Having to work with a professional I will never connect with/ considering therapy and all the issues there

Hi everyone,

I think I’ve talked about in other posts things around my relationship with Tasha. She is the caseworker that was assigned to me. Basically from the first minute I met her she completely reminded me of a caseworker back at Albany care that I did not. Tasha, and that woman, struck me as extremely overly distant (you can be professional with appropriate boundaries without acting how she does), really isn’t emotionally atuned to how you’re doing, says very trite things like not to worry about things and to focus on the solution, and generally just is someone I’d be least like4ly to talk to.

How I put it to staff is that it’s simply a basic lack of any kind of compatibility between us on my end at least. Regardless of what she does or doesn’t do.

So in this way I’m not blaming her for anything though she has been kinda spaced out and screwed up some stuff she was doing for Jess. I haven’t given her the chance to screw anything up because I’ve been doing all her work for her. I know about caseworkers long enough to figure out how to stay away from them.

At Albany care and any mental health organization I’ve ever been to, it’s your right to change caseworkers. Not all the time obviously but if you’ve tried with someone and it’s not working out then how can you work on your mental health where the main person you work with you don’t trust/ connect with/ fight with ETC.

But not here. I guess they started this last fall according to another resident who also does not like Tasha. They block off the caseloads by sections of the halls on the floors. I guess it’s for organization purposes. But it basically means theoretically, unless I moved my room which I will never do, I will always have tasha. Because I live in that room. Even though there are five or four, other caseworkers on this floor they do other sections of the floor. And no one does anything like at Albany care where they play musical offices, so people are on all different floors. Also at Albany caseworkers would have residents all over the building. The girl I talked to said it was like that before. This system might be good for the staff, and I don’t know if regardless of the hallway thing if you still couldn’t change workers even before that started.

So basically this means that until I leave here, in a year or two, I’ll be stuck week in week out with someone I want absolutely nothing to do with. I say for all that time because she’s been here for years, she’s probably not leaving any time soon.

I wrote Sarah about this very nicely. I basically said obviously I can’t change the rule. If it’s something they really hold in high regard as a practice then I’ll have to just deal. Just shut off my emotions around her, not that that’s hard, and just do whatever I need to.

Alongside this however is me and therapy. Before coming here I was very happy to know they had an “on staff therapist.”

And also interns that did individual therapy.

I was sure then that I could get individual therapy here.

I started with Jess’s therapist Sandra however. When I did not feel a connection with her around my very complex symptoms (I’m not surprised by this it’s why Dissociative disorders are a specialty) I asked about therapy here.

It turns out that the therapist Clairetechnically is not “on staff” at all. She’s contracted like the art and music therapists and only comes in part time. The rest of the time she does private practice. She’s been here aa number of years but as her private practice is getting bigger she is leaving in May.

Tasha doesn’t have much hope that they will find another therapist as they’ve tried but it’s very hard to find someone who will come into these facilities, and likely not get paid very much.

I feel really bad for all the residents that have been seeing her many for years that now don’t have much hope of finding anything beyond general therapy in community mental health.

It will take a lot to find these people someone new as her practice here was full and there was a waiting list.

By the time we got here it was March. The interns end their work in May. So they’re basically finishing things up and so not taking anyone new. And not really right to start a therapy relationship when they’re leaving so soon.

So no easy answers with this.

One reason I try ver6y hard to manage/ stop the dissociation is it’s the very last symptom of the whole group of symptoms that hit me in the winter. Outside of all that I do absolutely fine and don’t need individual therapy.

But with this dissociation and supposed alters going on I have a mental health situation that many don’t know how to deal with. I’m still surprised they let me in and haven’t raised questions about my dissociation and alters. I’m sure if I had a self-harming or violent alter that I couldn’t control, or if the alters got up to some kind of real mischief then they’d send me away.
And as I’ve told some people, any dissociative disorder I may or may not have isn’t in my records. Once something is in your records especially a complex disorder like that, or a personality disorder, it’s basically set in stone. Another reason I’m wishing and hoping and fighting this so it doesn’t become anything permanent that would actually block me from getting any kind of future care.

So staff here apparently, when I lose time it means I have no idea what I say and do in between, are very patient with these alters. Especially a five year old girl. Jess keeps a close eye on the whole process and I do trust her. But still I also know staff have no idea what to do for the best.

And it is so incredibly lonely having these symptoms that are so different from everyone else here. The main stuff treated are mood disorders and psychosis. If people have other disorders that there are direct groups/ standard treatments for I don’t know about it.

I know it’s not the case for dissociation. I can’t go to a group and talk about it.
So I can’t get the support and solutions I need right here where I’m living in the way that one living here is supposed to.

Another red flag for me would be if I talk too much/ emphasize the dissociation too much they’ll see that they “can’t meet my mental health needs” and try to discharge me.

I want soo much to just manage this on my own. Because there really to me seems no other choices.

My family offered to pay for therapy. While this was a nice offer there are a lot of issues. First of all, they’ve payed for therapy in the past. They have had issues paying on time, and eventually pressured me to end therapy. When I ended with my first psychiatrist I had no idea my mom still owed her a hundred dollars for a session! Lucky I had the money at the time.

I am extremely worried she’ll lie or not really consider herself, how much she can actually7 afford and for how long. Plus she’s going through so much right now with her surgery, paying for stuff with my sister’s graduation, and recently having moved. It’s not like they have money to spare.

I looked up some wonderful private practice therapists who do specialize in dissociation. But the thought of not knowing how the finances will work out brings more anxiety than anything else.

I’d rather I guess, go to a community mental health center or outpatient hospital program and make the best of a therapist so I have some outside support other than here until I move, then have a specialist and have issues come up around finances just as we’re possibly uncovering more and more.

That’s the other thing. If I do therapy purposely to look at this dissociation I’m afraid all the other associated symptoms, communication, sensory stuff ETC will reappear. And what if there are trauma memories that have caused this as I believe is the only explanation that do come up? What if more and more alters emerge?

I don’t have the foundation of support here to feel safe with that stuff coming out and them being able to handle it. One thing Sandra did that I didn’t like was she said she could handle anything, without at all knowing what that would cover. Knowing and saying your limits is important.

And I know the huge limits these smhrf places have because a friend was kicked out of one for their DID, as well as not allowed any other places. I know they’ll very quickly reach their breaking point with this stuff and then I’d be in the exact same place as I was in December with everything all open and raw and the people who I’m supposed to be getting day to day ca5re from being unable to do anything.

So I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do. There’s a facility Howard Brown, that does specialize in trauma informed care. But it’s about as far away as the place in Evanston and right near a center for people with disabilities so chances are good we’d be touring Chicago again on the way to or especially from. Which is a huge stress.

There is a hospital right down the road, St. Jos, who I still am trying to get in with the psychiatrist who works there, but I’m not sure if they handle trauma and dissociation.

Just extremely limited options.

That’s why therapy is almost not worth pursuing if you’re in this state and on Medicaid. If I could keep even some money from SSI beyond the $60 I could pay a sliding scale with interns. You’re just backed into a corner where this place that takes all your money to provide supposedly comprehensive services, doesn’t provide a needed service. Because they have all your money you have nothing to pay for that service.

It’s just a huge mess and the only solution I see is to get the dissociation/ alters under control myself. If this is truly a long term issue I can leave it for later. Some things in life come up, and you can’t address them at the time so you have to let them go into unconsciousness until you can deal with them. This is one of those times.

