A long ramble

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Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

Hey, I’ve been thinking, and I feel like the universe is telling me to stop. It’s happened a few times this year that I’ve opened up, and something has happened to prevent a response, like a sudden health crisis or family emergency. If it’s easier for staff/volunteers to call it quits on this thread, it will definitely be the path of least resistance.

If someone would like to or was planning on responding, they certainly can. If not, I’ll live. My brain is a hot mess because I’m going through something triggering and retraumatizing in an unrelated area, so I might not even be capable of comprehending a conversation about boundaries right now. It is no one’s fault, I just feel completely worthless right now and setting boundaries in that state of mind is hard because you feel like you don’t deserve to have limits or boundaries.
valerie4
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by valerie4 »

Hi Raffles,

I think I can speak for all of us here on the staff when I say we feel no desire to end this thread or any conversations with you. We all want to help in whatever way we can. Unfortunately, Heather isn't available to chat with you right now. But I was hoping, if you're down with it, you and I could chat a bit. You did originally respond to my message, which I wanted to thank you for being so vulnerable with me. I unfortunately was not on shift to respond but if you would like to continue talking with me I am more than happy to be more consistent.

I think when anyone is in a bit of a "brain is a hot mess" mode, this is just about the best time to talk stuff out with someone else and get support. Its super hard to think things through when your brain is so overwhelmed. I also want to say I completely hear you. In your original response to me you mentioned how hard it is for you to think about capacity and that this is how you've been coping for a while so movement from that seems close to impossible - that makes a lot of sense. When we are stuck in a cycle of traumatizing or harmful situations and we have learned how to survive that, it makes it seem like anything beyond survival is impossible. So asking someone to move from that and move to something like boundaries is a BIG ask in that context. That being said I want to say that moving from there is not impossible if that is what you want.

Before I get into that. I just wanted to acknowledge something you said before. You mentioned the death of a friend. It sounds like you're shouldering the full responsibilty for your friend's death and that is a super heavy burden to carry. Please try to be kind to yourself - no matter what you did the best you could even if it doesn't feel like it. Its still so important to take care of yourself -sacrificing your own mental health for someone elese's is not an even trade-off. Everyone needs a network of support and care including you. Additionally, depression is a really complex thing - no one person or conversation can be the direct result in what builds up to a situation like your friend. Do your best to remember that in the face of all consuming depression a whole community of support is needed. Including the help of a professional. Everyone needs a network of support (including you!) but that is what is is - a network. You are a piece not the whole structure itself.

I also want to say that I understand how you feel because I was in your situation for a long period of my life. I was the support friend. And your logic made a lot of sense to me at the time too. But it was unhealthy and it took a toll to the point that I was no longer able to provide the support my friends had relied on. They needed more than me. Because I was a friend not a therapist.

Additionally, you talked about the concept of deservingness and not feeling you deserve anything outside the basic necessities. While I think you and I both know that's not a fair statement to say to yourself, lets work within it. You provide your friends with mental health support because they need it to survive, right? How does that survival right not extend to you? Our basic health is inherently tied to our mental health. In order to get by, we need to mentally get through every day. But in order to live, not just survive, we need more than that. A human being has an inherent right to live on this planet with their needs being met. I imagine you agree to that sentence (correct me if I'm wrong here). So maybe just start practicing stating that concept.

One of the best ways we can help the people in our lives is by modeling what it means to live and take care of yourself. My friends that have helped me the most in life are actually the ones that have set some of the best boundaries. They showed me what it looks like to live a life where your health is a priority to yourself by modeling it. Maybe by modeling your inherent right to live that can be a step to help both you and your friends. Is this making any sense?

This was a lot so I want to check in and see how you are feeling and if you are comfortable continuing to chat with me.

Best,
Val
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

Hello. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound demanding. I completely understand that things come up and schedules are schedules. Yes, I am fine to continue chatting. However, it's only fair that I let you know that things have changed. It's looking like my parents won't let me live with my friend, at least until she makes a decision about next year. She might move to a different state, and I really need to be able to have a place until next summer. It seems my posting was all for naught, and I'm stuck living with my parents unless there's a miracle. Things feel very bleak right now, but I'm happy to listen to whatever you have to say. Sometimes, it's just nice to know that there is someone else out there.
valerie4
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by valerie4 »

Hi Raffles,

There is no need to apologize you did not sound demanding. We appreciate that you expressed your frustration because it helps us help you better.

I am really sorry to hear that the possible new housing has fallen through. That must be really disappointing and very upsetting. Is there no one else of possibility to try to find housing with?

I can imagine the overwhelming negative emotion right now. I don't think your posting was "for naught" as you said though. You were extremely vulnerable about something important. And if that's something you're willing to explore that's something we can still do no matter where you live. You took a big step on the boards with us and even if outside planning has not gone the way you needed it to, you still made positive change for yourself.

Are you still pursuing trying to find a therapist? If you're up for it, I'd like to talk about your feelings of not deserving anything but basic necessities to live, and your hesitations for asking for emotional assistance from friends. If you are willing to try it, I think talking out some of these issues can make the future process, where you will move out, even smoother. Knowing your worth and being able to demand what you need and set boundaries will help you in the future. I have not lost hope that things will get better. We will adapt and keep going.

I also kindly want to remind you that you do not have to apologize to us for using this space the way it is inteded to. We care about you here!

Let me know what you think. Sending some kind and caring energy your way.

