09 June 2012
Housing update, and more therapy
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I need to catch up on one thing first: I managed to stay in my current apartment. My landlord showed up at my door a couple of days after the court date (which I didn’t go to, partly because I was so anxious about the whole situation) to see if I’d moved out. She was probably there to see if I’d skipped out on my rent and moved. It was early morning and I’d been at work until 0100, and had remembered my meds, so I was a bit out of it when I opened the door. I also was not about to let her in. The thought crossed my mind, just for a split-second, that this would be a good time to have a double-barreled shotgun handy. Just as quickly, I dismissed that idea, as she had raised her voice. I hadn’t realized she was even saying something.
Some people have professional sounding inside voices, calm yet stern. The woman at my door was not one of them. There was something about “...and when the sheriff’s deputy gets here, you’ll be out on the street with whatever you can carry on your back!” OK, fine, lady, I get it. I know what being homeless is. Still, my hands were shaking. I don’t think she noticed, but the other person from the rental office did. Other Lady isn’t what I’d call nice, but she does know something about professional bearing. End result of the conversation, if I paid the rent before the sheriff’s office posted an official notice to vacate on my door, she’d pull the eviction order.
That’s when I called Mom.
I was prepared for her to say no. I knew what I’d absolutely need to take and what I could leave behind. I still had my cell phone, and I could rent a PO Box for an official address. I’ve slept in my car before- it’s not comfortable, but it works. I figured I could make it for a little while that way. (The VA would try to help, as would local service agencies, but they were limited in what they could do until I’d actually been evicted and officially homeless.)
She asked how things were going, and I explained that I was on three psych meds and in crisis therapy. Then we discussed how to get the money to me, so I could get a cashier’s check to settle my account. By close of business that day, my rent was caught up.
As I said last time, I’m done with the Transitions clinic. Now I’m in a ten week Behavioral Activation (BA) group that’s all about getting moving again-- gradually changing behavior in a positive way and rejoining the land of the living. Small and measurable actions, like one of my goals each day: leaving my apartment to go somewhere other than work every day. Doesn’t have to be a particular place or distance, or happen at a certain time. It just needs to happen. Small actions form the base of larger actions. Each one makes you feel a little better. I’d already sort of started with that before I got back into therapy when I started going to McDonalds just to say I’d left my apartment and been around people. Small steps.
Later this month, I’ll start a different eight-week group dealing with WRAP: a Wellness Recovery Action Plan. If you’ve never heard of that before, the author is Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland, and there is more information at http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/veterans/ . WRAP made up part of the Transitions clinic as well; the focus is on recovering by way of specific actions, and building a personal plan to try to stay recovered.
Taking that thought a bit further, I’ve realized something about PTSD. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think there is a cure, even though some people say otherwise. My memories will always be there, and some certain situations I’ll always feel less than comfortable in. I used to believe that if I could just work hard enough or long enough, find some success, prove that I was strong enough to beat this stuff, I’d be okay. Eventually I reached a point where the difficulty level of what I was attempting to do in college where just working harder and staying up later was not the answer.
Whoever said old dogs can’t learn new tricks can kiss my ass.
In one sense, right now feels like being in training. I’m learning and practicing, some things new that I need to learn and others that I recognize but have to pick back up again.
Of course, all of this depends on me getting out of bed in the morning and getting it done.
I’m trying. Damn, I’m trying.