The Black Dog.
It is awful knowing what you need and not being able to afford it.
Monday, December 09, 2013
Saturday, December 07, 2013
I went to lunch with Kim2 on Thursday. She asked if I could talk to my former supervisor what would I say to her?
I've been thinking about this and I know I could not talk to her, because she would not listen to me or take what I tell her to heart.
If I could be promised that she would, I would tell her that people's dislike of her has nothing to do with her skin color. I would tell her that she is intelligent and honest, but uses neither in a positive way. I would tell her she is despicable, condescending, judgmental, and controlling.
I would let her know that she consistently violates the NASW Code of Ethics:
When she speaks or gestures negatively about her colleagues:
(b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues’ level of competence or to individuals’ attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.
Social workers elevate service to others above selfinterest. Social workers draw on their knowledge, values, and skills to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their professional skills with no expectation of significant financial return (pro bono service).
Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible selfdetermination. Social workers seek to enhance clients’ capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients’ interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession.
Social workers are continually aware of the profession’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. Social workers act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Saturday, December 07, 2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
One should never ask him/herself the question when he/she is down: If you knew your life would be like it is right now, would you have chosen to live?
When things were going bad at Wells Fargo, and I was having panic attacks about going home to Brian, Jess and Brian's ex's essence in our home, I felt my life was hell and out of control. It was a passing thought to drive off the road at certain points. It was a mere flicker of thought. I knew I could not do it.
I went to counseling and figured out how to put some boundaries in place and things really sucked at times, but handing Brian over his problems and washing my hands of them was inevitably liberating. I never considered myself a control freak, but by trying to gain control of his life so mine would be more in control was what I had tried.
Now when I am alone, my thoughts linger back to those times when I could have just turned the steering wheel sharply and...well, my luck I would have lived, but in worse shape! But I think of that point in my life. If I knew that I would be 47 years old, have my master's, be living alone, unemployed with my children out of reach, I don't know if I would have kept that car on the road.
I think when I was a kid, I looked forward to being grown up. I did not feel comfortable being a kid. I was too mature for other kids. Everything I wanted to play imitated grown ups. I hated sitting at the kids' table. Now I feel like I am at the table all alone. I am still uncomfortable with who I am, or perhaps my circumstances.
One thing that showed up in therapy with me, was that instead of showing my anger outward, I swallow it. I project it inward at myself. Perhaps that is the root of my depression. Some people are angry at other people, or things or situations and they express it outward. I come down hard on me. It is difficult for people to be in the same room with the one they are mad at, and I have a hard time being in the same body as the one I am angry with. Perhaps it will resolve itself. Somethings gotta give!
Don't worry, I have no plan or intent to put an end to my life. I could not do that to my family or friends. Sometimes life slaps you down. After getting up and being slapped down again, sometimes you just stay down and wait until it feels safe to come back up again. I hope I get there soon.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Thursday, December 05, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Okay, Dad, you wanted a posting - or at least said you were tired of the Amazing Dog one. I don't know what there is to blog about. I think about no one knows my life and how it appears to be so much like the movie, Groundhog's Day.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Sunday, December 01, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I found Stella online in Brainerd. Her owner only had her for a week and said she did not get along with her husky. We met at a parking lot, and did the "exchange." The owner told me she was 6 months old and she was so cute, happy and eager to come with me. The owner had her cell phone in her bra, so I knew Stella was coming from a class act... I decided she needed rescuing.
Sage, my last dog from the gang of three I had when in Sioux Falls, did not like Stella. Stella was quite submissive in asking for Sage's approval, but Sage was not interested. Stella followed me everywhere. In fact, one sign that something was not right was when she stopped following me everywhere and stayed on the couch.
About two weeks ago, I noticed her nipples were large and her belly was getting bigger. I wondered if she had worms and maybe if some dogs' nipples enlarged when they were going into heat. I was waiting for a heat cycle to spay her because it is better for their bladders to wait until after the first heat cycle. As I started watching her belly, I noticed movement. I thought I was seeing things until the night before last when I was positive that I saw large movement. I tried to wash an old bed of Princess' but the washer had an error code. I waited until the next morning to look up the error code. Unfortunately, when Stella pooped 3 times - instead of her usual 1 - and kept trying to pee, I knew she was in labor and washing the bed would have to wait.
