the horors of Halloween intro what is ritual abuse? and a shout out to those suffering

While so many people are dressing up in silly costumes (especially adults doing it!) and kids are roaming the streets supervised of course to get as many sweet treats as possible, I’ve been in a state of confusion, deep sadness and anxiety on behalf of all my friends to whoom this date has a whole other cruel meaning.

October 31 is an important day for anyone who has suffered Ritual abuse cults.

Ritual abuse is defined asRitual abuse is an extreme, sadistic form of abuse of children and non-consenting adults. It is methodical, systematic sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, which often includes mind control, torture, and highly illegal and immoral activities such as murder, child pornography and: prostitution. The abuse is justified by a religious or political ideology.From RA.org

This said it’s likely that most everyone who was subjected to this in any form would emerge with severe trauma at the level where some dissociation is envolved. Many people I’ve talked with describe how the abusers would use mind control programing to create certain alters and systems within a person’s mind, essentially knowing how to cause someone to dissociate and then take advantage of the alter state that emerges through the process of abuse.

Today I’ve supported and encouraged several friends who are dealing with memories internal struggles that I can’t even begin to imagine. I hope that anyone that’s effected is in an emotionally and physically safe place tonight ideally with someone that cares and has made an effort to at least try to get their heads around that their friend/ partner/ family member is going through something no one should have to have indured. That they survived due to their DID and are still s surviving, trying to keep themselves safe even as alters who are programed to be cult loyal invite/ seek out the very people who destroyed this innsocent child’s mind and sense of self.

All I can do is be there and listen. In future post I’ll try and read more on RA and related topics and post as a friend, an outsider. Some might think that as an outsider I shouldn’t be writing about this stuff. But I’m a big believer in bringing things out of the shadows, things that people don’t realize are problems or want to ignore or feel there’s nothing that can be done. I’m trying in writing this and other related posts to advocate for those still in the clutches of such torture and take a stand on their behalf even in small ways. Again thinking of everyone and please be safe and know you’re stronger than them.

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book review: Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso

Counting Backwards is a well written account of a teen facing variety of issues in apsychiatric residential program.

Taylor is sixteen. She is arrested for stealing a car and evading the police when she ran away from her mother’s house. Her father, in aheartfelt attempt to try and get his daughter on the right tracdk requests to the juvinele judge that she complete her Sixth Month probation at Sunny Meadows a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in a rural area.

Enraged is putting it mildly to describe Taylor’s feelings when she is dropped off at the facility. She is introduced to Margo her peer mentor, and Kayla her resident intern. She is also confronted with people called “safties” basically security guards absolutely everywhere. She lives in the dorms and everyone has their own room but the doors are always kept open. Along with Margo she meets Charlote, a girl so terrified of people getting close to her that she screams anytime someone enters t the door to her room. Her only peace seems to be in coloring. On the other hand that same day she comes face to face with Brandi and the “Latina quenes.” From day one she hates the place and is plotting an escape.

After the first full day of school she is attacked by the Latina queens and her long braid is cut off. They blame her for having stolen the scisors that aren’t allowed for obvious reasons. While in her room she screams in anger into her pillow. Someone asks if she’s ok, but through the floor? She discovers an air vent that leads down to the basement and a mysterious boy who says he has the key to the stairwell.

That night she meets Adam, or A.J. A.J in the daytime hasn’t spoken to anyone for two years. But at night he is in the basement playing music. Taylor sees an intensity and loneleness in A.J. and is emediately drawn to him. At nights she goes down to the basement and they talk. She tells him briefly about why she came to be at Sunny Meadows, that her mother’s an alcoholic and her parents are divorced. That her father always seems disappointed in her. She feels like she doesn’t have a place in her own family which is why she ran away.

One of her “electives” is “ automative therapy.” (really stupid group to put someone in who stole a car!) She and the others in the group work on an old car and she gets the idea to break into the garage and steal the car. She becomes more invested in her plan day by day as the dramas of the place increase. The nosy therapist she doesn’t want anything to do with, the schoolwork she’s not interested in, the Latina Quenes. And “the feeling” in her chest that makes it impossible to breathe. She figures this placed is making that better not worse.

