05 September 2013

Surviving baseball games, and being scowled at

Labor Day weekend turned out all right. Friday and Saturday nights I was at work. Sunday and Monday I spent in Milwaukee at Miller Park, doing volunteer work for Dryhootch (it's a great organization, go check it out).

Both days before the game, we traded "I Support Our Vets" bracelets for whatever donation people wanted to make ("we" meaning myself and a brother from the house). That meant we were standing amongst the crowd as people headed inside. Some people ignored us, some had already donated, and some made it a point to drop a few bills into the bucket.

As the game started each day, the flow of people going by became a trickle. So we headed in to watch the game, using donated tickets. Sunday we were on field level, about even with third. Towards the end of the game we headed for Friday's, which of course was busy and crowded. We found seats right behind the left field foul pole-- flame broiled cow was consumed. Monday we were in the upper deck, a few steps left of home plate.

Miller Park wasn't that crowded, as the Brewers have been out of the pennant race for a couple of months now. Still, attendance was around 23,000 both days. Brewers fans (myself included)  have been known to be loud at times-- but it wasn't that bad. I did have a couple of rough spots outside before we went in; Guy #1 was rude about asking me to move so he could take a picture of his kids. I almost, but not quite, went off on the guy before taking a couple of steps out of the way.  Guy #2 damn near ran me over in the parking lot. He heard about it through closed windows, which was probably for the best.

That's one of the ways I know I'm really anxious and easily triggered-- I go from zero to pissed the fuck off in about a millisecond.

Overall, though, I handled both days pretty well, although it took a lot of energy. Sunday night when I got home I crashed almost immediately, and on Monday I was feeling the effects of being around/in a large crowd. I managed to eat before crashing, but I still crashed. I was still moving slow on Tuesday, but by Tuesday night I was doing all right. Brewers baseball and helping Dryhootch: a win, and an emphatic fuck off to PTSD.

Then came Wednesday.

Wednesday was a chill day, just time to relax a little. Most of the day I was outside, getting some sunlight and trying to convince my body to make some Vitamin D. Sometime around mid-afternoon, Case Manager returned. I didn't think anything of that, until she poked her head through the main door and scowled at me. Imagine the most pissed off person you've ever seen, and double the look they had-- that's the kind of scowl I got through the door.

I already talked some about this last week; see Case Non-management for the entire story.

The short conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, Case Manager.

CM: You didn't go pay your rent like I told you to do.

Me: I talked to Housing Person, who called Other Housing Person, who didn't know definitely if (or how much) money would be pulled from my checking account on 6 Sep 13. Housing Person sent an email to Housing Boss about the situation.
 CM: I already told you, they're going to take money out on the sixth. You still owe for August.
(Conversation ends, as CM has gone back inside.)

I also have a meeting with Case Manager tomorrow, which should be interesting.


As much as I'd like to believe that VA Transitional Housing is meant to be part of a recovery process, it doesn't feel like one. The word recovery is bounced around here quite a bit, usually in terms of addictions. There are vets here who need that, but I'm not one of them. Mental illness-- in my case, PTSD and major depression-- that's what causes my problems. It is up to me and my providers at the VA Hospital to work together to make my life more manageable, but that does not excuse being treated without respect for my disability at home.

Yes, PTSD causes me to lose track of time. Yes, PTSD makes me lose concentration, and that affects my ability to deal with things like getting the rent paid-- that's a major reason why I ended up homeless in the first place! And yes, I do withdraw from threats, especially when they come from people I thought I could trust. (Trust me, I've had plenty of experience with that.)

I can ask for accommodations in college, and at work-- and they are accepted and made, with the only requirement being that I provide proof from my providers at the VA Hospital.

I managed to win a small battle this past weekend, getting through two major league baseball games. That was one battle among many, but it was important. The other battles I fight-- like being organized, getting things done on time, getting bills paid, studying and doing well in classes-- I'm still working at winning those battles.

A little bit of support and understanding would go a long way with me.

Making faces at me? Being rude by not even saying hello?  Being unprofessional, talking about my unique case in front of other people? What exactly did you hope to accomplish with that, other than pissing me off?

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