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07 March 2013

Yeah, about the past few days

so yeah, the past few days.

In Veterans Transitional Housing, the vets house has a peer support specialist and a case manager on site. There's also the person who runs the local veterans homelessness program for the VA. A few weeks ago, the VA sent an inspection team to the house, and one of the rooms they inspected was mine. My room was, um, cluttered. Honestly, I haven't been doing all that well lately, and the clutter and disorganization of my stuff does reflect that-- if I'm not feeling well, my room looks like the aftermath of a tornado. If things are good, my room is clean and organized. Upon seeing that
my room was disorganized, there was some Concern about my Well Being. (The staff at the vets house talk regularly with my providers at the VA hospital.)

I had an appointment with my normal psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago, and she noted the Concern and added some of her own. The Concern was justified, and
my dose of venlafaxine was upped from 75mg twice a day to 100mg twice a day.

I am also supposed to see my case manager once a week. I've been slacking on that, and Concern was noted there as well. I talked to J, the program manager, and she helped me set up a list of things that need to be taken care of. Daily life type stuff, like maintaining one's room in good order. I also talked to K, who helped me with some benefits paperwork and set up a future appointment with her. J is keeping tabs on me (again, justified) to make sure I'm sticking to the plan. Part of the plan is me getting back into the Transitions Clinic, which J helped with.

For the record, this is all positive. These people are really doing a lot for me, and I appreciate it more than words can express.

Back to the present now. Appointments with a therapist and a psychiatrist are part of the Transitions Clinic, and that part was today. While all of the stuff above was going on, notes were being made in my medical records. Like I said, they talk to each other.

(Past few days I've been getting back to a somewhat normal work schedule, so with that and being at the VA hospital I'm hard to reach. Or I suck at returning calls. Monday night I was at work and didn't roll in until late, so slept during the day on Tuesday. That meant that I missed the every-two-weeks mandatory residence meeting, and I didn't hear J knocking on my door to check on how I'm doing.

Me not making it on time to Transitions Clinic, plus me not answering J's calls or knocks on my door is/was cause for more Concern about me. I did call and leave a voicemail indicating that yes, I'm ok.)

Deep breath. Okay. Today's appointment. Lots to discuss about me and how I've been feeling. Recovering from being homeless has taken a toll on me, especially my mental health. Vets house has been a little rough for me too-- I'm an introverted college student who likes quiet, and some of the guys that live here can be a bit loud. I'm also uncomfortable being around people who just got out of prison, as that's not a demographic I've encountered before. Not having a full class schedule means I have a lot of free time a.k.a. not much structure in my life. My circadian rhythm is FUBAR. I won't get into dreams and nightmares and flashbacks other than to say they're ugly sometimes. 

I've been avoiding life a lot lately.

I have some problems with perceptions. I worry a lot about how people see me. The past few months I've looked kinda rough around the edges. I'm also still technically homeless-- when I run into people from previous classes and they ask where I've been, I lie like a rug and mumble something about being busy with work and classes. Around here, the perception of homeless people comes from the people that are on the street corner shaking a cup begging for change. It's sort of an urban legend that those people have plenty of money, or they're just begging to buy money for booze. People in this city, who are generally all for social programs, raise holy hell if someone talks about putting a homeless shelter in any part of town. Homeless people are a "problem"
that needs to be kept hidden. Homeless people are best avoided. Because, well, you know.

So I have more than a little anxiety about being a veteran who lives in a homeless shelter. Think about it-- you're a university student sitting in a coffeehouse and here's a) this old guy, b) this veteran, and c) this guy who looks a bit rough around the edges. Not too much of a stretch that you'll go on to d) dude's a creep. Ew.

I also worry that people see the PTSD, that they can tell what's going on inside my head. You don't want to be inside my head, and see the things I see. I'm afraid of being judged for what I've done and where I've been. There's a lot about the Desert that I haven't made peace with yet. Get close to me, and you'll have to deal, externally at least, with that.

I fail to see how anyone would want to get past all of that.
I know that's a negative, self-defeating thought.
It's how I feel.

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