just started a mental illness support e-mail list

A safe place e-mail list: https://groups.io/org/groupsio/asafeplaceHello everyone,

Subscribe: asafeplace+subscribe

I wanted to let you all know that I’ve just created a new e-mail list. I’ve been running e-mail lists for two years now. I started blind mental health, for anyone who’s blind and has a mental illness, in 2012. In fact tomorrow is our second birthday yay!!

I never knew before starting this list the need out there for a safe place for those with blindness/ visual impairment and mental illness to feel that they aren’t alone. The lack of support for our specific population is truly sad. I’m going to save a detailed discussion of that list and issues around people who are blind and have mental illness for another post.

Anyway what brought my attention to the lack of safe supportive groups online for mental illness, at least in my opinion was facebook. Facebook has a huge overwhelming selection of support groups for everything under the sun. There are too many groups to count for people with mental illness. I think this is a wonderful thing and believe that you can’t have too much support when dealing with mental illness. However it disturbs me when these groups aren’t well moderated. I think sometimes it’s the nature of the size of the group. A couple I’ve joined have thousands of members. Even if there were several admins no one can keep track of that many people. I’ve also been in groups where the admin/s are just missing in action and the members are left to their own devices with no boundaries or oversight from the group owner/ moderators who ideally should work as a team to monitor the daily progress of the group and resolve any issues that come up. Which is my second point. These groups seem full with a huge amount of drama. People can really be quite judgmental and I’m not sure if it’s just the fact of being behind a computer screen so they think they can say anything and it doesn’t matter. That’s a theory my good friend Robert has about facebook/ youtube comments. I think it’s even harder due to people with mental illness honestly often having a lot of problems relating well to others. I put myself in this category at times. Due to depression, anxiety, PTSD issues around relationships ETC. It can be hard in a face to face situation, much less online to get your point across in a healthy way. However I often see in these groups a lot of members siding against one another and it not being a welcoming and truly friendly environment. And for whatever reasons again I think due to the size of some of these groups it’s hard to control. And I understand that everyone in the group including admins is going through ups and downs. That’s why I learned as an owner that having at least one other moderator if not a couple more who have their own individual skills and perspectives to bring to the table is important.

Lastly I think there are some other things in these groups allowed to go on that are less than healing. For example, many people for whatever reason, post self-harm pictures. This is my first encounter with this kinda thing and when I saw a message from admin saying please don’t post self harm pictures I was like what the hell? Why would anyone do that. A couple days later saw a post that said “I use rubber bands on my arms here are my scars.” (which put a dent in the rubber bands being a helpful sub for SI theory) Not only that but I was horrified that someone would post this and see it as healing for themselves or others! And I was glad to be blind so as not to see the picture!

I don’t see this or any other posting of photos of triggering material to be helpful at all. Lastly and again I think it’s due to the overwhelming nature of these groups at least for me, it’s very hard to feel included. I know on my lists I always try to give a lot of support to new members with everyone doing intros and helping new members feel safe. It’s often hard, again on the subject of having trouble relating to others, for people with social anxiety or other issues to start relationships. So often even with best efforts of others people still don’t feel included because they just can’t initiate connections or respond to others. On these groups it seems like the people that know each other post away. My posts of intros which I did a few times because I thought there was something wrong with facebook, would end up way down the list within an hour. And never got any response. Or maybe like one or two comments as opposed to a huge amount on other members posts that know everyone. I’ve seen other new members posts saying this as well.

And so we’re clear I’m not bashing all facebook groups. Or facebook. Like I said I think that everyone needs all the support possible. And I’m just someone who has never really taken to facebook for groups as I really like using e-mail lists. It’s just easier for me with a screen reader and just also I don’t know easier. I’m on e-mail all the time. For groups on facebook I’d have to keep going to the site and scrolling through and with so many different threads it’s really confusing. I’ve found similar issues with psych central, which is the only other forum website I’ve been on with a lot of drama but they do have admins that are pretty good. Their issue actually is a few people thinking they have all the answers for everyone else just because they claim they’re all better from their mental illness which was annoying.

Anyway so tonight I created “a safe place.” It’s on groups.io and a very good platform. Again it’s for anyone with any mental illness from late (or mature teens) on up. It’s well moderated and drama free. We’ll discuss the daily lives of everyone and their struggles, issues with personal relationships, work/school, therapy meds etc. Also encourage each other’s hobbies and activities that are healing. I’ll have the list info in my resources section as well as on this post. If interested please subscribe, comment here for questions/ ideas, and share with others.

A safe place group page:

https://groups.io/org/groupsio/asafeplace

sub: asafeplace+subscribe

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Please Don’t Take my Baby by Cathy Glass book review

Hey everyone,

So this past week I finished another amazing memoir by Cathy Glass. Her heartfelt and emotionally raw accounts of the children she’s rehabilitated through fostering and their affect on her family are extremely unforgettable and I feel can give hope to anyone in a similar situation. This could be someone looking into becoming a foster parent, a teenager in foster care, or an adult who has been fostered as a child. Or really anyone with an interest in how one helps children who have gone through extremely damaging situations find some kind of a normal life and move forward.

Please Don’t Take my Baby is the story of a very unique fostering situation for her family. A general rule in fostering at least in Cathy’s local area is that the child coming into the house not be the same age as the biological children. Cathy’s children were eight and 12 at the time of this book. Cathy was able to foster teenagers however usually fostered younger children. Seventeen year old Jade was introduced to Cathy not through the usual route of social services but through an unexpected visit from a concerned teacher. This teacher had been Jade’s mentor and knew that Jade was seven months pregnant. She also knew that she and her mother had a very rocky relationship and when her mother found out about the pregnancy she had thrown Jade out of the house. Living down the street from Cathy this teacher was aware she fostered. Though not knowing the requirements around fostering she begged Cathy to foster Jade. Cathy gently explained the rules and accepted avenues for Jade to be put into care. And had to gently tell the teacher to look elsewhere.

To her surprise the next day Jill her link worker called and asked if she was interested in taking a pregnant seventeen year old girl. It turns out the teacher did upon Cathy’s suggestion contact social services. She said that she specifically wanted Cathy to foster Jade. Jill encouraged that Cathy could say no as clearly this wasn’t a placement that she’d ever undertaken before. She wasn’t a trained teen carer. On top of that there are specialized carers that work with teen moms and their babies and she’d never done this either. Jill explained that the only such carer was outside the county and Jade refused to leave her friends. Cathy who has a huge heart and always seems to rise to any challenge said yes.