And just like all the other symptoms, the physical movement problems, talking, sensory overload, went away because the environment would not support me having all those problems I’m hoping the dissociation disorder will go away too due to lack of safety around any kind of treatment or support.

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Roof leaking, broken toilet seat, clogged bathtub drain the joys of living here

Hi everyone,

So though this place is still ok, the honeymoon period, where everyone is extra nice and attentive to us as newbys is definitely over! Sensed it about the second or third week but yeah.

Ya know what I mean? Like when you’re coming in they say so much to get you in the door. I don’t think they’re actually lying just not saying the stuff that sucks. And like selling it kind of. And so they’re so attentive and everything and then you get there and they continue to be amazingly awesome on all areas. And then slowly you just become one of 200 people and you really start to see the downfalls of the place, and mostly just the fact that you have become one out of many in a less than attentive, acomidating system than they first appeared.

I’ll have to make videos or post pictures of my room and bathroom. This building is super old! Albany Care was super old too but I guess this is worse.

So the bathtub is like you actually have to pull a plug out of the drain that completely comes off and then the drain itself is a big hole with a grate on it underneath. That’s what it feels like anyway.

So the first problem happened the first night I took a bath where one of the knobs for the water came off in my hands! This also happened with the little thing that turns off and on the shower part of the tub.

Water pressure is messed up. The hot water practically drips along while cold water shoots out.

Then a couple days later the chain that the drain plug was on, literally a very small chain! Broke off.

The big issue was I think the second week? I got woken up at two in the morning and was told that I was flooding the group room downstairs. Apparently my tub was not draining right, and I hadn’t turned off the water all the way (we now check both extremely well!) so while the water didn’t flood the bathroom it somehow flooded down and so was going downstairs.

Really weird how the pipes work I honestly don’t understand at all.

So for a few days we had to have housekeeping use a a bucket to drain the tub or I took a bath in Jess’s room. Her tub has nonslip stuff on it that’s extremely rough so she had to have me sit on a towel in the water, weird feeling, so my butt didn’t hurt!

So then the maintenance guy came. He came once about the drain and that didn’t work so he went in again. He had to stick something down the actual drain. He said it was hair that clogged it! An RSA suggested and this is so gross, that in addition to likely my hair, it might have been the hair from the last person that lived here LOL!

So the guy promised to get some kinda hair filter thing to put in the drain still haven’t seen that yet.

Then this past Friday I go to flush my toilet and it keeps flushing and flushing and not stopping. For like a half hour. Obviously when it first didn’t just stop we called someone. Well you wouldn’t believe they must have worked on that toilet all morning.

They said it was something about air caught somewhere. The two maintenance guys were involved not just the one that helped with the drain and one had to go on the roof to shut off the water or something. They were shouting to each other in Spanish and it was like LOL

He had to replace some valve cap or something. But he seemed to take it in his stride that this happens in some of the rooms.

My toilet seat is very cheap plastic. Like very and it was shifting around since I started using it. And given the drain issues and then the toilet I didn’t think much of the seat at that moment.

Well Tuesday night I used it and it totally broke. So the seat is basically not at all attached to the toilet!

Jess and I wrote out the work order and told several people. On Tuesday night. Yesterday all day. And today all day.

They only have two maintenance guys. They clearly need more. The main one who has been great with all this was sent home sick yesterday. Which in a way I’m happy about b because he’d be in here touching everything under the sun and then housekeeping wouldn’t come clean after all the crud he kicked up from everything plus his germs.

So this other guy, the one who speaks more Spanish I guess, has been nowhere to be found. Or is just swamped with things to do.

So I’ve either had to use a toilet seat that slides around under my butt, or use Jess’s bathroom. Thank goodness we aren’t in the same room with the broken toilet seat in this case!

Finally. I’m sleeping last night and hear this drip drip. We have hard floors so the sound is very clear. Water was coming from the ceeling! I figured this must be what happened when my tub did the leaking through the pipes thing, which made me feel better that the statement “I flooded the group room” meant there was a little puddle.

In my case though I wasn’t sure where it was coming from because the floor above is all staff.

Someone said that water could come from below up to me, I didn’t know pipes worked like that LOL. They were talking about that back with the drain thing.

So it’s the middle of the night. We have these phones in our rooms where any staff can call you. You pick them up and they automatically go to nursing no matter what the situation. Today people were like you shouldn’t have called nursing it’s like we had no choice LOL

So I said water was coming down and the person said ok and hung up. I figured someone would come soon. Forty minutes later I figured out exactly where the leak was when the water dripped on my head and put my trash can, and one of those reusable cloth shopping bags down.

But still no one. I was getting anxious being totally left alone with this problem, Jess is proud of how I handled the emergency that far.

So went out into the hallway. Walked up and down. No RSA even though they’re supposed to be right there. I even checked the tv room.

So I had to do something I didn’t want to but had to. I woke up poor Jess.

She was glad I did though when she found out. I lay on her bed exhausted and really overwhelmed emotionally while she called them again! Finally a housekeeper came up and put the big cart they use to move stuff around the building there.

They confirmed it was the roof that was leaking. Eventually it stopped as it stopped raining.

Of course we told people about this right away. The maintenance guy that’s the better of the two has still been out. No one did anything. David from admissions who I can count on to give an absolutely authentic reaction was very surprised and not pleased to put it mildly! But again all day nothing got done.

So yeah. The only thing I can think of related to this that anyone told me before or soon afte4r coming is was Jessica saying “you’ll get used to writing up orders for maintenance” I guess she wasn’t kidding!

It’s just so frustrating and nothing I dealt with at
Albany care. People in security were talking about how they need more maintenance staff.

A nurse said once the air conditioner broke in one of the rooms they use and it took a year to get a new one.

I guess this is why some dryers don’t work on certain floors or something and they’re just never replaced.

I may shoot an e-mail to Jessica telling her about the latest two big problems, especially the toilet seat. We put in our last request for that after dinner and still nothing. Like I said likely only one guy here. Still.

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update on clayton and managing dissociative symptoms multiples read with caution

Trigger. Strong negative language around feelings about dissociative symptoms (what some might call parts/ alters/ others) and critical talk of MH system.

Hi everyone,

A lot of my check in, and life right now revolves around intensely fighting to manage my current symptoms which is the dissociation I’ve experienced since mid December. And what happens when I dissociate around being unable to control my behavior for whatever amount of time in which I call myself by other names, talk about myself in the third person and do other things.

People here have heard about this and say it looks like I’m somehow multiple. And have taken offense at my treatment of what they consider to be “alters” or “parts”

For this reason I am not posting this to the dissociative talk list. But I know that there are several multiples on here so please be safe.

So. On another note first of all. I’ve been at Clayton House for about a month. Back when we were doing the move I was so all over the place I know my expectations for the place varied moment to moment as did my ability to basically interact with myself and the world. I was constantly and still am amazed and so grateful that the place took me after I described and named, as best as I could, my symptoms including dissociation. Saying the only reason I knew it was dissociation was knowing others who have it.

Perhaps because it’s not officially in my records they took me. I imagine that like Rayett and others if it were set in stone I would not be accepted.

So that still holds absolutely true. I am so happy that they took me because really I have no other place to go. We Jess and I.

My parents moved out of their house I think in February not sure. They’re living in a very small friend’s condo which Lucky thinks he owns lol!

My mom has had one of two hip surgeries. The second she’s having on the 30th. Of the month. After that we’re not sure if she will have a back surgery or if having her hips finally replaced and out of pain will make the back pain go away, or make it not needed.

