Friday, March 05, 2010


Why did I pick THAT person out of the sea of those wandering in the room?
Certainly not the most disabled, certainly not the most impaired…
Many that I see are under the care of group homes, supportive housing, may even be living at the state hospital….
Nor is it simply symptoms
I know many that can never live a day without the voices, who are marked by the cruel mask of tardive dyskinesia.
Why did I call Crisis Services for her??? Why did I write a safety contract for him?
Where they homicidal, suicidal? I am not exactly sure…. Someone even looked like they were having the time of their life….giggling away like a school girl.
Was it because one person was homeless?
No, I serve many who are homeless. But the chronically homeless often have the sense to survive. They know which shelters have the most comfortable beds, and they know they chose from a list of menus each day.
Would I have noticed that person in a crowd, that something was not quite right?
No…probably not
But with a trained eye….. I can see the liability, confusion, the misplaced laughter, the articulate conversation laden with delusions, the unspoken request for help, and the vulnerability of an individual in a world full of stigma.
But why did I make a safety contract for THAT person?
Why did I call Crisis Service for THAT person?
WHY did I say goodbye to THAT person, like it was any other day?
Because I am a SOCIAL WORKER! I am not a doctor, I am not a psychologist, nor am I just another mental health professional. I am a social worker
A crisis is an individual experience. It is not defined by symptoms, it is not defined by the struggles of poverty, and it is not defined by what events occur in that little “therapeutic “room….
It is all of these things. It is a sense of helplessness that makes one very vulnerable It is symptoms, it is a lack of support system, and it is the environment, the season and lack of safe shelter. Perhaps it is the inability to perceive of what is a safe shelter. It may be the amount of cash in one’s pocket, or the vultures that surround them… I look not to a point in time, but the calculus of 10 or more variable. It is a danger zone that makes it a
And today I hope that those people are now safe.


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