Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It's all well and good that I have this new life plan, right?

Yeah, except that of the 50 or so accredited programs in the country as I'm checking the admin recs, for most of them one is required to either a)have a bachelor's in psychology or b) have a master's in mental health/psychology and c) have classes in stats on your transcript.


Fortunately, the program I MOST want to attend doesn't require those things (it requires the psych GRE as most of the programs that are more "lenient" and not requiring a masters in psych do. Which is still a PITA, but not as much as asking me to go back in time and change my undergrad major.)

Well, good thing I still have the EdD as a back up. Not that I've actually gotten into that program yet, but it seems like I've got a much better shot at getting into it than any of the PsyD programs. But, well, at least I'll have tried, right?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Yup, I sure did

I just traded dinner making for sex. Yup. I sure did.
Totally worth it. Jedi makes good sandwiches.

Clean house and a clear(er) head

Have I mentioned that I love my therapist?  I got a good one kind of out of sheer luck. After essentially having a nervous breakdown due to the horribleness of a previous boss (see post below) I asked a friend for a recommendation, and voila! Good therapist.

I've had a fair  number of bad therapists in my life, such that it's kind of surprising I would go see a new therapist at all. But I did, and I've been seeing her for 5 years now. Kind of hard to believe it's been that long! I've been seeing her for so long that my insurance company cut me off from sessions because I'm "not getting better" apparently. They'd prefer that I try drugs. Less expensive, yanno.

But I AM getting better-- I know that much. Yes, it's slow going, but after 5 years I can confidently say that I wouldn't be getting married in August without her help in working through my issues. I still have a bunch more issues to unpack, which is why I still go and see her, but I know it's helping.

When I saw her last Friday I shared some of the issues described in the two previous posts. In one of the stories I shared about my frustrations and anger with the two women at the training session I'm participating in and how these two women are probably the least qualified people I've ever met and they are training to be therapists. Part of the reason it made me so angry was because I felt like they were doing something that I couldn't allow myself/give myself permission to do.

After all, on paper it makes much more sense to do the EdD program.

EdD            vs         PsyD
3 years                    4-6 years
$21k                      $100+k
Part time                 Full Time
Not moving             Probably Moving
Jedi keeps his job    Jedi probably needs a new job
Easy App Process   Difficult App Process
Potential future earnings for both about the same

But what seems clear on paper is less clear when one factors in emotions. And I was getting really emotional/tense/anxious without really knowing why.  And when I identified that I was really angry about other people doing what I wouldn't allow myself to do I suddenly felt much more at peace.  My therapist and another friend both said that my entire demeanor changes when I talk about doing one program versus the other.

I realized also that one of the things that is very important to me is being able to have control over my work environment and time.  I love my current job (most of the time.) My boss is great about being flexible if I need to go to an appointment or need a comp day. I have great vacation time (22 days!) I have good benefits... (they were better last year before budget cuts... grumble...)...

But, at the end of the day, I really have no control over who my next boss will be, if my benefits will be cut further, if my new boss will be flexible with vacation time... etc.

And I realized that if I do the EdD I am essentially saying that my life will be a life spent doing one thing, under the control of someone else, forever.  And in some ways it's not bad-- there's some security to that-- But what I want most of all is to be free and in control of my work life.  I want to be able to say that I won't take clients from 2-5 when my (hypothetical future) children are coming home from school. But I can take clients from 5-7 when lots of people with non/flexible jobs might need someone.  I want to be able to scale back my work load when my grandmother is sick so I can have more time to take care of her... etc.

Additionally, while doing the PsyD means that I can go into private practice, it certainly wouldn't prevent me from continuing to work at a school or college. I could potentially have the best of both worlds.

I'm also much more interested in the topics covered by the PsyD program than I am the EdD program.

After much thought and soul searching I realized how much freer and easier I felt at the thought of doing the PsyD program. In addition to all the factors mentioned above, I think I was just scared to try. I mean, what if I really went for what I wanted and I failed. Gulp.

I talked to a good friend-- Megan-- (i think I had given her a nickname on here at one point, but we'll go with Megan for now.)  She just got accepted to a similar program with a full scholarship & stipend (yea!) and she was giving me hints for the GRE/Psych GRE... (She got a perfect score... not surprising, knowing her... though she claims to be bad at standardized tests.) She's going to send me her resource books and everything, which I very much appreciate. Maybe someday-- if I get into a program-- we can even start a practice together, which would be amazing.

I also decided that I'm still going to apply for the EdD program. My application is already 3/4 complete and if I get in I can always defer until next year (2012).  That way I can go through the long, painful application process to the other programs but still potentially have a back up in case I don't get admitted to any of the PsyD programs. Which is possible. I may utterly bomb the tests and the applications.  But unless I try I don't think I'll be happy with myself.