She does like Margo who encourages her to give the place a chance. When it comes time for her release Margo confeses how scared she is to be “back in the real world.” She was a child actress who had a breakdown and ended up here. She was there two years. Taylor couldn’t imagine actually wanting to stay.

At a dance soon thereafter the fire alarm goes off. Taylor notices that the front gates open automatically for safety. Another piece of her plan falls into place.

Soon after she walks into therapy to find her parents waiting there. Not to take her home but they’re all encouraged to have a discussion about what they want for Taylor. Taylor ends up rleasing her angry feelings about her life with her alcoholic mom, never knowing where she would be always being taken to bars, never knowing what guys would come home. By this point “the feeling” overpowers her and she runs outside and faints. She was meaning to run away and jump the fence.

A few days later though she promised A.J she would stay until December she knows she has to leave. This place is for sure making her worse. She has the key already made. He gave it to her on the promise she would be staying til the next month. She slips downstairs out the basement. Sets the fire alarm off. Races to the garage brakes the glass door to get in, gets in the car and speeds out the open front gates. Everything goes as planned until she stops and looks both ways at the stop sign and sees a car full of safeties following her. She knew then that someone had let them know about this. She tries to escape abandoning the car and going on foot but the safeties corner her. She sees A.J in the crowd and knows it’s him. She screams in a crazy rage about him and making the keys and the fact that he doesn’t talk anyway so why would he do this!

She’s put in observation and kept within the sight of a safety at all times. Dr. Deb her therapist tries to talk with her but she refuses. Laughing hysterically or staring blankly. She has to stay there over winter break and the kids that have to stay behind are put to work by maintance. During this time she forms an unlikely truce with Brandi from the Latina Quenes. She advises Taylor to “play their game.” Fake getting better. Since trying to escape and going crazy haven’t worked otherwise she could end up staying there til she’s eighteen.

She gathers her internal resources and gives it a try. While not having done any schoolwork for months she now goes to her teachers and says she’ll make up the work. They’re all surprised and demand a lot of her one teacher is suspicious and doesn’t want to do the work giving her the old assignments so to prove she means it she builds a bookcase for him w ith the help of the wood shop teacher.

With this new faking it attitude she knows she has to convince Dr. Deb which won’t be easy. She forces herself to talk and answer questions about her family but nothing big. Then Dr. Deb throws her off by asking about her breathing. She says she’s noticed Taylor has trouble breathing. She tries to tell Dr. Deb that she has asma even though it’s not in her chart.

She teaches Taylor this breathing exercise which I didn’t pay too much attention too because those never work for me. But somewhere along the line she has to count during it and she counts backwards from ten (hence the Title) because she thinks “at one you feel better.”

After each deep breath she has to say the words “I am strong. I am powerful. I am in control.”

She thinks this is the weirdest thing ever but

Reminds herself she’s “playing the game.”

Soon Dr. Deb says she’s adding a new component to the therapy. She leads Taylor out into an area that’s all weeds and not very well landscaped but where A.J is digging in the dirt. She says they’re doing a pilot program “garden therapy.” And that it’s resident lead and A.J and she are their first two. Taylor is furious with this new development and says that probably these people sit around plotting the most difficult situations for her to be in. She’s been furious with A.J ever since the failed escape. They start out with her stubbornly keeping her area separate from his and barely talk. She has no idea how to plant seeds and will follow his lead on some things like using compost but others will just do her own thing. Within a month her seeds die and his keep growing and she surrenders her willfellness and decides to work together with him. They painfully hash out what happened.

A.J says when he knew he couldn’t let her run away was the day she was outside and couldn’t breathe. The she was so weak and vulnerable and there was her father there and he knew whatever happened in her life she had that and she needed to work through whatever it is to get there. A.J had told her before that he was in for killing a boyfriend of his mother’s who was abusing the both of them. It was manslaughter and he’d be there til he’s eighteen. She understood that through his pain he saw that she had a chance that he felt he didn’t. It didn’t make her less mad and it was a slow process for them to really trust each other.