After they’ve settled this my parents want to find a cheap house that they can rebuild basically, though I thought my dad said many times he was too old for that! And have that be the family home where my sister and I could live no matter what. But that’ll be at least a year or more in the future.

In the meantime. I obviously can not ever go back to Albany Care. Though I wasn’t officially kicked out for my symptoms, to me I unofficially was from the moment Jonathan decided that two sessions, especially the last one with the dissociation, of this stuff was beyond him and totally pulled out of my life his staff following his lead.

Other places are big like Albany with hundreds more people than Clayton’s two hundred, or very small in a way like Clayton’s size problem where you have everyone crammed into a small space so you can’t escape the trouble makers and their troublemaking scenes of violence.

Group homes are total crud worse than here and have waiting lists and so I hear wouldn’t take a blind person. I remember Edith talked with the moving on program, the program that tries to get people out of these places and they said they would not work with me.

And of course with all other such places as Clayton or Albany care you have the blindness factor plus these new symptoms plus my self harm history though that hasn’t been a problem in like over a year or more.

Jess have to make the best of a limited situation with some good and a lot of negative limitations/ rules.

From the first moment I did not get along with my caseworker Tasha. She is very very distant and spacey. Seemed to get stuff done ok for like the first day LOL, but then started majorly screwing up especially transportation around Jess’s appointments and I feel so bad. I sized her up from day one as someone who didn’t get anything. Literally she said “listening is one of my best skills” and though she technically was silent while I talked she really did not get it did not interact much at all. Felt like talking to dead air. It’s just a personality thing, maybe a cultural thing as a ver6y wise counseling intern pointed out, she’s African American.

Regardless I just don’t at all connect with her. Which for me means there is no way in the world I will open up to her on any level. I’ve been around caseworkers in various areas including blind and mental health to realize you just gotta put up with them long enough to get whatever they can offer. However when she started not doing/ scre2wing up stuff again best example Jess’s transportation to appointments as she has medical issues at the moment, I mistrusted her more and more.

She totally didn’t get my back and forth around ther5apy and simply said I “needed to see someone.” Coming in the door we were told all this good stuff about interns and an on staff therapist. Come to find out on staff therapist is leaving. Interns leave in May but the one staff outside the admins I have connected with, Jenny, is being h8ired as a caseworker here! This is exactly what I wanted for her from the first minute I met her so I’m extremely happy for her.

Each floor has five or so casewo5rkers and the others besides Tasha seem very nice.

So why not just request a change? At most places I’ve been to, outpatient and Albany Care it’s your right.

Well not here. This is so weird. They assign you by room. So wherever your room is depends on what caseworker you see. Like Tasha has the whole hallway we’re in. They say it’s something about it being more organized for staff because there are so many rooms on each floor. Knowing how caseworkers at Albany just raced around the building to see whoever that just doesn’t make sense.

So it’s just plain universally a no.

I could try and meet with Sarah the clinical director and make my case about my complex symptoms, the need to really try to connect with someone that will be very mindfull of how badly things ended over at Albany, and just everything going on. But literally there’s no point. No is no. And since caseworkers here stay forever I assume Jess and I, will be stuck with a very spacey distant “professional” caseworker we are very annoyed/ frustrated/ irritated by.

Another rule. Jess and I were going to go out shopping on Sunday. I sometimes take an ativan before going out cause it’s crowded and I get edgy and anxious. I’d finally gotten over the whole you have to inform/ justify to a social worker before you actually get one. So I quite confidently said my reason which I spent forever thinking up to nursing. Well they say ok. But you have to be in the facility for two hours before being allowed out.

I’m like excuse me?

Again can’t even fully explain. But I guess firstly they see someone needing a PRN as being especially in crisis/ symptomatic and want to be sure you’re like ok enough to go out. So basically a slight restriction. Secondly from a purely medical standpoint, apparently they believe the extra meds in your system need to be like monitored on on the off chance something were to happen. That’s a strictly covering their ass legally thing.

I said that I first of all take this med every night and have for four years and also have taken it as a PRN for four years. Again they said it’s more med in your system than normal or something.

Well I got anxious about the situation that was supposed to help with my anxiety LOL. But was incredibly happy it was one of Tasha’s days off and another more understanding social worker handled it. We did say we had a ride coming at a specific time.Jess said looking at the clock if I took it right away and they cut out the debate I would have been something like 15 minutes over the two hours.

But no. Nursing said call social work social work said call nursing and they all said no.

Actually the ride ended up not arriving til we had a half hour before they’d pick us up so that was out. But ugh. Stuff like that should be in the resident manual though they have a lot written on if your symptoms get any kinda worse all the restrictions you could have.

The codes and clearing the halls are multiple times a day. And it’s often physical fighting. People being punched and otherwise pretty badly banged up, staff and residents.

I now totally appreciate the complete clearing of the halls though it’s still frustrating as hell to have everyone trampling to duck into the nearest room.

The two people who lead most of the groups I guess have been here for like 12 years. They have no degree and are called Actigvity aids. With all the professional talent of the caseworkers I’m very disappointed to know that they have unqualified people running the groups basically just as they did at Albany except for it was the caseworkers that were plain unqualified.

These guys are just, I don’t know. They talk about themselves and their personal experience a lot, and no they’re not peer specialists we have those too.

And their whole theme in fact the theme of much of what is taught here is basically be positive and if you’re going through a hard time pray about it and move on basically.

Much of what community mental healthcare involves because honestly they can’t cover services to work more long term and process anything deeper so you get very concrete simplified solutions for addressing any symptoms.

We also have this six bed crisis unit here. Where floor staff resident aids, and caseworkers have to be there constantly. There are also CRTS crisis response team members basically security.

People are often physically restrained and escorted to the unit where they spend whatever number of days. This is said to avoid hospitalization. But people go in and out a lot and I wonder if its also an excuse to hold on to a resident, and therefore a paycheck, who’s aggressive and without the unit to constantly fall back on they’d be moved on.

So within that context you have me. By some miracle of the moment I set foot in the door, a huge amount of my symptoms simply disappeared. The sensory and communication overload vanished as the total hypervigelance and being triggered by everything under the sun.

I was so hoping that the dissociation would also fade back. Though I don’t trust Dr. Gil, and others who have been long term members know why, I was in agreement with him raising my anxiety med which should have happened on the onset of the panic attacks in that disaster hospitalization. I thought that since the panic attack somehow triggered the dissociation, having a chemical safeguard in place, though I stopped my panic attacks awhile ago might do something.

It has. And I honestly don’t even remember my panic attacks anymore. I was very firm with myself that panic attacks could be controlled by changing my thinking about them and saying specific rational things to myself. Which I did do with the result that I haven’t had one since being at Albany or the inkling of one.

Had panic attacks been a part of my life, had I been resigned to them and people started having a relationship with me around the panic attacks I think it would have been much harder.

So I don’t have anyone I can truly open up to, the best person is your caseworker but no way can get another one.

Therapy as Rayett being in the same state can attest is virtually impossible. The frustrating thing that I figured out today is some therapists listed on the site, in spite of it saying it’s updated daily, actually don’t take Medicaid. They did from being at another agency or something and somehow their names are still listed.

I can’t just see any old therapist obviously. Mom has known about all this from day one. She says she will pay for therapy. This has been a problem in the past especially when I lived with my parents where she’d pay for some and then make excuses and the whole thing just wasn’t worth it. If I do get some paid for sessions I’ll feel extremely grateful for it. And like I need to work very hard on a short term basis and get as much insight/ knowledge from the therapist as I can within only a few sessions. To start anything like a more long term relationship based therapy, wouldn’t work if she’ll pull out financially without warning.