There's one program I'd really like to get into above all others about an hour away because it means that I would probably be able to continue working where I'm at part-time, Jedi could stay in his job, and we wouldn't have to move. Fingers crossed for that one!

As for Jedi? Well, he's completely supportive, as always.

And, amazingly, these newfound revelations and the peace it brought me led me to give my house a thorough cleaning yesterday. ahhhhh..... My house hasn't been this clean since my mother came to visit last June.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've started to think that part of the reason I have all this free-floating anxiety, and these panic attacks (under control now through therapy), this tension and stress, my be a mild form of ptsd.

Now, my intention is really not to make light of ptsd, please don't take it that way, because I certainly haven't experienced war or daily beatings or a mugging or something that one would traditionally think about as causing ptsd.

I was at a training today about how to provide support to survivors of sexual assault and rape and one of the interesting things I took away from that session was when they presented research (forgive me for not having citations!) that said that women are 2x more likely than men to report symptoms of ptsd and that this is due to the microagressions that women are subjected to on a near daily basis.

In thinking on it, since joining the working world after graduating in 2004, between then and Oct 2010 I only had one job (for a period of one year) that didn't make me contemplate quitting it every single day.  While in some cases the direct supervisor was good/ok, I've had 16 supervisors since 2004 and only 4 jobs during that time. You do that math... It's enough to give me whiplash.

Out of those 16 I had FOUR good supervisors, supportive supervisors, encouraging, caring, thoughtful, fair... I am forever grateful to them. In some cases they were great supervisors in bad positions and the office culture was supremely fucked up.

In my first job the supervisor was a somewhat more malevolent version of Michael Scott--racist, sexist, abelist-- you name it.  He was also a religious fundie with 9 kids, each a year apart, and liked to pontificate about how insurance shouldn't cover things like HIV meds or pregnancy care for unwed mothers because those were lifestyle choices, and why should he have to pay for that?

That job sent me to the hospital for panic attacks.  The only good day on that job was the day I quit, but somehow I did last for 2 years. (Actually, I know how I survived-- my awesome direct supervisor, Bon-Bon! She shielded me from a lot, but she up and quit about a year after Michael Scott II came on board. I didn't last much longer after that.)

My second job was GREAT. 2 Great supervisors, interesting work. Mostly nice co-workers. (One shitty one who could have been Debbie Downer's sister...)

Why did I leave that job? OH, you know... more pay, a promotion... sigh. It was probably a good thing because my awesome supervisor only lasted 2 years at my second job because her boss was a whack-a-loon, but she'd managed to shield us from that. (noticing a trend in what great supervisors do?)

Third job... started off ok, except for my awesome supervisor up and quit about 3 months after I was hired. Grr.  Which left me in a shitastic mess of a situation with a quick succession of 5 shitty supervisors in less than a year, each one more insane and controlling than the last. But, no need to go into that now...

Then, layoffs! Fun, fun...

Fourth job... managed to get another job in my same department, which I was grateful for, except that my new boss was a heinous bitch and incompetent and a micromanager (the trifecta!).... and then the office went through another round of layoffs a year later ... (I was spared, but the ax was over my head)...

All that to say that of the past 7 years only one has been a good year at work. Only one year in which I didn't want to pretend to be sick every morning so that I wouldn't have to go in. Only one year in which I didn't wonder, "What am I going to get yelled at for today?" Only one year in which I  wasn't held responsible for things I had no control over.  Only 2 out of those 7 where I didn't worry about losing my job due to downsizing. Only 1 year in which my workspace wasn't moved or reconfigured without my input or opinion. Only 1 year in which I wasn't subjected to sexist remarks at least once a week.

So, yeah, while I haven't experienced "trauma" in the textbook sense, I certainly feel traumatized by some of my work experiences.  I'm not the only one, for what it's worth-- I'd say at least 90% of a workforce of about 4,000 feel similarly if the people I've come across in the past 4 years here are any indication.  Always waiting to see if you're the next one to get the ax is not a great way to spend your time... hearing that there will probably be more cuts in the future is sure to keep you on your toes.

And aren't I a pretty pretty princess for complaining about a job I still have? I know it. Add "survivor's guilt" to my list of anxieties too.

So, I've talked about my past jobs, but what about my current job?  It's great. I enjoy it. I find it meaningful. I work with kind and supportive (and enlightened!) colleagues.



It's all going to change in the next 6 months.

Sometime in those next 6 months I'm going to get another new supervisor. I'm going to get a new colleague who will share the functions of my job. My assistant's contract will be up and we don't know if it will be renewed (harder on her than on me, I acknowledge.) The entire department I work for is likely to be split up, reconfigured and report to someone else in an entirely new structure as well as change physical locations.  The office I work directly in is likely to be split off from my current department and join a completely different department, cut off from the colleagues I'm currently working with.