Meanwhile with Dr. Deb they move their therapy outside to a picnic table where taylor can breathe easier. Taylor is finally able to explore “the feeling” that drives her need to run away and that blocks her other feelings from being expressed. Dr. Deb explains the nature of panic attacks. Taylor asks about meds but Dr. Deb is in favor of other things like the breathing and word exercise. They dive into her past with her alcoholic mom and a traumatic scene when she was young eight or nine and waiting at a bar for her mom. A poleceman came by and he coaxed her to say what was going on. Soon she was forceably taken away from her mom and to a foster home for the night. That incident was the start of her panic attacks.

Over time they discuss more about her feelings towards her mom and the unstable life she lead. As the months pass she feels more in control of her anxiety as she works with Dr. Deb on her issues, becomes closer friends with Charlote and tends the garden. Margo calls her and they talk and she encourages Taylor to keep things up.

At one point Dr. Deb says Taylor will be a peer mentor to a new girl named MacKenziUnsurprisingly, Mackenzi is very angry closed off and totally wants nothing to cdo with anyone there. Taylor tries talking to her encouraging her to “save her screaming for therapy.” And generally trying to cool her off. She gives her a coloring picture as Charlote did. MacKenze is very passionate about art and that passion channels all her out of control feelings.

Before Taylor knows it she’s told she’ll be leaving soon. Just when she feels she has a solid life for herself. With the garden becoming more awesome by the week and her friends all around her. New emotional control and her and A.J going from finally developing a trusting friendship to something ddeeper. Like she tried to run away in the beginning, she tries a couple of tactics to show the staff she’s not ready to leave. Dr. Deb wise and compassionately doesn’t fall for it. Taylor seals her new maturity by deciding what’s best for her in which parent she’d like to live with. She leaves with so much more self security and emotional control knowing she can deal with everything that comes her way. After all she’s strong, [ powerful and in control.

I really liked this book. It portrayed a residential facility as not a prison though there are the security guards and chainlink fence. I liked Dr. Deb’s approach to therapy and know many can relate to the issues of anxiety attacks, alcoholic/ divorced parents ETC. As well as consequences of running away from situations and oneself. I highly recommend this book as a way forward to discuss any of these issues.

long update

Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven’t updated since Wednesday. It’s just been emotional the last couple days.

Wednesday’s session with Jonathan was tough. I tried to explain the caseworker situation, how Jess was not properly treated by him. Jonathan was very firm, unusually so about not discussing her treatment with me even if he was going to take any action on the situation or not.

He knows the intimacy of our relationship and has dealt with boundary issues before just in a gentler less irritated way. It’s frustrating for us because we’re not just friends we’re basically sisters and not being able to advocate for one another at least to some degree is difficult. Hearing about friends who have blood relatives that they can’t advocate for due to them not legally being a spouse or guardian puts it in perspective that a lot of people deal with this situation sadly.

His approach just seemed not so empathetic and my emotions were high so it wasn’t the best day for him to be in a bad mood.

I did feel better after getting my feelings out I guess.

It was just hard and sad getting through the rest of that day and night. Thursday I found out that Jess might be coming home on Friday! I was excited and surprised that she’d be coming home so soon though of course I wanted her to.

I was also afraid of how crushed I’d feel if she actually didn’t come home.

The best part of Thursday was making up my crisis

Textline training I missed on Sunday and getting all my role plays done. We have an observation session tomorrow a final Monday and then a last session next weekend. The training has gone by so fast and I love the good people I’m meeting.

Friday was good. I hung out basically just e-mailed friends and read. When Jess came home I hugged her so hard and didn’t want to let go!

Unfortunately as with last time and the other times there have been issues she needs to stay in an observation room for a week to be sure she’s able to be in this room safely.

It sucks but she gets to come and be with me a couple hours at a time. I just loved hanging out with her and talking her ear off. She was able to look back and tell me a little of what happened last weekend. I think things just snowballed and caught up with her. I still firmly believe that if her caseworker had done his job when she came to him in the first place she likely wouldn’t have gone to the hospital. And it could have been a huge positive moment in her treatment where she did choose to reach out and genuinely tried to do the right things instead it’s seen as just another crisis. I think this is wrong and she’s owed an apology but I can’t fight that for her and there’s probably no use.