I thought I would try to take a shower as she slept, so laid out some towels and sheets just in case. Then I sat beside her and reassured her that I would be right back. She laid her head on my leg and I could tell she was in pain. Her mouth opened and her body strained and she was shaking. I held her head as her back end reared up and she had about three tail-raising contractions that gave birth to the first puppy - white with black spots.
She looked at it in shock and attended to her rear, that was obviously in pain. She really did not attend to the puppy until I tore the amniotic sac with my fingernails. She lay down next to it and started cleaning it. When I went out to have a smoke, she got off the couch and followed me. The first one nearly crawled off the couch. I put the first one in her crate, and it got its head caught between the little bars. It was a comedy of errors...
After quite awhile, the second came - white with brown spots - after the first was clean and we had a break for a bit. Then with much more pain came the third and largest of them all. It is tan with brown mask and a diamond on its head. She was just beginning cleaning of that one, when the last was born. Black with white feet, tail tip, and collar. She appeared to be out of energy and did not notice the black one under her tail with the rest of them nursing and whimpering. I had to bring it to her attention after I checked to see if it was breathing.
It was quite an experience. She is a very good mother and now is growling at Sage, instead of vice versa. She runs to the door when I leave, seemingly in a panic, afraid I am leaving her. I tried to work in my office today, but she kept coming to get me - and then back to her litter, so I had to bring my computer in the living room by the box of puppies. She is content when I am near her and will sleep then. She is really too young to be a mother. I am here to support her and help where I can. She surprised me! Quite the 5-for-1 discount!
Today Stella came and got me. I thought she had to go outside, instead she led me through the kitchen to the doormat in front of the door to the garage. There I found a poop. She was showing me she could not wait while I was sleeping and had to go. This I find amazing. Every time I let her out to do her thing, she races back inside to be with her babies. Sage gets nipped or at the least severely reprimanded if she is in a 3 foot radius of the puppies.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Saturday, August 24, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
So, last winter a nice guy helped me dig my car out of the snow in my driveway. I was hung up on the stuff the city allowed to get packed down before they plowed it into my way.
This year, I found out who the guy was. He is the neighbor's handyman. He mows, snow-blows, paints, trims bushes, weeds, etc. He came into the yard when I was out a few weeks ago, and asked if I would go out for a couple of drinks with him. He said it has taken him this long to get the gumption to ask. I agreed to coffee. We met for coffee at 10:00 am and he was dressed up in his work clothes: old t-shirt, old jeans and ball cap. Really, he shouldn't have.
Over coffee "we" discussed all the stuff in his garage and basement he needed to get rid of, the stuff he has sold at online garage sales, his stepdaughter from a previous relationship, and he did not ask me anything about me. Afterwards he gave me his phone number and I did not reciprocate.
He has come knocking on my door, caught me outside and talked my ears off. I don't want to go out with him. I am not interested. He even stated that I have not given him my number, and I agreed and nodded. (Yeah, you're right. I did not.) He is attempting to discourage me from leaving Brainerd, asking if I contacted that one lady in private practice. Telling me I should so I don't have to leave here.
He mowed my side of the yard next to my neighbors' yard, went through my cardboard I have out for pickup, thinking I wouldn't mind and has monopolized my time. I am chalking up the hours of my life I will never get back. I am irritated beyond belief. Monday, he came over when the contractor was here to put my door on and started talking to me just to apparently mark his territory. Yesterday he came over every time I walked outside. He does not recognize the deep frown on my face or the indifference to his narratives or the fact I don't reciprocate with the conversation.
I hate NOT working, and my time at home is evolving into complete hell with this guy working next door every single day! I am already motivated to find a job. He is motivating me to agoraphobia. Tomorrow there is a workshop at the unemployment office. I signed up for it just to get away. Leave me the @#$% alone!