From the beginning Jade was overall a very nice girl, if very immature. It surprises Cathy when Jade arrives with her social worker Rachel as well as with her sixteen year old boyfriend Tyler. However Cathy goes with the flow and says Tyler is welcome there so long as he goes home by eight at night and continues to attend school as he’s very committed to his studies. These boundaries were set with social workers present. By the end of that first day Cathy sees Tyler’s maturity and positive influence on Jade. And Tyler connects right away with Paula and Adrian cathy’s other children.

It’s clear that Jade is excited about becoming a new mother. She sees herself treating her baby well, with lots of love taking it to the park ETC. However she doesn’t seem to grasp what having a baby really entails. And is still in many ways a child. She’s in a rocky relationship with her mother and at first refuses to try and resolve things even though doing so would be a step towards maturing and also getting support for the future for her and her baby. However the next day upon going to collect more of Jade’s stuff they run into her mom Jackie. After some harsh words Jackie and Jade eventually make up and Jackie promises to be there for Jade. The fights are far from over and the two do clash at other points in the book but overall Jackie turns out to be an extremely supportive mother.

That accomplished Cathy is hopeful she can spend time with Jade and make the most of the month or so it’s said she’ll be at her house. Teach her skills to care for herself and a home and prepare her as best she can for the baby. However Jade has other plans. From the second day she’s at Cathy’s she goes off track engaging in troubling though common teenage behavior. She goes out with friends and drinks coming back to Cathy’s in a drunk state several times. She also smokes, lies about where she’s going and is extremely angry when confronted. This would be difficult but somewhat expected for a normal teenager. But Jade doesn’t seem to grasp that she’s carrying a baby and that all her choices especially around physical health affect her baby profoundly. Cathy is dismayed at her multiple talks with Jade about these issues seeming to have little to no impact. And feels disappointed and hurt when Jade continues to disregard the seriousness of her actions. It doesn’t make her feel any better to hear from Jackie and Rachel that this behavior has been a long standing pattern for Jade.

Jade also seems to disregard the responsibilities specifically around preparing for her baby. She missed ultrasounds and important doctor visits. She’s not eating right or taking vitamins. And it turns out she had her due date wrong. So on the second or third week of Jade’s stay at the house she ends up delivering her full term, thankfully healthy baby girl named Courtney. Cathy is overjoyed that Courtney was born unscathed by Jades irresponsible actions. She now expects that Jade will be moved to a mother and baby placement where she can get specific instructions on how to parent and also will be closely assessed to see if she can keep her baby or if the baby will be put into care.

However she hears from Rachel that there isn’t a teen mom placement available except the one outside the county which again Jade refuses to go to. Cathy at first automatically says no as this is way out of the ordinary of anything she’d done before. But eventually her commitment for Jade wins her over and she prepares for another new challenge. Jill and Rachel as well as Jackie help to get everything ready for this next phaise of the placement. Cathy is really worried about having to be such a key player in the parenting assessment as well as being the person responsible for teaching Jade how to parent as she’s never worked with a teen mom before. However Jill and Rachel remain extremely supportive. And Cathy’s maternal instincts around parenting babies kick in and she does a good job of helping Jade and Tyler learn the ins and outs of baby care. Again Tyler shows striking maturity in parenting Jade when he is there and not in school. However, heartbreakingly, Jade ends up engaging in the same kinds of immature behaviors that she was doing before her baby. Everyone hoped she’d have a huge shift in perspective after Courtney’s birth however this wasn’t the case. After each episode and a big warning from Rachel and Cathy she’d seem genuinely sorry and say it wouldn’t happen again. Often poor courtney was taken on these dangerous adventures sometimes left in the care of an eleven year old child.

When not engaging in these troubling eppisodes of behavior Jade is by all accounts doing fairly well as a new parent. It’s clear she loves Jade with all her heart and is learning more each day about how to care for her. However Cathy does help with things like constantly reminding Jade about what to do, cleaning up, waking her when Courtney needs a bottle at night ETC. Cathy also does part of the job of feeding courtney as she’ll hold her while Jade goes to another room to fill the bottle. Cathy reasons that if Jade and Tyler were living together he’d fill this role so this amount of help is ok. She also logs everything in detail for the review of the social workers.

Time passes in this way. Then Jade’s escapades reach their peak in an experience of shoplifting with Courtney present. The police are envolved and they bring Jade and Courtney home. After repeated warnings Rachel and Jill come to assess Cathy’s log notes. They discover that yes the notes do show that Jade is making strides to parenting Courtney. However it’s also clear that Cathy is giving her a lot of support on things that she should be able to do completely on her own. Apparently teen mom placements are 12 weeks before the assessment of whether the child stays with the parent is complete. Rachel gave Jade eighteen weeks. Along with this Jade has put Courtney in harm’s way many times while having her out with her being rebellious. She’s also not taken Jade for her dr. visits or shots on different occasions. Rachel has to tell Jade that the week after will be a meeting that will decide if Courtney can stay with Jade.

Jade understandably falls into a serious depression. Soon she can’t stand to be around her baby knowing it will likely be taken away. Cathy feels lost for words or any comfort she can give to Jade. Despite the professionals and even Jade’s reassurances that there wasn’t anything she could have done differently she still feels very guilty for the current situation. When Rachel comes she starts out by saying the struggle the department went through on this. And how many professionals envolved said that it would be better to take Courtney into care now rather than prolonging what seems like a situation that would eventually lead to foster care for her due to Jade’s unintentional neglect. However being an amazing social worker Rachel combs all the resources and manages to find a residential program for teen mothers. It has very strict rules but if Jade accepts it it will be the last chance she has to keep her baby. Jade wholeheartedly agrees and is overjoyed at not losing her baby.

It would be good if the story ended there. But our stories never just end on a happy note with no complications. So I think it was wise that Cathy continued the story after Jade and courtney left her care as she was still very much in contact with them. Though initially overjoyed about going to this program Jade soon is annoyed by the very strict rules. Her old rebellious tendancies start to kick in as she grows to befriend a girl with similar negative immature feelings. Helplessly Cathy watches as Jade goes down hill again. This ends in a physical injury courtney gets while Jade and her friends have been drinking. It’s a small injury but the whole thing looks like she’ll be taken away and yet again Jade has lost her way.

I won’t give away the ending at all. I want people to be surprised because it is a very surprising and positive ending. It shows the ups and downs of life and how the choices we make effect sometimes the whole course of our life. How the different people who we come into contact with can influence our lives I think this is an excellent book for any teen mother to be, or a mother with a baby who’s a teenager or young adult to read. It reallyemphasizes the immaturity of teenagers and how it’s hard for them to change that perspective when having a baby. It shows what help is available and the consequences of accepting or rejecting help. I think Jade’s story could have turned out differently if she didn’t have an amazing social worker willing to fight til the very end for Jade to keep her baby. And if she didn’t have a mostly supportive mother. And especially if she didn’t have such a mature and loyal boyfriend. And of course Cathy who stayed by her side through everything and is known to Courtney as “auntie Cathy.”