Another horrible thing that came up was the stupid people at the hospital screwed up her medication list big time and so she had hardly any of the meds she needed coming home. I was extremely anxious for her just remembering how horrible things were when I missed less than a day of meds. I finally calmed down after she reassured me ten million times she’d be ok for a day or so and it being Friday night they really couldn’t do anything but the next day they’d figure it out.

And they did. The floor that room is on is very chaotic. We were in it for months and hated it but the other room she likes better is full. Anyway the plus to the current room is the floor nurse has known her, and me for all those months and he’s awesome. So they’re straightening things out and she’s already doing better with not everything but more meds in her than yesterday.

I’ve just been hanging out. I finished a book I’m gonna review. I finished the last training module and just need to do a self evaluation thing before tomorrow night.

I’m excited that Jess will be getting a new caseworker. I think she needs a fresh start. It will be good for her to also get lined up with an individual therapist and maybe some groups. Over all things have finally settled down for us both.

would like to start a mental illness chat

Hi everyone,

Along with helping moderate the DID chat I’d like to start a chat for anyone dealing with mental illness. It could be on skype and people could video chat or if some aren’t comfortable they could come on and textchat. It’s like that peer support skype thing I had posted about awhile back.

We could have different topics or if a particular member is struggling with something we could support them. It could be whatever time is good for the most people.

I’m aiming this to towards the many twitter followers that seem to need a lot of support. I’d want to talk to you privately if you’re thinking about joining the skype group to just get to know you and what’s going on. Everyone would have to be very respectful and attentive to others feelings and needs and as it’s a more in person chat any rude or intimidating disrespectful behavior would have to be taken very seriously.

I’m confident though that we’re all adults even with emotional issues and we can form a good peer community with support respect and friendship. I’ve done it on my e-mail list so know it can be done.

Please coment or e-mail.

Nelsonsam68

Hope to hear from some people especially new people I haven’t gotten to know.

Dissociative identity disorder Skype chat

Hi Everyone,

I am a supporter of many friends with DID. I enjoy so much learning about the issues and joys that come from being multiple.

I’ve known a good friend Carol Anne for a couple of years.

We’ve decided to start up a skype chat for people interested. A place for people with DID to talk in a more in person way than the computer about a variety of issues that matter to them. Like accepting their diagnosis, issues in therapy, working with their alters, staying safe ETC.

I know several have done a google hangout similar to this. Would love for those to do the skype chat as the google hangout isn’t very accessible to screen readers that I experienced and we’re both blind.

So if anyone has any questions about this or would like to participate please comment.

Looking forward to hopefully hearing from some new people!

furious at my friend’s caseworker!

Hi guys,

So it’s morning a little before lunch. Again I did not take my usual morning nap. I don’t think I can really relax w without knowing Jess is around I miss her tucking me in seriously!

What I learned last night made me so angry when I woke up it all came back and I knew I had to get busy or else get worse and start thinking about SI or getting aggressive which would not help.

Thankfully Jess is able to e-mail from the hospital. So we were talking last night and she told me that on Saturday she had in fact gone to her caseworker. This guy who’s known her for months by the way and has worked with her at least once a week.

He knows what she has to deal with though due to her difficulty with accessing her own emotions and then having to share them with others he knows probably as much as I know.

But anyway all that to say he knows her and should have handled this situation in a manner that suggested that.

So she went to him on Saturday the day before she was hospitalized and told him what she could about her bad thoughts and feelings. Even turned in something she could have used to self injure with. What more did he need to put in safety measures, like doing a room check, alerting other PRCS being sure she was ok the rest of the day ETC.

But no he did none of that.

So no surprise she did what she did the next day. She probably felt like shit. You don’t know how hard it is for her to go and say even that and to a professional who she trusted to do the right thing.

So she goes on Sunday night and though he should know her she had to like practically spell out all her thoughts and feelings for him to even get a little bit of where she was at. And then the attitude she says he had was like oh not this again. Again this is a guy she should have trusted!

We’re both so glad he’s leaving this week and she’s getting someone new. But I’m stunned at the lack of a quick supportive response. It just makes me so mad. Here I was all upset thinking she’d done nothing and yet she had and was basically ignored.