I understand - have been told, anyway - men can't take hints. I believe it. The next time he comes over I will make certain he gets the hints - I will tell him to leave me alone.
Apparently teens these days would say in disgust, "Stalker!" or "Creeper!"
I think when I was miserable being lonely and not having anyone to talk to, this was the universe's answer to my request to end my loneliness. Ha. Ha. I am not amused.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
I was back in the old building yesterday. I met with Kim1 at work. I saw a couple of coworkers who say things are just not the same.
Kim1 and Kim2 were talking about this last week. Kim2 stated when I was there, I brought people together. People who worked together for years without speaking to each other much came together in my office. My office was "warm" and comfortable. I was welcoming. I was therapeutic to therapists who came into my office seeking advice or just debriefing. The office was a place people looked forward to going. We all loved our jobs and our work. We would discuss theories and different therapy approaches. We would discuss our difficult clients. We felt excitement about our field.
Kim1 stated my former supervisor is keeping very quiet. She is seldom out of her office and does not talk much at meetings. Her hand gestures have decreased. Guilt? Doubtfully. Kim1 believes my former supervisor feels the tension.
When I entered the building yesterday, Josie and Casey's faces lit up. They updated me on how many more people are leaving. Casey is one. She put her notice in yesterday. Liz is another. She has been there for years.
Kim1 who is friends with Director2 who had nothing to do with my leaving, stated Director2 told her (Kim1) to "get out." Kim1 is trying. I would like to set up a meeting with Director2 on determining what I could have done differently. However, when I think about it, Director1, who did have something to do with my leaving, is just not mentally stable. You cannot work with that. Thus, the lack of trust at the office and the ghost of someone who was trying to make a difference.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
As another day bears down on me I peer out from my introspective self and consider what to do. Being unemployed leaves a blank page with little or no human contact and no plan. I could read a book. I could paint another room. I could vacuum and otherwise clean. I have applied for every possible job in the area.
I realize, as I prepare to shower, the indecisiveness that intrudes on normal daily activities. It is somewhat paralyzing in my attempts to plan my day. It seems simple enough to gather clothing, towels and washcloth and get in and get clean. However, I can't get this accomplished without finding clothes. What to wear today... I might paint. I might not. I might see people. I probably won't. It is going to be warm. I found capris to wear. Underwear and bra take little thought. What shirt to wear... It should be simple. The capris are black, so I can wear any color with them. As I rifle through my closet, I find I don't have many scrappy shirts to wear for painting. Do I dig deeper? Do I clean my closet so I can find something? Should I wash the clothes I wore when I painted last week? Should I bypass the shower and take a nap in an attempt to "reboot" to a more decisive self? Paralyzing.
My indecisiveness has also affected my eating. If I cannot decide what to eat, I don't. I have lost 22 pounds since the first of the year. Things that prompt me to eventually eat are shakiness, boredom (rarely) and headache. I throw a lot of food away.
I have a good number of books to read that I recall my excitement when I purchased. Deciding which one to read is impossible. It is also hard to focus when I do read. I feel so much guilt. I should be working. I should be contributing to society in some way. Instead I sit here and wander back and forth in my head. What should I do? Eventually I will wear myself out and take a nap.
When I wake, it is usually 4-5 pm and then I try to contact friends that are too busy to answer calls or respond to texts. They have their lives. I do not wish to be seen as "needy," and crying on others' shoulders wears on the strongest of souls.
Well, that is all for now. I have to find a shirt, or do laundry, or take a nap...?
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Monday, July 22, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
When the second client came to me with bullying issues from the same small town schools, I had enough. Actually, I had enough after the first one's complaints!
The first one was from a large city. Understandably, he was not up to the par of this small town. He was physically, emotionally and sexually harassed. Despite complaints to the office, nothing was done. The principal was informed, as was the dean of students. They told my client not to have such a "thin skin." This alone made me irate. The PE teacher failed to see anything the bullies were doing to my client and when my client finally had enough and blew a gasket, promptly told him to get a handle on his temper. Bullies broke his glasses, shoved him into lockers, turned the bathroom lights off while he was in there, and called him every name possible for "gay". Oh, and they also call him an "overachiever" in many different ways.
