I needed to take a quick moment and try to record down the insanity that existed in 30 minutes of this work day. It was too strange and one of those “I can’t make this shit up” kind of situations…
Back up a moment, my fellow counselor and I were asked this morning if one of us would lead the group for the clinical director. I let them know I had a session scheduled for this time and asked my fellow counselor if he would be able. He said yes, which was surprising to me, but in a great way. Typically he is not even on campus by the 9:15 AM group time, so I was pleasantly surprised and relieved too, due to being tired and already had so much to take care of this morning between the first 2 hours of work.
So I lead the following group after my session this morning, 10:45. Coincidentally hilarious how it worked out and connected in a very morbid way… apparently the other counselor had the clients do the Life Wheel and here I come in and run a group where they were asked to create their tombstones and epitaphs, reflecting on questions surrounding how they’d be remembered, what they’d change if they could, and what they’re doing today to reflect being the individual they want to be remembered for. Deep, sneaky, powerful slap in the face to GET BUSY LIVING. My fellow-counselor had text me before group saying he’d be late to group, then again about half-way through letting me know he was tied up helping another colleague of ours. 👍 No worries, brother. My thumbs-up response to his message pretty much encompasses the simplicity and nonchalant “okay, whatever, no big deal,” attitude we typically have for covering for the other when we need to and generally are pretty good at team-playing and helping one another out. That’s what I love about the small family I work with here. We got each other’s backs, and we know this without a doubt because it’s apparent and felt. Almost all of us, at least.
So my group ends a little early, about 11:30, and I have the guys close out and dismiss them. I hear one say, “Oooh the cops are here!” as he opens the door, but I didn’t even react or acknowledge this being possible reality as I’m so used to hearing clients mess with one another, as the majority of the population I work with have some encounters with the law and are sensitive and get anxious about police being around. Walk out the door and see my fellow counselor standing there talking to a client,… I walk up and notice oh, yes, why there is some legal presence, and my co-counselor Says to me “
I was really hoping that you keep them in group a little bit longer.” Seeing as hell I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I normally would and I’ve been busier than usual and distracted by unexpected changes and repercussions of sucks, I took a moment to process what he meant by that exactly what even went back and check my phone to make sure he had sent a follow-up text that that maybe somehow I missed. Nothing.
Working in addiction treatment facilities for the last decade and working in mental health in general especially inpatient addiction treatment, there isn’t a whole lot that SURPRISES me. In fact my career as a counselor began with my first job having me responsible for a crisis hotline so many days a week after hours, I had to go in to jails and do pre-valuation screenings on individuals locked up for various reasons, and those were before I ever discovered inpatient substance-abuse treatment… my very first day of my first inpatient A&D treatment I walked into two guys walking down the hallway if you’re dripping blood and was asked to sit with a teenage boy, the larger Russian kid, who could have easily snapped me with little effort at all… actually that is exactly why his peer who was half of his size was the one leading profusely from his face, come to find out the young man that I sat with I’ve been provoked and bullied by his smaller pier who was bullying him to the ground when swung at to protect himself and his Foley. It didn’t take much at all and while he only tried to restrain his peer he was big and strong enough that in protecting himself and transitioning down to the ground to paying is aggressor… evening just doing that little he had somehow accidentally royally fucked up the smaller bully and he never met to really hurt him. How do I know all of that information you may be thinking… Because remember I walked into two teenage boys who I’ve never met on my very first day blood everywhere and the first thing I was asked to do was to go and sit with the bigger, much bigger than me, teenage boy. I remember for a brief moment feelin a wave of anxiety and panic but I had jumped into my role as requested in the middle of walking into a crises and I’m pretty damn good with a crisis.
