the taxi firm was to be canceled, that is, for my medical appointments, and also having heard that the school may not fund me for part transportation grant. I told her how it had really overwhelmed me and stressed me out, that I had cried a lot, gotten really anxious, emotional, almost to the point where I was physically ill. She wondered how that had happened, saying that usually I am so resourceful, and she was wondering how my coping skills hadnt kicked in, and how I’d become swamped, overwhelmed to the point that my stress levels got up to a 10 and I couldnt bring them back down. So we worked with it for a while. Well, it turns out there are parts, insiders, we call our insiders parts, anyway, there are parts who are really panicking about us starting college. Basically these parts are afraid it will all go wrong, and we’ll end up disappointed and hurt in the process. So they feel it would be better if we didnt go at all. Eileen and me figured out that they are helping or trying to help by trying to pre-empt what will happen. They think its their job to do this. Eileen told me to step back and try to show them that we are safe, and that I can deal with whatever pops up, there were also some younger insiders who were panicking about starting, in case we’d have a system collapse, or something else would happen to make me go inside and leave them to cope alone. I had to work really hard to reassure them that actually we are in a much better place now than we were the other times we tried to pursue education or training and that I would do my best to never leave a young insider to cope alone. I told them that if things got tough I’d either talk to Dr Barry or Eileen about it before things got to an unmanageable point. They seemed satisfied with this and eventually they calmed down. We focused a little bit on breathing but I wasnt really able to do the breathing properly. Eileen said she could really notice how difficult it was for me to breathe deeply and focus on the breaths going in and out. So instead she had me focus on a part of my body that felt strong at that moment. I was successfully able to do that. It was a really good session. It felt really good to do the work with the triggered parts. Like we got a lot accomplished. They are really starting to trust me and hear me which is key I think. Since I am the front runner, main front person and current host it is important that I show leadership and show the younger parts that we will be ok. Eileen did read to us but I will let allie talk about that in another post since she was the one out for the story with all the other young insiders crowding around behind her to listen too.
We saw Dr Barry this morning. When we went in she knew something was up, she straight away asked me how I was, she said I wasnt looking too hot. I told her I’d gotten really triggered last night because that guy had come to the door, remember the guy who was supposedly selling make up? Anyway I told Dr Barry that when he was at my door I was real dissociative, foggy and fuzzy, couldnt think clearly, couldnt concentrate to tell him to leave, but how eventually I did it somehow and he left quietly and without a fuss. Dr Barry said it was unlike me to just open the door, and I told her I’d been distracted and hadnt been thinking clearly. She said that it could happen to anyone, and how when its summer time and not dark outside, and only 7 o’clock in the evening, you think it is ok to open your door. She reassured me that he’s on my cameras, and that I could get the file off the hard drive if I needed to. She asked me what I’d have done if he hadnt left, and I was like I dont know! I didnt think of that. My phone had been in my bedroom, I suppose I could have screamed, someone might have heard me, but well not really sure what other options I have. I dont know marshall arts or self defense. I’m not tall and I dont think I could win if he put up a fight. Luckily he didnt though which is good. I told Dr Barry I’d been pretty unsettled for the rest of the night after he’d gone. Luckily I’d been texting my friend sarah and that kinda grounded me and kept me from totally zoning out, although we did have quite an amount of switching for the rest of last night. Taylor whose six was having hallucinations after he left, i think the fact that some strange man was at our door scared her and sent her into trigger mode. She always hallucinates when triggered. Even when we went to bed we werent able to go to sleep for a long time, and when we eventually did, we kept waking up and having bad dreams. It was just an all round hard night. Dr Barry was really noticing how unsettled we were today. We talked a little about the dissociation, and how eileen always catches it when we’re in therapy, but I told her that when we’re on our own there is no one to notice and ground us orientate us back to the present. It feels overwhelming to try to do it all by ourselves. It was a good appointment and Dr Barry reassured me which was nice and something that was much needed by all of us in the system.