So. Yeah.

Don't really feel like I can get too settled or too comfortable where I'm at, and that scares me.  While I feel like I'm in a supportive space I know all too well how quickly that can change, and that it's very likely to change, and also that there's nothing I can do about it. (A lack of control over one's situation is also a trigger for ptsd, we learned today.)

So, yeah... I don't really know how to let go of this anxiety and stress. After all, I might need it again shortly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Death by 1000 papercuts

**Big Sigh**

March has been kicking my butt. Here is a list of things that are not really all that bad in and of themselves... but are adding up to a whole lot of suck.

Here they are, in no particular order-

1) found out totally incompetent former co-worker who has less experience than I do is applying to be my boss
2) found out many marginally competent  people are applying to be my boss

(ok, there seem to be some somewhat competent people in the pool, but not nearly as many as I think there should be in order to make it competitive. And I worry that one of the nincompoops is going to slip through the cracks.

Also, it annoys me that so many people applied for the job who basically have the same qualifications that I do. (Despite the ad posting which stipulates a terminal degree.)  I've had numerous colleagues approach me to urge me to apply for the director position but given that my immediate boss and one of my reccommenders to grad school are co-chairing the committee I feel like if they considered me even a halfway decent candidate they would have mentioned it.  Given that I was only appointed to my current position a few months ago I think it would be seen as grasping to apply for the director position.  And I really am fine with someone else getting the job... I'm just not really fine with someone who is less experienced and doesn't even have a masters getting the job. So, well, that's pissing me off at the moment.)

3) My great grandmother (98) had a stroke 3 weeks ago.  (She'll be as ok as you can be for 98... ) but...
4) It's putting a huge strain on my grandmother (73) who is taking care of her
5) I live 3 hours away... close enough to visit and see the stress, but not enough to do anything substantial.
6) my great aunt (who had been helping my grandma take care of their mother) has suddenly gone blind
7) my great aunt's daughter, who is a nurse and who has been helping to take care of my great grandmother, was just diagnosed with lung cancer (not a smoker, though her father was), and has to have a lung removed
8) my favorite aunt (on the other side) just went in for back surgery because she's lost all feeling in her legs (and old injury) and she may be permanently disabled.

9) I have a 2 day program that's coming up for work-- which I ostensibly have organized-- but I'm not hearing back from people that I need info from in order to get the schedule up... and I was supposed to have that schedule to the printers today.
8) I have to do a presentation to students in 2 weeks about a complex gender issue... and I have to co-present with someone who does a lot of 'mansplaining'... (Oh, and did I mention that the mansplainer is one of the people applying for a job in my office. *sigh*)

10) I fell off the diet wagon and put the 14lbs I'd lost in January all back on

11) Jedi is making a ton of simple mistakes (e.g. assistants vs assistance) at work which are worrying me regarding his continued employment in his office.  He's also making some questionable choices regarding calling out sick or going in late. (He would protest this, I know, but frankly right now he's been acting like a little kid who doesn't want to go to school and praying for snow days.)

12) My mother is driving me nuts regarding wedding stuff. (Did I mention that she's picked out a white floor length ball gown to wear to the wedding?)

13) My least-favorite smarmy religious "earth Jesus" type millionaire uncle is maybe/probably coming to my wedding. Ugh. And bringing his real housewife with him. Ugh.  I only invited them because I wanted to invite my aunt (his sister), whom I like, to the wedding and you know that whole--can't invite one without the other thing. Big mistake. Can't retract it now!

14) My mother thinks it would be awesome to have earth Jesus sing at my wedding.  I'm all like, "I hate the guy! I don't even want him to come!" and she's all like, "What does that matter? He has a beautiful voice. You're so unreasonable."

15) I'm sick of people asking me what I'm going to do for music... or flowers... or food... or anything else... when I don't know the answer to the question and it stresses me to think about it. (I think it's somewhat akin to being a senior in college and being asked for the millionth time by your smarmy uncle, "So, theater huh? No really, what are you going to do with your life? Heh. heh. heh.)

16) I'm currently taking a course in victim advocacy... and two other women (in this class of 10) are total dipshit dingbats who are more worried about working out their own emotional issues than in learning. They constantly derail the sessions with, "Well, when this happened to me..." when we've been specifically told numerous times that we're not supposed to talk about ourselves in this work as the focus is supposed to be entirely on the victims.  I'm all for people working out their issues (these two women are currently training to be therapists, which makes me want to bang my head against a wall), but when I'm trapped in a room for 4 hours/week with you is NOT the time or the place to be doing it!

17) I'm applying to grad school again. I haven't told one of my good friends about it because I know she won't be supportive-- which makes me sad because I could really use her support. But right now she's going through issues of her own and I know she would think I'm going back to grad school for the wrong reasons.

