Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacation Countdown

20 notes
3 phone calls
2 client visits
2 assessments
1 consult
And 7.5 hours are all that stand between me and a glorious 5 day weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

No Problem...

A client I recently started working with had been on our service wait-list for nine months. With such a long wait for support, it’s not uncommon that peoples illness or situation becomes worse between intake and initial service. That wait can be a very difficult time for many.

Before this person came in, I read the intake report. He seemed to have a lot of bad stuff going on, so when he came to meet me, I was surprised to see a very calm, well put together guy. Still, appearances can be deceiving, and I wouldn’t know more until I talked to him.

Through our initial conversation it came out that he is back living with his family (had previously been transient) is working a full time job that he enjoys, spends time with friends and has not had any psychotic symptoms in months. He also stopped taking all of his medications, and stopped seeing his psychiatrist.

After he left, the intake worker who had seen him last summer asked who he was, as she didn’t even recognize him. She asked me what had happened, and I told her what he had said to me:

“I stopped taking drugs. Even though I didn’t want to, I figured things would probably get better, and they did.”

Go figure.

If only it were always so simple…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Politics of Rape

I remember having a conversation with my University roommate once about rape. I don’t remember the details at this point, but somehow through the course of the conversation I know that I made the ridiculous statement that “you can’t be raped!” to my male roommate. He was taken aback, and only had to say “uh, yes I can” to make me realize my stupidity. Despite being a staunch feminist and growing up with a “No means NO” poster in my playroom at home (thanks mom) there were some serious gaps in my knowledge and understanding of rape and sexual assault.

I know I am not the only one who has had this type of misunderstanding. Unfortunately, not everyone is as quick to rethink their definition of rape as I was. Over at the Ms. Magazine blog, there is a campaign going on to change the FBI’s 82-year old definition rape which states that “forcible rape” is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”. Such a narrow definition means that many victims and survivors are not included on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The statistics of this report have a direct effect on funding and resources for sexual assault crime investigation.

Here in Canada the Criminal Code criminalizes sexual assault, and defines that as any sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. While our system of course is not perfect, at least it offers victims a vehicle by which to press charges if they want to. And at least they know that they “count”.

I had my own experience of sexual assault, and it took me a long time to realize that’s what it was. For a long time I had bad feelings whenever I couldn’t push back the memory, was triggered all the time and didn’t know how to deal with it. Naming what happened to me was a huge help to coping and taking back power over my own situation. It helps when society doesn’t dismiss what happened to you either.

Even though it’s not my country, I’ve already signed the Ms. petition at and urge you to do the same.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

One of my favourite days of the year! We Canadians tend to get particularly excited about the arrival of summer.  I try to convince as many clients as possible to meet me outside and sell them on the fact that the light exposure is good for their mental health.  Not to mention we should soak up some vitamin D when we get the chance!

Admittedly, the nice weather around here has kept me away from the computer and my dear little blog of late, but I haven't forgotten completely.  New posts on the horizon...
Hope you all get out today and enjoy some sunshine! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Comment Update

I am once again able to stay signed in to Blogger to comment on my own and other blogs.  If anyone else is having the same problem as I was, the solution was simply to clear my browser's cache and allow third party cookies for my blog and

Keep the comments coming!

Monday, Monday

Last night was nice and cool, so I decided to sleep with the windows open.  Somewhere around midnight (waaay past my bedtime) I was roused from my slumber by a man across the street yelling and shouting.  I went to the window to check it out.  A resident of the low-rise on the corner was speaking to him from his balcony, and the man was shouting up to him from the parking lot.  Since he seemed to be handling it, I went back to bed. 

At least 20 minutes later, the man was still shouting and it seemed my neighbour had given up and was no longer trying to deal with him.  He seemed very distressed, and as I moved back to the window, I could better over hear what he was saying - making declarations of love, crying out to God, cursing and threatening seemed to be the dominant themes.  At this point I decided he was more than likely psychotic, or at least in some kind of crisis, and that I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep until I had done something. 

Deciding it was not exactly a good plan to dash outside in my pj's and try to counsel this stranger, I got on the computer to look up a local mental health crisis number (I live outside my work area, so I am not as familiar with resources in my own neighbourhood).  By the time I got it and went back to the window to try to see him better, he was gone.  I hoped he was safe.

There seemed nothing better to do than go back to bed and try to sleep.  Unfortunately, my furry nocturnal neighbours decided we hadn't had enough excitement in the neighbourhood for one night, and decided to start fighting over my organics recyling bin.  At least, I think that's what they were doing.  Have you ever heard racoons fight?  It sounds like a cross between a dog fight, cats in heat and an 18-wheeler running over somebody's toes. 

Needless to say, I'm feeling less than lively this Monday morning.  How is the start of your week going?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Potty Break

I was at our local disability support office with a client the other day. It’s a nice new building, so I decided to take the opportunity to use a clean and non-scary washroom. I walked in and nearly burst out laughing (which was bad, since I really had to pee) when I saw this sign next to the toilet:

I then turned around and saw this one:

Text: AS A COURTESY TO THE NEXT USER PLEASE OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING: > Do not step on the toilet bowl > Please FLUSH the toilet after use > Keep the whole toilet area clean as you leave. Tissue is cheap. > Please wash your hands after you have finished.

One sign must not have been enough to dissuade these incorrigible washroom destroyers. I guess some people just have no sense of public toilet etiquette.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Facts and Feelings

"[Client] has a daughter [name] who is in the care of [client's] mother in Thunder Bay. [Client] reports having no contact with his daughter, and states that he does not wish to have contact. [Client] has indicated that he thinks she is being well looked after and does not wish to disrupt her life."

This man's wife committed suicide in 1999.  She had schizophrenia, as does he.  I suspect any reminders of her are just to painful.

Sometimes when I stop to actually read what I record in my notes it just makes me sad.

Thursday, June 2, 2011