changes in life

There has been a lot going on in my life lately. First of all my volunteering at crisis textline. I’m really glad I decided to pursue this. It was my third shift last Friday and I am more and more comfortable with things. Though conversations with people going through a hard time can be difficult as in feeling for them and wishing things were better I’ve felt good by the end of them like I’ve made a difference even if it’s keeping them company for a half hour and helping them sort out their feelings. I haven’t gotten any conversations I can’t handle so far knock on wood!

My shifts are feeling a part of my weekly routine which is good.

Another change isn’t directly mine but does affect me. My best friend/ older sister roommate is doing amazingly a hundred percent turn around since coming out of the hospital in October. She’s really clicked with this new caseworker she has who’s given her reading and writing assignments to really explore who she is and set goals. It’s this relationship and her own inner resources that have really propelled her forward towards positive things in her life. I’m beyond impressed and often it takes my breath away to see the change.

One big change is her applying to college. She went to college when she was younger but didn’t finish. She was studying to work with kids as a teacher. Time went on and she had physical and then emotional things go on. Doing the theraputic work she’s found the determination and courage to pursue this goal knowing she has the support of this new caseworker, and of course me and her other friends and staff cheering her on. She’s already applied to community college and gotten in! Of course there’s a ton to do what with financial aid entrance tests figuring out when she can actually start ETC. Of course there will be ups and downs and I’ll be with her a hundred percent.

A sharp sudden change even positive is hard for me to take. My anxiety often includes powerful and overwhelming thoughts of people getting seriously injured or dying. And knowing she’ll be going out every day traveling around the city brings those up. It might sound silly but that’s just how my anxiety is. I can come up with all sorts of dramatic situations just about any time for anyone. Even without her doing this I’ll often just have random thoughts of her getting say cancer (which runs rampant in her family) and dying. So often nothing has to trigger it. Talking about it does help and I know rationally it makes no sense but emotions are hard to handle.

I also wonder about all the people she’ll meet when out of Albany. This will be her first journey into the real world beyond a facility or day program. I’m sure she’ll meet some nice “normal” people who will question her on why she lives where she does and convince her to live with them. If this were to happen I’d want nothing more for her. If she gets the strength to make a life for herself free of any facility I know that’s the ultamit goal. But I’d still feel extremely lonely being left behind. Knowing that this is a possibility is hard to take and something I will discuss in therapy. One could say it doesn’t have to be this way. That we could run on parallel tracks I could be somehow emotionally getting ready to leave here so if a time were to come when she was ready, having been strengthened by a normal environment I would be to. But that thought is just as daunting and miserable for me as the thought of being left behind. Change even good takes a very very long time for me to be ok with, I feel and have been told more than most.

In order for me to feel less crushed and like she’s taken a flying leap ahead of me in recovery we discussed my goals. I really really don’t want to do a day program right now even though my case worker has calling a place marked in red on her calendar since I’m wavering about. We came up with three goals to pursue over the next months after the holidays.

One is volunteering for the national runaway safeline. It’s something I really want to do but don’t want to wait until I’m finished with CTL. Jess said she didn’t think that was necessary and that volunteering two days a week wouldn’t be too bad and would give me even more routine. Considering by the time I even go say hi to the NRS folks CTL shifts will be even more second nature.

Relating to that: I want to be more comfortable taking paratransit by myself again. I used to take it all over the place in MA. To therapy support groups voice lessons ETC. And here in Chicago til my breakdown. Then I hardly went out and when I did Jess came with me. She feels it’s a good idea too and it is in line with my treatment goal of becoming more independent.

Going to an in person support group. There are it seems less support groups in this area than there were in MA. I miss the huge community DBSA group in MaClean hospital in Belmont. I really liked this one group that I went to at a therapy center. Got to know this weird couple. Passive guy and psycho controlling woman who made my life miserable in the end. Also another really annoying like gets your cell and calls constantly kinda person. Plus they moved from the therapy center to some church or something. Better to have a fresh start. So I’ll look for that.

Then maybe some singing related thing! OMG I don’t know about that. Still wish I could find some kind of person who has a knowledge base in emotional issues/ therapy as well as voice so they could tackle both. Jonathan is an amazing therapist but doesn’t know a thing about singing. The average voice teacher would be lost around the anxiety and strong emotions inevitable in me starting singing again. So I don’t know.

