There’s something I did this weekend that I’m really proud of.
Right around my breakdown in 2013 I found out some information about a group of people I had trusted for a few years. They seemed to have issues with my being there as a blind person, needing help with things they didn’t have the time to help with. As well as issues around mental health things going on with me. When I found this out I was pretty stunned and hurt but like everything at the time just tried to push myself to keep going and not let it get to me. Since then it’s bothered me obviously. They are this healing community, kinda lovey dovey. And really tried to impress on me that they’re a safe place I can ask for everything they were great with me being there etc. But what came out made me question everything. I heard it second hand from a person who I feel had their own issues and so probably wasn’t the most clear restatement of what was originally said. Just the implication of something even close to what was said was so hard to take. Because I did feel bad then for the ways I had eventually asked for a ton of help.
I’ve told several people about it. Several times. Part of me processing stuff is talking about it over and over again. The one person from that group I do trust and connect with is a woman in a similar situation who’s disabled and so gets it. I hadn’t realized how the timing was in me hearing this news and my breakdown. It was like days in between. By no means did this cause the breakdown it was a million things. And I don’t think even that tipped the scales, it was the seizure that did this. But I realized that it’s something I never really addressed in therapy or anywhere else besides talking to supporters including the woman who gets it.
So I wrote a couple people. One that I guess hosted some meeting last year about group changes and things but the person supposedly giving people’s comments (who couldn’t go) didn’t go themselves and so it was dropped. So I wrote her as well as another person in leadership, leadership is shared. I said what I had to say. With as much clarity as I could.
Here’s the thing. I love the tv show starting over. It’s about these life coaches working with women with various issues. They do therapy and stuff. And it’s a reality tv show it wasn’t scripted. Anyway one of the coaches Iyanla talks about people setting intentions when communicating, and putting whatever it is out to the other person with no expectations whatsoever. With this one girl she was about to call her father from prison (yeah it was pretty intense) and the woman was like “ You gotta be willing to talk to your father and say Dad I love you, and not expect a letter, a phone call or a bookmark in return after you say it.”
And I did say this in my letter. That I didn’t expect a response. I know that they don’t know I know this stuff, at least the version I was handed. And that this happened a long time ago. I needed to get it off my chest. And I shaped my letter around things they might consider for the future around disability, because if they’re really open to diversity disability is a part of that. That all people involved have a hard time talking about and being totally honest. And I talked about all this, in relation to what happened.
And really for me no response besides action would be helpful to me. The people from this group are very nice touchy feely people. I imagine if I got a response it would be genuine as much as it could be, like the person would try their best. But I wouldn’t trust it because obviously they weren’t honest through their words. And really the goal to me isn’t that they can fix this and I’ll come back. I really don’t think I’ll ever go back. It’s to put the general issue on the table. You accepted with good intentions a disabled person. You thought you could deal with whatever issues, and tried your best. Somewhere between trying and not wanting to offend came resentment and things got screwed up. I recommended that they think hard about this and that no other disabled people be considered until they’re clear on it.That’s all I can do.
I do feel lighter. I wasn’t sure I would. I still have a lot of anger. The other reason I did it is I’m a part of a similarly very nice, very open helpful community where I volunteer. And so I’m entering a similar situation as someone with a disability and I’m really afraid to ask for anything obviously. I thought if I say what I need to say at least I’ve done what I can. And it’s opened the door for me to continue to process this in therapy. It’s also been helpful that my friends are people who know me well or have disabilities themselves so have a clue about the dynamics here and totally support me. So yeah big step for Sammy!
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