Tag Archive: homelessness


Gratitude Attitude

I’ve had a piss poor attitude lately. And it’s still lingering and may strike again… but at the same time, through all the murky, painful things I feel–I can feel and recognize the many blessings I have in my life. If I listed all the blessings and things I’m grateful for, perhaps I’d climb out of the smog…. but I’d also be here developing carpal tunnel syndrome (which I must say I know entirely too much about, thank you professor…) and I’d never accomplish any of the adult responsibilities I have to take care of and never get to school, nevermind think of opening a book. (Hmm… but living in peace and gratitude sound mighty appealing at the moment)

First of all:

I am grateful that I can open a book. Yes, I’m grateful I have all my fingers and they work properly, but I mean I can open and I can read. Not only am I literate–but I am slowly but surely better able to concentrate on my textbooks and course material a little more with every passing day. Reading a post-it was hard not all that long ago, and I am grateful to be attached enough to what I’m doing that I can read and slowly take things in.

I am also grateful for the slow lift of my depression. I’m still depressed. I studied and sulked today. But I don’t hurt so badly that I’m on the brink of harming myself. In fact, I haven’t even thought of it today. Nor has it come up frequently in weeks. I’ve had a lot of crap go on, but I’ve been given strength, willpower, and courage to get through it. Even when I feel like a mouse, I am actually making a lion’s roar by standing up for myself, not quitting (holding him accountable, school, or life), and not falling back into the pit.

I am also grateful for the friends I’ve had for years, and the new ones I’ve made since school started. A few of them, I truly believe are true. Or… they likely wouldn’t tolerate me. 😉 You know who your friends are when it’s 4am and they’re dealing with you being a hot mess after you went to socialize with your classmates at a post-exam party and *he* was there and you drank your feelings away. (<—admittedly, one of my less bright decisions, however, they were there–and they stayed)

I am grateful for learning how to sip thanks to a friend from school. I’m still working on this process, but evidently I chug everything from water, to milk, to juice, to beer. I can now sip a martini. I’ve never been one of those people who gets wasted at clubs, etc. but I have definitely been engaging in binge drinking at several social events where my classmates were partying.

I know that drinking til I only feel sparkly silly happiness is not a healthy way to cope with school, the assault, seeing him everyday. And for that wisdom, I am grateful.

I am grateful that I have enough money to pay the rent in the coming week. I know so many people are struggling with their housing–and if I could, I would be running a free hotel at the castle (what my friends call my apt. lol) for anyone I knew who was safe and in need of a warm place to stay. It hurts me that my aunt and my mom are struggling to make their mortgages, but I am also grateful that even if it’s tough and a scramble, they can make it. I learned everything I know about getting by with whatever you’ve got, and being a tough cookie from them.

Baby… it’s cold outside. And I am grateful that I have great roommates, a lovely place, and more importantly than it being pretty… I have a place to rest my head every night. That hasn’t always been the case during my recovery. But, my pillow is in a bed, in my room… and I am ever so grateful for that.

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Hope from Hope

I am going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I am suffering from a lot of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts of self-harm, suicidal ideations, and a lovely letter from Social Services that says that they will no longer be helping me with my rent as of 12/17/09 (for an unspecified reason). I thought I was hospital-bound before I got that letter, but I kinda lost it (though remained safe) after I opened it. I’ve been proactive and called my housing worker and since she’s not in today, her supervisor. No one has gotten back to me as of yet. If it gets to the point that I become impulsive, or feel that I really cannot maintain my own safety, I will go to the hospital. However, at this current moment, I am safe. I try to practice good self-care daily, and when in major distress, recognize when I am no longer able to keep myself safe. In spite of all these challenges, I am blessed to have some wonderful friends who are very supportive. My best friend, Hope, (see Hopefortrauma in my blogroll) sent this video to me. It is very sweet, and uplifting. So I wanted to share it with you.

Keep on keeping on, I think that’s all I and others can do in difficult times. Wishing you peace and safety, Joy

Codependent Still

But alas, I’m working on it. If you don’t know what codependency is, you can look it up in the dictionary and find a lil picture of ME next to it. Ok, maybe not yet, but perhaps in the next edition of Merriam-Webster. In the meantime, codependency or codependence describes a pattern of detrimental set of behaviors within a dysfunctional relationship. This term originated in AA and Al-Anon meetings to describe the person enabling, covering up, excusing, etc. the alcoholics behavior. A codependent would try to control an out of control situation. Sometimes this would lead to resentment of the alcoholic, and often to the codependent’s focusing predominantly on the life of the alcoholic and not on their own life. This term of codependency has now broadened to include a person who behaves this way in any dysfunctional relationship, including an abusive relationship.

My name is Joy, and I’m a codependent.

I used to be a raging codependent. I read Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie. I went to Codependents Anonymous meetings. I have worked really hard at living my own life (since I have so much crap to sort through on my own nevermind adding anyone else’s unmaintained junk to it). I’ve not got this down perfectly, but I have made HUGE strides in the past few years at living my own life and not avoiding my problems by trying to fix/control someone else’s problems.

I tend to be in relationships, romantic and platonic with “wounded birds”. I don’t consider myself a wounded bird because I am in treatment, I actively help myself, I’m trying to get better. I consider a wounded bird a person who has major issues in their life and is not in any way trying to resolve them on their own. I last took in a wounded bird this past July. Before that, it was my previous girlfriend with C-PTSD. But my latest and hopefully last was my acquaintance I’ll call Lauren (and her son, I’ll call Andrew).