Best,
Val
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

I'm moving back after school, so all of my friends have moved away otherwise. There are a few people looking, but I don't know them very well. They are more than three times my age and not looking to live with a 20-something which is another problem. I could go with a random roommate from the internet, but I am afraid of that given previous poor random roommate match ups in college. I don't have a great plan forward right now. I'm in a city that is going through a housing boom, so single bedrooms are just as expensive as double rooms, and I can't afford that. I also make too much to qualify for low income housing (first world and privilege problem, I know. I don't say that to whine, just to show that I have searched for alternative options). I have to continue living at home until I can find a roommate or prices go down (supposedly by the end of the year).

Yes, I am attempting to find a therapist. However, it's complicated. Finding someone who specializes in my issues, is affirming, and accepts my insurance is tricky. On top of that, I have no privacy now that I'm with my parents. If I'm gone, I need to come up with an explanation for that. Telehealth is great, but the walls are too thin and my parents don't really believe in knocking. They are both somewhat retired, so I'm hardly ever home alone. Just telling them isn't an option because they get pretty invasive and would demand to know what's wrong with me. I did try to set up a consultation, but they ghosted.

To summarize, I am looking for therapy, but I can't really do therapy until I've moved out, and that might be a while.

Yes, I am willing to try talking about some of the things.
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Mo »

Hi Raffles, I just wanted to throw out an idea in case this is helpful, when it comes to telehealth therapy.
I have a good friend who's in what sounds like a slightly similar situation to yours, who doesn't want to be living with her family but is unable to move out yet and who also has no real privacy in the house for therapy. She has her therapy appointments via video chat on her phone while sitting in her car.
I don't know if you have a car available, but if you do that could be a private space you could use. If your parents would wonder why you're sitting in the garage/driveway on the phone for an hour, you could drive somewhere nearby where they wouldn't be monitoring you; my friend has "run errands" at the same time most weeks and had appointments in parking lots of shopping centers or at her school. I know that doesn't help you actually find a therapist (and I know that can be a really frustrating process!), but it came to mind as I read your post so I wanted to share, on the off-chance it could be of use.
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

I've got a big gap between my morning and afternoon classes, so I will try to schedule it then. It's not perfect. I'm still on the clock. Someone could walk in or call at any time, and it would be my contractual obligation to do that. I don't love the idea of mixing my personal life with my professional life, and transitioning back into teaching could be difficult. It might be the best I can do, though. I (shockingly) have an appointment scheduled, and I'm super anxious.
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Heather »

Hey, Raffles. So sorry that I wasn't able to honor my intention to pick up a conversation with you last week.

If it would help to talk to someone else who does their therapy this way -- during a workday, and via telehealth -- I'd be happy to share my experiences and the ways I work it with you if you'd like.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

Hello. It’s no problem at all, I understand that things come up. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with telehelth during work hours. I’m really stressed because of my previous experiences with mental healthcare and the likelihood that I’ll have to find someone new soon (moving/location changes are likely within the next few months whether it’s me moving out or my parents moving back to their actual house). However, it’s pretty clear I’m reaching my breaking point (not sleeping, no appetite, feeling tired and shaky all day), so I guess I’ll just have to suck it up.
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

Just a small update: I decided to cancel my appointment. It felt very unprofessional of me to use work hours to take a personal call, especially as a recurring event. This is not to shame Heather for doing that at all; it is just simply my feelings on doing it for me. I also have a lack of privacy at work, that anyone could walk in or call at any time. On top of that, I couldn't get through the intake paperwork due to my poor past experiences.

That said, I am still open to hearing about what doing therapy during work hours over telehealth. I am not ruling it out forever, just for now, so it would help to hear about it if I decide to go that route in the future.
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi Raffles, I hope you don't mind me chiming in again.

Since that therapy setup felt very uncomfortable for you, it sounds like you made the right move for you. Therapy already requires you to be extremely vulnerable with a stranger and so it makes sense that you want to at least feel comfortable and safe with where you are physically during that appointment. Therapy is for you and so you can pursue it at whatever pace feels right for you.

I'll also leave space open here for Heather and other's to chime in with their experiences with telehealth therapy/scheduling.
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

It’s frustrating because I understand that I need mental health care in the form of therapy, but I can’t do it because of previous experiences in therapy. I’m not really sure how to move forward right now, hence my general sense of despair. It’s hard to feel like things will get better when you can’t get them help you need because “help” has been the problem.

Does anyone know of any other avenues or resources for therapy averse people?
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Heather »

Hey, Raffles. You do you, you know? I appreciate you saying that about me, but no need to worry. The same things aren't right or don't feel right for all of us!

I have a thought: there are a series of self-help books a colleague turned me on to a couple years ago when I was doing research for my last book, by Faith Harper, herself a counselor. I would describe her tone and approach as great if one is therapy averse, and I also think the books of hers I have seen really can help a person at least start quite a lot of lifting and introspection on their own that they might be doing in therapy.

Here is a list of her books and zines on one of her two websites: http://www.theintimacydr.com/books--zines.html
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Raffles
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Re: A long ramble

Unread post by Raffles »

I'm still on hiatus, but I just needed to say this. I found out from my most recent paycheck means that I'll be making less than $2000 per month even with a degree and certification. A big part of it is that my dad pushed me into a higher savings bracket that I can afford, and I think it's too late for me to change it. I live in a place where monthly rent for a one bed one bath apartment is around/over $1000 per month before utilities. So I'm stuck living with my parents. I thought things might get better after I started my job. Then I thought things were going to get better when I started getting paid. Then I thought things were going to get better after my benefits started. Instead, I'm really struggling at my job, and I'm not getting paid enough to move out, much less use the benefits I have. I desperately need my life to get better, but it doesn't look like that's an option right now and might not be for a long time. I guess this is a long way of saying that my hiatus will be longer than expected. My plan was to get my life together in the next few months (move out, start therapy) and continue looking for additional support to those things, but. That's not going to happen maybe ever, I guess.
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