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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3 thoughts on “changes in life

  1. I am so proud of you, Sam. You have come such a long way from when I first met you. If I, or anyone else, had suggested that you volunteer somewhere when we first met, you would have totally freak out. Actually, I think you may have, I’m not sure though. And look at you now. You are already volunteering for one program, and are considering volunteering at other places. So proud of you for that.

    Yes, our emotions, thoughts, attitudes, and plans for life can change pretty quickly. However, I am usually one who tries to plan and work things through before I do something. This is definitely true about moving out. I don’t want to move out of Albany, not for a long time, if ever. I am extremely grateful that I have a place to live, one that knows how to handle my issues. I am also pretty damn grateful that I have a wonderful friend & baby sister that looks out for me.

    You look out for me, and I look out for you. And you know what? If you moved on without me, I’d be lost as well. I would hope that you won’t ever resent me for wanting to … well, live together, like we are now.

    I do hope that you will do what’s best for you, Sam. And it is my hope that we are able to stay with each other, wherever that takes us.

    • You’re the best big sister ever. I know we saved each other’s lives and that will bond us forever. I’d love nothing more than to live together forever! And always keep looking after each other. Hugs and everything!

  2. I echo jess here. You’ve come so far in such a short period of time. I know it probably feels longer, but really, its relatively short. I’m proud of you too. Keep moving forward! XX

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