The therapists who weren’t able to see me were very nice and pointed me to others who work at group practices one downtown and one in the suburbs. I am pretty sure they do not take Medicaid but it’s worth a try.

I have a feeling I’ll be shipped over to generalized therapy at a community mental health center and have to make the best of it. Going for the sake that it says so on my treatment plan and not going into the dissociation. Though just as symptoms faded in a change of living environment it may be that the dissociation stuff fades when something inside me finally gets it that this is something I logistaclly can’t address at this time of my life.

My goal every day is to not dissociate. I so question anyone saying this is anything near a dissociative disorder because of the control I can exercise. If I focus very hard on telling myself who I am, that I am not multiple, that there is a huge horrible reason for why I’m hurting myself and others by doing this and the first step is stopping the behavior, then I simply won’t dissociate end of story.

The minute I think about something else and let that go to the back of my mind I dissociate.

I’m getting good at recognizing triggers though. I act five for bathtime and bed routine, when eating especially sweets and whenever Jess or I tries to explain the situation to staff. Who amazingly are neither outright invalidating nor completely having any clue on what to actually do. Silence is their friend and it is way better than hospitalization.

But I am beyond embarrassed to act how I do to staff around this issue. So far Tasha, Jenny, Angela the art therapist, Tasha’s supervisor, and some resident aids know. That’s more than enough.

Today I made it. One whole day including bath and bedtime routine with Jess. That’s the sticking point I realized. I could go a whole day and then lose it all due to me somehow wanting special attention at that time of night. Who knows why?

It just is beyond belief that one day with no background or anything to suggest such a thing I randomly start complex dissociating complete with alters. If this were a dissociative disorder I wouldn’t be able to control when the alters come out. Yet if I focus on not dissociating and telling myself they’re not real I don’t.

I think I’m playing some big totally unconscious game with myself and the world. And I hate absolutely everything about it one hundred percent.

I have the uptmost respect for multiples. The strength and inner resources they have to keep themselves able to survive horrific abuse. That’s incredible. I don’t see myself as multiple. I don’t consider what I’m doing the result of alters out of my control. Though I have no answers on why I did it or still do, I know that it’s all me. I can have control over myself and how I am in the world.

This is what I must do. In the absence of any other support or other resources I need to take it into my own hands take control and get my life back.

Every moment that I do even simple activities like hanging out with Jess hugging her eating whatever I treasure. I know what it’s like to block out everything around you and have no sense of your life and be taken over bythis stuff.

Until I can explore this further which will honestly be years from now when I’ve moved to a state with trauma focused mental healthcare covered by a much better Medicaid it’s all I can do.

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Soo happy to have blocked this abusive jerk from my blog!

So basically testing to be sure this block thingy worked.

I’ve tried to keep his comments off my posts recently. At first I thought hey freedom of speech if this guy wants to talk bad about me so be it.

But it got worse and worse and the comments more graphic hateful and sexual. So I have stopped them from going on but always had to read them.

They got really really horrible. So my bestie Robbie blocked his IP address so hopefully I’ll never hear from this jerk again.

He was actually my first friend at Albany care and who intrudced Jess and I to one another. He seemed all around a nice guy until maybe a year or so in just randomly stopped having anything to do with me. Claiming people were “expecting him” to help me around the building and everything. He actually got worse after he left continuing to say people were stopping him in the street saying how horrible he was for not helping me. Yeah ok!

There was like one exchange where he said sorry then took it back. Then a few comments this past year at some point where I was looking for therapists he recommended where he went for therapy. Which is a good place and does have sliding scale but I don’t even have $5 or $10 to do that at the time and still don’t. Somehow he couldn’t get this explanation.

And went back to being abusive. Telling him to stop being abusive did not worked. It was so scary as he’d mention where he knew Jess and I went like to what walmart or that he knew where the cat shelter we went to volunteer at was.

His last group of comments since I restarted blogging were the most vicious. Basically saying I should kill myself or be killed. These gave me huge anxiety and nightmares, like up at night thinking about those words and whether he could actually do something to hurt me.

Jess reassured me that even if he knew where I lived which of course he would figure out quickly as he’s obsessed with knowing this, security would not let him in the front door.

I’m really happy not to have him coming down on me. He very much loves to insult me and every friend he hears about. He said crazy things like because I liked Albany care and was telling others about it and helping out I was part of why some people died or were homeless even my deaf friend.

Who by the way is in her own apartment now.

But it’s like really? Get a life!

So if you’re reading thisHorific Ass guy, you can’t comment yay!!

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my symptoms and honestly unsure about therapy

Hi everyone,

Trigger talk of denying possible dissociative system, and maybe other things don’t know

I wanted to do a short, and I will try to actually stick to it! Post about how I’m doing at the moment.

I’m relieved to continue with the good news that almost all the symptoms from a couple months ago have now stopped. It feels like I never had them in the first place. I don’t know if somehow the overwhelming stress of the move, which I honestly could not have prepared for as I couldn’t function well at that point, somehow blew the circuit on the stuff that though I tried my best to adapt/ move on, would not get any less even if it became more stable a pattern.

So no more off sensory perceptions, panic attacks, or communication issues. No odd physical things either like random muscle movements or stiff muscles.

I am so relieved about this.

The only other symptom is the dissociation and emergence of parts.

Assuming that some readers don’t know about this. Will try very hard to put it simply. Dissociation happens when your whole being is so focused on one experience either external or internal, that everything else becomes distant or more in the background. It also affects one’s sense of perception around one’s sense of self, sense of time and ability to remember things that are happening while in this highly focused state. It also can feel like you’re not in your body or experiencing a situation or emotions from very far away.

Normal dissociation is going on autopilot while taken a trip say from work to home whether on foot or car that is so familiar you don’t need to focus on it at all. So you detach from that particular experience and feel as if you’ve gotten home but don’t remember the journey. Another form of normal dissociation is “getting lost in a favorite activity like reading a book or playing a video game. You don’t realize hours have gone by.”

This is a normal automatic thing the mind does. Perhaps so we’re not overloaded by everything happening internally and externally so that some less pressing in the moment things fade into the background.

Where dissociation goes to the more severe end of thing is related to trauma. A person experiencing a life threatening or perceived life threatening event or events. The mind and body at a basic brain based level can not face/ be in that experience or else they will shut down, and maybe will actually die. The mind then has a system for preserving the person’s sense of self/ ability to function. It splits your awareness and causes you to feel like you’re experiencing things from outside your body, or not at all. You could be in a calm emotional place and physically safe one minute. Then an abuser comes in and instinctively the mind shuts out that experience so the next thing you remember the abuse incident is over. You are numb totally to what happened.

Within the not typical dissociation spectrum there are a variety of ways it can present. I don’t know them all obviously. I have many friends that struggle, and so know from their perspective as they experience and discuss it. I have experienced my own severe dissociation and so can talk about that.

So I have that basic dissociation. I also have times where during the complete memory loss of a moment in time, (which could last one second, or for days) where rather than me losing this sense of time from a favorite activity or getting caught up in something less disturbing, different aspects of my personality “pick up where I left off.”

For example, Jess who has amazingly rode this rollercoaster with me has met several people. One is a little girl named Honey. She’s around five.