Other thoughts include making a cat shelter accept me blind or not with Jess’s brute force behind me. And volunteering for some kind of organization for people with disabilities. The possibilitys while not endless seem varied enough that I could have a shot at different stuff and not be stuck feeling like I’m not doing anything, irrationally worrying about Jess’s demise and other tricks my mind can play.

So I’m feeling really good about these goals I’ve set and know we’ll cheer each other on. And so you know. She has said the whole people convincing her to move out thing won’t happen that if she leaves which is a long way off she’ll take me with her. And I believe her. I believe that’s what she feels right now and thinks would happen. Our feelings can change in an instant and so can life. I wouldn’t hold it against her if she had to leave me some day. I’d be crushed emotionally for a long while and go through a lot of grieving but I would never deny someone the opportunity to do what they feel they need to. I had to make that decision when I turned away from Friedman to come here something I never thought I’d do. Even though it hurt some people. But it ended up being the best for me. How do I know it won’t be the same with her. Or me I guess. Who knows?

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book review: Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragosn

My most recent book I read is called Tiger Tiger. I happened to find it by typing abuse into the bookshare search. It is about one girl’s truly hellish journey through an abusive family and the confusing deeply painful relationship with a pedofile.

Margaux (pronounced Margo which I’ll write it that way because that other spelling annoys me,) is seven when she meets Peter and his kids at a public pool. Peter has two boys a few years older than she is. There is something electric about Peter that draws Margo’s attention she asks him to play with her and he does.

As a background even before that initial moment of connection, Margo’s parents are extremely abusive and mentally ill. Her mother has an uncertain diagnosis but thoughts run from bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder. What it amounts to is extreme mood swings starring at the ceeling for long periods of time, being unable to care for Margo. In addition her father is an extremely dominating emotionally and physically abusive man who constantly insults his wife and daughter. He is of the Spanish culture where a lot of his ideas are based on very narrow views of how men and women should act, what will bring honor or shame on the family ETC. His ideas are often too terrible to believe. For example that a woman if she had a choice should ask her attacker to kill her rather than rape her, because it’s a more honorable prospect. Apparently a woman being raped brings shame on the family. Similarly when he meets Peter at a very emotionally intense dinner he claims Hitler wasn’t evil because according to her father “he loved his mother.” So it’s established that Margo came from an extremely unsafe family.

Which laid the ground for Peter to walk into her life and groom her for his own needs. He first captures the attention, more emotionally than anything else of Margo’s mother. Who is searching for anyone to talk with about her own issues and is very needy. He then is able to invite them to his house. Which is a beautiful and exotic place. He has many pets including: a very loyal dog Paws, box turtles, a guiney pig, hamsters, tropical fish, an alagator type creature, a cat that just had kittens, rabbits, birds allowed to fly around the house, and an alagator type creature!.” In addition there is a very beautiful garden and pool. Margo is emediately taken in by all this. Peter’s intense attention he shows her how he hangs on her every word. Keeps every drawing she makes every story she writes. Praises everything about her, encourages her in a way no one ever did and he knows this.

Margo soon learns that Peter fosters other girls. One girl Karen he refers to as Margo’s “sister” meaning their like sisters.

Margo spends progressively more and more time at Peter’s house. And with her mother in her own mental illness, often hospitalized having attempted suicide several times in the book, and her father working late, drunk or on an emotional rampage, really she’s left to her own devices.

Slowly Peter starts to introduce sex and sexual play in the games they do. Pretending to be animals so that she will run around naked. Showing her sexual body parts claiming “society is so repressed and this is natural.” Having her dress provocatively wear makeup ETC.

A turning point for Margo is when she is eight. They go to the store and Peter asks her to pick out something for the rabbits. She wants to get green beans and Peter says they should get carrots. She said if they got green beans she’d do”anything.”

Harmless as this seems Peter uses this as leverage for his next move which is for her to touch his penis. She feels horrible and knows she was tricked. But stands firm in not doing this even though she knows this is what he wants. It’s one of the first times she feels Peter really has power over her and isn’t just a father figure.

Meanwhile mental health wise everything wears on Margo particularly at this age and a bit older. She is extremely depressed. Has trouble wanting to eat often throws up when she does. Dissociates constantly. Has sleep problems ETC. No one seems to care much though of course her father criticizes these things mercilessly. Telling her it’s her job to look after mother and to basically get over whatever it is that’s bothering her. That even in hard times, her mom’s hospitalization “weeping is not hornorable.”