The big intimidating Russian kid ended up being is super cool big hearted gentle giant who is actually more worried about the little guy who had attacked a bullet him and I want to say because the big gentle giant teddy bear had put hands on his aggressor first that they kicked out the big teddy bear sweetheart do the policy and procedures and the little Ungrateful shit talking negative bully who didn’t care at all to be there and was the one I think trying to get kicked out from the stunt in the first place, he’s the one who got to stay. Later that same day something happened and I had to do my first “ room flip “ which I for whatever reason loved, and learned a lot from, but it was also face paced, thorough, and I got to exercise that calm cool energized and productive- good under pressure (but in crises only I think) newcomer, and the combination of the first thing seen walking in on my first day+fast paced unexpected must be flexible room searches and what all I soon came to know as quite normal in the setting of rehab- (teenagers being the most interesting and jaw dropping discoveries on searches, of course) …
I knew by day 1 i belong in residential alcohol and drug treatment and the fast paced unexpected never knowing and always need of flexibility atmosphere… that was me on a normal day,… can’t do routine for too long-
And that job taught me I’d been doing it all my life but never had a clue. It helped me discover I wasn’t crazy and it that what I was ostracized for and belittled by back in my youth, I was GOOD AT and praised and pushed to do regularly at work- It was good. Needed. I was good at this.
I think it was the same day that I had followed Davelin my grad school classmate college friend to the landing and after passing by nothing but feels nothingness I caught myself thinking just for a moment is he bringing me out to kill me and why. I learned over time but all good treatment centers are in the middle of nowhereand they are where they are for good reason there is no coincidence or poor planning on that part that’s actually the smartest and best of the best treatment facilities in my opinion and I will probably gamble on the idea that those are also the ones that hold onto clients a little bit longer than most other places that have frequent daily successful AMA’s. As a seasoned therapist for addiction treatment someone tells me they’re leaving AMA and I know that they have no way to go anywhere and that they have no ability to have called and arrange for a ride… Depending on the rapport and who the individual is I won’t feed into their game I’ll nod towards the door and say bye people are dying to get in here al- literally dying-if you don’t wanna be here leave. Someone else would love to get the opportunity to recover and to have a chance to live. People are literally dying to get in- And that’s the fucking truth.
Don’t misread me or let me misrepresent my giant heart and natural ability for the most part to form unconditional positive regard, empathy, and usually instant therapeutic rapport, nine times out of 10… I don’t bullshit and I don’t wear mask if I expect my clients to be transparent with me they should expect me to do the same. I don’t dress all fancy or alter who I am to go into work and I talk to my clients the same way I will talk to people I love of my life of course with very different boundaries but as far as staying consistently the same person or where I am always me- I can’t be any other way and won’t be. I think that’s probably what makes me a valuable therapist and an asset is I’m genuine and I’m consistent and I may not wear fancy dresses look at shirts and high heels but I’m guaranteed to be the first one at the scene of your crisis to the shoes T-shirt, and I know that. I feel like I’m failing my class if I am I got a mask even if that mask is I’m super uncomfortable we’re having to dress like or pretend to be like somebody else that isn’t me I’m me just so happen I loved up and the things I used to get punished for and the reasons I thought I was crazy and also the same reason I considered ending my life because I thought to myself I’m punished for taking off this mask is mask that I’ve asked to wear and punished for acknowledging the truth and I’m told that that’s the way things are and I thought back then 20 years ago to myself if this is what life is all about I don’t want any fucking part of it. I was being told that I was the only one who had a problem with “the problem” (watching someone you love turn into a monster, be okay with being belittled and take the brunt of it all to willingly be broken so to spare the others from what I already was expected to get, and I could carry and bear the weight of it all. I was made fun of when my emotions DID accidentally show themselves as existing, and learned quickly how to wear a stone exterior and appear unbothered, which was the way to avoid excess and unnecessary added pain and brokenness for showing I felt anything at all or had any opinion or voice. I was told I had no voice and that my opinion didn’t matter so I shouldn’t bother speaking at all because I wouldn’t be heard anyway. I stood up to what I KNEW was right, I fought against what I saw tearing apart the person I LOVED so damn much that I was watching but didn’t know or recognize anymore, and I was watching my other family members break a little, each in their own self-destructive ways of coping…. Eventually told that I was the only one with the problem. Told that I was expected to be and feel and say and do and act and wear this mask and pretend to be someone I wasn’t, and act like I didn’t have any problems or feel.
If this is what living life is about, I don’t want to live this life.