Usually when children first start using the ability to create separate selves it’s a survival stratigy. So that any one part’s job is to take the abuse or whatever happened so the person who has to function in the world will not even know about the abuse. As time goes on the dissociation and parts can be more complex. Where a part could say do the person’s job for them, work. A part could be the parent to their kids ETC

This shows how dissociation/ parts have become a way of life for many.

And so usually, if it’s the case that separations in the main personality occur as a result of overwhelming to the core abuse, when a part presents itself to others, or even existing internally, they’re very often distressed. Stuck in the very moment of where they were created or in general their perception of the world is based on the time they were most needed.

I clearly don’t have that. As I’ve found out from Jess who has patiently “met” all these parts, they see themselves as separate people. Not part of me.

They simply want to live their lives as if they are separate individuals. Jess and others, staff here apparently, have asked them why they’re here and even the more mature adult part says they don’t know. As far as they know they don’t hold any traumatic memories or have their view of the worldharmed in any way.

So to me it adds up to someone presenting as a person with a dissociative disorder, leaning towards DID. Where clearly this can not be the case.

I know that if I had gotten therapy right in the beginning, intense help when all this stuff was raw and open, it would have resolved very quickly. It’s really a blessing the intense stress of the move happened when it did as it snapped my whole being out of whatever was happening. And it did do a lot towards decreasing the number of separate selves as Jess says there are parts that don’t come out at all now.

It’s really only two we’re dealing with.

So I struggle to not encourage all this. I wonder why I feel the need to act like a little girl. Like what that is doing in me. Or whatever that other part represents.

I know as I said we all have parts. But they should be more in flow and connected with the whole of the person’s sense of self.

I have always had a childlike quality and I am Jess’s “baby sister.”

But that is vastly different from how this girl presents herself.

But again it’s not due to any trauma and she will admit that too.

So if I’m presenting like a dissociative disorder, and yet is impossible for this to be it makes me wonder why I’m doing this?

I’ve known multiples for years and have heard horrible stories about how they come across people who they know are “faking the symptoms” of DID to get a particular type of attention and connection from others.

Sometimes I use multiple language to describe my experiences and I know that language, and now the feeling of dissociation and having selves independent tome. At the same time, when I find myself using these terms it reinforces to me how I have no right and shouldn’t be experiencing/ expressing what’s going on in that way. As the only people who are able to say such things are those that do have multiplicity/ systems for whatever reason.

So I go on an extreme rollercoaster of working very hard to control my sense of self, (constantly reminding myself who I am and what’s important to me and that whatever else that’s trying to say it’s me or live my life is not true) I will not dissociate. For maybe a day or even once two weeks.

At that point for the two weeks I was focusing on what need acting as a multiple and dissociation is meeting for me on an unconscious level. That seemed to put it all in a less overwhelming perspective and more concrete things could be put in place like reflecting on my life and why I might act this way.

However then in spite of my best efforts something happens. I am not focusing so much likely due to how exhausting it is to do so. And then I dissociate and a part comes out and takes over for awhile.

At least I’m not being thrown in the hospital for admitting this happens, and even when parts to my complete embarrassment have interacted with a few staff.

I think I need to find a therapist who can help me continue to work on reestablishing who I am, and how to move whatever is blocking that out of my awareness. As in integrate whatever parts are there so they no longer are independently functioning selves.

It’s hard to find anything around dissociation/ parts/ multiplicity where people talk about how to stop the dissociating itself so that this no longer happens. I will continue to look.

My direct concrete approach feels like some of the skills based stuff around depression and anxiety. Which I always felt was too oversimplistic. Clearly if I were to get into all the complexities around why this happened, or saying yes I do have this, it would be going against the very foundation of who I am. Getting back on solid ground means so much. And I’m getting there.

I wish there was some kinda workbook around stopping dissociation.

It’s something many don’t want to talk about as they’ve formed an attachment to these internal selves, and see them as people not fragments of emotion/ memory or unprocessed expression of needs. And so they would rather communicate with them and build relationships. Which to me encourages whatever caused their emergence, as in my case it wasn’t severe trauma, it encourages them to grow and stay rather then get put back into the full awareness of me.

I suppose if the dissociation weren’t a factor, if there were parts of my personality there but I didn’t have the time loss it might be easier to work with.

More to the point I plain don’t want to pursue the complexieties of all this. I want to get badck to who I know I am, my mental health/ illness as I’ve seen it in recent years and move on from this freak breakdown.

I’m not sure well meaning Sandra gets the seriousness of this. Though she did very much praise my efforts for even a moment, never mind days, I was able to stop these symptoms. I guess similar to how one would learn to cope actively with depression or anxiety. Felt really good about that.

A big reason about not wanting to go to this particular place is it’s a half hour away. But through a very busy area of Chicago almost downtown and near a very busy highway. Both times I went we had issues and arrived home two or three hours later!

Unfortunately there are no spots open for therapy here. And very limited stuff with Medicaid. It does cost a lot for paratransit around $40 a month with $6/50 for a full trip.

Public transportation is not an option due to extreme anxiety that would overpower any benefit of going.

And I just don’t know of any therapists who would be willing to work with me even on the most mild treatment more simple, of teaching me how to not do this.

Sandra says she never turns anyone away which is unsettling she could make such a broad overconfident statement.

And I do worry if by some horrible chance I start connecting with this stuff, and more parts come up or repressed trauma. It’s a worst case situation but the therapist would need to be prepared for this.

Likely due to the finance issues won’t have money in my account til next month. I feel perhaps I need to just keep doing as I have been doing. Being very clear about my sense of self and my life, and firmly holding to that and not allowing anything else internally to overwhelm me. I’ve lived my whole life without dissociating. And I’m not even sure what the warning signs are of it happening I only know later that something has. But maybe can learn that and react before it happens.

Longer post I know. But really wanted to lay out my perspective at the moment.

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Book Review: I Miss Mummy by Cathy Glass

I recently finished rereading another of Cathy’s books. . This one centers on a four year old girl named Alice.

Cathy knows this case is not starting out well when after being told she’ll be getting Alice within a few hours, the so worker called to say Alice has been abducted by her mentally unstable mom from her grandparents house where Alice had been living for the last six months.

Cathy and her family, Jill Cathy’s social worker, and Alice’s social worker are all extremely worried for her and her mother.

It takes three days to find Alice and she is brought to Cathy’s close to midnight. Right away, Cathy notices how clean and well cared for Alice is, even after sleeping outside for three days. The next day Alice is totally overwhelmed, withdrawn but also extremely polite. Well spoken and mature for her age. In all aspects Cathyknows Alice has been well cared for by whoever was raising her.

Alice constantly talks about her happy memories of living with her mom and grandparents. She asks when she can see her grandparents, and Cathy tells her it will be soon because she can’t see why it wouldn’t be.

She then is shocked to learn that Alice will only be seeing her grandparents for an hour every two weeks. Not seeing her mom at all, but seeing her father and his wife Sharon (who Alice never mentioned) for two hours every week.

Right from this point Cathy has serious doubts and questions about why Alice was ever taken into care.

She is told by Alice’s current social worker, just before she leaves the position, that contact with her father and his new q wife is so high due to her being planned to live with them within a month. The grandparents are said to be “too old” to look after Alice long term though they’re only in their 60s. It is said that Alice’s mother is a drug user and that the grandparents were putting Alice at risk by allowing her mother to see her on Christmas and at other times.

The picture the social services painted of the situation was vastly different from how Cathy saw things as she got to know the various family members, how they related to each other and everyone’s side of the story.

