Thursday, May 8, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Nonstop Therapy

I never knew – until almost 10 years later, that Mom had gone to the bank that held the mortgage on my big blue barn, and arranged to pay for the mortgage until I was able to do so myself. I only found this out last night when I was chatting with The Man. He told me that he knew my Mom had walked down to the bank and made the arrangements and that he never heard another word about it. I am amazed.

In the hospital my doctor was stepping up my psychological care. I was sent to a psychologist who came into the hospital and we bonded instantly. I felt she was more helpful to me than my psychiatrist had been so far and I looked forward to seeing her every week. Unfortunately those visits were terminated before I left the hospital, but she helped me immensely.

My psychiatrist wanted me to join in a group therapy session he was holding in his office in the evenings. To get to his office there was a tunnel between the main hospital building and what had once been the nurse’s dormitories. On my first attempt to use this tunnel, I panicked and ran back to the hallway. The (now nondrooling) girl walked with me through the tunnel and down the hall and promised she would be there when I got out of my session so she could help me on the way back.

The group session involved nine of us and we sat in chairs and faced the psychiatrist in a semi-circle. The other eight were patients that had been on the hall and had been discharged. Each of us had our own stories, phobias and anxieties. I sat and listened to the others while I wrung my hands. When the doctor asked me the next morning at our regular meeting what I thought of the group session, I told him that I just wanted to take a shovel and smash in the heads of all the whiners who were in that little circle. He nodded his head and then told me that he didn’t think ‘group’ was something I needed.

Instead, I went through the tunnel in the evenings three times a week, and the doctor and I had our private sessions. The fact that I could go off the hallway by myself was a good indicator that I was either getting better, or adapting to my collapse. Most of my days were taken up with some kind of ‘session’. Every morning I met the doctor in his office on the ward. Every afternoon I went to a ‘group session’ with the other residents of the ward. When this was done I went to a ‘craft session’ where we made little dolls out of cans and other ‘crafty’ type stuff. In the evenings when I wasn’t seeing my doctor I went swimming or to the exercise room with the group.

After nine months of living on the hall, the doctor thought I was to the point where I could go home. A nurse spent a morning with me and together she helped me apply for AISH – Assisted Income for the Severely Handicapped. I was still quite nervous and afraid of everything and didn’t know half of the answers to the questions on the application and I answered ‘single’ to the question of whether I was married or not. As far as I knew – I wasn’t married. It was a very long and drawn out process and if I was approved I would receive a monthly income of $857.00. While we worked through this application, it dawned on me why there were so many homeless people in the world. They were people like me who had been unable to take the weight of the world on their shoulders any longer. I had lived with them for the last nine months on this hallway and I had known of some that didn’t make it. Now the government wanted me to pay my mortgage and utilities and feed and clothe myself on this paltry amount, because I was unable to work. When the impossibility of this loomed in front of me – I shut it out instead of shutting down. I knew my heart and mind would break if I thought of all my hall-mates who had to deal with this in the future and what it might do to their lives.

Instead – I went home. And I stayed home this time.


aims said...

I mistakenly posted a future post earlier today and want to apologize to the people who read it and to those who left a comment. It will be the next post after this.

Maggie May said...

The money that the government expected you to live on was very small.
There are people living on the streets here who obviously are in the same boat. Have to feel for their predicament. I always think, "There for the love of God, go I."

Amy said...

Going home must have been really stressful. I see you still have your big blue barn, and I'm glad.

bichonpawz said...

I've never figured out how the government expects people to live on such a small amount.

I Beatrice said...

Glad news - I'm so pleased to know you have gone home at last, and can only hope (along with everyone else I'm sure) that your recovery will continue apace in the safer, happier environment of your beloved blue barn...

And to think that your mother went quietly off and arranged to have your mortgage paid! As I said, bad as things were for you at that time, you did have quite a lot going for you one way and another.

Is it full steam ahead to Revelation and the Happy Ending now, I wonder?

The Lehners in France said...

aims, I'm glad you were able to leave the hospital and stay home this time. It must have been a very scary time and you did it. Well done you. Love Debs x

Carolyn said...

This post makes me feel very blessed indeed. I second what Maggie May said... "there but for the grace of God, go I." (My mother always said "grace" instead of "love".) Beautiful either way.