Of course, I’m stubborn and was always a therapist before I knew what a therapist even was, and saw addiction for something being very wrong and not okay,… and wasn’t going to pretend I was fine,… at least not unless I would be punished for the latter. I sat under that deck that night contemplating wanting to exist at all, but I’m too stubborn to believe what I was being told and fed. I knew what I FELT…. and though I didn’t understand why I knew or what I knew exactly, I did know that I didn’t believe that this was what life was meant to be or how to live it, and I refused to accept that I was destined to pretend to be someone I was uncomfortable pretending to be/like/act. Nope,… I decided that despite everyone else telling me that I WAS THE PROBLEM…. and yes, my ways of confronting or coping back in my teen years may have been dramatic and for a while I THOUGHT YELLING WOULD MAYBE GET ME HEARD FOR ONCE— yeah, that fucking didn’t work… it just stamped *Black Sheep* and argumentative on my card for my ongoing list of characteristics I would adopt as my “family role.” Cest la Vie.
It’s funny, I was ostracized and was different and didn’t fit in because I wouldn’t accept alteration of mental state and obvious behavior that showed me clearly THIS IS NOT OKAY merely by the abnormalities and scariness in the motor skills, behaviors, function, etc. of being under the influence of mood altering substances (mostly being drunk for everyone at that stage in time)…
I was the one who would do my best to protect each member of the family by caring for them in their stupidity and drunkenness…. all while keeping them away from the monster that existed where my loved one I knew and missed once existed…. And I was used to being in trouble… for yelling, for dating boys that my parents didn’t approve of,… and I stopped trying to even compete with looks or grades with my siblings… who secretly were both partying, having sex, smoking, etc… but for whatever reason I was always thought to be the one reeking havoc and breaking rules. Nope. This nerd was a virgin until age 18, didn’t smoke a cigarette until age 18, didn’t drink but maybe one time ever before I turned 21, and drugs didn’t come into the picture for me until college… when I had a moment to not have to give all my fucks to protecting and diffusing constantly armed bombs of my family.
WOW I got way off subject… I always do. I know exactly why I dove so deep off into it though, because I found myself feeling exaggerated emotions that I knew weren’t real and the feeling of worthlessness, ugliness, and wasted space are all so exaggerated and really don’t even exist– I FEEL THEM LIKE THEY FEEL AS REAL AS I JUST DESCRIBED… But FACK if I can even be allowed to truly feel and experience the entirety of an emotion, real or not, and just be able to be in a pity puddle without fucking knowing Im in one; Is that too much to fucking ask?!
The answer is YES. I am so self-aware and have done so much work on ME that I can recognize things that feel extreme but know that it’s all caused by ME and I also can know and see the way out, even if I can’t access it quite yet, and while that is AWESOME it also sucks a big fat donkey dick sometimes, because goddammit sometimes I just want to not be okay and that be okay. BUT NOOOO I FUCKING KNOW BETTER AND I CANT TRULY BE IGNORANT TO IT ALL AND JUST SIT IN RAW CONFUSION AND EMOTION BECAUSE I KNOW IT FEELS LIKE FUCKING HELL BUT CAN SEE IT FEELS LIKE THE WORLD IS ENDING BUT I KNOW It’s more like there’s a fucking rock in my shoe. And I’m again the goddamn hurdle…. except I’m the fucking hurdle in my own fucking path and I see me there fucking myself up but just gotta stare at it and wait and awkwardly watch what I already know unfold in it’s own due time, in front of me…. All while feeling stupid that I am back here standing watching it unfold and everyone seems surprised or excited to see the unveiling and I’m like yeah, oh wow- that’s so crazy I’m an idiot sorry….
But I fucking knew all of it would happen 24 hours before the great REVEAL.
I fucking love it,… and it fucking sucks so hard.
Both of these things.
I’m a fucking hurdle. goddamnit who even invented those stupid things anyway? Hey let’s create an obstacle that either you’re gonna really hurt yourself by running into, or strain just right and you might clear it, but it’s gonna be hard and kinda fuck up your stride you’re running. Figure it out, and GO!
Fucking human beings, man. We are so fucking ridiculous. Paint a pubic hair gold and present it to the media and press as the one and only thing that determines success… and everyone’s gonna be fighting to obtain a fucking gold-painted pube, and be fucking proud of obtaining it too. We are idiots. Media has turned humankind into fucking idiot robot pigs. I really want to draw a robot pig now.
