fourth of july thoughts on going to a mental health conference in MA obstacles and fears


Today is the fourth yay I guess. Never liked fireworks or parades way too loud! And probably way too overwhelming more than years ago when I went to them.

Kinda just don’t know how to feel. There’s this conference on mental health peer support that’s very interesting. Being held in guess where boston! Like forty minutes or so from my house!

That’s the biggest thing that caught my attention that its in boston. In theory I could go out there and connect with some really great people who I’ve been starting to get to know online, go to some really interesting workshops and also spend time with my family. Especially mom and sister, Dad would be working, could come out and spend time with me in the city during times when I wasn’t doing stuff, I doubt I’d go to everything and even stay in the hotel with me. And I could maybe take an extra day to hang out at the house. I think half the issue of their reluctance around me visiting was worry about how I’d be occupied during the time I was there so that at least gets rid of that problem.

But there are so many around this situation. First of all money obviously. All SSI goes to Albany except $30 a month, plus what my mom gives me. All the times we have talked about me visiting they’ve said money is the issue. So don’t know why this would be different as I would need money for the flight and the conference fee and hotel so yeah way more money than if I just went out there to visit

And then no Jess. Well she could come but everything would cost twice as much plus she’s not as into this as I am. But if it were just a visit itself I certainly would take her. Would be really really worried about not having her with me in a new completely overwhelming situation particularly with my family around and their anxiety about me, their not knowing what to do if I get emotional and all I can imagine are scenes of them catching me tearing up or twitching and me hiding in the bathroom furiously self-harming to bring my emotions to some kind of normal through the physical pain of scratching. Which isn’t healthy I know but that’s how I’d feel. Probably might feel that way anyway I mean overwhelmed and might want to self-harm even without my family just due to the anxiety of everything. But not so much concerned by the reactions of random passersby around my emotions, after all these are peer mental health people, but deffinetely would be around my family.

And I suck at socializing. Haven’t been around many people except Albany people, and don’t even connect well with many of them hate crowds and everyone talking at once.

One of my other huge anxieties which I think does have some merit though people might deny it is people’s reactions to my living situation.

People at this conference are probably all over the spectrum of feelings about meds, therapy, and the mental health system in general. But one thing that seems to cause an automatic reaction of Oh No! in all people I’ve connected with is hearing that I’m in residential. That I chose it and that I have built a life here. Some people who are open minded, pro choice about these things and can see that I am in fact living relatively well, do warm to the idea that for me this was the best solution at the time and for now nothing better has come along. They get that I’m not being abused. And that no one is forcing me to live here take meds or anything. And you really can’t argue with someone coming in totally not wanting to live at all, and over four years having developed the first genuine friendship of their life, having a whole new way of looking at self-harm, and being on awesome meds and with a therapist who has been the one of the best I’ve had.

Others hold firm to that the fact that I say positive things just proves how the system has brainwashed me, made me dependent because they want to keep me there forever and how there must be something wrong with me for continuing this. That I could and should just go off my meds, get the hell out of Albany and get a job. Literally what I feel this one blogger in particular feels about those of us who are getting treatment they feel is positive or who don’t have other options.

I don’t need all that piled on me live and in person, while dealing with everything else. I don’t think I would have the energy to defend against it and it would be quite traumatic actually. And I know it’s really not their fault. Hearing my situation makes them think either about how they had to be involved to that level with the MH system in the past and how bad that was, or someone else they knew did, or they don’t know anyone but it still feels like their worst nightmare. It brings up so many strong emotions in others as it does in me.

At the same time as I defend my position and situation (while still clearly saying it’s nowhere near perfect and I wish for huge changes and a better personal situation) I do feel isolated. I would probably be the only one there who is coming from living in residential. Or who actually likes living there, just am so isolated from the outside world I guess and have been for years in a way that I probably wouldn’t even grasp until I was there among everyone else.

So it’s very complicated. Just thinking about the me that flew off to college, not literally but ya know. That would go anywhere to avoid being with family, including a few different states. Living with people I only met once or didn’t know at all from various places. I had no or little fear of how I’d be treated. I had so much less anxiety about life in general I just did things.

I think I’m more careful in the world now seeing how aggressive some people can be, people living here and just the harm that can come to you when you least expect it. Like just have different insights into people than I had before. Everything has changed so much. And I just want a little vacation but literally there’s no one I could even spend an overnight with, as a friend suggested in response to my FB post about wanting to do this but having not spent a night outside this building except for hospitalization.

I guess that I even thought about it for five minutes is good. I don’t know. I just know before 2013 I would have just up and left. And it just seemed like such a good solution to actually be able to see my parents in a situation where I wouldn’t be just sitting at the house. But money is money and if that’s the issue than that’s the issue here too. And the same big issues I have around my family would be there whether I saw them for a half hour or a day.

I will say people I have talked to about it have been very nice. Which is cool.

Maybe they’ll live stream stuff! At least I could listen then. And maybe another time I could go. Just wish there were ways for me to step outside my comfort zone without going across the country. All the stuff that really interests me mental health/ psychology wise is in MA. And like I said I have no one to just go hang out with for a day by myself. I was turned down for the one volunteer opportunity that I really connected with. So just a lot going on can’t wait to have my therapy session tomorrow! And talk about the past few weeks.


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