2003-10-09 - 1:20 a.m.
I was reading through some old entrys- and its a good thing as I found an early one in which I failed to use the psudoname of my husband! oops....fixed that!
This is a private diary in the sense that Westley and my close family haven't been told of its existance. I imagine some day he'll come across it and get immensely upset- although I'll enter my defense here and now NO ONE READS THIS BUT ME!! I am almost sure of that! Oh yes- and hi Booger friend... likely the only other person that may occassionally visit this site as she introduced me to it. I don't think he'd mind that as he likes and trusts her as well ! .... but to be honest, I hope to never even have to face that issue.... as I LIKE having this as a personal private space. I think even when married everyone needs that space. In a house of five children I really haven't any other personal space except this virtual one on my desktop!
Well I was going to follow up on some things I referred to but then never mentioned again.... hmmm.... like the cousins wedding on LI this summer. It was fun but the baby at home got sick the very day of the wedding so I came immediately back rather than hang out in NYC for a few days as I had hoped to do. My brother and his wonderful wife were kind enough to invite me to join them at a NYC hotel they had booked. They live in Tarrytown and are really so nice that I'd like to get to know them sometime. (Really! I feel like I have been out of touch with that younger brother unfortunately! He is the one I am reported to have relentlessly teased as we were growing up. Mom says the poor kid couldn't jump in a puddle without me reprimanding him. Funny- I encourage my kids to puddle jump!)
I had brought toddler #2 with me to the wedding- the spirited one. She was interestingly very overwealmed at the large crowd at the reception and was literally losing it, freaking out at first. She was running wildly around- into people that were trying to be seated. When I tried to catch her she was hitting me. Totally out of control. That was one of those occasions when I had to lay down the law with her so to speak. I took her aside, to the ladies room once I caught her gave her one swift swat and had a heart to heart chat. I told her that if she continued to try to kick me and hit me when I tried to get her in the high chair that she'd get another spanking. Then she fell right in line and she returned to the dining room like a perfect angel and settled into her high chair. She must have just felt so overwealmed by the crowd that it was reassuring to her to have me there demonstrating that I was in control. It was like she needed that assurance at that moment because of the intense overstimulation and loudness of the room. She had initially acted out because it was just too much for her and I think she really didn't know how to handle it.
Once I was able to I redirected her energy onto the dance floor and then the fiesty little girl really enjoyed dancing with grandma and her aunt and uncles.
I thought it PARTICULARLLY nice of my younger brother and his wife to extend the invitation to stay with them considering I had my daughter with me! Even if I could have stayed though I wouldn't have wanted to impose on what could otherwise be a nice romantic weekend away for them. As I said "Come on- I can't do that! I know how nice it will be for you to be away where you can wake up and have someone else make the bed, and where there is not a pile of laundry on the bed needing folding."
At which point there were some laughs and a discussion ensued about who actually DID have laundry needing folding on their beds.... a few actually did!
While I had a nice time at the wedding I do wish I had gone by myself without any of the kids at all. While it was fun for my daughter once she settled down, I spent the whole time watching her and because of her very dramatic entrance to the reception, I was on guard and worried about how she was doing the whole time. So even when she went off with uncles and grandma, I still kept a close eye lest she start losing it with them. She never did lost it after the rules of acceptable behavior were set up for her. However, I never relaxed and really only got to visit with the one brother and his date who sat next to me. It WAS nice to meet his friend and chat with both of them, however it was disappointing not to have the opportunity to talk to any of the many other member of my family.
One of my brothers suffers from social anxiety disorder. Rather than come to the enormous wedding (it had the LONGEST almost bus like limo for the eight bridesmaid wedding party)- and then trembling with anxiety in the corner while standing alone, he opted to stay home this time. Everyone was pleased that they see progress in him in the sense that this time he actually communicated to them by calling to say he wasn't going to the wedding and WHY! That is a big step for him. HE rarely communicates with anyone other than my parents whom he has been living with for the past two years at their prompting in an effort to help him. He had a good job with NY State that he quit about 4 years ago now. He basically then day traded and became more and more of a hermit, shopped at NET grocer and avoided all people. So my college educated, wickely smart brother declined to the point where even the most basic interaction with another human became painful for him. He did however reach out of himself and came to my assistance when I needed it and he stayed with me for a week. He has never really seemed to have as much trouble communicating with me as he does with other people.(That was about three years ago now) I realize now that it's three years he's been at my parents. shortly after he stayed with me he packed up all his stuff in NY and moved to FL.