A particularly hard time for her is when her father insists after the dramatic restaurant experience that she should not see Peter. Her depression and mood swings pick up speed and she feels totally lost without him. It’s clear by that point how much control he’s had in her life. Eventually her mother collaborates with her in making phone calls behind her father’s back.

They spend hours on the phone telling “the story.” A very rich complex story which often has sexual overtones but is always very emotional and dramatic. Often the two are caught up in fantasy, not just Peter’s sexual fantasies, or the fantasy he’s perpetuating as a father figure but it’s like they have to have layers of fantasy on top of that in varied forms.

A chance meeting when Margo’s mom is locked out of her house brings Margo and Peter back together. By this time she is thirteen. The house has changed dramatically. Peter who has a bad back and has gotten much older has not taken care of it all. All the pets but Paws have either died or run away. He is not taking foster girls anymore, he says due to hating to let them go.

Before their separation Peter had guilted Margo to give oral sex for his birthday which she did in a very dissociative state. Now she seems to be the one engaging in sex openly and suggesting different things. Though this may seem odd it’s a fact that those abused over a period of time have a traumatic bond with their abuser and often will automatically anticipate/ do what they want without them even asking.

As she goes through high school and gets older Suddenly Peter flips things around. Saying he can’t stand her growing up and wants her to be a child again that he was wrong to bring sex into the relationship when she was younger so they should take it away now. She is left very confused and unable to know what to do ends up begging for sex.

By this point Peter continues to get older and frailer and needs more and more pain meds for his back. He also opens up to her when she reaches her late tenes about his own sexual abuse as a child and children he has sexually abused. Including the foster kids. He cries on her shoulder basically and she becomes like his counselor I guess listening apparently without judgment. I think she was just plain shell shocked by everything.

They start having more and more fights. Peter gets incredibly jealous of her boyfriends. He still has absolutely his whole room covered in everything to do with Margo, pictures boxes and boxes of stuff ETC.

When the end comes for Peter, which I’ll let you read but I’m sure won’t surprise you Margo is left to pick up the pieces. Literally of his life, he left her everything. And hers.

From coming from such abuse both from her family and this man who was both good and horrific to her at once, she somehow grew up into a solid articulate woman. Had girls of her own married a loving man. Became quite knowledgable about pedofiles and probably went through a lot of therapy. I admire this woman so much. That she would share her story in such detail so others might see the warning signs and know there is hope. And that she’s able to create a healthy good family with no abuse even when she never knew that herself.

Happy thanksgiving!

Hi everyone.

I’m thinking of all my readers, followers, twitter followers and anyone else on this holiday. I’m hoping everyone has a warm safe place to have a good meal with people they hopefully at least like if not love, trust if not like. If you’re having a really hard time I send you good thoughts. And know there are caring people out there, many churches are often open for free meals. And walk in crisis centers (I’d imagine), hotlines ETC are always available.

Would like to take this moment to put in a little mention of crisis textline. Where I will be doing my third shift tomorrow night and the amazing community. Where you can text in instead of talk, very handy for those who are deaf/ hard of hearing, those afraid to call a hotline or otherwise prefer this medium. A truly caring trained volunteer will talk you through whatever is going on. So you don’t ever have to deal with anything alone. So if interested please text 741741

I myself had a very good day. Still dealing with a stupid cold I’ve had since Sunday. That I know is due to the hot dusty dry heat air from heaters that are not properly cleaned, bouncing off the cooler drafts from windows, or when windows aren’t getting a cool draft the effect of constant dry heat. I sound like a weather person but this should be seriously scientifically studied. It doesn’t help that we have some very germy residents here where personal hygene isn’t as high on their priority list as it should be.

So anyway I could tell the difference too. We went out to old country Buffet and just being in the fresh air though it was raining, and in the restaurant helped. I got back and was coughing and sniffling again.

Anyway. Since last year the thanksgiving meal was really gross, ask Robert Kingett. I invited him over all excited expecting that they’d at least try to make a nice dinner. Well he hated it I didn’t blame him. It was pretty embarrassing since I was the hostess and all. So yeah. Anyway we decided to go to old country buffet. I’d been there and to similar buffet places and love getting a variety of things.

It was great. Only cost $30 for the both of us to go eat as much as we can plus drinks plus tax.