Cathy made it clear that many many stories don’t have such positive endings and that a huge number of children taken into care/ adopted come from teen mothers. This book is one you’ll want to reread again and again as it’s impossible not to connect with Cathy, her family, or Jade and her struggle whether you’re in her situation, or know someone who is. Enjoy and comment!

Posted in mental illness, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Book review: Pieces of me still Awake by Lyn Jamison

Hi everyone,

The subject of dissociative identity disorder or DID is very close to my heart. I have several good friends who have faced horrors many of us could never imagine in the form of brutal child abuse, and to survive created alters who’s sole purpose is to take the pain of the abuse and protect the core personality.

I’ll write more in general about DID in another post. However this is focusing on the raw and heartfelt Memoir Pieces of me Still Awake by Lyn Jamison.

Lyn Jamison is known by the youtube community as Tomy Jamison. She’s been making personal vlogs since the early 2000s about her journey with DID. Openly discussing all aspects and working to dispel the hurtful myths and misconseptions that are barriers for those with DID to feeling accepted even among the professional mental health community. Many of her alters make videos on serious subjects such as their purpose in the system, to funny things like cooking or just hanging out. Her amazingly loving and supportive partner Milissa also often is a part of these videos and makes her own.

I was introduced to Tomy by another friend with DID. I instantly loved her commanding yet gentle presence. Her way of reaching out to anyone with a mental illness to give encouragement and total validation for just how impossible recovery can feel at times. She holds nothing back and in that way has made what seem like life long connections. Watching her vlogs has given me the inspiration and courage to attempt to be as honest as she is in my presentation to the world.

I was somewhat familiar with all characters presented in her memoir before it was published. When it was I eagerly purchased it on kindle and started to read. On her video about the book’s release she says the book is “one big trigger warning.” And acknowledges that many who have been in her situation or similar with the level of abuse that took place may not be able to read the book at all or fully. I’ve read many memoirs related to mental illness and abuse. Thankfully the abuse I’ve personally dealt with has been emotional. Reading about the other levels of cruelty that an adult puts upon a child always breaks my heart. The directness and raw emotion in this book was hard to bear at times. However I took my time to work through it as I see Tomy and her system as my friends and wanted to hear everything they had to say.

The narrative appropriately is told in flashes of experiences and jumps around the different time periods in Lyn’s life. It covers everything from early childhood and the “nice on the outside horrific on the inside” family she grew up in. It covers her life as an adult and how flashbacks tore through her consciousness. Several alters tell their stories of birth, their order in the system, and the ins and outs of the inner world.

In an interesting twist, the lives of both Lyn’s parents are explored as well and made clear the level of abuse they suffered. This is in no way at all excusing anything done. However it does show the power of the cycle of abuse, and how perhaps in the creativity of the mind that creates alters, Lyn was able to take a different path of self-discovery and awareness which lead her to avoid making the same mistakes in later life.

I’ve read some other books on DID. Before I personally had friends who dealt with this, I found the books fascinating and interesting and felt for those in it but didn’t have the knowledge and emotional attachment to watching someone go day by day trying to constantly make a healthy life for themselves while being haunted by flashbacks, and overwhelmed with the daunting task of connecting with the others inside. Lyn’s account talks about this in detail. The struggle to accept get to know, and build a safe world for she and all of her inner family so that they can have a cooperative life together. This has ups and downs and is ultimedly heartwarming and overall successful. It’s empowering to see how the system takes their own path to healing. Taking what works from therapy, but ultametily being self-supporting and knowing what’s right for them. They’re not about to be manipulated or controlled by people who try to tell them what’s best for them. In all other DID books I’ve read integration is the preferred method of “treatment.” Before meeting my friends I thought this made sense logically. That was before intimately getting to know these complex systems, each alter a true person in his or her own right. And seeing the complex nature of DID, it makes sense that integration is by no means straightforward or even any kind of valued option. It should be individualized to what each system feels is right. Lyn and her system discuss integration, how they’ve made it work for them specifically and how in their world no one can integrate unless it’s just the right time.

Many books dealing with DID focus on the retelling of brutal abuse with little about the day to day life of the person, or very much positive other than some kind of integration compelled by the therapist feeling this is necessary. In this book other aspects of their lives are fully explored. Such as their job and the breakdown that caused the end to Lyn’s denial about her situation. The various relationships she had and how they served her in healthy or unhealthy ways. And in the eliment of peace about their lives. Not peace like happy ending or like nothing will go wrong again. But peace like she found a life partner that’s truly a soulmate. Peace in a full understanding of herself, her system, exactly what works for them all. With all this experience, ups and downs, she’s able to move forward building a healthier life than she ever could have imagined. At the end of the book she says something quite powerful that I too believe. “ It all had to happen. Everything leading up to this moment.” If she hadn’t gone through all that she had she never would have met Milisa. . Or any of the others who touched her lives in her many moves. She never would have such a rich understanding of herself and her inner world. And she never would have written this book. Or touched probably hundreds of people through her live encounters on video. Including myself.

I encourage anyone who’s interested in truly learning about life with mental illness to read this book. It’s nothing glamorous or dramatic or like in the media. It’s rough down to earth, and with unexped pleasant surprises and moments of peace and healing along the way. For those who deal with this on a daily b basis I feel anyone can see at least one aspect of themselves or their struggles here. For significant others I hope you read this book and give your loved one a big hug. And maybe cry because you finally sort of get it. Why this person might seem out of reach at times, and how you really can’t know what’s going on inside their head. Maybe it will make you a little more patient in the bad times. And take your breath away so that all you can do is listen.

Lastly, of course the trigger warnings. This book has moment by moment graphic descriptions of physical and sexual abuse. As well as some cult like ritual abuse. I have no personal experience with these traumas but I found them very hard to read at times. If I found them hard to read I’d extremely caution those with personal experiences to try and monitor yourself emotionally. It also deals with a suicide attempt in detail. However if you aren’t able to read the book, Iknow that Lyn would understand. And that she’d probably be willing to connect with you through youtube and be a listening ear and have only compassion and understanding for what you’re going through.

