Stuff that happened on November 10, 2013.
The power went off for a while in the morning. And they had to fix the generator. Jack, a father figure type, very intellectual clueless person, is still convinced I was so anxious about the generator that’s why I got suicidal LOL!
I had an unexpected orientation with a new volunteer before lunch. One of my self-appointed jobs was keeping Beth a very scattered activity/ volunteer coordinator somewhat organized. Despite my best efforts she still did stuff at the last minute.
I had peanut butter and jelly for lunch.
I went up to my room and continued my work of the morning which was researching group homes in NC where a friend of mine lived.
About an hour later in spite of just eating I felt dizzy upset stomach weak and just weird. I went to the bathroom. And woke up some unknown amount of time later having fell off the toilet and in a totally different position than you’d be if you just slipped off. I was so confused. I couldn’t remember where I was, what day it was. Jack was actually leaving me a message about the stupid generator! I was like who is this guy!
I quickly recognized all this as a seizure. And though the call light was right above me on the wall I knew that it would take a very long time forCNAS to respond. So I slowly crawled out of the bathroom and waited til I had the strength to walk up to the nurse’s station.
You all know the rest. If not here’s one of my posts on the subject. I wasn’t blogging in November of 2014 and might not have even noticed the anniversary. But I think I’ve gotten the two other dates written up.
Rather than retell that story I want to talk about the positive, and negative changes that lead up to it/ were ahead of it if I’d stayed in my current situation and compare that with my sense of changes happening now.
The last change that sent me over the edge was the seizure that so altered my brain chemistry. Gathering all the pent up emotions and suicidal thoughts that had been in the back of my mind into a coherent plan within hours.
But I was very close to that edge even before the seizure.
Forces from behind: Years of emotional abuse, and being in a very dysfunctional family. I basically didn’t know how to handle life emotionally. And even though I’d recently had some awesome therapy, I still needed a lot of support. Which my past therapist in MA gave me. But I just couldn’t find a therapist in my price range, which was like $10 a week, ( and at the time there was no Medicaid managed care so less options.) So I found inexperienced interns. I did see an amazing angel of a therapist, a close to retirement energetic dance therapist. When she retired in October 2013 and we could no longer have our monthly visit that was a big push towards the edge. As she was one that really did get me and offered approaches to truly help me express myself.
I did a lot of frantic projects to avoid my emotions. And eventually gave up on ever finding a therapist that would get me. Self-harm became the daily norm.
Forces from in front: I was facing a visit in December two weeks back with family having not seen them since they dropped me off in June 2012. Because I did not want to face my mounting distress I tried to not think about the visit. But I had so much anxiety about that things would be just the same as when I moved, and I’d fall into the same constant reactions and they’d have the same reactions about me not being able to handle even slight ups and downs. Tried expressing this to some people but again I don’t think anyone really got the depth of my pain and how trapped I felt.
Am not sure whether to classify this as a back or forward change, I guess future as by the time I left it basically had taken place. Friedman Place was under major reconstruction organizationally. One of my major frantic projects was working alongside the organizational consultant to hopefully lay the ground for a whole new environment. One that among a number of things, was embracing of those with additional disabilities especially mental illness. Something that affected many residents but that no one really talked about, except hospitalizing people when they reached a crisis and a psychiatrist medicating away.
This could have gone either way. Everyone working on this project thought the person they chose for new director would be perfect to put Friedman Place on a good new path. Had that been the case I don’t know what my life would be like today. Since we had no way of knowing we could not have been more wrong about this guy, my decision to fight for the care I deserved and needed was a crucial and needed one. At the time things were basically still as usual so had I gone back to FP where supposedly trilogy staff would have helped me, that likely wouldn’t have happened and I would have cycled in and out of the hospital. And when Alexander truly got going cutting services and wanting the place to not even be supportive living I really would have been lost.
So you can see how all those forces pushed me towards the life change that took place that day, but had been gathering momentum for months.
Similarly I feel like a huge life change, hopefully not a breakdown is coming up.