Wayyyyy back up there I was telling you about today…. I’d ended my group a little early and come out to some strangeness and confusion with legal individuals on campus… then told that I should’ve been able to mind-read and know that group HAD TO BE HELD JUST A WEE BIT LONGER…. because well, I should’ve just done that, without knowing. Yeah. And then I watch an officer chase an individual across campus, return and approach all of us standing there… (the officer, yes)…. and proceed to ask “Why didn’t you guys help me!? I see quite a few of you are skinnier than me and could probably run faster….”
And my brain breaks a little… uhm… wait… Am I THIS TIRED REALLY, or in some sort of strange comedy all of a sudden and didn’t realize we were recording a movie scene? No, this is real life… an officer just asked a bunch of individuals who have ZERO business chasing anyone ESPECIALLY legally involved situations… —–“Can that even happen? Is that like a real thing I’ve never been aware of?” I caught myself asking both clients and a colleague out of pure amusement and confusion combined, which, by the way, is a super strange feeling… can’t describe it.
Next, I run to my office to print my newest client his assignments and put together him a folder as I’d promised I would… chaos still happening around me, …. I finish up and head up to the location that I realize all of the clients have been asked to relocate to, to deliver the assignments and also pull my weight in keeping the peace amidst crisis.
Casually strolling past the legal team’s vehicles, make it half-way across campus and see a white SUV pull up and assume it’s one of two colleagues who drive similar cars…..
Of course not.
“Excuse me, Miss”
Unknown lady I’ve never seen before…
“Hi, can I help you, ma’am?”
“Yes, I’m here to meet Lacey for an interview…”
Not gonna lie, at this point my brain I think kind of freaked out, jolted, something… because yet again I felt like this was somehow not real life… where’s the camera crew?
“Lacey no longer works here, ma’am….. ((pause to process and decide what to say next but am very confused and lost as to what exactly is real anymore, because I’ve got cops to my left, a stranger for an interview looking for an ex-colleague, unsure of if this is some woman who got her location wrong, or if she’s in the right place, but randomly mentioned the RIGHT name that made zero sense at all)). But I will call the clinical director and figure out who you’re supposed to be meeting. Hang tight, okay? Pull your vehicle up right here is fine…”
I only moved her in the car so she’d not be facing the squadron of whatever the hell was happening directly behind me, which was in front of her … let’s just shiftaroonie just a smidge and VOILA! Now you feel like you belong in the right space, and I feel better knowing you’re not all up in the drama going down, nor are you in the way of them having to leave, if they ever can.
I call my supervisor…. “Hey, there’s a ______ here to interview with someone? I’m guessing you?”
“Is Dr. _____ meeting with a client right now?”
(((brain stall out number 3 occurred then….. da fuq? You and I both know that Dr. ____ is in YOUR office, and you said you’d be with her all day tied up unavailable for group even… hence the very beginning of this entire story/day…. I’m just broken in my processing ability at this point think…..)))
‘”Um… I’m not sure? I’ll go check.”
**Mosies up to the office door of the person I’d just called and knock knock and open the door to be met with a very confused and anxious Dr ____ who I’ve only seen once in passing, and I mention the interview… “She is early.”
“Uhm,,, uh huh… okay, are you ready for her?”
“Right, okay ill just hang out out here and let her know then.”
I’m now the bouncer and doorman of the office building…. looking a mess.. have left my mask in my own office… holding a folder looking like I’m headed to a college course, except there’s a name of a man on the front of my binder, that clearly and in no way matches me… and it’s muddy and cold and Im now a bouncer.
This day is weird.
“I’m ready now.”
“Oh I’ll go get her then.”
**DELIVERED PACKAGE AND CLOSED DOOR**
Package being a live human person I’d just met, to a person who is my superior who doesn’t know me, and realize OH NICE, I just exchanged a person with two people clearly being responsible and following protocol wearing their masks and Yep, I’m that asshole right now… looking like a complete negligent fucking dickweed RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE PERSON WHO MADE THE ORDER… oh and a potential future employee… medical staff candidate at that.
I’m such a fucking waste of space today.
My good friend and colleague Reechard used the perfect word to describe today and I’ll stick with it… WEIRD is too normal for me and that’s my everyday usual…
but as Richard said it so well,….. “Today was indeed STRANGE.”
Today was a very strange day.
I can’t make this shit up.
And now I’ll make this ending fit exactly the day and also be uncomfortable enough to fit into the perfect adjective of this day.
I have no words or anything’s left to offer.
WORDS. are. HARD…
Here are some more words.