a matter of licensing when serving those with various disabilities in residential care

As I post about this subject obsessively, (people with multiple disabilities and residential services) feel free to skip this post if you’re tired or frustrated at hearing me repeat myself obsessively.

In my friend’s search for a possible new home he contacted the other facility specific for the blind which also happens to be in IL. The place is very small and cozy sounding. He got all his questions answered and for him I feel the place could be fine.

Because he’s one of my besties and knows that I’m always looking for something more lax than Albany in ways, yet still with the security of support, he told the person about me generally. . Unfortunately he’s not really familiar with the terms/ concepts around psychiatric disabilities but he tried his best! It would be like me trying to explain stuff around CP to someone as I have no idea on it.

And I know that were I to give my description I would have still gotten the same results.

Well I don’t know which was worse. The woman minimizing clinical depression by saying everyone gets depressed, but if it’s something “she can’t control and has dealt with her whole life she can’t be accepted here.”

She explained these were state guidelines/ licensing that as part of the supportive licensing those with a primary diagnosis of a psychiatric issue can’t be accepted.

Which would be fine. If the psychiatric residential programs didn’t have the same exact attitude towards those with other disabilities. I’m sure it’s in their licensing somewhere about additional disabilities not being able to be accomidated or something.

You can’t box in a person by their individual disability! It makes no sense. Both my blindness and mental illness are primary diagnosis. Some argue that if I weren’t blind I wouldn’t have mental illness but I’m not sure that’s true. I think I’d still have mental illness just wouldn’t have to deal with the aspects of having an additional disability, the attitudes of others, how I felt/ was perceived by my parents growing up on top of everything else going on that I was a blind child. And I probably would do ok in one of those apartment programs where you get little support. Then again I don’t know. Even if I could do all the stuff like cook and clean without the added pressure of learning to do this as a blind person, often my anxiety/ depression is such that I wouldn’t do this stuff even knowing how. Like I know how to take a shower obviously. But when really knocked down by my symptons won’t do it. So by that logic maybe the psychiatric issues are primary I dfon’t know.

What I do know is I hadn’t realized til today that this was an actual on paper license issue. Which explains the boxing in of different disabilities as they’re funded/ covered by different organizations. I read a passage in an old journal of mine from when I was just coming into Albany. It was my first self-injury episode that the staff found out about. So they were dealing with that. In the midst of this I overheard part of a conversation between a PRSC and a CAN basically saying they couldn’t handle having to help me get to the dining room (in a building with three hundred people) and that Jonathan had said give it a chance but they thought I should go somewhere else basically. I said something like oh great they’re on to me about self-injury/ all I want to do is be dead and now they’re gonna throw me out?

That’s really how I felt at that moment. I spent a good long time being so afraid that because of my blindness they would basically throw me out. And I know I’m lucky to have been accepted because only one other place came to even see me. Well two. One place had the woman who’s friends with Jonathan so that’s how I came to be here. The other place didn’t have internet LOL!

But seriously. That PRSC who made that comment is still here. And awhile back I’m not sure how we got talking about this but she said she doubted they’d accept anyone else with blindness because I was just a special case. I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

So it’s the same issue either side. You have that type of attitude from the psychiatric side. From the other disabilities/ blind facility side it’s either an outright no like was iven by the place my friend called today. And hey at least they were honest. Or a more passive well no, we really don’t have stuff for that, but you can come anyway. It’s people plain turning their back on the issue accepting the person probably for money and just pretending the issues aren’t as bad as they are. Where I was at is famous for that. There have been many many people who have gotten worse and worse because of their passive let’s just turn the other way approach. But at least they got in.

I don’t know which is worse and I don’t know why no one else, in power, seems to see the problem. I hope I never have to move anytime soon. And it’s really limiting access to services that I am more than qualified to get, on the blindness or psychiatric side equally. And that’s just wrong but no one cares enough to make any changes or to realize changes need to be made. And then you have people living in their own apartments trying to pass as not having mental illness or as having more sight than they do if visually impaired because they know they won’t get services otherwise.

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