Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one….but the light bulb really has to want to change!
This is a challenge for social workers and I would assume psychiatrists. As a social worker I am pretty sure if I find just the right solution, or the right service or the right placement, I can fix everyone. I can help each client find his/her path toward happiness.
If only each client would listen to my sage advice, s/he would no longer live at the shelter, or blow every penny received on crack cocaine or need the services of a social worker.
Sadly it doesn’t work that way and today I was reminded of that.
A client I have worked with for over a year finally went too far and we had to cut him loose.
This client went through several case workers before I came into his life…and the best I can tell he didn’t liked any of them.
He has lived in many, many places since I have known him….and I happen to know for a fact that he has not liked any of the places.
This client struggles through every day. He struggles to find a purpose. He struggles to like himself. This client is angry, sad and full of hate.
We have discussed several times releasing him from the program. Usually after a phone call or visit that consists of name calling, threats and really ugly language. But my boss and I would look at his mental health issues and make excuses for him. We gave him 2nd, 3rd, 70th chances….until today. Our relationship finally came to an end.
I feel like a social work failure…because I couldn’t save him.
I feel relieved….because I no longer have to be subjected to his abusive language.
I feel angry…because he refused to see that others cared for his wellbeing.
I am frustrated….because he refused to accept responsibility for his own poor behavior.
I could dance the happy dance….because I no longer have to deal with his threats.
I feel sad…because he has no one.
Several hours before the blow up that ended our relationship, he and I discussed where he would want his ashes spread. Now my heart breaks for him….because he has no one to follow through on those wishes when the time comes.
Not everyone can be fixed. Not everyone wants to be fixed. Some people enjoy wallowing in the muck of life….and those of us that want to fix the light bulb must just step down off the ladder and wait for the light bulb to decide change is the only way they will ever shine!
Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly writing challenge designed for both the flash fiction newbie and the more experienced writer. It is the desire of this challenge to allow writers the opportunity to clear the cobwebs from a more tedious and involved project. Becoming a part of a new and growing writer’s community might be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate your writing juices. – Roger Shipp
Enough is enough
“It’s just a stone’s throw from Harvey’s Garage.” Stella said, as she twisted in her chair, “Why don’t you just get up early Saturday morning and go see him?”
“I’ve told you a thousand times, I ain’t gonna darken his door,” Tammy said, as she stepped from the porch onto the path.
“You know he meant no harm,” Stella said, as she watched Tammy walk away.
Tammy’s hand flew high above her head. She hoped the flick of her wrist would reinforce to Stella that she wanted nothing to do with the man that stole her baby.
Gene called through the screen door, “Was that Tammy I saw storming down the path?”
“Yes Daddy,” Stella called back.
“Is she still mad about the baby?”
“Do ya think she’ll ever get over Mr. Carver buying that baby pig from her parents?”
Stella shook her head as she watched her friend fade into the woods, “I don’t know Daddy.”
“What are we going to do about the “itches?”
Those are the words I thought my client said.
My mind immediately started racing…..”Oh no, they had bed bugs last summer, they must be back, I’m sitting on the couch, crap!”
Apparently my client saw the confusion in my face and when my brain refocused on her she was spelling “I-N-C-H-E-S, what are we going to do about your inches?” She stared at me and continued, “The are getting bigger.”
My immediate response, “Are you calling me fat?”
Just as quickly my client responded, “No! I’m saying you aren’t thin!”
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?!
I had a conversation today that disturbed me.
I was talking with one of my clients and his aunt. The aunt was telling me about some of the new experiences the client was enjoying. She then told me about her nephew’s desire to ride the city bus downtown by himself and eat lunch.
She explained that he had learned to ride the bus and she would let him go, but she wasn’t ready to let him go alone. My immediate thought was she worried about him getting lost or robbed, her actual fear never dawned on me.
The client is a young black man with autism. To see him walking down the street people would not immediately recognize his disability.
She began explaining her concern. If her nephew is stopped by a police officer it is possible that he will become nervous and when he becomes nervous he starts waving his arms and talking in circles. The officer could easily misunderstand his reaction and react negatively in return.
I looked at the young man sitting next to me. I felt powerless. I felt fear for this young man. He is such a kind and gentle guy and I instantly understood her fear.
Not only was I upset at the fear I felt for this young man I was also angry that people have to worry about protecting their children from the very people that are paid to protect all of us.
There was a time when I would advice my clients to seek out an officer for help. Now I have to second guess whether that is a good idea.
When will I learn?
For several years I was exercising and not losing weight. In January Tina and I chose to go completely vegan for 6 weeks. This included, the exclusion of processed foods. I lost a total of 17 pounds.
We ended up eating this way for 4 months. We both felt better and enjoyed the diet. Food tasted better and we were both healthier.
The slippery slope started when we decided we could add a few things back into the diet. Recently I’ve been struggling. I’ve gained weight and it seems impossible to stop eating sweets. I’ve been very frustrated.
I’ve upped my exercise and continue to gain or at least not lose. A few days ago the epiphany hit me….it doesn’t matter how much I exercise if I keep putting crap in my mouth.
So I’ve chosen to restart the vegan diet tomorrow. I’ve chosen to eat the foods that will help me lose weight and be healthier….wish me luck!
Blogging goals for 2016? I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
Last year I did 365 days of photos, The A-Z Challenge during the month of April and NaBloPoMo during the month of November.
I considered doing the 365 Days of Photos again but I think it would be better for me to focus on writing.
So my goal is to write. I will still do photo challenges…but mostly I need to focus on writing.
My other goal is to grow my blog. I realize to do this I need to get out there and actively participate in the blogging world. So often I find myself falling behind in reading everyone else’s blog. If any of you have any other suggestions I would appreciate hearing them.
I enjoyed 2015 and I look forward to 2016….lets see where the days ahead take us!
I made it! For those of you that made the journey with me….thanks! Thanks for your encouragement, your support, your comments and likes.
I’ve given a lot of thought about what picture I should end the year with. After much deliberation I settled on one of my favorite selfies of me and Tina.
Tina is my wife, my support system, my partner, my friend and the encouragement that gets me through everyday. She helped me have the courage to start blogging and she is the person that patiently waits when I say, “hold on, let me finish this post.”
I’ve enjoyed the journey of posting 365 photos during the year 2015. I’ve enjoyed sharing my view of the world with people I’ve learned to call friends and I’ve enjoyed learning more about this world of blogging.
I look forward to sharing more journeys with each of you.