Why deo some people become caseworkers anyway?

second day went well but Missing her

Hi.

So today was ok. Last night Jess made my night by e-mailing me. They can do that on the computer at the psych unit which is awesome! I was gonna wait for her to reach out once she was settled in so it was awesome to hear from her.

She’s doing well. They’re thinking of doing a med adjustment stopping Zoloft which she’s been on forever, but might not be most affective, and trying another one. I’ve experienced Zoloft as working well for awhile but by the end of the whole welbutrin Zoloft thing with the seizures I was done with both meds.

Anyway if the Dr. does do all that which sounds like a good plan she may be in there for a full two weeks I don’t know. It would be very important to make sure she’s stable with the new med before she comes home.

It was just to hear from her and her saying she missed me and stuff.

Anyway so today for some reason I was energized enough to stay up all day with no naps though regreted it by the end of the day when I got anxious and stressed out into a little meltdown about wishing she was home and just stuff. Thank goodness for PRNS I guess.

I was productive though on the computer. Edith and I woulda gone for a walk but it was pouring out. Went to all my meals staff were great about taking me.

Started a new book I’m gonna review. Really not a lot but it felt like the hours went by pretty fast.

Tomorrow I’m very very much needing to see Jonathan. And to talk about everything under the sun on this issue. How do I best support her? And how hard it all is without her here and just everything. I know he’ll make me feel better but it will be a hard emotional talk.

book review: Crying for Help by Casey Watson

I just finished rereading Crying for help by Casey Watson. This was the first Casey book I read and I think the first one on kindle.

The book tells the story of the watson’s second foster child Sophia. She comes as a “short term” (so many of her kids are supposedly short term and then are not) placement. Sophia is 12 years old. She’s been in care for several months or a year. She was living with a first time foster carer who had an emotional breakdown and could no longer take care of her. This was to be only for a few weeks until the carer was recovered enough to have her back.

The watson’s learned that Sophia had lived with her mom until she was nine years old. At that point her mother fell down the stairs (a suicide attempt, or something else?) and has been permanently in a coma ever since. Sophia then went to live with an Uncle but then the Uncle’s wife got pregnant. The grandparents, her mother’s parents blame Sophia for her mom’s death.

As if that weren’t bad enough they then hear Sophia has a serious medical condition called Adison’s disease. A disease in which her body doesn’t make two major hormones and she has to take pills on a strict daily basis, watch her diet and stress levels in order to be medically stable. These things if not monitored can cause physical symptoms like being weak, or “brain fog.” Which never was really explained! She had the disease from a young age and the Watson’s were assured things would be fine with it.

Upon meeting Sophia Casey feels there’s something odd about this placement. Firstly though she’s only fostered one other child previously, she never saw so many people show up with a child. There was her social worker, a supervising social worker, and a man named Jack who sounded like a kind of professional companion that Sophia had had since being in the system.

What was even weirder was how from the very first moment Sophia seemed to dominate the room, like she was a little queen or something. Basically with the adults walking on eggshells around her. Casey and Mike never saw anything like it and couldn’t believe these people so called professionals had let this girl behave this way for so long. Yes she had major issues and a lot of trauma but being totally rude and demanding wouldn’t help her heal.

By the end of the first meeting Casey was basically disgusted with this “team” and felt like they’d be working against her efforts to help Sophia. At the next meeting when Sophia brought all her things she basically ordered everyone again to bring them in. She also made really odd off the wall comments about men like “liking iresh men” in a sexual kind of way and asking in a sarcastic way how old Mike and Casey were. Whtin m minutes however she burst into tears and was genuinely upset to have her social worker leave. It was that huge mood shift that was the first red flag for Casey and Mike.

The very first day that same day they had to drive three hours each way to Sophia’s adison’s specialist. Casey and Mike were anxious about this appointment because they knew almost nothing about the disease except what they learned online and social services was downplaying it so much. Sophia practically exploded down the hallway and manically almost knocked her doctor over with a hug. Which was in itself odd. Then they were told Sophia saw the doctor alone for fifteen minutes or so. This was something that concerned Mike and Casey due to them needing to know everything that went on as they were her guardians at the moment. But it was something that had been done it seemed all the time so they dropped it.