To follow our chart. (I feel like I’m Jonathan writing on his board and pacing around!)
Forces from behind:
The huge amount of work I’ve done in therapy over all the years I’ve been here. It’s allowed me to get more and more comfortable expressing my feelings, though I believe this will always be hard, my defaults will always be triggered from what I went through growing up, and in order to continue to heal I’ll always need some kind of supportive people/ places to get unconditional acceptance and tools around this.
Therapy also helped me mentally and emotionally work through my relationship with my parents especially my mom. Really getting that things that happened weren’t my fault. And that as Jonathan so eloquently put it in regards to my sister “You can be victimized but not a victim.”
All this along with the natural passage of time and several false starts made me truly ready for the visit home in august. What that did was huge. It proved I could leave the comfort and relative safety of the facility and do something on my own. That I do in fact love many things in MA that I strongly feel I couldn’t get in any other states. It connected me with good people who genuinely seem like supports for the future.
Another huge thing we did in therapy was exploring my relationship with myself and my ability to be a friend/ support others. There was a lot of self-worth issues around that that came from relentlessly hard times and lots of negative unhelpful interactions with peers, and my parents totally making things worse. That took a lot of emotional work. Connecting with Jess, and Kat ( and the whole blind/ deaf thing), was huge. Especially Jess. We continue to ride the ups and downs of life together and are inseparable, in a healthy way of course. I never had that in my life and I know my future will be so different with someone I love by my side than it would be with me adrift and alone.
Forces in front: Albany’s transition to a SMHRF facility. It’s amazing what you can find online! A little research yesterday brought up manuals and everything on the whole program! I’ll be doing some in depth reading but from what I got from Bobbie yesterday, Albany Care is one of the last places to make the transition. Which is probably the reason for the huge chaotic rush where it seems like the whole foundation of things around here is being torn apart.
Thank goodness for people like Bobbie to make sense of it all or at least provide some perspective.
It figures again that ahuge change in the organization of where I’m living will propel me forward again. They say all this is for the better but I’m just not sure. The loss of Jonathan, as things were, and clearly he’s not even in the same role anymore. If I’m reading right and Bobbie confirmed, he is being .[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[trained as the executive director of the whole place. Which explains just about everything from all his time stuck in Tosie’s office, to his withdrawing from residents in staff, to his being out of the building. His core problem of communication issues just makes things worse.
Now that I have an intellectual handle on the issue it’s easier to deal with. Though facing the prospect of a new therapist so soon is very daunting.
As I said yesterday I refuse to have walls physically torn down in front of me. So in January we will pursue tours. As I posted yesterday this one company in particular has transitioned all their places over and one in particular has all the components of the new program. Including a four month transitional living program. Wouldn’t it be awesome to do that and gain so much confidence and skills and then be able to move back to MA?
It’s exciting and very scary to think about but I know I have support. Jess for one. We can face whatever together. Hopefully some people from here will do something towards helping, I know we have Bobbie’s blessing. Not sure how long Anna will last and Jonathan is out.
Some things about the way these changes feel remind me of the breakdown. The whole disaster with Patel reminded me of how my meds were all over the place. And abruptly no therapy certainly reminds me of those lonely times. But I have hope for the future. If what’s written on this one site is true they are providing the type of therapy that I imagined a mental health facility would when I first walked in the door. In that case I should have solid support going forward.
Lastly I have a certain maturity and strength of character and ability to bounce back. I can speak my mind and my meltdowns might mean some depressed days but don’t mean cutting and being hospitalized. Bobbie even commented yesterday “You’ve changed so much. You used to be so quiet and withdrawn. I’d just sit in the lobby and watch you.”
Yeah withdrawn til I exploded. That was life for me. But not anymore or at least not now. Some of that will always lurk in the background, hence my strong asertion that I need both meds and therapy to stay balanced. And so though it feels like a strong wind pushing me towards a new edge the conditions are very different. There’s hope and excitement and support. That’s what keeps a person going through the hardest of times.