A little different focus today

If you strip the disability away from someone and you’re faced to look at them for being a person like anybody else, you might gasp at the fact that they too, can be an asshole. Even when their diagnosis are mild or moderate MR. Sounds harsh, but thanks to faulty operant conditioning, the women in my CILA home are all spoiled brats. This is with the exception of the one with a diagnosis of “moderate” but is borderline “severe” MR who isn’t a manipulator, a liar, an attention seeker…I mean I could go on. And these are real behaviors believe it or not. A CILA is an establishment for assisted independent living, and the way my organization runs things, it’s pretty much a glorified hotel.

These women on a regular basis are rude to each other, catty, and even give their staff (me) attitude in situations like when I expect them to set their own place at the table and clean up after themselves (the ONLY thing I expect right now. One of them said that it’s not fair, if you can believe that), and I give them my all on a daily basis like they were my own kids. It HURTS to have to have talks with them about their behavior or when they make a mistake, because they get upset and suddenly I feel like the bad guy instead of the best buddy that I also am to all of them.

It’s hard work if ever there was any, and as miraculously calm and patient as I am, it’s REALLY starting to fluff up my bipolar depression. I see people getting sent to Disney World on the news because they did a pay it forward pizza slice at their restaurant…but what about what I do?! But this is another rant for another day. It’s not like I can’t handle my job, but I can’t handle how the administration can’t handle their ‘warm body filler staff’ on the two days a week I’m not there who screw everything up (literally), and I’m grossed out by this spoiled brat thing. If only my life were so difficult that my main complaint was that I was tired from shopping with my mom today and playing hookie on my day program where I complain it’s boring but don’t do any work that’s being offered for learning especially because I’m living in a CILA home now…

I’d like to ask DHS their opinion on a few things honestly. Like, why is it that even at the main organization, bad behavior is rewarded? Want to stop a behavior? Is this something that happens in all organizations for special needs adults? Let’s offer the resident a pop or a dollar. For real? Two nights ago a 58 year old woman was screeching and ripping her room apart (literally, furniture was moved) because she couldn’t find her “FUCKING RING”. I called our on call because I was terrified she was going to hurt herself while freaking out and got a call back from one of the social workers who has this dreamy irritating voice at this point in time to tell me to offer her a dollar or tell her she can buy a new ring. Well, I was smirking because the resident was not having it. And after I found her ring (in her shoe) she immediately stopped freaking out and went to bed. I even tucked her in while she was apologizing about yelling at me.

In my opinion as someone who does direct care with residents and has for the past year, rewarding these bad behaviors with a trip to get ice cream if you stop having a tantrum, is doing a whole lot of wrong. It’s psych 101 people, no matter their level of developmental disability.

This is Bipolar Barbie signing out. Off to another day of work where I will miraculously lockbox all of my emotions in order to make it through the day and then make a B-line to my Luvox & Lamictal and the only time I’ll have to decompress is the hour drive home…

9 thoughts on “A little different focus today

  1. You have such a challenging job. I’m so amazed and proud of you every time I read about it. One problem you are going to continental to have is that people will not live up to your expectations and you will constantly be hurt, or angry, or stressed out about it.
    I recently had to realize, it’s not really them, it’s me. I expect them to be a certain way, and they aren’t.
    My situation is different, but it’s the same in a way. We are both allowing emotions to get all worked up, they aren’t doing it, we are.
    I lost almost all of my local friends when I got sick. Every single one of the main group of friends we spent the majority of our time with. I thought these people would be there for us, with us, always. But they aren’t. And I was hurt, angry, and….well I became one bitter bitch, and you are the only person I’ve admitted that to. Recently, I tried to put myself in their shoes, how things may have been for them…some just might not have been able to handle it, some just drifted away as so many had kids, others …well they were just selfish…but it’s not my fault,it’s not on me. I expected too much. And they didn’t live up to it. It may change how I choose friends in the future I’m not sure.
    For you, it is different because it is your job. It interferes with. The people you work with, in this type of setting, many times you may have to learn to play the game until you can either move on, or gather enough information for a formal investigation. The people wholive there, well, those people, you may have to just stop expecting so much. Let things go. Chose not to let it get to you.
    But be kind to yourself, this is very had to do.
    I’m working really hard at it, and I’m still having a hard time at it.
    Practice stress reduction strategies as much as possible you know stress is a trigger.
    I sure know it is for me….with all of my illnesses.
    Depression has been holding me tight and we can’t find a med that is working.
    I need to start really practicing the mindfulness techniques that helped me so much before.
    This past year has been hell.

    I have been reading your posts…sorry I’ve only been lurking, and not commenting.
    You know I do care.
    If you ever need me, just shout.
    I’m here for you.

    And BTW….it’s perfectly fine to get pissed at someone for being an ass even if they are handicapped. Being handicapped doesn’t mean you are nice. And it doesn’t mean that when you are mean it can always be excused because of your illness.
    Even if it can, it still hurts at the time. So you can be pissed. When I was a bitch because of my bipolar phases, I sure don’t blame people for getting pissed at me, or even still not liking me. Sometimes I was a real bitch.

    Love ya honey.
    I care.

    • I care too. And I’m ALWAYS glad to see when you do have the chance and the energy to write. It sounds very cliche but 2016 will be better. Of course that’s not a confirmed truth in the universe or anything for either of us, but folk like us grow from what we deal with which is why in a survival of the fittest situation though we may be battling mental and physical distress we’re still going to come out on top and always do when you look back at it even if there are little holes we get stuck in. On Monday I had a great day off that was SO relaxing it was like a dream. Today wasn’t even that hard at work but I put the perfection pressure on myself before, during and after and am only now winding down after feeling like I’ve accomplished as much as I’m going to today. I miss a lot of my local friends…and am kind of crap to the ones that want to see me but I never have honest time for…it’s making me feel bad lately, but I really am doing the best I can and I do need to care for myself and let a lot of those negative feelings go. Ahhh Wendy, just replying to your message here has helped me process a little inner peace for the night. I’ll take what I can get!

  2. Guh…I feel your pain. Seriously. And yeah, that IS a whole lotta wrong going on. How about the higher ups rewarding them for GOOD behavior only? (As you said, PSYCH 101 and definitely a better example of operant conditioning than what they’re trying to do.) I totally admire your courage for being able to juggle work and school. Not sure I could do that. I’ll be starting my final semester next month and I have to tell you, I’m damn scared of that upcoming Capstone-heheh…

    Hang in there, Chief. 2016 MUST be better than this suck year, eh? (Fingers crossed!)

  3. hi. what does “MR’ mean? I have bipolar disorder and possibly borderline and for sure ADHD. Are you like staff/resident? You know like at certain halfway houses they give one person management duties in exchange for free board? What a hard job that would be because they see you as an equal even though you would not be.

    • MR is layman’s term for Mental Retardation, which is still the paper diagnosis even though it’s being changed to Intellectual Disability and is broadly known in the spectrum of Developmental Disabilities. I am staff. I agree for what you said it WOULD be a hard job. I think that’s bizarre that they’d give management duties.

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