Casey and Mike eventually did

Get a chance to have a long meeting with the doctor where they learned the ins and outs of what the disease meant specifically to her. They learned about the strict schedule of pills and issues around diet for example needing a lot of salt. How she needs food and rest if she is having a physical issue. How Adison’s does have some kind of mental health problems associated but these were never explained. Most worrying was when he said that in the past Sophia has been manipulative about her illness saying there are issues when there aren’t. Which is really scary because there is at it’s most extreme form a term known as an adisoian crisis where her body basically shuts down. In which case more pills or even an injection is required. Casey and mike and even the doctor are lost with the question with such a serious illness how do you know if she’s just pretending or not. They were told to take no chances.

As time goes on the illness becomes just one in a series of issues that bring the family many times to the end of their emotional rope. They discover within the first week or two that far from being just a bit manipulative rude or moody, Sophia is extremely mentally ill. The doctor at the end of the book as well as others call these “psychotic episodes.” I’m not sure they are. What Sophia seemed to experience was more like dissociation where different parts of her personality, albiet perhaps not fully developed alters would come to the front leaving Sophia with little memory of the events.

These events include sudden bouts of uncontrolabe anger, verbal abuse and even getting physical pushing hiting ETC. Very sexualized behavior towards Mike, Keeron and other boys at school. A spaced out kind of state where there was no reaching her at all. A cfhildlike vulnerable state, and a manically happy perky aspect.

After such an incident as was stated before she had little to no memory and was always apologetic. Often she would move on after things settled say the next morning and act as if it didn’t happen. To keep their sanity as these episodes escalated in severity and got closer together they tried to stay in the present to and go day by day rather than dwelling on things.

But it seemed nothing seemed to work. There were several adison’s related scares that were in fact it seems manipulation. When Sophia’s behavior escalated to attacking Kerron’s dog and hitting Casey’s grandson the family was absolutely lost for ideas and ge getting more hopeless by the day.

Even after an amazing birthday party put on “casey style” ((as in the best party you can imagine) there was a rage filled scene where Sophia came down dressed like someone in the mood for sex and Mike ended up carrying her up to her room!

Throughout John was sympathetic and tried to support as best he could. It seemed he too never expected this severity with the case. It turned out that the previous worker resigned from fostering altogether. Casey was pushing to get Sophia in with the CHMHS team, child and adolescent mental health services which have strict requirements and huge waiting lists. She enlists the help of her own GP and it turns out a acouple paramedics who are brought on the scene several times become allies for the family.

When it seems things can’t get worse, though the family is hanging on to a supposedly soon psychiatrist appointment Sophia cuts her wrists severely as a suicide attempt. It was learned soon before when Sophia first started talking like that that she had had several suicide attempts either by not taking her important hormone meds or taking too much. Why this vital information wasn’t given to the family I have no clue. They were stunned to know that someone had this background yet it was not known. I myself don’t understand why Sophia was not brought to the hospital or crisis team when she first was talking about suicide. But I know things are different outside the US. The maze of resources in the UK/ Ireland is very confusing to me and it seems like if you don’t have money for private care it’s basically like having Medicaid, getting whatever is offered through public means.

The suicide attempt obviously pushes things to a head. Sophia is assessed. The diagnosis which again perhaps reflect the country they’re in are” clinically depressed, had been having acute psychotic episodes, and it had all been symptomatic of what originally had been flaged up as mild sociopathy which they now felt indicative of an extreme stress reaction.” Again not how I would phraise it. Really do think she has some sort of dissociative disorder and definitely PTSD as well as problems attaching and forming healthy relationships.

In any case it was clear foster care the mainstream or specialized types weren’t right for Sophia. She was transferred after some time in the hospital to a teen residential unit. The whole family was there to show support including surprisingly her Uncle who thanked the family for what they did for Sophia. This seemed a bit unsettling given Sophia reported her Uncle sexually abusing her, as well as her mom’s boyfriends.

The family feel they’ll never know the truth of that because her moods and just how she presents moment to moment make it almost impossible to get clarity on what’s really going on. They did strongly believe she suffered extreme abuse and this would fit with the development of a dissociative disorder.