Below is the amazon link to the kindle book.

http://www.amazon.com/Pieces-Of-Me-Still-Awake-ebook/dp/B00SUI057M

Also here is the link to their channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/sidian3

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
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Posted in Disabilities, mental illness, Resources, Reviews, Therapy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My twitter profile

Hi everyone,

So in order to increase my online presence I’ve opened a twitter account. Honestly I still don’t understand the good of a communication site where you can only put like 200 characters in a message or why they have that rule. However Robert insists it’s like the most epic way to raise my visibility which is all I care about! Looking at who my friends follow I see soo many people on there with similar mental health issues. And how people can connect and follow all kinds of people from all over the world. So I’m starting to see the benefit. My only goal is to have my words and videos reach as many as possible in order to form connections and hopefully expand my and others support systems for the better.

So below is my profile.

http://www.easychirp.com/profile

For those that would just like to add me I’m at blindmentalh

Hope to connect with a variety of people on this forum!

Posted in mental illness | 5 Comments

Depression and PTSD: an invisible cage

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I didn’t write a post. I didn’t make a video. I didn’t really do a lot to help Robert with his assignments for me though we e-mailed back and forth and he reassured me that “Sammy never gets fired!” from my assistant job.

I woke up and just felt empty. Really down. I had a conversation with my mom which didn’t help. Well it brought more questions than answers. The short version is that I came to Chicago in june 2012. Having lived all my life in MA. In a town near concord. You know Concord, revolutionary war and all that! Anyway so I spent my first twenty years there. Then went to school in Cambridge at Lesley university. So I spent all my life in MA and then moved to Chicago to live at Friedman Place.

I haven’t seen my mom Dad sister or pets since June 2012. Everytime I’ve thought of visiting it’s brought such a mix of longing and excitement for reconnecting with the really good things about being back home. Mostly my sister, Dad, cat (and I guess my sister’s cat and dog maybe LOL) and mom when she’s in a good mood. And her cooking! And then it’s brought up the other stuff. The stuff that made me not want to be home for much of my college years and what’s stopped me from visiting first chance I got. In 2013 all these conflicting emotions built up in me and lead to my breakdown, well one of the factors anyway.

Since coming to Albany in therapy I’ve been working to untangle my life in the past with my family and my life now. And trying to unlearn the automatic responses to feelings and situations that remind me of things that happened in the past that were overwhelming. We’ve talked about visiting off and on. Were planning a visit for may tentatively but then my mom had neck surgery. So we held it off. Since then I’ve only been thinking of the good aspects of visiting. That’s all that’s come to mind. Particularly bringing my friend Jess along and us having a good time. Over the past months through phone conversations and hearing about her my family has really taken a liking to Jess which is very sweet. Anyway yesterday after this conversation it brought up all the hard things about being there. Mostly a feeling of being emotionally totally overwhelmed by a situation where there’s a lack of healthy communication and expression of emotions that colors everything even if it’s not obvious to an outsider.

As I sat there throughout the day, particularly when writing this all out in an e-mail to my therapist I re-experienced the emotions I’ve had in the past around this situation. Feeling like I’m just taking up space in a chaotic situation at home, like there’s nothing I can do to help when my mom is overwhelmed/ asking my Dad and sister to help with household chores that I can’t do independently. And generally just wanting to disappear and hide away, knowing that if Ieven look like I’m gonna cry I’m gonna get the tirade about why am I crying for no reason? How people in the world won’t want to be friends with me because I get upset so much on and on. I haven’t felt these feelings in awhile. They’re usually brought on by an external trigger that reminds me of these past situations. But that’s gotten a bit better since being here. It was a sobering experience, that if I can’t even feel safe emotionally picturing myself there how can I go in person. My therapist and other staff here believe I’m so much stronger than I was and can handle basically anything. But I have my doubts. Rationally knowing why I react as I do emotionally doesn’t equal emotionally being able to handle things better when push comes to shove. Yes I’ve been able to improve on this here, but here is very controlled. Staff don’t take it personally when you have a meltdown. They help you work through things and are endlessly patient. It can be said that some very good friends or family members could posses some of this patience and understanding especially with education on mental illness. But not my mom. My Dad doesn’t believe I have mental illness which doesn’t help. He’s also not the emotional type. Stuff happens like arguments meltdowns whatever and he shuts down.

So anyway all that to say I wouldn’t get much empathy at home when situations come up. This leaves me feeling trapped and lost. Anyway I think about it I can’t win. If I decide to just not visit I’ll be emotionally safe from further new experiences of emotional overwhelm plus being triggered all over again with old PTSD symptoms. If I don’t visit I miss the opportunity to reconnect with the good parts of my family. Most importantly my pets. I really wish pets lived as long as people. I know they don’t live forever and I’ve missed out on so much of my cat’s life between being at college when I would come home for visits, but still, and being out here. The thing that weighs most heavily on me is a fear that he’ll die before I can see him again. The others too. Even my sister’s brat cat Simon who pees all over the place. He’s been there a lot of my life too and was the first cat I could really interact with that was at home. My first cat Smokey I think had social anxiety because only my mom could hold him so I could pet him. Except for when he went senile and became Mr. Sociable and ate steak out of people’s hands and let you pet his skin and bones little body. Anyway all this weighs so hard on me. Feeling like I’m trapped in a cage with no way out. I slept most of the day. Jess sets a limit on one nap a day for me. Because when we first met I would sleep mostly all day long off and on. Yesterday I took a nap in the morning. Was very out of it at lunch still half asleep. And took a nap in the afternoon til three.

Then I did get somewhat productive. Started to read Robert’s book which I’ll be promoting which took my mind off stuff. Listened to a Cathy Glass audio book. Then after dinner as I was more alert I started thinking about all this and that’s when the old PTSD feelings of being in that environment came flooding in and my doubts about being able to handle any of it. Later I ended up crying over the loss of my cat. As if it had already happened. It’s a really neat (yeah right) trick my anxiety pulls. I can be really worried about something so as a way to prepare for it actually happening, I guess my mind acts like it’s already happened. It’s like at home youknew bad emotional stuff was around the corner so you might as well count on it happening. Then when it does it’s not so much of a shock because you’re hyperalert way ahead of time. And like ninetypercent of the time this was actually true. Jess tried to comfort me but I was beyond that. She said to listen to my ipod and zone out but I didn’t. I checked e-mail and crawled into bed. And fell asleep with no good thoughts in my head.

Today’s a new day and I’m not as depressed. But I’m not you know energized either. The idea of a possible visit still weighs on me with no happy ending to think of. And the old feelings of being emotionally lost that came with being in such a toxic environment still linger.

