So yesterday was a very strange totally emotional day. As I’ve been writing here there are a lot of staff changes mostly right now with nursing assistants that help with day to day things and are on the different floors constantly and are basically under the supervision of the nurses.
Well whether it’s budget cuts or just coincidence six of them are leaving around this time. About three are ones that have been pretty good with me. At least my most favorite one isn’t leaving but my second favorite is. And two of the others as I said are pretty reliable.
All have been here since I got here a year and a half ago and having them just leave all of a sudden and in one case not even getting to say goodbye really shook me up. I also don’t know what other changes are coming due to budget cuts. It could be that the new model for facilities in IL of this type is coming into being. I’ll post a link on that in another post. It would be a positive thing dividing the building into different units and so hopefully residents would be separated a bit more into areas that would meet their needs and not all in one area with with people with a huge spectrum of emotional social needs ETC all in one place. Which now leads to fighting anxiety and a sometimes chaotic environment. However this too would mean a ton of staff changes and probably redisn of the whole internal structure here. And construction! However due to the IL government the way it is right now the changes are most likely in the direction of budget cuts. At one point I heard the whole SMRF (specialized mental health facility) idea was totally without funding. Then that it has some funding and so is not totally down the drain. Anyway.
So that’s got me all overwhelmed. Plus two days in a row this week I couldn’t go to new foundation center due to transportation screwing up. I was able to go yesterday which was so needed but again today they screwed up in spite of Edith here battling away with them all week! She’s gonna have coleen from new foundation try to work with this horrible company.
In all of this I haven’t engaged in self injury at all! Or gotten so angry I lashed out physically. Things still built up.
Yesterday I should have taken an Ativan before heading out the door but didn’t. parallel to this is my recent re-introduction to Friedman Place where I used to live. The day before my birthday I went over there all day. Hung out with my Bestest friend Robert Kingett! Was in the oh so quiet (compared to Albany) clean smelling environment. With nice big elavators no crowds or fighting and better food. And I got to see everyone again and it was nice. I was doing well that day. I was emotionally t ready tophysically go back and experience that part of my life. That I thought I’d lost in the complete breakdown in 2013. So this was huge!
I did talk with the new and amazing director of social work Tony. He’s been in the field in many jobs forever. He’s extremely skilled and thoughtful. He listened intently for forty five minutes while I rolled out my entire story of moving to Chicago. My mental health then which were mild compared to now but I still needed services. Promises of services at Friedman itself. The truth of that not so much being the case. Needing to totally advocate for all outside services. Staff not getting it about mental illness at all. Things getting worse, me needing to hold it together more and more. SI secretly increasing. Depression making it harder and harder to access outside services. No one checking in throughout the day or day to day. No one knowing the right questions to ask/ what to look for at all. My observations of those with more going on mental health wise being caught of a spiral of crisis hospitalizations and a period of a downhill slide with no follow up treatment at the facility. My breakdown. My suicidal thoughts/ plan in detail. How a staff member was at the right place at the right time. My hospitalization, due in part to a totally ingornant about blindness social worker, being rejected by so many mental health facilities.
He said it was complicated and deserved a complicated answer. With him there now there were lots of things he could provide such as groups individual counseling (and he’s had a ton of therapy experience) and collaboration with outside services. But due to the license there isn’t the intense psychiatric services and expertise that there is here because it’s just not something that can be provided in a supportive living setting. Our best idea at the time was to have him network with Jonathan and other clinical directors of area facilities to make blindness a whole lot less scary to staff so that if a case comes up like mine their first reaction isn’t no with no thought at all to even trying to pursue exploring the case.
Fast forward to yesterday. I’ve only had three experiences withmy mental illness where I was suddenly flooded with a strong impulse/ thought/ emotion to do something right this minute. One of course was my flash of suicidal impulses on November 13 complete with plan already fully formed that slammed into my head. Second was when I was off my meds for less than a day and was flooded with a strong impulse to want to hurt/ kill people. This sucked me in like a tornado letting me go and pulling me back in in a crazy few hours before hospitalization. And yesterday. Sitting there it hit me that I had to get out of Albany. I just had to. Eventually all the staff that understand my special needs/ accomidations that go out of their way for me will leave. Edith my best case worker will leave. Jonathan will be gone and I’ll be lost in the confusion of whoever’s left. There will be very little resources. Flashback time: When there were little emotional/ physical (in terms of time for parents to drive someone places/ do things in a day) resources I always felt like I was taking them up by anything I might need. And everyone else was left with hardly anything. I couldn’t do that. The place wouldn’t let me do that! Certainly at some point even if it’s months or a year away I’d be made to feel or feel that I couldn’t live here anymore. To make things easier on a shrinking community they’d surely ask all people with disabilities, me the three deaf residents to go elsewhere.