18) I'm going back to grad school for the wrong reasons. That is, if you assume the "right reasons" include such things as being passionate about the subject matter and a love of learning.  I just want to make more money and this particular program is the fastest and cheapest way to do it. (No, it's not a for-profit/diploma mill place... don't worry)

(17a).... 5 transcripts... 3 rec letters... fees...personal statement... resume... translations... to pull together before April 1.

19) I can't get a good night's sleep to save my life. I need a new mattress. But, I also need money for that. Damn those catch-22s

20) I wonder what happened to my creative self. I used to paint, do photography, write, garden (ok, that one is on hold for another few months)... now all I do is go to work and watch trash tv. Trash tv is sucking out my soul and I'm letting it? Why am I letting it? I would say it's a mystery but the truth is simply that my passion for life just seems to have waned somehow.

21) News and internet.  I debated getting an ipad on impulse this weekend (no, not that I have money for that either...) and I didn't get it.  Not because I didn't have the money, which would have been the logical reason, but because I'm at least able to recognize that constant connection to the internet is part of my problem and is bringing on this sense of general malaise to a large degree.

I'm a huge news junkie. I'm a prolific reader. Put those together and 6 hours can be spent on the internet that would have been better spent doing just about anything else. I notice that I come away tense and irritable after I spend time reading blogs and I know it's because I'm usually filled with lots of righteous anger and no way to expend it.

I'm considering making April (my birthday month!) an internet-news/blog-reader free month. (Just typing that makes me feel like I'm gasping for air, which means I probably should do it.)

Isn't it sad that I feel like I have a 100% greater chance of sticking to my food-diet than my internet-diet?

So, internets, there is my not-so-very-great tale of woe. Don't worry, I won't ask  you to feel sorry for me. But could you please pass the excedrin?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life on earth

So, I'm probably the worst blogger ever, aren't I? I have a super mundane life... no longer even any funny stories to tell you about bad dates... My job and relationship are both doing pretty well (knock on wood.)

You'd think that I would then use this forum to opine about feminist issues, wouldn't you? That was originally part of my intent in starting this blog. Instead it because only slightly more interesting than a 7th grader's diary. All it's missing is the hearts and doodles....

Anyhoo, all that to say that I'm sorry I haven't been updating very often, but at the same time to wonder how many people are still paying attention/interested in my meandering thoughts? Maybe not many.  I won't close up shop just yet, I'm just wondering if people would prefer a more consistent posting schedule or if people don't really care one way or another. Maybe I'm thinking too much about it, but I know there are a couple blogs I follow whose authors think their lives are pretty ordinary and they only post sporadically, and it drives me nuts because I'm actually really interested in what's going on in their lives.

So, I'll just give you the quick update from me. Work has been kicking my butt, glad the term is almost over.  Not looking forward to the first week of April when I'm running a big program that as of right now looks to fall flat on its face. Ugh.

I've decided to take up photography as a hobby/potential side business again. I really enjoyed it in the past, but with the switch to digital I never made the investment in a good SLR, and with $20/roll processing fees it was too expensive to continue that hobby. However, Jedi has pointed out to me that I do need a better hobby than "The Real Housewives of Wherever" so this might just be it.  If I have any pretty pictures to share, I will! Anyone have any thoughts between the Nikon D5000 and the Canon Rebel T2i?  I'm debating between both right now.

Additionally, I've decided to apply for grad school to get my Ed.D. I found a program (I won't tell you which one lest it be overrun with applications!) that is a hybrid online course/weekends on campus which should fit well with my schedule. It's 3 years and only $21k from a very well reputed school.  I know Ed.Ds aren't as well considered as Ph.Ds but I have no need to do original research, and I never want to teach, and I don't want to quit my job to have to go back to school.... Additionally, my workplace should reimburse me about $6k of the program, so all told it will be $15k, or $5k per year. Can't get much better than that, can you?  They're currently accepting applications for the Fall term so I need to get my butt in gear, get rec letters, and get going on this!

Am I nuts to be doing this? After all the complaints I had about school/work balance last time? Eh... probably.  But I think it's a good investment... So many positions I'm looking at currently require terminal degrees (which is ridiculous, because you really don't need more than a bachelor's to be able to DO the work, but whatever)... and if I ever want to make enough money to support me, Jedi, and potentially-mini-Jedi-someday... well, I think I've got to get this degree. I feel like it makes sense to do it now, when I'm 30, and have peak earning years ahead of me, than to have a kid and wait until I'm 40 to get the Ed.D, don't you?

I spend my time second guessing myself, but I do think this is the right course at this time... of course, if I get denied admission, we'll just pretend this blog post never happened, hmm? :- )