You could be walking along not knowing there’s a trapdoor in the ground. All of a sudden the ground opens up and t you’re thrown down a dark tunnel and into a cage. No one on the outside sees the cage but it’s all around you. You can’t move or see beyond the bars. Meanwhile people are wondering what the hell is wrong with you. They don’t see the weight of depression pushing on your shoulders. The overwhelming sensations, thoughts and emotions of past trauma so real to you in the moment that you’re surprised no one sees the horrific events that are playing in your mind. You don’t know why you ended up here when just a few days, hours, or minutes ago you were just like everyone else feeling relatively stable and calm. You don’t know if you’ll escape or when without warning you’ll be pushed back out into the world again and have to pick up the pieces.

Posted in mental illness, Therapy | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

update on a question about psychiatric drugs and female issues :

Hey everyone,

So needed to post a quick update in order to clarify things for my readers in hopes of getting some comments on the issue of psych meds and your period being stopped.

My caseworker who’s awesome actually did go home and do research last night. The big thing I have to clarify is the hormone that possibly is being affected is called prolactin not whatever word I used! I was so anxious last night I totally didn’t even get the name of the hormone right no wonder I didn’t find anything online!

As I suspected it’s more common for this hormone level to be raised in the use of antipsychotics. It’s even been reported that it causes breast development in men. The article said something like men love breasts but they don’t want to carry them around LOL!

My caseworker found one study saying they tested forty thousand people’s prolactin levels while on lamyctol and only forty had raised levels. Which is an extremely small percent and not even high enough to list in side-effects. She said she couldn’t find anything for buspar which is the most recent med addition I’ve had and what I’ve believed all along might be contributing.

I did find one post off a message board where a couple people were talking about prolactin levels being raised with buspar. One person was like sure it does. Like they were very confident in it. So yeah sent that to my caseworker and asked her to talk to director of nursing about it as I said I would yesterday.

So to repeat the question with the correct term. Has anyone experienced raised prolactin levels while taking buspar or lamyctol? The only other med I take is Effexor but I don’t see why that would do anthing as I’ve been on it for over a year same with Ativan.

Any thoughts or comments are much appreciated! On the message boards it mentioned that a med that’s a fake version of a hormone can lower the prolactin levels. However I hesitate to be taking some hormone med I’m afraid it would really screw with my hormones even more. Like I said as long as no undue damage will be caused by not having a period I’m fine with just not having to deal with that! And don’t really want meds to correct it which I feel would also just add to chemistry in my body being out of whack and not be worth it.

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a question about psychiatric meds and female hormone levels guys can cover their ears now!

Hi everyone,

Warning: this is a female issue that most guys usually go to another room when women talk about it or just laugh. So all you men can just go watch sports together now LOL!

Now that it’s just us girls. I’m 26 I’ve had a pretty regular period since I got it at around 14. Due to stress weather ETC it’s been known to be too weeks late but nothing too extreme. Well I haven’t gotten it since the very end of February. No not worried at all about a little Sammy coming along, never had sex in my life I’m not ashamed to say don’t really care much about that. Anyway I have had some psych med changes since the end of February. Well actually I got a new psychiatrist mid February I believe. I got my lamyctol raised and was put on buspar twice a day. I’m also on efexor that’s been working fine for me and hasn’t been touched in awhile. Anyway I did gain several pounds in a month which is really unheard of for me. People were saying it could be the weight gain that threw stuff off though they don’t know quite how.

Anyway saw the medical doctor that comes here today. Hate we have to pick these stupid doctors just because they come to our facility. Had a great relationship with the awesome Trilogy medical clinic that I used pre Albany. But due to their stupid rules I could no longer see them. To add to the mess it’s all male doctors. All my life I’ve had wonderful female doctors. My families pediatrician is excellent and I was seeing her right up til I left MA at age 24. The nurse practitioner at the health clinic at trilogy was thorough and excellent.

Anyway so though I fought hard to leave my first medical doctor who came here due to him never actually coming in, and once seeing an NP of his who was totally clueless, I don’t exactly love this guy I have now. I first mentioned the female issue. Right away he jumped to pregnancy and mentioned it several times. Gave no other explanations or thoughts and just said we’d wait. Meanwhile I was not happy with that and continued to ask friends and bug people endlessly on the matter. My caseworker did work with the director of nursing to set up an OBGYN apt, thank goodness the male doctors don’t do that! I wouldn’t allow it, it’s bad enough it has to be done at all. Anyway to my surprise saw the Dr. today. Totally other subject on how you never know when your doctors are coming in until the night before or the morning of or in my case and sometimes the minute before!

Anyway saw him and he did believe it or not still talk about stupid pregnancy!! He also did mention, and this is the first time I ever heard this, that All psychiatric meds carry some risk of this hormone I think called traleptin, that’s a hormone that stops a woman’s period. Well if it gets high it just stops it for good, unless you stop taking the meds I guess. I was pretty shocked and suspicious still am which is why I’m reaching out to the big wide world of women on psych meds. I told him what I take, and he still insisted that all meds can cause this. If anything I’d think stuff that’s more harsh on different systems of the body like lithium and antipsychotics would do it. But you never know. The woman who schedules appointments for the doctors, don’t know her medical degree if any, did confirm that others at the facility do have this and don’t get periods due to their meds raising this hormone level. He asked if I had tender breasts and was I producing breast milk! I was about to punch this guy thinking he was on about pregnancy again. But I tuess that could happen if the hormone gets really high. Trust me if it happened my cat would hear me screaming from my house in MA and I’d be having an anxiety attack at the nearest ER.

They were all teasing me because I was kinda in tears due to the anxiety of being thrown into the Dr. appointment and just this whole thing. They were like do you want a baby? Or your period that bad? Well I don’t want it at all. I don’t need it. If I don’t get one from no one based on these meds and no harm is gonna come to me that’s great! I can do the no period dance and make other young women my age jealous! I’m just worried about if this will do any harm to my body somehow, or if it’ll come back randomly and be extremely heavy and painful. Not being a woman, or a women’s health doctor he said it was hard to say. He said some women just have spotting and then nothing. Which great if that’s all. My mom doesn’t know much about all that, women’s health. She just said that your period is the way your women’s reproductive system cleans itself out. And if that doesn’t happen it’s not natural and your body is thrown off. Some of that is probably not accurate because she was in school in the seventies but still. I just need reassurance (lots of it) as I’m a very anxious girl, that this is fine that it won’t lead to long term damage or problems. Then I’ll be good. These meds are working great so I soo don’t want to switch them.