Sometimes when I write a rant bemoaning my life I wonder if it offends you. I often think about how someone like you knows what real struggle looks like and how I've only seen it in movies. Again, I am very blessed indeed. Thanks for the reminder and the beautiful writing, as usual.

Mean Mom said...

I am glad that you had Cid and D to support you throughout this nightmare, but, most of all, I am glad that your mother was finally there for you. What a relief.

Thanks for commenting on the Toms and Queens post, at my place. It was an awkward one, I know. I was prepared for people to ignore it!

lisa marie said...

I'm glad you're finally home even though this has been a long ride and is still is.

Maybe this is from the other post but I'm really glad your mom came thru.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for your comment on my last post. I have a lot to learn from you!!!

Lane said...

Home at last and I'm relieved the Big Blue Barn is safe thanks to your mother.

I hope this is the road to recovery. Oh I hope.

Noortje said...

I remember how scared I was about these things and how grateful I was that I was married. I was just terrified that I would end up in the gutter, it i so easy, after all.

Still, you made it, didn't you, Aims? How much more is there to this story? I bet there is a lot you haven't told us yet. There is so much I am curious about yet...

John-Michael said...

You have woven all of You into this developing tapestry that is Me. You are some of those dark fibres that make such dramatic contrast in my Spirit. And You are some of the radiant fibres that glow with deep rich hues that make me want to embrace and wrap up into the warmth and comfort of your Being. All of this through your delicate weaving of these threads of your Self, with the delicacy of an artful surgeon, into my Awareness. That is the best effort that I can make at describing what I sense after this reading.

I love You Aims

dawn said...

It is good to see you come out the other side, but I know this is not the finish of your story.

travelling, but not in love said...

I'm so pleased you finally got home and stayed there...looking forward to seeing where this leads...

My brother works with homeless people these days and so many of them have found themselves on the streets through the simplest of twists in their tales. Many of them involve mental or nervous breakdowns, depression and so on.

Truly, when I see these people I really do think "there but by the grace of god (allah/buddha/whoever) go I".

aims said...

Maggie - I use to wonder where these people came from and where were their families? Now I know.

Amy - Incredibly stressful! So hard to go from being looked after - to looking after yourself again. Especially when you are unable to.

Bichonpawz - Me neither! Shame on them!!

Dearest B - It still blows me away what Mom did for me. When I mentioned this to my brother the other day he paused - and then said - I guess she felt it was just something she had to do. But - it wasn't....she did not have to - she wanted to. Bless her! I would have not been able to continue if my illness had cost me this barn. I know it.

Debs - So incredibly scary. Very sad isn't it?

Carolyn - As I have written to you - I read about others concerns and wonder how they do it. We all have our problems in life. But mine - well mine has certainly made me a different person. One that I am finally proud of.

Mean Mom - Today being Mother's day - I salute my Mom! Bless her for coming through for me when I really really needed her!

Lisa Marie - Being home~~sigh.

Carolyn (again) - And I from you...never forget that!

Lane - The long road - but still the right one.

Irene - Being in an institution like that really (eventually) makes you aware of those that don't make it and end up on the streets. My heart goes out to them - always - with every single day that passes I know that they are still in that hell and that society is turning the other cheek and walking past them. Horrible! Shame on us all!

JM - Hopefully we learn from everyone - and that the learning helps us on our own path and makes it a truer and straighter one. Thank you JM.

Dawn - Does the knowing make it harder to comment?

TBNIL - Bless your brother! What a remarkable human being! These people are in such need - and yet most of us just walk on by! He's a special person - give him a hug for me.

Mima said...

I watched a wonderful documentary last week about homeless ex-soldiers. It seems that quite often they start to suffer from post traumatic stress, and lose the ability to cope. It was really harrowing. I think it would be so easy to go over the line where you just can't cope with any more forms, or anyone else's opinion on how you are going to improve your life, and just want it all to stop. I have been so lucky with not only a really supportive family around me, but a miracle worker (aka my social worker) who knows how to fill out the dreaded forms, and understands the difficulties. Between them they have kept me going and I am now independent. But those forms - awful.

So glad to hear that you are on your way home at last. Just going off to read the next instalment!