So let’s see: I had turkey of course! Mashed potatos that I could tell were probably from a box but still waay better than what we get here. Macaroni and cheese, stuffing and green beans. I also had jello with whipped cream and marshmeallows, pumpkin pie with whipped cream of course! And two chocolate chip cookies. We spread out our eating so that I didn’t fill up quickly. That’s happened at restaurants I eat too fast and then have an overfull upset stomach which makes me anxious and so the cycle goes. Jess is sure to help monitor my eating , and drinking (Unbelievably this same thing happened just drinking water too fast) so this didn’t happen. Though I was sad I was so full that I couldn’t have one bite of vanilla ice cream.

But it was extremely enjoyable. We got there at like one thirty two and it wasn’t so crowded. By the time our ride came at three it was getting louder so we made good timing.

Just zoning out tonight. Really happy with how the day went. Talked to my parents that are doing ok. I guess the cold reached them too though. Mom’s run down with something. Krissy who’s apparently forever altered emune system from mono was having a hard time too. She physically and mentally overdoes herself between school horseback riding and whatever else. At least she’s not a party girl. But she has Dad’s drive of ok let’s go let’s go until you burn out kinda thing. Whicvh has it’s strong points but I’d bet you totally wear yourself out sooner, as in possibly die earlier than someone who takes it moderately. There are probably studies constantly changing their verdict.

Anyway so they had a low key time.

They miss me terribly. I haven’t been face to face in their presence since June 2012. But there’s not much to do about it. If we lived even remotely closer like even a couple states away it would be better. But ironically it would be worse because I happened to live in the state with a psych facility that meets my needs where other states don’t have anything to compare. Jess and I talk often about figuring out some kind of middle ground solution for the both of us, we stick together forever. I wish we could adopt each other somehow or something. So yeah. Maybe hopefully someday. If we can do one successful visit it will really set things up for us especially me to feel confident about more. The visit in 2013 that I had intense mixed feelings over, mostly prepare to hide absolutely everything emotional from them was a contributing factor in my breakdown. Since even talking about a visit in the past caused some meltdowns. But I’m becoming more and more ready. Still even if I was a hundred percent ready flying on the holidays is pretty stressful for someone who would already have enough anxiety. Well make that two people.

We’re thinking March sometime. So yeah something we’ll continue to play with in therapy and talking with them.

So many ups and downs and complexities with my family. When they’re this nice, this concerned and caring, lovable even to Jess a stranger, I wonder why I/ we can’t just live there. Contribute money and all but ya know. Then I remember everything that caused my mental illness to increase a million percent, and the uproar that would come from my sister bodyguard should that behavior start up again on my parent’s side.

So anyway.

I’m thankful for: Albany care, Most all staff especially Ms. Billy, Jonathan and Edith. As well as other PRCS

My online friends particularly on the blind mental health list. We’re an awesome group forever!

Robert Kingett my partner in crime for making the world a much better disability friendly place.

My parents no matter what mood they’re in I know they tried their best with me.

My pets, Lucky first my baby kitty, Simon though he’s my sisters and a brat, and Toby. Don’t like dog’s much but he’s okish LOL!

Last and most important my amazing older sister and best friend always and forever Jess. We came into each other’s lives at just the right moment and pulled each other away from the edge. We both have a life we want to live now which is a true Miracle. Love you always and forever!

update

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to write a quick update. I’ve been doing really the past couple weeks getting into a routine of doing crisis textline shifts every Friday night and other stuff on the computer the rest of the week.

Today is my two year anniversary of coming to Albany care and I couldn’t be happier. I guess life works out. Because Friedman Place is so full of drama now and this crazy executive director who’s bent on making the place look good. He literally had the dining room repainted first thing he got there, this is a place for the blind I’ll repeat. Recently he put carpeting in the elevator. I don’t know too many elavators with carpet especially in a place where people will spill all over it. It’s totally not about what the resident’s need anymore it’s just all him running the show. Apparently the really good staff that really advocated for residents before left due to having enough of it all. And whoever’s left is waiting to get fired I guess. I got a random e-mail from one of the social worker’s yesterday, the one that knew me well saying my phone interview was up for my application to FP. If you remember back in the summer I went through this weird two month phase of wanting to leave Albany. I reapplied even while my best friend from there Robbie knocked some sense into me about it. I was told my application wouldn’t come up for like three years so I didn’t really worry about it. So the guy’s like yeah we should set up a time for this phone interview. And I’m like no not happening, because you guys are so dense or unable to see the need or whatever I can probably never live there again. Because guess what I have chronic mental illness and I need ongoing services to do well where I live and that’s not gonna happen there. I told him they suck at providing services to people with multiple disabilities, which they do. They have a handful of people with developmental disabilities they don’t know what to do with never mind all the psych people. So I basically gave him an earful. Because they promised they had mental healthcare and had worked with mentally ill people. And that’s so not the case.