He is reportedly doing better with medication in conjunction with cognitive therapy (according to my Dad). Hmmm..... talked to Dad about other possible environments for him as I think My parents DO deserve to retire. Dad was not at all interested. So that's OK! I do think however that after three years at my parents with MINIMAL progress that it is time to consider something different. I suggested supportive living environments, and Dad said the therapist said that in support groups the people support each others disabilities but never overcome them. I don't know if he misunderstood what I meant deliberately- or if he was just not understanding. I didn't mean a support group meeting- I meant as a place to live with around the clock support. He seems to think this can be overcome by my brother. I tried to compare it to my mother's cancer, and how the groups have helped her live despite her illness. (Although I didn't mean support group, but rather a group living situation-- I went with the support group idea as a starting point of discussion.) My parents often say about MOM that she is not a cancer patient, but is a person who lives who happens to have had cancer... or some other semantic phrasing which makes them feel better about that condition as a part of her life. I tried to draw the analogy upon that and said people with mental ilness are no different from people with cancer in the sense they too have to live life with the illness not as a VICTIM of the illness-- but as a person who lives an enriched life and happens to be ill. I tried to talk about how supportive environments offer opportunitys for an enriched life for someone who has such severe mental illness that they are finding it hard to fully participarte in anything. I said that people with illness DO need support! I suggested that perhaps more support would be helpful to my brother.... and I knew by the distracted silence on the phone there was a vacant expression of shutting me off which could I see it must have been glaring from my Father's eyes. I said that it would not be selfish of them if they decided that at some point they did not want my brother to live with them. Dad was not listening. From the moment I mentioned the possibilty my Dad had just shut down. I had tried to talk of my background as one who managed a group home, one who has familiarity with disabilities and mental illness and support services, but it didn't make him any more interested. It in fact may have made him less interested as he clearly does not wish to view his son as seriously mentally ill. I had started by saying "You can ask all the siblings and I am sure we could all take turns offering support. He is welcome to come here with us for a while if he wants to look for a job. " My Dad did say that when he is ready my cousin who is a lawyer has said she would give him a job. So that is good- but Dad said "But he is not near ready for that."
My dad did say that he wants to help my brother and that yes he does worry about making it too easy. He doesn't want to impede progress because there is so much support that my brother has no need to get well.
The reality is that its been three years since my brother has been there in Fl at my parents' house. My brother had seen a pysciatrist shortly after arriving there. But my brother stopped going to him and later started with a new Dr. But after three years I think its ample time to assess that whatever my parents are offering for him, it is not making a significant enough of a difference. My brother is still not able to function in the world without support. I'm a firm believer in family support- but with the caveat that when it comes to mental illness, if you really want to effect change you need to turn to professional support in every way possible. And if a person can not change but must learn to live with their illness, to live IN A STATE Of illness, then I think the best environment is one in which the person is accepted FOR WHO THEY ARE, without denial, guilt or blame. In short- NOT a parent's home! I think to fully accept my brother for who he is, and to fully support him, is to recognize that without full time support he WILL NEVER enter any sort of community. With support he WILL be in a community where he will at least have the opportunity to enter into relationships with others on a daily basis. Without that level of support, I think it most likely my brother will NEVER relate to other people, except for his therapist and my parents. Maybe his communication with them will improve, but I would think they would all hope for more for him. I am afraid that what is going on now is denial and the lack of acceptance that a community of less than perfect people would actually be GOOD for my brother! A community of other people who also deal with mental illness would likely be good for my brother, however those kind of people are not good to be around in my parent's view! It the limitation of their own categorizing and perceptions of what it means to be mentally ill which are blocking them from encouraging any supportive environment. But then again it could also be that they are in FL. I know nothing about that particular state- but I do know that no where are services for disabled as well developed as in Colorodo and New York.
But apparently my brother is not considered disabled. Because he had quit his job and had ample savings, (Most working but socially anxious people ARE great at saving!They don't go out to spend $!)He had too much money for social services, and was denied disability status.
In contrast, my yongest brother bought a nice new condo in Columbia,SC. He also was proud of his new car that I saw at the wedding. (A cute red sports car- but I have no idea what make. I forget-- maybe a Toyota) HE is apparently really doing well and loving his new job as a salesman for FOX TV. He had bought his home when he was excited about his new job selling ads for the local paper. When he landed the job at FOX he was even more thrilled as his salary more than doubled!
My other brother (the one from Tarrytown) has been the bank manager of the Manhattan branch of the Suburban Bank he works for. His banking career took off a few years back when he was a very effective customer service rep on LI. His bank manager was discovered to have been embezzling. He was put in charge of the bank as temporary manager until they could get someone in. They were just impressed as he was very effective in getting the place in order and running a tight ship so to speak.. He saved a sinking vessel! They immediately sent him to fill in when ANOTHER bank was rocked by a scandel. He went in , cleaned up shop and implicated some other staff who the bank hadn't yet figured out were involved in poor habits and practices that resulted in mishandling and embezzlement. HE fired them all. So he again cleaned up shop. This time when they hired the permanent manager they didh't look far. Without even having finished his college degree that he was working on at night, my little bro became the full time bank manager.
My oldest bro left San Fran after a lay off when his company was acquired by another. He is now doing challenging and rewarding work for a Bank as a programmer. He worked on that project to digitalize all checks in a huge database.
My sister in law got married, and soon after my other sister in law got engaged.
That's all for now!