One month turns into eight as Cathy and Alice are on a rollercoaster ride and in complete limbo around what’s best for this poor previously well settled four year old to live. Things started off six months previously when Alice was living with her grandparents full time. They had asked for support from the social services. Whatever that would have meant I don’t know.

Unfortunately due to changes in social worker even within a few months, files were misplaced and there were huge gaps in communication around the case. Had the first social worker been able to see the case in a fresh perspective they might have done things very differently.

But with an overwhelming amount of children and family’s needing help, they saw a “quick fix” solution in sending Alice to live with her father and his new wife when they applied to parent her. It would work around the issues of the grandparents needing whatever support they needed to look after Alice, as well as really addressing how her mother’s mental health issues could be treated in a way that she could still sustain her very loving and healthy relationship with her daughter.

Sadly this option was the cheaper and “easier” one. Leaving her grandparents and mother torn apart by the day. Alice very confused and withdrawn and at times very hurt by all the contacts and not being able to see the family members she longed to see, while being forced to see people she had no relationship.

It was heartbreaking after a hard contact when Alice asked Cathy “who am I supposed to love?”

No child or family should have to go through this especially when they had been reaching out to get support to prevent separating Alice.

The book has many many twists and turns and until the very end it is unclear what will happen to the family.

It demonstrates a case where a care plan needs to be carefully considered looking at all the relationships in the child’s life, the child’s wishes even at a very young age, and what would best preserve the family in a healthy way. Many cases are the other way, where a child is left with abusive adults much too long as social workers change and they fall through the cracks. It’s interesting to see a case where the opposite is true.

I give Cathy a ton of credit for her persistence in fully giving her opinion multiple times and as strongly as possible for what she saw was best as one who had worked with very different family’s and children. She had a perspective outside the social services or anyone in the family and that was extremely important.

As with all her books I highly recommend this one.

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Albany Care screwed up my SSI check!

Hi everyone,

So if I’m not physically sick, on a bad period, or otherwise freaking out, now I have this stress to deal with.

For ten years my SSI check has been direct deposited into my bank account every month. I got my benefits pretty easily at around 20 due to being blind. I even might get extra benefits eventually from my parents having a disabled child or something. So that to say there isn’t a question about my needing/ getting benefits. I thankfully didn’t have to deal with a huge fight to get it like with other disabilities.

So regardless of moving, even states, or who I was paying the money too or anything I’ve always got my check.

Payed two facilitys rent every month no problem. Was extremely happy to be able to do the same with my new home.

The first rolls around no check. I gave it a few days and then got worried. I thought too, my mom had said she put money in my account but I hadn’t seen that either. Turns out she hadn’t due to a mix up with her own bank. So today I first called bank of America and they confirmed my account was fine.

Called themain number for social security was on hold for an hour!

Finally talked to Jack who was verynice.

He looked up all my info and said that my payments had been stopped! My account was suspended.

I was shocked and ask why the hell? LOL did not say it like that!

He said it was due to change in living arrangement. I asked when this had happened and he said the 13th of march which is the exact day I moved.

I said while yes I had recently moved and was planning to give my new address (which I forgot to do in my complete overwhelm) it should definitely not affect my actual payments status, whether I get benefits and certainly not where my check goes because it’s always gone to my bank account.

He said I needed to call the local office. I said ok.

I gave the information to the person here who handles social security and other stuff administration wise.

When going to these facilities, you sign a form (well I guess you don’t have to) but I have, that says even if you’re your own payee they are able to contact social security on matters related only to the facility and most importantly you’ll physically be with them when they do so. That’s what the form says. I know because I recently signed one.

So Albany has in the past called them on my behalf. I’ve been standing right there, in tears because it was about me owing rent and not realizing or I needed a new social security card when they threw out a good amount of my stuff accidentally.

So they could in theory have called social security. If they were going to, it should only have been to say I was going from one address to another, and they knew exactly where I was going.

But in my case there wouldn’t even be a delay in payment as Jess has, while the check finally gets to the right address due to what day of the month we moved or something. I should have had no problems other than a change of address on my file because I automatically get the check in my bank account! I’ve moved three times and never had this problem. It just hasn’t been a problem. I wouldn’t even know what one would have to say to put your account on hold!

Nothing about this situation should have anything to do with my right to benefits, and certainly not where my money goes.

As you all know, those people collectively were pretty much not communicating with me for the last two months I was there. Including the day I left. So I know they could have, and obviously did, do something to cause this and didn’t tell me.

What’s scary is the level of what they did. What could have they said to put my whole benefits on hold? There’s just nothing in the situation of me leaving there and coming here, that I would think would lead anyone to the conclusion that my account should be just generally put on hold.

So now I have to clean up their mess basically. My mom is the finance queen. She said she blames Jonathan! LOL.

I told her the thing about admin and the form you sign, and how it actually makes sense that you give them the right to talk to social security as they will be asking things only one working at the facility would need. And the key word is that you are right there in front of them because regardless it’s still private information.

Mom’s like I don’t care if it’s The President’s administration it’s still private! LOL

I was like well I did sign the same form for Friedman Place and the same form for Albany Care but in my almost five years there it was never a problem.

And as I said I absolutely can not see how any of this would include remotely putting my whole benefits on hold, not just where the check goes.

I told the woman here that handles the stuff about it. She said she’d “work it out” and everyone around here staff is like well it’s not in your hands anymore. I’m like LOL actually it is and should be! She can call if she wants I know the only way to make sure something gets done is to do it myself. If someone here had tried to tell me that my benefits were stopped and they heard this by calling I wouldn’t believe them. Getting information second hand is not helpful to me when stressed. Unless it’s my mom telling me because I trust her completely. Obviously if the other place screwed stuff up this bad I don’t trust anyone at a new place very much.

So called mom and she said call the local office the old one where I was registered.
Then pretend I have no idea why I’m getting no check. They’ll tell me what Jack did. Act totally shocked. Not hard, any time I think about it I just can’t believe it! And hopefully they will get my new address and that will be enough to reestablish it.

Again, how it got completely shut off from my actual bank account is the big mystery to me.

I had no way of knowing this would happen in a million years.

I’d like to know who did it.

Mom said the other week that if she came to visit even though I don’t live there anymore she’d pay a surprise visit to Albany and give Jonathan a piece of her mind. Which he totally deserves.

So yeah that was like their last horrible thing they did, as if everything else wasn’t enough. And staff don’t get why this brought up the seemingly unrelated stuff about their mistreatment around mental health issues. When I say staff I should clarify I mean one, a very wise well meaning, pushes religion/ prayer down your throat type. So she thinks the only solution is praying and thinking positive like literally!

So I didn’t take her words too much to heart at all. It was just annoying.

Between that and the other RSAS, putting their hands all over my arms and practically holding me in place at my very mild, for me, anxiety it’s like the second you get emotional they rush to “calm you down.”

But somehow I doubt Tasha will be any more moved by it and say to focus on the positive or not worry too.

Sigh.

It’s a good thing I know my own mind/ emotions and that I can’t just do what they’re telling me to do and just because they say so doesn’t mean how I express myself or feel is wrong. But boy are they really harming a lot of people with that stance generally though.

Went to a journaling group today and the group leader, not sure if he was an actual clinical person or not, went on for most of the time about how important writing about only positive things is. So yeah. That group you can only write about positivge “good” things.

I guess many people maybe with different illnesses than I have a grasp on, or ya know everyone is different, need to only be kind of lead to grab on to any positive moment or memory they can or else their whole view is so distressed they can’t function.