It made me so grateful to be living in IL where places like Albany care exist and most importantly are accessible to those with Medicaid.

Anyway. Other than a slight cold this week I’m doing well. Happy about thanksgiving tomorrow. Jess and I normally go to IHOP with Jonathan. He takes a group usually new people every year. Jess and I technically first met in the van going there and she cut my waffles. But this year we decided since the food is so bad here even on thanksgiving with the exception of pumpkin pie, that we’d go to old country buffet. I’ve been there before with this really creepy manipulative resident from Friedman who loved the restaurant is quite overweight and I’m sure wanted every excuse to eat. Anyway they’re a good lace.

I’m just hoping it’s not too hot crowded or loud for me. But I’ll take an Ativan beforehand.

So lastly back to my two year anniversary. The staff all say they couldn’t recognize me from when I came in. Edith says she would not have liked working with the “admissions Sam” all teasing of course. She’d do an awesome job I think better than the caseworkers I had at the time did. But yeah. I’m enjoying my life. I know I have staff around when needed. I know food if not great is always available. I met a best friend/ older sister for life, who by the way is doing awesome herself and just got into community college! Considering on November 10 2013 I was truly out of my mind convinced I would be much better off dead, to have found myself and a life again is truly amazing. And I absolutely couldn’t have done it without the persistence of the staff here particularly Jonathan. As he likes to put it he fought my illness along with me to get where I am now. And we’ll continue to fight together, even when we both run the world LOL! And then My jess saved my life. Literally. She burst into my life with nothing but unconditional love. Which was truly painful at first because I never had that and thought I was the last person on earth who could ever give it back to her. Then I started to live for her and the relationship figuring if she loved me so much she’d be heartbroken if I did something to myself, and she’d had a tough life already. I don’t know when I started living for myself.

Now I’m volunteering in my field again and just doing overall well. Knowing this is my home is so reassuring to me, that this is my safe place even with it’s faults that I can keep growing and keep trying to go out into the world but know I have this place of support to come to everyday is exactly what I need. A lot to be thankfull for on the day before thanksgiving!

linking to an awesome post on what to expect when calling a hotline

Hi everyone,

So I’m thinking of writing a similar post about what people’s experiences have been in general with either calling hotlines or working on them. But this person beat me to it.

I don’t know anything about this Captain whoever’s blog. Except from post titles they write about various things sort of an advice thing perhaps. This guest poster wrote very articulately about their experiences and I feel would really put someone at ease who is nervous about reaching out.

I also liked that there were 90 comments! (can I just say I’d love to have that many comments on a post?). And all went over different hotlines in the US as well as UK their policies ETC. Discussed both positive and less so experienced in a balanced way that respected everyone involved.

The post was written in 2013 and I can’t find a place to add a comment. It would make sense that perhaps the post was closed for comments after a certain date. I would have added my experiences with the helplines I did work at as well as mention crisis textline. As there were some questions about chat options, but it being March 2013 who knows if CTL was started yet. I know it was started that year but just don’t know when.

Anyway please take a look at this post. I don’t even know if the person is still blogging but it’s cool I think to highlight others work.

http://captainawkward.com/2013/03/01/guest-post-what-to-expect-when-you-call-a-helplinehotline/#comments

Book Review: A Last Kiss for Mummy by Casey Watson

I just finished reading another one of Casey’s amazing books. In a Last Kiss for Mummy the Watson family ventures into the territory of a mother and baby placement. John Fulshaw, their link worker tells them of a fourteen year old girl Emma who has a three week old son Roman. She doesn’t want to be in a mother and baby placement because they’re too far from her friends and the family she was living with kicked her out. After some quick reservations, Casey usually does not say no to a challenge, they agree to take her.