So anyone, particularly anyone in their 20s taking the meds I’ve listed had this issue? Or even heard of it? Or anything? Checking online lead nowhere. Will ask my psychiatrist, a woman yay, and have a ton of questions for the OBGYN in june. So that’s my medical life. All things considered I’m very physically healthy which is why I get super anxious when there’s a hair out of place.

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what are people’s experiences with self-injury treatment

Hi everyone,

This is a question that’s been on my mind for some time. I’ve struggled with self-injury throughout my teens off and on. Got a lot worse/ intense after my breakdown in 2013. Staff at Albany hadn’t had much experience dealing with someone currently self-harming (they’d had residents with the scars to show it) and so were unsure what to do. Normal protocols I.E safety contracts, hospitalizations moving to observation room ETC didn’t work on me and caused more of a power struggle.

Finally the wise and creative clinical director also known as my therapist came up with a harm reduction approach to the issue which I’ll go more into detail in another post. This put everything in a new perspective and after some more disagreement on other staff’s part who didn’t understand it, eventually everyone was on the same page even if some didn’t wholeheartedly agree or had strongmisconceptions in spite of multiple talks to try and educate them. So individually I’ve been doing very well working with him on what’s behind the SI and feeling safer expressing my feelings so I don’t need to SI as much. Also being aware of the consequences for doing so helps.

As time has gone on I’ve wished for some kind of therapy or support group that addresses the issue in some way. Particularly for just the plain old good feeling of talking with others who get it. There’s one other resident here that I know of that struggles with this issue. While of course our individual reasons for it, methods , and treatment are very different we do constantly support one another in recovery. I just wish there were more of that in person outside the building. I do have many friends online that SI and I’m sure that in my blogging and video adventures I’ll meet more.

So far in the Chicago area I’ve yet to find anything close to what I’m looking for. Places will claim to be ok with it and then do stupid things to prove they’re really not. Like at this one day program I went to they said they were fine with it but it was clear therapists were extremely uncomfortable with the topic to the point that when it came up in a documentary we were watching in movie group and clients with no experience on it started asking ignorant and hurtful questions/ making remarks there was silence on the part of the therapist. Me being me I stood up for myself and all others that deal with this and explained in general the concept and different reasons why someone would do it. More therapist silence. After pulled therapist aside and asked if the issue could be addressed using a documentary, a non triggering sensitive one there must be such a one out there I’d think. She said no that would be “way too intense” for everyone and too uncomfortable. Meaning she was uncomfortable.

The final straw was in a DBT group, where one of the issues good for DBT treatment is SI, the SI section was brushed over saying if you struggle with this talk with your therapist!

I’m at the point where I obviously have a lot of individual support with this so no the topic doesn’t need to be discussed day in and day out in a specialized program but a solid understanding I feel is benifficial and I would say expected. When I do a full post explaining SI I’ll find some stats for you but I believe it’s extremely common especially in teens and young adults.

Searching the internet I’ve found few resources that say they even adequately address self-injury in their outpatient/ inpatient treatment programs never mind specialize in it. There are a few good sounding programs in the Chicago area that deal with it along with eating disorders, Trauma ETC but of course these programs are private pay. So us Medicaid users are once again out in the cold.

I have found a couple places saying they specialize in it. One is the SAFE alternatives program. SAFE stands for Self Abuse Finally Ends. I believe the program is located in Kansas but don’t quote me on that. The center has a book out Bottily Harm: The breakthrough program for healing self-injury. Not sure of exact title because it’s not in front of me.

Read some of the book I wouldn’t call it ground breaking or any kinda breakthrough although maybe at the time it was since there’s such a stigma around self harm. I actually welcome people’s oppinions on if they’ve gone there/ used the book what their thoughts are. To me while it does provide good info on SI causes myths ETC in the beginning the program itself is very narrow. Relies heavily almost exclusively on filling out impulse control logs and cognitive behavioral therapy worksheets. I’m not one for straight CBT (if you tone it down and mix it with something else I might not notice, like getting kids to eat their vegetables) so that turned me off. More on why I can’t stand CBT later. But anyway impulse control logs are good as a tool, doing them all day I would think would be at least annoying and at most unhelpful.

Very few other approaches added in. Not sure if they even have an interpersonal process group where people would be challenged to work on relationships with one another in the group to better communicate and express feelings which is a huge issue for people that self harm. No expressive arts that I heard of which would also help. They even say that they don’t recommend (strongly don’t) or allow in their program dolls, stuffed animals ETC. I forget why I just heard that and my stuffed animals started to get anxious cause they were worried I’d abandon them. It makes no sense to me. Physically holding objects like that can be extremely comforting and actually calm down emotions so that someone doesn’t self harm. They discourage any techniques for physical release of emotions, hitting something, ripping up paper ETC. Which could for some people be effective. It just seems very rigid, cognitively based and some things plain just don’t make sense to me. However this program has been open for a long time with several sites and obviously people have gone there. So I’d like to hear thoughts pros and cons of the program.

Secondly in my neck of the woods, though an hour and a half away, there is the Alexean brothers behavioral health hospital. They first of all don’t except adult Medicaid. They accept Medicaid for children, and Medicaid for elderly and that’s it. Their reason is due to some random policy written in the 60s and not updated around a full service behavioral health hospital not accepting adult Medicaid. Sent it to my therapist who’s been in the field directing forever and never heard of it.

Anyway this place has an SI unit. Says they’re one of the only ones in the country that has one which I do believe. They wrote a book recently called Self-injury: simple answers to Complex Questions. I’ve read some of it. Of course my therapist bought a million copies to share with staff which was extremely helpful and they’ve learned so much. Their PHP program sounded wonderful with DBT groups, process groups, expressive arts ETC. I so wish I could have gone though I doubt I would have lasted as it was five days per week and transportation would have been horrible with that distance. This past week I found a review on an eating disorders review of treatment centers site discussing the eating disorders unit. Saying that all units are tiney patients have to sleep on different units and then go to theirs for groups during the day. They mentioned SI patients eating with the eating disorder patients and rubbing it in their face that they don’t have to finish meals as they do. I was a bit taken aback considering how well this hospital seemed to be regarded and of how well the book was written and the variety of methods worked with. A couple of reviewers said the same thing that the place is all about money and not well run at all.

Lastly I have heard Timberline Knolls which is in a suburb of IL is first of all a very good treatment center. And does work with SI. They have a nice website which of course is all advertising. But I have seen a lot of youtubers post honestly about it with pros and cons and many got a lot out of it. So am wondering your thoughts on that if you went. Again us Medicaid folks are excluded from all such specialized residential options sadly.