The book ends with the knowledge that Sophia succeded at the treatment unit. They did cognitive therapy again something I was surprised at I thought deeper psychodynamic therapy would be best or trauma informed though I’m not sure the status of available therapies and popularity in England. However it’s wonderful to know she’s doing as well as she is and that come full circle The Uncle and his wife agreed to have Sophia live with them. A weird twist that raises questions.

An even weirder lose end is whether Sophia actually did “murder her mother” or if it was an accident. At any rate devastating doesn’t even begin to describe that whole situation. I think her ability to dissociate was a way of keeping herself emotionally together enough to function somewhat with all the trauma and the chronic illness with it’s own emotional components as well.

This case really tested the emotional and professional capacity of Casey and Mike. They were originally trained as behavioral management foster carers using a points program with the kids based on privileges. Though the first child, Justin, had his major ups and downs the program was the framework they stuck to and it propelled him to do well and he was truly a success.

To not have that concrete framework, because for the longest time the family didn’t even know Sophia would be staying with them long, plus the huge emotional rollercoaster and unknows of adison’s the family had nowhere to really ground themselves to be objective in steering this girl in a healthy direction. Upon first reading this book, I didn’t know this. I : thought that though surely Casey was a good foster carer I found her floundering saying she didn’t know what to do unsettling. I now know she was being honest about just how difficult and unprepared she was for such an emotionally disturbed child. Now I realize the social services were the ones that dropped the ball, and did not give her adequate information or any kind of support. The only support she got was from her link worker who too didn’t have answers.

In one scene Casey needs to restrain Sophia to keep her from attacking her and while mentioning professional training on violence she is so overtaken by Sophia’s anger the one thing that came to mind was self defance training from her father. I thought that was so weird that she didn’t instinctively know how to restrain but this was obviously her first time doing it in her own home making her much more vulnerable. After a second careful read I have so much compassion for the family and how emotionally stretched they were by this case. And that Sophia disturbed as she was couldn’t have found a better family to see her true colors b be taken seriously and who stick with her to this day.

This book has many twists and turns and the outbursts Sophia has are truly terrifying to read about. I highly recommend it however as I’m sure in the world of fostering there are many Sophia’s out there and hopefully as many Casey’s.

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day one by myself keeping busy

Hey everyone,

So don’t know if I said or not Jess did leave for the hospital last night. There was some reason the paramedics had to leave right away and so I couldn’t say goodbye to her. In a way maybe it was for the best it probably would have been hard to see me so upset for her.

We’ve done it both ways and I’m not sure which is best.

She has two stuffed animals that are her babies and I’m their aunt of course. She took one with her and I have the other one and talk to it and stuff. It hangs out with my other million kids in stufty land.

Anyway last night went to sleep ok but woke up off and on. I heard a night staff person come in looking for Jess which they usually do at like four in the morning for meds and I thought it was that time, though of course the person you would think would have known which people are gone or here but don’t overestimate them LOL!

Anyway so I didn’t check the time because Jess is like my clock, when I don’t have my computer or phone on at least so I thought when I couldn’t get to sleep for an hour after that it must be six well did some reading came on the computer where I found out it was three in the morning! I was like OMG I’m going to sleep.

So was wicked tired in the morning but took my usual nap. My favorite day staff person took me to lunch like they’re supposed to if Jess isn’t there. Edith in the afternoon took me for a walk which it was nice out. We took a long walk and then I went on the swings in the park and was really tired after and I said how I’m never going on a walk with her again and she was laughing at me!

But yeah it was really good. Then did computer stuff just talking to friends. Went through my twitter followers and actually got rid of the ones I don’t want to hear from which was cool. Good housecleaning.

Then I’m trying to think. Talked to my mom about everything. She has her issues but she cares a lot about Jess and I’ve told her some of her story and my mom has a big heart. She got her some really nice shirts for her size and stuff.