They find out that this placement will be very different from any others. They will be a part of making sure that Emma is supported to look after Roman but they must not interfere too much in that because being underage Emma is being assessed to see her ability to parent on her own. This is hard for Casey as her instinct is to step in and care for the baby particularly at times when Emma would rather sleep/ be on the computer or go out with her friends until past coming home time. From the start Emma doesn’t have a positive attitude about the social workers particularly Hannah Roman’s social worker. She believes they’re just waiting for her to mess up so they can take Roman into care.

Emma has had a past that makes her emotional walls and anger as well as world weary air make a lot of sense. Her mother was a severely depressed alcoholic who would put Emma in care one minute and then go off her meds and start drinking again and be quite neglectful and emotionally abusive. A searing letter from her mother soon after Emma arrives brings this point home. At first no one knows exactly what will happen with the father of Roman, Tarim or Taz. He was at the beginning in prison for drug dealing. Things take a turn for the worse when he’s released. At this point Emma on the incouragement of Casey is back at school at a unit for teen moms and Casey watches Roman until she gets home. Casey gets a call from Tash Emma’s good friend, also a pregnant teen, that Emma has taken pills as well as is very drunk. Casey rushes to the hospital to hear the story that Tarim and Emma got in a fight and this caused her to want to “show him” by attempting suicide.

After a night’s stay in the hospital and a clean bill of health, surprisingly from child and adolescent mental health services measures are put in place so that Emma doesn’t go sneaking around to see Taz. Taz clearly wants to be a part of Emma and Roman’s life and despite his past the social workers embrace this possibilitly cautiously. He has contact at the family center as well as at Casey’s house and things seem to be shaping up well. In the midst of this Casey finds out her daughter Riley is pregnant with her third child. Things seem to be smooth sailing until one night Emma comes home with a battered face. She says that they were “just fighting” and that it was her fault this happened. Though she herself called it domestic violence, she continued to defend Tarim to the end.

A couple of weeks later again Casey is contacted by a frantic Tash saying that Emma has again gotten very drunk and taken pills. Again they end up at the hospital where a nurse informs Casey of the huge shock that Emma is again pregnant! Apparently conception was the day Tarim was released. This brings about big changes for the situation with Roman and the parenting assessment as between Tarim becoming physically abusive and the suicide attempts it’s clear that Emma is in no state to care for Roman. Though Agonizing for all Roman is taken into care and Emma stays with Casey and Mike something she previously asked to do extending her stay til she is sixteen and can legally leave care.

Emma predictably falls into a state of deep depression. Meds can not be prescribed due to the pregnancy, and apparently therapy is not considered. The thing that ends up turning things around is Casey’s idea to try and have Riley motivate Emma as they were about the same place in their pregnancies. This at least gets Emma on the right track in terms of diet and thinking about her baby inside her. Riley ends up being a sort of peer counselor for Emma and she’s able to open up about Tarim and get some clarity about some things. That he really didn’t love her that many of her bad choices were due to her feelings about him and was clear that she didn’t want him in her life. That didn’t do anything to lessen the pain of not having Roman, though she did have contact with him.

Things again seem to be on a stable road until out of the bule Riley has a miscarriage. Emma ends up being so moved by this, both emotionally, and then mentally putting her own needs aside to step up and help Riley that it becomes in its own way a turning point. She offers to take time off from school to help Riley. Keep her company clean and look after the boys Levi and Jackson. This motivates Emma to get through the remainder of her pregnancy in relatively good spirets and everyone notices the maturity and clarity in Emma’s personality.

The birth of Emma’s daughter marks another huge turn of events for Emma. By this time Tarim is completely out of her life. Even an in person viset from her mom, far from throwing Emma into an emotional crisis is taken with maturity and in stride. She knows she can have the support from social services and from Casey and family to make it on her own if necessary. Four months after the birth Emma and the baby move to a supportive living house for teen moms. She works very well with social services and over time gets Roman back. She’s able to concentrate on her future goals and finds a loving new boyfriend.

While this ending might seem a bit too “happy” it being nonfiction you know it’s true. Life is like that so many ups and downs and twists and turns to the point that you don’t think anything will work out. And then somehow pieces fall into place. Or they don’t and you have to learn to live with the fallout and somehow build a new life. This experience with Emma changed the whole family. They never bargained when they agreed to have Emma and Roman as a short term placement that they’d spend two years supporting Emma through the rollercoaster this young mother with all the odds against her went through. And that she’d come out on the other side, with emotional scars but with the confidence and internal resources to persevere.

e-mail group to discuss Cathy Glass books

Hi everyone,

Just a quick post to tell people about an e-mail group that a friend of mine set up. It’s purpose is to discuss the books by author Cathy Glass.