For me it’s so backwards. I’ve had “be positive” shoved down my very sense of who I am. So that trying to hold on to “positive” things, or “be positive” is a default I continually strive for and end up not being able to face anything else.

But it seems staff here, I haven’t gone to any groups except journaling, but in the group descriptions, emphasize focusing on the positive and not really addressing the complexity of things.

They don’t see the issue that just as they wouldn’t want people entirely focusing on the hard things in life, forcing them to only express the good is just as extreme if well meaning.

But I don’t know the ins and outs of every kinda therapy and I know these places of5ten have to give “evgidence based” concrete coping skills and one of them is trying to find the positive and distract from other things. So maybe that’s what this program is about?

Not sure.

Anyway am going on and on. Will say more about me and therapy later. But will keep you posted on the check thing.

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short update

Hi everyone,

Wanted to write a short update.

Start of third week here going ok I guess. Anxious about a few things.

This afternoon had a very hard experience with two staff. Jess had to go gwet something done in the nurse’s office. She had accidentally locked her and my keys in my room before lunch. We’re both still getting used to keys and miss our door alarm thing! So we needed to find a floor staff to open the door anyway. There were two RSAS like nursing assistants going upstairs to our floor.

She had me go with them because downstairs was very crowded and I was already having a slightly anxious time about something else which I’ll say in a minute.

So I did have my cane. But the elevator was crowded so we were all really squished together.

Which was fine.

I was very frustrated to get up there and find out that no one had a key! The other RSA said that the keys were on her cart which she took to lunch. Shouldn’t every staff like always have a key? You would think?

So I was totally fed up and anxious. There was only the tv room for me to sit in and I hate the noise of the tv and sitting in the hard plastic chairs both and worse together.

So I’m just standing there. Legit that’s all.

One of them turns and is facing me and puts her hands on my arms and holds them and almost holds me to her. I would consider this the first level of what one might do to physically manage an aggressive or self-harming person as it’s been done with me before.

However I was not aggressive or self-harming. I was getting anxious and starting to have tears in my eyes from having to not be in my room when I was already very in a bad place in the first place. And this was the longest I’ve been with staff and not Jess. It was just a difficult moment.

But I was not hurting anyone, going to hurt anyone and therefore should not be in the process of being physically managed.

However you had the one facing me with the holding arms thing and the other standing on the other side.

They kept saying I needed to calm down and Jess had wanted them to make sure I’m “ok”

I quickly by this point or while this was happening easily broke the arms holding woman’s hold. To which she said this was even more reason why I wasn’t calm and they were just “trying to help me” and I was “having an attitude.”

Now this started over getting a key for my room!

So since I finally figured out that me asking to just stand and wait wasn’t working, though I firmly told them that Jess asked them to take me upstairs and unlock my room, not hold me in place and that I would not fall over, I decided to just go sit on the plastic chair. It was less traumatic than being manhandled.

So I sit there and the two are talking about how there’s no social worker around, of all things and how one needs to go to lunch.

So eventually one does go down there to get the key the other sits next to me and I could just feel a “watching you like a hawk” vibe. I felt like asking if I was on one to one as that’s what it felt like. If I’d untangled myself even a bit harder from the arm holding woman, I bet they would have called a code. Which would mean literally all staff especially security guards running to the area and who knows what? So I was lucky but they sure acted like I needed to be physically controlled.

So finally! We got the key. And I think it was the arm holding one that let me in. She didn’t say anything and I didn’t say anything. And Jess came up and was really upset that this happened and she’s like that’s not what I had in mind!

I was so exhausted and anxious from it I took a nap instead of going to music therapy as I’d wanted to. I just did not have the physical mental or emotional resources to go back downstairs and be in a small room with lots of people. If I even vaguely focus on the situation I can still feel the pressure of her hands on my arms and what it was like having her in my personal space with her holding me up against her. That has more to do with my very h hyperaware sensory perceptions right now than anything else.

Still it was intense. And for no reason.

The thing I was and am originally anxious about is that I haven’t gotten my SSI check direct deposited into my bank account yet for this month. Not sure if the easter holiday threw things off probably has.

But just my luck for it to happen first month I need to pay these people.

So yeah that was my strange day.

Tomorrow have second therapy session with Sandra will post a bit about my mental health and therapy in another post.

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exhausted and sick past week and treatment planning meeting tomorrow

Hi everyone,

You have no idea how happy I am to be able to actually have energy to be on the computer tonight!

I’ve come on a couple times over the past few days to write in my journal or charge something but otherwise haven’t done anything. No e-mail since Sunday. The only length of time I’ve gone not being able to be on is when I’ve been hospitalized. So for me to be too tired to computer LOL says a lot.

I’ve never been hit with a cold and stomach bug at the same time. Well this past week I have. It was terrible. Between the major distress of my whole body in the past months, the stress of moving and hardly eating at the end of being at Albany, my stomach is very sensitive. I learned overtime at Albany what foods agreed with me and what didn’t. So that’ll be trial and error. My stomach gets upset easily with anxiety which I’ve had a lot of some conscious, like it is a struggle most nights to not be sharing the same room as Jess even though she leaves after bedtime routine still it’s very lonely. A huge fear is that they’ll have a fire alarm in the night. Which they eventually will and we’ll have to leave the building and actually go outside.

But anyway so that’s known anxiety. But I’m sure there’s other stuff that’s being expressed physically. Having the tense twitching muscles all over for example.

So yeah mostly I’ve been sleeping.

When I threw up Saturday night I knew it was a bug. I was genuinely worried about my stomach I’d be ok for awhile and then be running to the bathroom the next day. And having coughing fits that turned into gaging and all the gross cold sludge coming into my throat was very overwhelming. I’m just not sick like this. I usually bounce back from colds within a few days and rarely get an actual stomach bug.

So that really dragged me down. Jess was an amazing older sis and made sure I got food in me a little at a time and hydrated.

Crackers and Gatorade were very important for awhile. Too bad CVS is very expensive and we can’t seem to have yet found a corner store like Maine foods.

So yeah slowly things improved. My cough has basically gone away and things have been back to normal with my stomach today.

So believe it or not I’ve been here a little over two weeks! Don’t know quite what to make of things as most of my time so far I’ve been unusually physically sick which in itself overwhelmed my already overwhelmed system. So can’t get a clear idea about baseline around these new physically based symptoms that are trauma based from the last few months. What’s truly gone and what’s still there.

I do know that much to my dismay the time loss and others are still very much there.

I wish there were a way to solve this particular problem as it’s honestly the scariest for me. Not that I ever want the communication issues back but they made more sense than a possible dissociative disorder.

So haven’t gotten much of a chance to reflect on my experiences here as I’ve had to just navigate things in the moment. I’ve hung on to Jess very tightly. And I know she doesn’t mind and needs my support now too. Though I always feel like especially lately with my crisis she’s doing most of the supporting. We’re each other’s constant in this new environment. One goal I will put forward is me connecting with other residents and branching out. But that will take time and trust of others including staff to know that if there are problems with new friends I can lean on them. Not Tasha.

There are some rules that feel really strict controlling and sometimes just random. Broached the subject of a new caseworker I think it was end of last week? Was told that caseworkers are assigned not only by floor which I guessed but by room. There are like 70 rooms on the floor far apart so I kinda get it? Still I would think that one might get some wiggle room in being able to change to one of the other five people on the floor if the relationship really isn’t working out. Someone said that if they allowed residents to change caseworkers even a bit more flexibly they’d be changing all the time.

