Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The beginnings

So.... after my big blog a while back about Silent mental illness, I am sure to some, it rang in as a "poor me", "I am pathetic", I just want that junior high answer of "oh no you're not crazy or fat or ugly" you know the comments, that type of blog post.  Actually, I apologize if it came across that way.  Rick and I go in rounds about my Blog.  Ever since I have been writing it, he hasn't read it, but he does have strong opinions on it. He edits for me sometimes so I guess in some capacity he has read it in a choppy sort of way.   He actually hates my blog.  Those words came right from his mouth.  Not to say he's wrong.  I just sometimes like an editor and he's it.  I guess I just need to edit it myself and put it out there to be scrutinized by the masses of 2 or 3 :)

There were 3 reasons for my blog posts. The first is to let everyone know that we are a 100% silent mental illness family. The second is to let anyone reading this to know I have some "street cred" when it comes to the Mind and how it works in the world around us. And thirdly, I like to post about my day to day life in my chaotic home of many many animals, plants and minerals, with 5 people that have "special needs".  It is usually never boring around here.   

Before our first born, I was working with about 18 people for 6 hours a day in an assisted living home.  These 18 people had dementia to some degree or another.  I was the "teacher", and this was "school".  I hope that helps paint a picture of how far along in their dementia they were. It was improv every day! I loved it, and I loved them.  I loved to help them, entertain them, learn something new from them, and share in their journey.  I felt privileged to be a part of their lives, every day. 

So that is what began my journey of looking more closely into Silent mental illness. If you were to walk in the room at almost any given time, our group would look like several people just sitting around a table listening to what was going on in the world that day while I read the paper.  

My advocacy had begun there in that assisted living facility.  I needed to often advocate for my residents to the non afflicted residents, shall we say.  Some of the non afflicted residents would not share an elevator with those who had dementia, because they were too afraid that dementia was contagious. Many times we would patiently explain that that was not the case, but they would leave the elevator anyway.  It made for very hard feelings. I had no idea how much a part of my life advocacy would become.

'I have learned so much these 17 years, well, kind of 19 years, about explaining what is happening, what someone may need, what goes on at home.  I have learned to be relentless. That is hard to do.  It is annoying and I can see it in peoples eyes.  They want you to go away or they completely disagree with you about your suggestions, or what you are suggesting seems like too much work.  I know, that's what I think when the therapist's or Dr.'s tell me "This is what we are going to try....." but how else are you going to know?

Everyone is so different.  Everyone's mind is so complex.  We have to give people young, middle and old an opportunity to live rich and full lives the best we know how.  That is my goal. It has always been my goal I guess, ever since I started to volunteer in the nursing home my mother worked at, I was 5.  k~

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