For those who don’t know Cathy is a foster carer in England. She has written many non fiction memoirs detailing the experience she and her own children have with fostering various children with issues ranging from self-injury, severe child abuse/ DID, trauma of child labor/ loss of a birth parent, child dealing with alcoholic parents ETC. She and her family pour their hearts into working with every child and Cathy’s compassionate but firm approach around boundaries, and working through emotions most often proves to be very successful. Often the endings are not happy but are realistic.

I forget when I found these books I think it was just when looking up things on amazon. These books are extremely popular for those in education, psychology/ human services, foster care/ wanting to be foster parents, or just anyone interested in reading a story of helping a child heal from extreme trauma in early life and how a person balances care of an abused child with care of their own children.

My friend has set up this e-mail group for anyone interested in discussing the various books. Which could inevitably lead into a discussion of healing from child abuse/ issues presented in the books, the differences in the foster care system in the US and other countries ETC.

To clarify the workings of an e-mail group. You would subscribe by sending a blank no subject e-mail to:

Cathy-glass+subscribe

You’ll an e-mail saying confirm your subscripition hit reply to that and you’re in.

You then can go in and adjust settings. You can choose to receive all e-mail, get a daily digest or go no mail and view/ post using the website groups.io exclusively as you would a forum.

I hope many people join this group and I meet new friends.

the week so far

Hi everyone,

So have gotten to Thursday of my long week! It’s been well long LOL!

Monday was good as I might have said scheduled my first CTL shift for Friday six to ten. That will be my normal shift for a year hopefully.

Just kind of hung out that day. Tuesday was the anniversary of my breakdown in 2013. I thought it would be an emotional day but it wasn’t really. I was anxious that day and yesterday about stupid things in the future like getting my paratransit recertified in June and my caseworker leaving sometime in 2016.

For some people they wouldn’t even think about these things at all. For me it’s like no matter how many months away it is if I know something bad is gonna happen it might as well be now. I’ve just always had that sense that weirdness about time. Edith said once that the past is very present for me. Something that happened a long time ago I’ll say oh that was just last year even if it was like four years ago.

So anyway for some reason I was anxious and a bit withdrawn and depressed. Seeing my friends struggle is also hard. There’s the friend I told you about who’s really not doing well and is in a rural part of IL. Living in a facility not adequate for mental illness and with no treatment for her serious issues except the possibility of this mercy place.

Another friend just got out of a horrible psych unit experience in Idaho after a near fatal suicide attempt and is really struggling. The conditions he described were the worst I’ve heard of in awhile.

Another friend lives in CA and is getting very poor care using county behavioral health, though she’s out of the hospital for a few months now and was promised help with getting Medicaid going and all these services that has yet to happen. She finally had her first meeting with a service coordinator just this past week and is continually struggling for money to buy even basic food as well as meds running out. It makes me so mad and helpless to see this, as well as another friend who moved from Albabama where she got bad services to CA as well. Seeing people fight day by day for basically the scraps of whatever Medicaid will cover and continuing to just be shoved off breaks my heart. As much as there are issues with Albany care and similar facilities and a lot of improvements need to be made I so wish other states had such facilities. Because I don’t feel it’s fair the life they have to live fighting for every little bit of what they need day by day which includes food and meds when they’re not even able to work, as well as having an additional disability of being blind.

So that’s weighing on me.

Then yesterday I had quite a stressful day. Was sitting up here hanging out at eight thirty at night and the nurse comes in with a slip of paper saying I have an appointment the next day at a local hospital health clinic that I’d been at before for the gyno stuff. I was edmediately anxious and overwhelmed as getting hit with even small things stirs up a lot for me. I had a hard night thinking about it. In the morning at which time I was exhausted from lack of sleep I was told it was a gyno appointment. Considering everything has been fine in that department for the past few months and I thankfully never took the progesterone prescribed I didn’t need to go.

But a staff came in from the nursing department staff that kind of work under nurses to make sure residents are getting their needs met and she said I had to go and make sure that progerstone pill was off my chart and everything. So I had to get everything together and get ready and go with this escort staff who was really in her own world. Chowing on food and not offering any. Not helping me carry stuff listening to music loud in the waiting room and singing along LOL! And generally being a pain. I was so stressed and getting agitated and anxious. I did a very extremely slight scratch to my wrist. Which temporarily relieved some of the pressure both about what was going on currently and just the suspense of hey I haven’t scratched in awhile what will happen when if I do ETC.