One thing I hate around here is going to meals. I was never, at least before coming here, a good go to meals person. If I was hungry and had a snack with me I’d rather eat that then get up and go. And if I was tired/ depressed forget it! But Jess is a huge pain in the ass about dragging to meals which I guess is why I’m at a reasonable weight and not underweight like I was when I came here. But of course staff are used to Jess taking me downstairs and by the time I got off the phone with my mom it was like six. So I had a honey bun and called it dinner. Don’t really care.

Am in an ok mood though. Miss her like crazy. Can’t wait for her to e-mail. They allow at this unit for people to use the computer which is awesome! I just hope she really is trying her best to reflect on what happened in groups and not just rely on meds as the full answer because they aren’t.

But yeah I guess good so far. It will be good that Edith is here everyday this week and I’ll get to see Jonathan as well. And my online friends have also been awesome.

I’ll continue to try and keep busy posting here over the next week on a variety of subjects and really reading others blogs which I say I’m gonna do and then forget with the best of intentions.

struggling

Hi guys.

Really short tonight.

Am struggling with how to best support my friend and myself.

My friend/ adopted for life older sister/ roommate deals with severe depression and self injury as I do. However as everything is so individual it manefists so differently.

For me there’s a lot of anxiety I have. Why I started cutting was due to a ton of emotional abuse about it not being safe to express emotions and people saying I’m too emotional and hard to handle.

Plus growing up in an environment where my family had no skills in healthy emotional expression.

Coming here to Albany, finally I started learning how to express feelings safely and get connected with others. It took like forever. The harm reduction approach helped, giving me a boundary around the SI without saying stop right away. Making me feel better about learning new ways of dealing while still having this behavior I depended on to survive emotionally. . It was great in my situation as so many people before this plan was implemented were just focusing on the behavior in power struggles with me over it etc and not what was underneath it.

It’s taken a lot of therapy and ups and downs. I think a big realization too was learning my behavior had consiquences. Even if it was driven by my illness I still had to deal with the issues. For example in the hospital if I self injured or got aggressive (depression anger) I would be put in the quiet room and my stay would be longer. It was just the rules. I learned that as much as I was feeling like going off and a part of me wanted to it wasn’t worth the consequences. This applied to home. There were consiquences in my care plan for harm reduction that were things like the nurse needed to know about whatever injury there was. I had to have my vitals taken for three days something I hated! And just generally the feeling within me of falling back on a behavior I was trying to get rid of. Also not wanting to go to the hospital wanting to be home doing things I loved. Jonathan put it well when he said I built a life I didn’t want to lose finally.

With my friend it’s a whole other issue. Just a whole other bunch of symptoms that are so different from mine it’s like night and day. She is so locked inside herself emotionally that I don’t think she even knows what’s going on til it’s too late. I also think things hit her in a delayed way.
Sometime last week was the anibarsary of her mom’s diagnosis with Cacner. She seemed ok but really it’s been building up. It’s frustrating that she didn’t reach out at the very beginning. This is a pattern with her that so irritates me because the things that you’d think to suggest she just finds very hard. Opening up talking about her feelings, self reflecting. Those just aren’t her thing. While I’m anxious, she’s extremely angry and closed off which doesn’t help.

Staff say I support her beyond anything you’d think because I brought love into her life that she wouldn’t be able to form a relationship with anyone here because she’s so angry all the time.

So anyway she cut again today. We were in this place a month ago as I made many posts about it. Now at least it’s clear she is going to the hospital. Staff say it’s for the best just giving her a break from the stressful environment. And they’ll likely adjust her meds.

I just feel like it’s hard to stay hopeful because it’s definitely a cycle and one she seems to have no real motivation to break. It’s draining because she’s such a hard person to support. You could ask her all day how she is and she’ll say ok and then she’ll go somewhere and cut. It just doesn’t add up. I’ve known her for two years really known her we share the same room and are together all the time. I still don’t know even a little about how her mind really works it’s that hidden. I don’t know how to break down those kinds of walls and I’m not sure she does either.

Edith says we just have to love her through it and that hopefully something will happen that tips the scales where she sees it’s really important for her to try and turn the corner. I just hate the rollerfcoaster aspect, and the trouble of not knowing even half of what is in her head in order to help her.

It’ll be a long week. At least a week that she’ll be gone. I just hope this does truly help her.