The second client is very shy and has attended this school district since kindergarten. She used to be more sociable. She would not tell me why she was so down. Finally her facial expressions revealed it was school. I did an alternative of Andrew Turnell's Three Houses used by child protection to gather information from children in abusive homes. This technique has pictures of 3 houses: The House of Worries, The House of Good Things and The House of Dreams. The first two are what they are currently worried about and what is currently good. The last one is how things would be if everything were perfect. This client indicated in her Schoolhouse of Good Things, 3 friends and 1 class. The Schoolhouse of Worries showed the names of 13 kids and "a group of 9th graders." The House of Dreams had "go to a different school" and "be homeschooled." This was so powerful, I got tingles! Bingo. I asked her if she was being bullied by the "Worries" kids and if it was really bad in the last two classes. She nodded. She did not want to tell her mother for fear of how her mother would react. I honored that and told her I would make phone calls without revealing her identity.
I was irate again. Same school. Same teachers. Probably the same 9th graders!
What we see here is systemic bullying. This is bullying that is apparently approved of at all levels in the school. From the principal down. That makes me irate.
This morning I called the superintendent of the schools. I left a message on her voicemail. She called back while I was with a client. By the time I was done with clients for the morning, the mother of the second student called me. She was frantic. Her daughter had tried to get all her pills from the nurse and take them. The nurse called her. The mom had no transportation at that time to get her daughter, but the nurse said she was safe. Apparently she indicated there were people bullying her. Her family is taking a trip to Europe next week. She felt she could not even hold out that long. The mom stated she had been calling other parents who have or had students at that school and 3 state they pulled their children from the school and placed in other schools, one was homeschooling and one sent her child to self-defense classes due to bullying issues and lack of action.
I told her mother the superintendent had called me back and I would be returning her call and calling the principal. The mother told me to call the principal because they were looking for my client's sister to find out who was bullying her. I stated I had a list and the mom insisted I call the principal first. I did. Immediately after getting off the phone with the mom. The principal never called back. At 4:55 I returned the superintendent's call and stated the principal had not returned my call.
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Monday, May 20, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I have felt more supported and validated in this last week than I have in perhaps all of my life. Friends have come out of the woodwork and if I asked for a "Don't Fire Ande March", I know my friends would bring their friends and they would pack the streets with picket signs.
Truth is, I really don't want to stay anymore. I think I will be out within the year regardless, and by the end of the calendar year with any luck.
Funny thing is, as down as I was, so many people came through for me. I am being validated by coworkers and clients alike. Not that all of my coworkers or any of my clients know what is going on...but miraculously, I kept being reinforced by the rewards this field brings. That success I feel from working with the many different people I do is panning out.
I have received referrals from other clients, stating I have, "worked miracles" with others before them. I have had success with so many clients. A man who had a stroke stated he felt so much better than he did when he came into my office the week before. I asked one client to come up with 5 life goals and he came up with 10. In meetings with colleagues, I notice people looking at me when a question is asked. I have people who have done their jobs longer than I have, asking me for advice. My office at lunch is still the hang out place for therapists.
I do ask myself with all this positive going on, why the only negative is the administration. I would be embarrassed if I were an administrator to know my employees felt that way. I have tried to speak but rarely, as I have learned throughout the years not to be everybody's spokesperson.
I found out Friday I will likely not be the center of attention for long. The (state?) did an audit and the auditors were twitching while administration was sinking in their chairs. Particularly, the director whose hands my fate rests in. Her own job may be on the line. There seems to be a bit of a problem with our agency hiring clients to be "peer specialists", drivers and cleaning people with access to confidential information. Oh, Karma... thank you! She is in the "hot seat" now!
Posted by The Sioux Falls Phoenix at Saturday, May 18, 2013