I’m putting the links for all three programs at the bottom of this post. Please I’d love to start a discussion on all this with your thoughts about any or all of these programs if you have experience or know someone that does with them. As well as let me know about any other options out there on the inpatient and outpatient level. I firmly believe this issue goes hand in hand with so many disorders and struggles particularly for teens and young adults that there’s no excuse that in2015 there aren’t more treatment programs available on the subject.

Links:

SAFE Alternatives:

http://www.selfinjury.com/referrals/programs/

Alexian Brothers Center for Self-injury recovery services

http://www.alexianbrothershealth.org/abbhh/ourservices/self-injury

Timberline Knolls

http://www.timberlineknolls.com/

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racing thoughts and changing moods

racing thoughts and changing moods

Hello everyone,

It’s 3:30 here. I’m sitting here trying to type quietly so as not to disturb my roomate. Over the past few days my moods have been like a rollercoaster. Sometimes I’ve been anxious for no reason. Thursday I was so looking forward to going to walmart with Jess and the rest of the albany care group. Russell the driver has this thing about wanting me to get out and missing me if i’m not there.

But having plans change with Jess’s doctor coming thursday morning instead of tuesday left us very little time to get ready to go. I was dressed and ready when she came back but we had to rush out the door and I hate rushing. It just really sets me on edge and then the smallest things are so irritating and effect me so much. Being in the hallway with people around and feeling crowded, the noise of the air conditioners being put in things like that got under my skin in minutes. Then Jess dropped my digital recorder and even though it fell on the ground the batteries came out. Even though it had landed on the rug I was so worried it had broken. When all this happens I’m in tears easily and agitated. I said forget it and went back to my room. Jess was great and had all my stuff including wallet. And as we’re very close I trust her with my money after giving clear instructions which she followed.

I tried to chill out and she came back with lunch and all sorts of snacks and everything was cool for now. But I hate these unexpected moments of feeling out of control and anxiety clouding what it is I want to do.

Similarly over the past couple days especially friday I was quite depressed. Not like I want to kill myself depressed but just kind down and feeling like not wanting to do much. Well the morning had started quite the opposite honestly. Though I don’t live at Friedman place anymore Robert does and we’ve been advocacy partners and best friends since we met in 2012. So I’m kept very much up to date on the goings on there. Any kinda change over thereis frustrating because things are pritty disorganize throughout the organization and it seems to be one person’s agenda pulling everything and staff that don’t want to lose their jobs just follow along. Anyway they have this whole stratigic plan thing that they have to do for the state and donors and for good organizational values I don’t know. I’m not gonna get into specifics or judge anything here as I don’t live there and am not in control of anything. But when reading it I found the wording to be just for the benifit as I said of those on the outside. The wording and supposed goals and everything on this document so clearly contradicts things that were issues long before this guy came on the scene and continue to be issues. With the current group dynamics much of the plan is simply a write off for an obligation that it has to be written and true change of any kind won’t take place until group dynamics and the focus of the organization changes. That’s the long and short of it.

Well this made me beyond furious. I wanted to like lash out at something or someone. I didn’t know how to emotionally deal with such a strong emotion. In the past I would have self-injured as a way of bringing myself back to baseline and defusing the emotion to get away from it. I’ve grown to the point where even in that state I was able to in the end think about the consequences of doing this. Which would be annoying but not terrible, not judging me about the SI at all. Talk about SI, consequences and how I’ve gotten here will be for later. Anyway I channiled my anger and racing thoughts into the video I made friday. Which is very intense and extreme and honestly perhaps not as well thought out as people would want. But I don’t doubt that many people especially in minority communities with their lives literally depending on the services that are so needed and yet getting cut or inadiquate, would feel the same. I did this to sidestep an emotional crisis and I do feel happy about doing that.

In the afternoon my mood switched as I said to a kind of numb depression. I didn’t feel like crying just no feelings at all. Jonathan was out today without telling me at all and so we didn’t have our session. In the past this would have caused high anxiety and a lot of anger on my part. I was so anxious about our relationship and afraid he’d leave me/ he didn’t like working with me or something that it would totally set me off an even keil. Over time I’ve grown to see these surprise cancelations from him as common and the trade off I get for having a clinical director as my therapist. However this particular day I had no feelings at all except relief I guess as working with me he’d see how guarded and irritated I was and the changes in my mood after a long period (several weeks) of stability.

I didn’t have the energy to go see the nurse about female medical issues that are bothering me. I had wanted to have my questions answered and get refered to a sensitive specailist. But after everything it’s like I truly felt that what would happen would happen. I’d get reffered to whoever and it’s like oh well. Ifeel like it wouldn’t matter if I asked for a specific person they’d just send me to whoever. I just felt resigned about it all. People seemed to feel like I’m worrying for nothing at least staff here. My mom back at home and me personally am starting to get extremely anxious aboutwhy this abrupt change for me on the female front as well as weight gain that seems to have come out of nowhere. But at the time I just felt like I said like it wasn’t worth the energy and the nurse could refer me next week.

Yesterday was ok. Kinda neutral I guess. A lot of a anxiety and irritation last night around the same issue as before but this time I felt frantic about needing answers and frustrated staff didn’t seem to be taking it very seriously. I was in tears at one point and just overwhelmed. I haven’t slept well tonight at all. You know how you feel like it’s morning sometimes and then realize it’s the middle of the night that’s how I felt waking up at one after going to bed probably at ten thirty. I listened to a book on my ipod for awhile. Jess came by and tucked me back in and said go to sleep. I tried to relax but was overwhelmed with strong racing thoughts.

In no particular order:

Robert should write a memoir about his vast life experience personally and professionally around disability advocacy and have all the profits go towards creating a truly intigrated residential community for people with all disabilities.

Why is this such an impossible sounding project? I mean I get it that it would take an overwhelming amount of work but so many people act like it’s unrealistic couldn’t possibly work there are no resources blah blah blah. But clearly no one has really tried.

What are the best states for overall good disability services including mental health services that take medicaid or similar insurance? How could service agencies work together to create such a project? Could Robert and I go on tv or the radio to promote/ apeal for help on this matter once a solid group of interested/ skilled people was brought together?

I really want to connect more with people with various disabilities suplimented by mental illness. I’m getting somewhere but it’s not where I’d like it to be. What am I missing?

I really want to get my blog and linked in profiles up to par! How can I do this?

Why aren’t people signing my pitition to keep the tv show starting over, my favorite show, rerunning in canada so this woman can upload it to youtube and we can discuss it? There are two hundred people on the facebook group and 19 signatures growl!

All this was all mixed up and going around in my head really fast and I felt pushed to come on here yes in the middle of the night and write and write and get it all out. So talk about a rollercoaster.

