Well Whattya Know?

I have news to break. For the past week and a half your favorite Bipolar blog personality (me, of course, har har) has been working as a Developmental Trainer for a group home! It was as if God had the job for me in mind when he allowed me to be Bipolar and OCD and then let me have a string of bad experiences that influenced me to change from a marketing major to a psychology one. With a degree and a year of experience working with the population I could theoretically apply for a case worker position. Most shockingly…I love my job. Me. Barbie. The anxious, paranoid train wreck who has chugged along through hell with dark views of the future. The idea of a career was horrifying until last Monday. Yes. I work FULL-TIME and I LOVE my job. Even better, I start my last class before my BA of Science in Psych in January. Things are coming together!

*KNOCKS VIGOROUSLYΒ ON WOOD* (Here I go starting to terrify myself of ‘jinx-ing’ it. PLEASE EFF OFF, NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.) <–I swear I’m not even done writing this post and I had to go back between these paragraphs three times to keep adding to the anti-jinx/terror I’m having about writing this at all.

I’ve been floated to every classroom we have but am currently one of the three teachers in one of the two low functioning classrooms. We have low, middle, and high functioning clients (separated into classrooms by their ability levels), all of which live at the group home and travel a few miles by bus every day M-F to the activity center where I work as a teacher. We’re not independent of the home by any means, just a separate facility and also have 19 clients from another nearby females only group home who join us for school. As well as carrying out programs with the clients I also change adult diapers or assist with toileting in general if needed and assist certain clients at lunch time. I’m still getting used to the toileting thing. I’m just petrified that I’ll leave someone in the bathroom while I get gloves, etc. and they’ll fall or something will happen. Few clients need one-on-one attention at all times, but those of them who do have severe medical or behavioral issues and are dangers to themselves or others to be unattended.

I’ve had a George R. R. Martin novel’s worth of experiences since last Monday (he’s an author that tends to write very long books). Today, I went for my first day of textbook/classroom training at the Residence (what we call the group home, and we call the school the Workshop). We talked about Human Rights and Abuse and Neglect. I learned a lot of specifics and stories regarding the clients at our home and general state regulations. I’ve been fighting with myself over what stories to tell in my blog, but keeping a private journal of all my endeavors. Maybe next post I’ll give some experiences from that day. They’re all eventful so it’s not like I’m ever going to be shy of stories. No worries, I won’t be revealing anything personal about the clients, nor their real names. In the meantime, I think this is a good, ‘introductory’ post to this new chapter of my life.

I’ve been coming in early to work every morning to read client files before the busses get here. I’ve helped with bus duty once. When they all get here we split into our ‘core’ classes, then have breaks, more classes, lunch, more classes, some free time to pick an activity to engage in, and then back home. I generally like my co-workers. I have a passion for teaching and I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to do it. It’s an incredible feeling to see progress in someone even over a single day’s repetitive activity. It’s also amazing to build bonds with the clients and have them all smile and wave at you in the halls. I’ve yet to experience any real maladaptive behaviors yet, but I’m prepared.

Seriously though, I’m a teacher. I make a difference in the lives of the developmentally disabled and those who also have mental illness. Time to scuttle through some ideas for tomorrow’s lesson plan!

27 thoughts on “Well Whattya Know?

  1. OMG!!!! I’m soooooooooooooo happy for you! This gives me hope for myself! I’m so glad that you love your new career! You go girl! πŸ™‚

    • Yes it is! I feel like I’m becoming a better person as the days go by and more confident because I like myself for what I do. Is that weird? I’m thinking about stopping in at Lutheran and leaving a note for Michael and Kathy letting them know about this because it’s a big deal and I think they’d appreciate it.

  2. Well hot diggety damn. Look at you, kid. πŸ™‚ I wascracking up wile reading this (jinxing etc. haha) but am so darn happy for you truly. You’re going to do great at this. And WTG on your very soon to be had bachelor’s! I’m not quite there yet- still another year to go, but have decided to take 2 to 3 years off from school to pursue my art/photography for awhile. (Finals this week! Woohoo!) CONGRATZ TO YOU,B! Impressive. πŸ™‚

  3. Barbie-Q Bipolar: I like putting the Barbie before the Bipolar. Yes, I just changed your name. I can do that. This is wordpress. The power to change someone else’s verbage to your own desires.

    Just kidding. Anywho – a big huge gi-normous congratulations. You will do great. Keep in mind while caring for others, you must care for yourself. I worked in a home for kids once and we had such wild and crazy things happen that I can’t even describe. But this was only periodically, most of the time I had there was fun, inspirational, and not crazy-as-shit. (Oh, crap. You’re going through all the official training and I’m sure somewhere in there they remind you to be sensitive and not describe your work experience as “crazy-as-shit.” Don’t judge me, you’re just a newbie.)

    Again, kidding. Anywho-sie – I’m really happy you found a job you care about. Doesn’t it make getting up in the morning so much easier to handle? I, too, really like my job currently. It’s still hard to maintain my sanity (I have to really make sure I do things for me and also set boundaries for myself (UGH – “setting boundaries” is such a therapy phrase). I still do not know how to do either of those things, but I do my best and I try so I’m always hoping that is going to be enough to keep me from the clank (psych hospital).

    Although my psych hospital experience actually rocked and I was just thinking of it the other day and wanting to go back. I graciously had a good experience (I know not everyone does) but for me, it was a relief from what I was going through.

    OHMYGOODNESS, what am I talking about? Good bye.

  4. Congrats on your career step. I’ve been a professor for many years and expect students (now I just teach do total courses) to change career paths more than once. It’s a sign of an educated mind to be empowered to change course. Your success is a reason to celebrate. Your writing is interesting and fun to read. Nice pacing. Keep nixing the jinx, write with your shoes off and you won’t have to fear the sound of the other one dropping.

  5. Hi and thanks for the like. I’m very ahooy for you – not just getting a job (which is awesome) but getting one you really love. I worked for the NYC Board of Ed ages ago in what was then known as the Track IV Program. It was the legal responsibility for NYC to edumacate everybody up to the age of 21 and this was the program for Severely and Profoundly Mentally Retarded People. (Yes, I know that phrase is no longer acceptable, but that was the name.) Most of my friends couldn’t understand why I loved it as much as I did. When I would describe my students and working conditions (and some of their living conditions – I visited a few over holidays, just to say hi) they were appalled. but those guys were great. When the learned and retained even the seemingly most insignificant thing, there was such a feeling of achievement – Look What WE Just Did!!!!! I still carry those memories close to my heart. And beware – one of the pitfalls that all the ed staff fell into was to mimic some of the unique phrases or physical actions of our students. But it was never – neither in mine or in any of the others I saw do this – done in a mocking way. It was an affectionate connection of sorts. Almost an attempt to see/hear/do those things to try to understand what they were doing or motivated to hear or see or whatever. Funny thing is I worked there in 1985 and thirty years later, I still say or do some of those things.

    And it still is with affection.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • The term now is Intillectually Disabled at least as far as I’ve been taught and that’s on the job, not even in school. It’s going to take a lot of education to change retardation as a term we use even if it is a thing. It’s all connotation you know? I’m totally glad you shared this with me even though it took forever to get back to you. Share some more stories sometime πŸ™‚

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