My only option is Friedman because I’m blind. So everything like sped up in my mind. How would I do this? Plans flashed through my head. I’d get myself in the hospital and reverse the process of how I got to Albany. I quickly called Robert woke him up anyway. And in a strained tight anxious voice rattled off everything. I left Tony a message. I made it to new foundation and burst into colene’s office. Plopped in her comfy chair and cried about everything. Please could she help me! I needed to get away! I didn’t want to talk to Edith or anyone. I wanted to run away that very day.
Calmly she explained that it wouldn’t work like that. She listened to my ramblings and offered options. First actually doing an intake here and getting a case manager. Which she said they hadn’t done because the program is so full. She voiced the same concerns that I and everyone else had about FP and lack of the kind of mental health services I need through no fault of their own. I said I could manage with meds and outside support. I truly believed that I so wanted that to work.
Eventually she got me calm enough to go out into the big room and hang out. Art group was a settling experience for me. I worked really hard with Rachel the intern in creating pretend cupcakes. Then making intricate patterns with foam shapes. And lastly painting a big piece of felt on a piece of paper with my puff paints. I left a little calmer. I no longer wanted to run away I could walk.
Until I got home. Everything rose up again. Head to Edith’s office go over everything. She voices the same concerns. That I have an extremely solid support system and life here. That she gets how the visit with Robert brought this all up. And how the staff transitions are really upsetting. And yes it will be hard and stressful. She listed all the crazy unfair things I’ve gone through in my life and how within the context of that this really wasn’t something to run from. That we’d do it together. I wasn’t so sure. We compromised. I would do research and make an informed choice. But no plans to just run away. She’s always got a good sense of humor even in hard times and teased that knowing me I’d have everything set up by that night and transport myself over there in the morning LOL! Which is a little true. When I’m impulsive I’m well really impulsive. When I want something I’m like on super overdrive. I head back to our room. And sit in our nice relaxing (compared to the rest of the building) air conditioned two person room just like how we like it. I would miss this room we worked soo hard for. I’d miss Jonathan soo much and Edith for however long they’re here. And I’d so miss my best friend my older sister. I cried and cried. We cuddled. I took an Ativan and slowly very slowly came back to earth.
I played with everything the rest of the night talking and writing. It comes down to that I really really wish I could live at Friedman. And that all my friends, Jess all my online friends with mental illness who are blind could be there. I want the quiet less chaotic blind friendly atmosphere of Friedman with the supports and mental healthcare of Albany. And that’s just not possible. And it really makes me mad because I know other facilities are out there for mental health residential for the deaf and developmental disabilities. And I just don’t get why a place hasn’t been developed for the blind.And I realized how much I’m trying to run away from the overwhelming staff changes and fears about being abandoned. And how I know realistically I couldn’t deal with having to manage everything mental health related myself in an environment not designed to get it. That I know I couldn’t maintain it and would probably have another break down though hopefully not as bad as I would know the signs and hopefully have some moment of h honesty. That would send me back here anyway. And I’d lose our room. Jess would too. Our little piece of home in this building. So yeah trying to just breathe and relax and get back to normal me. And for fun research. Just look into other facilities. Ask what exactly could be offered at FP. Around mental illness care even though it’s way less than I’d probably need. See if it was the social worker at the hospital that made the difference in all those other places rejecting me. I thought for a minute that maybe a smaller setting like Albany but less chaotic might work better. But then I thought it could mean I’d just run into the same loud annoying people more and more instead of being all spread out. But yeah. Just in case. Just in case this hits me hard again I’ll have gotten it all out of my system by exhausting every possible avenue even through general research. So I can come back to the conclusion hopefully with more clarity that in spite of everything this is my home. And I can still visit Robert and Friedman. I just can’t live there. And I’m sure I’ll be processing that a lot in therapy/ with Edith. And that’s ok. I think that normally when faced with a crisis like this my impulse is to self-injure or lash out physically. Because I didn’t do those things all the tention built up just came out in a whole different strange way.