And I know caseloads are very small ten to twelve with 15 workers so each resident gets individual attention and to really build that safe relationship with this particular person or so I’m guessing. But if like me, you just don’t feel the chemistry is there then that aspect of things just isn’t an option. You can’t at all force connection.

Tasha is great with practical details like she made sure that my stuff got over here within a very short amount of time. She planned to talk about me switching psychs but then got busy. In any case I have confidence in her ability to do practical stuff in a timely manner. The more relationship therapeutic stuff I don’t think will happen with us.

Jenny says that it’s important to build relationships with as many staff as possible so I will be putting forward in my treatment meeting seeking to connect with other caseworkers on the floor and just see how that goes. I’m used to being my own caseworker LOL. And it’s really a miracle I can trust anyone or even have discussions around connection with staff when before leaving Albany Care thinking about being in front of any professional and just being there made me feel so much panic.

I don’t think Tasha exactly appreciates the overwhelming nature of what I went and am going through with the huge internal shifts that went on. I think she thinks it’s something I can just put behind me and that it doesn’t matter now. I just got that general sense. She certainly wasn’t someone like Jenny who really got into talking with me and really participating. Everyone says well caseworkers have to be professional. And I’m like yeah but you can be personable and authentic and not distant or making it clear you’re not following the person as they’re trying to express how they’refeeling.

Sowe’ll see. I’m hoping Jess can come to the treatment plan as she’s my biggest ally in life and has seen and lived through everything I am trying to relate and get supporton.

Will be sure to let you all know what happens.

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Asesments tomorrow, Jenny Orio and Coco therapy

Hi everyone,

Forget how I ended the last post or how much I went into my bad start to the day on Wednesday.

So Wednesday morning I still was upset about Tuesday’s crazy trip home from my first therapy intake, which I was also having mixed feelings on. There was major miscommunication with us and the transportation company and so by the time we got home it was well after four which is when we do meds and dinner though it’s extremely early for that.

Well Jess and I walked into a code. Meaning all halls and areas on the first floor had to be cleared. We couldn’t even sign in. We had to sit in the activity room which while it wasn’t crowded there were people being loud and annoying and all I wanted was to continue my new routine, having a change going out and the problems coming back really threw me out. I got up and was about to run out of the room myself and maybe cause my own code but then we were let out.

Had a mostly contented night. Came downstairs and it hit how angry and aggressive a huge portion of the residents here are. I was feeling my old sensitivities from the trauma stuff coming back maybe due to the Sandra meeting? I could just feel so chillingly people’s anger, aggression with the intent to hurt one another and totally not caring. I came upstairs gvery upset having no idea how I could live here and feel safe. Saying that residents here were so different from AC. Jess and I talked and reestablished all the amazing 5 things around here.

Well next morning still frazzled. Hadn’t written Jessica the previous night about my anxiety was too tired.

Tasha breezed by. Conversation went ok. Housekeeping will clean our bathroom, or at least mine, every other day hopefully. Has to be cleared with Jessica. Jess happened to mention that when she’d asked for a PRN for anxiety it was given to her with the reminder to find a social worker in the future to talk about what’s going on before taking the PRN. At Albany we just took them. In theory after a certain number of PRNS staff is supposed to check in around it. But not every single time. When I’m in the place where I agree to take one anyway, I’m very raw and not willing or perhaps can’t talk about what’s going on. To try and do that with a random social worker is ten times worse. My only experiences have been with Tasha, Tina and Kelly briefly.

Still can’t put my finger on why I don’t feel comfortable with her. Her having Naquia’s voice and manner honestly don’t help.

I angrily said I just wouldn’t be taking any PRNS then and wouldn’t have to worry. I then burst into tears. So happy Jess was there. I explained about how much I love it here, but how much I’m afraid of the aggression shown by residents which is quite high level. Codes are more than annoying after you witness some of the behavior of these people they’re quite necessary. Still I said I hated the lockdown feeling, and felt that many residents maybe belong in more secure/ locked/ places that specialize in whatever’s going on. We had a few people at AC who would go off but so many just smoked and most were overmedicated.

I ended up saying perhaps as I am working with Sandra I can go back to AC and Jonathan would be ok with this.

Tasha was finding the conversation hard to follow. She didn’t fuss at me or tell me to calm down and think about it differently as many would. She said we could call alhbany care later.

Feeling more comforted by Jess we went upstairs and continued to hash it out. I discovered that all the rules here though they seem swtrict or even strange, are things that should have been being done at Albany for years. We talked about how codes are handled here right away and firmly. Where there they let everything build up and don’t seem to care about a crisis until it gets to be a real thing they can’t ignore. Then they just call the doctor.

So I agreed to stay and when Tasha came back I said no I didn’t want to call them. She said she had but with no answer which was surprising.

I tried to just restThere was a knock at my door. Jenny a masters level intern was coming to visit me. I had met her for like a minute on Friday when we went to see Jessica but she wasn’t there along with some other interns.

I know she’d be doing an assessment and she said she first had a smaller one to do. But somehow we just started talking. I’m not sure if it was around the guinea pigs that she helps take care of upstairs, or she asked me how things were. Or I just opened up with her.

She listened and responded and connected so well with me. She has the past experience of working at a place very similar to Albany care. Where they’re model maybe out of having a lack of resources, is to overmedicate people and smoking and tv watching are the only entertainment.

I said yeah that was Albany.

She said that what’s happening here, even though to me feels extreme and like things you’d happen in a hospital or more high level place, (lock down, asking someone for permission for a prn) it’s actually more progressive and encouraging people to make their own choices and work through relationships with staff over the ups and downs.

She totally got that on a brain/body level my trauma stuff would get easily stirred up. Where they’re in “fight” I’m either in “flight” or freeze. So while we’re in the same vulnerable overwhelming state it’s opposite ends of things.

She said there were lots of ways to help with this. And not the generic coping skills either. We didn’t go into it. But she seemed to really really get it. That this went beyond cognitively trying to regulate emotions, but was about an inate natural system physically out of whack. It was so refreshing to have that perspective in that she totally got the heart of my issues and experiences since coming here. We also talked about the rollercoaster of the past few months and changes since coming here and before.

I was amazingly impressed. One of the caseworkers Kelly was an intern last year. I’m hoping Jenny can stay I really click with her.

After dinner I went with her up to see the guinea pigs! They were lovingly donated to Clayton but staff were really nervous at first not knowing what to do with the critters. She is now the official “guinea pig” mom.

I talked to Debbie Williams who reminds me of a motherly figure, a gramma really.

Then we just sat as Jenny expertly took out Coco and Orio out. Right when I held Coco I was instantly transported to life with Resis who I got in Jr. High. I remembered all his tricks, how he’d squeal his head off in the middle of the night so I’d wake up and give him water. I remembered what he ate and the type of food bowl that we used.

Coco was extremely gentle and still. He wriggled around in my lap but wasn’t jumpy or anything. I know he knew I’m blind. Almost all animals do. Jenny was impressed. It was so calming holding him it made my bad day melt away.

Tomorrow will be an assessment. We’re not sure who will be giving it. I asked if Jenny could do mine since I opened up so easily to her and felt such a connection that I don’t feel with Tasha the more I interact with her. She understood about my lack of connection we come from different cultures/ temperaments and just don’t gell. She also said how hard it is to open up and tell the same things to so many different people. I’m hoping she will do the assessment tomorrow and maybe have some Coco time.

I’ll be able to register for groups hopefully as well.

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