Anyway saw the stupid gyno. Got the pills taken out of my chart. Didn’t get home til almost one which was my therapy appointment. We discussed the very small, so small it didn’t need to be documented scratch and what lead to it. I felt better after talking but still withdrawn in ways feeling like I had a lot of strong emotions and no words for them in a lot of ways.

Like for example yesterday was my parent’s anniversary. They’re Finally!! Getting along truly seeming to be happy with each other. It’s honestly some kinda weird unexpected miracle because they were so bent on divorce/ emotionally killing each other especially my mom she was like planning my Dad’s emotional murder, so we figured when Krissy and I were out of the house they’d follow separately.

It turns out they actually got much closer together. And my mom’s trusting him now and not accusing him of having afairs every other week, not drinking thanks to her neck surgery and actually wanting to take care of herself not emotionally abusing. It’s just stable. And it’s like great! Excillent! But why the hell did it take your two kids leaving the house and basically having their own lives for you two to figure it out? If we could have had even a little true stability like what’s happening now, not fake let’s make Sam happy stability it would have meant so much. Because deep down when my mom’s not drinking and not emotionally on a rollercoaster she’s a really great person. And my Dad’s always a great person he used to just deny his feelings a lot. But I think going to this one particular therapist and doing active listening really got him to be more emotionally involved. As did him talking to Jonathan after my breakdown. Since they are doing well I do wholeheartedly feel comfortable with going for a viset sometime after the new year. Mostly because I miss my cats to death! Especially Lucky kitten who is not a kitten anymore but still acts like one. And yeah I’ll say it I guess I kinda miss Toby yellow lab too.

Just brought up a lot of memories about how things were and wishing things would have worked out sooner even if it was temporary peace.

Today is my sister’s birthday! I can’t believe she’s twenty. How time flies. She’s doing well though even though she hates her classes most of them. But it’s always good to talk with her about riding and horses and just life.

Tonight I have probably my last meeting with awesome Heather from CTL to go over the platform finally and make sure I know where everything is for my first shift tomorrow. I’ll really miss working with her. She’s an awesome person and so e dedicated helpful and passionate.

That brings everyone up to date. Oh Friday I’ll also be going to Walmart hopefully I can go this week and not be anxious and stay home. And this weekend we’re getting my haircut.

long week ahead

I’m so mad! I just wrote this whole blog post and then it disappeared.

Anyway I have a long emotional week ahead. Finished up with CTL and will be going over the last things on the platform with Heather tomorrow.

Tomorrow is two years to the day of my breakdown in 2013. It’s incredible how far I’ve come and everything I’ve accomplished the relationships I’ve formed and what I know about myself. I still know I have a long way to go and I’m also really worried about set backs like everything seems just too good to be true. I will definitely talk more with Jonathan about this Wednesday.

Wednesday and Thursday are big for my family. Wednesday is my parent’s anniversary. Don’t ask how many years LOL! I think this year is the first year they can genuinely say they’re doing well. Even they thought after Krissy and I left the house that they’d finally just divorce. But they ended up coming together in a really deep way. They’re clear as a couple now and that’s amazing and sweet. But hard in a way. I so wish they could have found this strength within one another and have used that as the foundation of our family. As it was for years we had no foundation and everything was about arguing and emotional abuse and drinking. You can’t take back the hurt of the past. I somehow have to figure out how to piece together their current way of being with everything I went through in the past which was is quite traumatic.

Krissy will be twenty Thursday. I’m beyond proud of her and her work with horses and passion for animals. I love hearing her stories about training and riding them. She’s grown into such an amazing young woman and held to her inner strength and values in spite of what happened to her at home.

And Friday we go to target instead of Walmart since Walmart is like the day before thanksgiving.

Then the holiday stresses coming up. How much money can I spend on presents? What do I realistically want for presents? Whether Jess and I will have yucky thanksgiving food here or at some restaurant.

So just a lot in my head coming and going emotionally and sometimes it’s hard to put into words and often I just don’t want to talk at all. I’m glad to write it here as I know many following get where I’m coming from emotionally.

I’ll keep everyone posted day by day on things.