Lauren is a 23 y/o I met while in the wonderful shelter program I was in when I grew tired of living out of my car. [I had become homeless after I had decided to leave medical school & therefore no longer had loans for my housing & then also had to stop working because my flashbacks and dissociation were becoming more prevalent & unmanageable in a work environment] Her 4 y/o son, Andrew, and she were a giant cry for help. She was infinitely less proactive than I about acquiring housing, and other services available to people in our situation. I took her under my wing and acted as her big sister for the time I knew her. I also was a second mother to her son. At first I thought we had a reciprocal, healthy relationship. She would help me out with things I needed help doing and likewise, I did the same with her.

However, when Lauren finally found her own apartment, she returned to an unhealthy pattern of behaviors including drug use, manipulating people, stealing from friends and stores, being involved with unsafe people. When I was at her apartment one day cooking and eating dinner with her and Andrew, a drug dealer came over (supposedly 3 hours early). That put all three of us (especially her little boy) in a completely unsafe situation. He (the drug dealer) was very nice to me, and I stayed, primarily because I figured if I suddenly left he would think I was “a rat” and that may put me in an even worse situation. When he left, Lauren and I were sitting and discussing how she used people to get food, money, drugs, whatever she wanted or felt she needed. I asked her, “what do you use me for?”

Lauren started crying and said, “you’re my best friend, I don’t use you for anything.” Now granted the girl knew me for about a month or two. The next day she told me she was really hurt by what I asked, and I said I meant no harm, I was just participating in the conversation. I also told her that if she ever puts my safety at risk again, she will no longer exist to me and will never see/hear/speak to me again.

A few days later my paltry income check came through (it’s less than $100) and she took $50 of it from my zippered wallet in my zippered purse while I was showering. I gave her a grand leap of faith (note: NOT a second chance) for a few weeks, but would no longer allow her inside my home because I wasn’t sure if I could trust her. But I would continue to take her food shopping, etc. Three weeks later she knocks on my bedroom window (which she knows is very triggering for me) because her phone had been shut off. I opened it and told her I had a 102 degree fever, my asthma was bad, and I really needed to rest. She begged me to come sit outside while she had a cigarette since she hadn’t seen me in several days and “missed me”. So I went and sat outside with her until her son was thirsty and had to go to the bathroom. That was the only reason I let them in my apt. Then she told me some bleeding-heart story about how she wanted to quickly check facebook because her foster mom from when she was in middle school may have sent her her phone number. So I let her check fb and because of my fever, after about 20 mins, passed out. When I awoke she said, “ok my friend is about to pick us up.” I said goodbye to her and then realized I had been asleep for an hour and a half. I checked my purse and she had taken $8 I was going to use for cough medicine. I had actually just counted my money to make sure I had enough for the meds about 15 mins. before she arrived. So I picked up my purse and was about to get in my car because I had HAD it! when I saw her waiting across my street.

I confronted her and she said she would never steal from me, I was her friend, and I did everything to help her–why would she ever take from me? Then she got nasty and said, “what would I use $8 #$%% for?”. I said cigarettes, Lauren, that’s how much cigarettes cost now. Then she opened her bag (which I had given her because out of the shelter she had NOTHING), and then her son’s bag to “prove” she didn’t have it. Then her 4 y/o said, “why are you in my bag mommy, you took the money.” OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES…

Needless to say I terminated our friendship, gave her whatever she had left in my house, and have not gotten in a tizzy about her threats. She finally admitted she took it two weeks later. At 7pm she said she was my friend and would never take my money when I have so little. At a few minutes to midnight she said… I have something to tell you.

So… codependent still. A little. But I have a bs tolerance that has it’s maximum now (and it’s pretty low and preserves my dignity). I do not try to micromanage anyone else’s life, when I have so much to do on my own between living my life … and self-care. I finally have the self-respect to establish boundaries and limits, which I learned from a book! Certainly not my childhood. I’m glad to be able to say that while I’m not “Codependent no more”, and I am just “Codependent, a little.”

**********

“You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.” — Proverb

Sum of Her Parts

I haven’t blogged in more than six months. However, it has been very therapeutic for me to journal, blog, and read what other people have to say in theirs. So in an effort to expand my self-care horizons, I intend on blogging again. Here goes it:

I am exhausted from switching 3 times within about an hour and a half last night, letting my 15 y/o part, Tara, and 16 talk to my best friend (I suppose I was letting? Maybe I didn’t have a whole lotta choice in the matter…), cleaning and other fun adult responsibilities, and DBT group. I also feel like I have been bitten by the tse tse fly and now have African Sleeping Sickness. I have been sleeping on and off all afternoon and night; and feel like I could sleep another 12 hours right now. I’m not depressed at the moment, I’m just exhausted. It has been a very enlightening, frightening, and interesting week to say the least. I don’t even know quite what to say other than the fact that I am frightened that I have parts I didn’t know about and there is a lot I don’t know about the parts I do know exist. I thought I had complete co-consciousness, but I don’t remember a lot of what Tara said last night. I’d like to blame that on exhaustion. 😉 I have a lot to catch up on what has gone on since I last blogged, the relationship struggles I’ve had, the internal struggles, the hospitalization, homelessness, having my own place again, and the therapeutic changes I’ve sought and what I’m currently using to cope. That is for another day because I can hardly see straight at the moment. But, it’s good to be back. =)