Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A dragon named Courage


I was in a class today, and we talked about Goffman and Biddle and their role theories. A limited theory of human development and behavior, but one that is important from a sociologist prospective. I have been thinking how roles have impacted me in the last 48 hours. Many times I can enmesh all of my roles into an oil slick collage of mud. Other times I can be fractured into pieces.

Sometimes I feel like I am two sides of a coin, simultaneously, and sometimes I can only in one direction.

Today I was student and a teacher, a client and a counselor, a right and then a wrong?

Anyways…

I have gone back to work at the residential group home. Not many hours, but somehow too much, and not enough. I sometimes dread to go into work, and find it hard to leave.

Today was a stressful, yet rewarding day.

I work in residential treatment for the developmentally disabled. Many of the individuals we work with have multiple handicaps and many with mental illness as well.
I work with highly capable (differently abled) adults whose lives are as just stressful as yours and mine.

We have another gentleman who has begun a downfall that may lead to an inpatient commitment for the safety of himself, but mostly others.

Not to paint a rose-colored image, to work with the developmentally disabled, you sometimes have to physically restrain individuals of they are going to hurt themselves or others. And there are some people in this population who wear helmets so they don’t bang their head open, or bite others to break the skin, or smear feces on walls.

Anyways, this man is a very strong, almost 200 lb…who recently punched his fist through a wall. And he is bipolar, and irritably depressed. Biology and stress, playing upon each other. And mild MR, trauma I was discussing with my boss what I am going to do if it every came to “SCIP” him. 911 would be called.

Today I knocked on his door. Today he did not take a shower, he ran the water, stood outside, but never let his skin be dampened. A very common maladaptive behavior. I entered his room, so I ask him if he brushed his teeth.

It was soon evident, that he did not; when I finally got him to speak He was sullen, downcast and miserable, as I expected. As he must have assumed I had come to challenge his hygiene. I assumed he would not talk to me at all. I asked if I can sit…he sat on his bed, next to the pile of chaos that was topped by one (only one!) stripped shoe. Asked him what he was doing…all day in his room alone. “Nothing”…..Nothing became feelings and symbols and hope.
Soon after there was a meeting with service coordinators where he had to face the realities of his restricted choices. A difficult one, I bet.

Hours later, I am asked for a hug. The same gentleman, now holding the most shy of smiles, and smelling of some generic soap….told me of his plans for the morning.

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