My last psychiatrist, not a very nice guy in terms of being understanding around my specific issues, diagnosed me as bipolar II. I was surprised as I’ve never been given this diagnosis. But he seemed to think it would explain that when i’m not depressed I’m not just baseline regulated emotionally, that my moods can switch to irritable and passionately focused like this. So he put me on latadua which unfortunately stupid medicaid didn’t cover. I later found out through his psych nurse that he “likes to diagnose” bipolar, and “likes to prescribe” that medicine. Anyone who likes to diagnose a certain disorder I wonder why their in this profession. I also heard from friends with personal experience in the mental health system, having been hospitalized multiple times with getting new diagnosis often not to trust a diagnosis given by a hospital psychiatrist. Jonathan for his part doesn’t hold much value for doing anything theraputically based on a given diagnosis. He’s like just because someone thinks you’re bipolar, or you were completely sure you were, does that mean I should be looking for depression and mania? He said whatever issues present themselves as most important are what he works on not something mapped out by a specific diagnosis. Which makes sense and is totally Jonathan.

But now I wonder. I have wondered at times since then about the possible validity. The changing moods and racing thoughts are hard to handle. Now more than usual. It’s exhausting. Yesterday I took two naps. I can often take two naps and still sleep through the night and my ativan and benadryl usually keep me asleep. So it’s so strange to be writing in the early hours of the morning because I feel compelled to get all this stuff out. Anyone who has had a diagnosis of major depression for years get it changed/ rethought to be bipolar II? What are your thoughts and reactions? I realize every person is different but wondering if anyone has been in the same boat.

This female related issue might be affecting all this in ways I don’t understand. You know hormones and all that. But still I have experienced these fast extreme shifts in moods through the day or period of days. My best friend Jess is pritty sure the diagnosis is right on. My ne psychiatrist, I’ve seen her twice so far, hasn’t mentioned anything about it and I haven’t felt the need to. I’ve heard she’s about as wanting to hold to a certain diagnosis as Jonathan is but it might be worth mentioning. Honestly since I reassured myself the otherpsychiatrist didn’t know what he was talking about I haven’t wanted to think about it.

So anyway guess I’ll keep writing and see where that leads me and keep an eye on my moods. Just surprising the last few days when I’ve been so even and stable for solong. Mental illness is full of surprises!

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Another forgotten Child by Cathy Glass book review

Hello everyone,

One of my passions is reading books about personal experiences of mental illness or overcoming trauma. It’s just so amazing to me to see someone is real distress and the paths they take to try and get through it and how they’ve changed even in small ways by the end.

This is most heartfelt when reading books about kids who have been dealt really horrific blows in their young lives. As their brains are still developing they don’t have the cognitive and emotional resources to process even everyday life events that might seem like nothing to an adult nevermind something that is horrible like child abuse. I’m most moved to witness stories of those who are privileged to work with kids using their professional skills and big hearts to try and make a difference.

One of my favorite authors is Cathy Glass. She lives in Engladn and is a foster parent. She’s been in the field for over twenty years. I’ll be reviewing many of her books on this blog. All books are on Kindle and many are on audible. She’s commited to making her books accessible. Her books will also be requested to appear on bookshare.

A book I recently read of hers is called Another Forgotten DChild. It’s about an eight year old girl named Amy who comes into care due to severe neglect. Her mother Susan is addicted to Heroin, alcohol, and parties often. She’s had six other children and all were put into care years ago except Amy. Which is a mystery to everyone close to her from the beginning. Amy arrives at Cathy’s with a severe case of head lice, filthy worn out clothes, and what Cathy describes as a “feral appearance/ manner.”

As Cathy gets to knowAmy on her first night she discovers that this child at eight years doesn’t know basic life skills such as how to dress herself, take a bath or g brush her teeth. She insists on having cookies at meals. She’s never had healthy food or sat at a table. The first few days are about showing Amy these important everyday life skills and experiences.

In addition to her physical neglect emotionally things are far worse. Amy is extremely defiant, not listening to a word Cathy says insisting she won’t follow any direction and that her mom’s way of life was better. She insists on watchinginappropriate adult programs, wanting sweets all the time, and doing just what she wants. Cathy uses a solid parenting approach with these children. From the beginning she lays out clear boundaries and routine. She makes it clear what her expectations are and gently will give the child consequences for inappropriate behavior that are usually about losing priviliges like TV time. She also uses a technique called the closed choice. Which means giving the child choices around how a needed activity is done so they feel in some control and don’t realize they’re agreeing to what you’re asking. For example from the beginning and all throughout her stay Amy hated having her hair washed as this was never done at home. Cathy would say do you want to wash your hear before or after breakfast and she’d have to choose not realizing she just agreed to wash her hair!

Aside from emotionally rehabilitating Amy Cathy has to deal with Susan Amy’s biological mother. Susan has had years of experience manipulating social workers and making ridiculous alligations in order to get her kids moved from foster homes in hopes they’ll be returned to her. In England the foster carer is responsible for escorting the child to a contact center where they’ll see their parents as determined by the court order. Three times a week Cathy is verbally abused by Amy in the public area of the building and even followed out to her car. This also happens on the nights without personal contact where Amy calls her mom. Incredibly Susan dramatically uses the positive things Cathy is doing for Amy, healthy food, routeen, ETC and makes it sound like it’s abuse! This would be funny except it’s so not, and wears Cathy down more and more. Worst is an allegation she makes towards her older son. This forces Cathy to ask for a change so she doesn’t need to deal with the constant abuse.

The story moves along at a good pace giving a wide overview of the ins and outs of the time Amy is with Cathy and all the positive changes. It’s realistic in that all Amy’s previous behaviors don’t disappear overnight and reinforcement is constant. However the joys are in the small victories like Amy making friends at school, actually being able to catch up in her learning and having a first real Christmas.

Sadly too as Amy gains trust in Cathy she starts to disclose fragments of severe abuse done by her mom’s drug addicted friends/ men. Unfortunately Amy wasn’t able emotionally/ mentally at the time to complete a police interview but later does go into therapy.

The end of the story is touching with many totally unexpected twists.

In the audible version the narrator has a real talent for getting the personality of Cathy just right as well as those of her children and others making the story come alive.

Below are links to Cathy’s website with the book page and the audible page as well. Would love to hear comments!

http://www.audible.com/pd/Bios-Memoirs/Another-Forgotten-Child-Audiobook/B00R59NBDW/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1431299402&sr=1-1

http://www.cathyglass.co.uk/forgotten.html

Tags [foster care, Cathy Glass[]

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