I want to be a gardener so bad! But I always get nervous when I can’t keep house plants alive!! I know it’s different when working on a garden, and I’m a LITTLE bit distracted these days. But still!
So I’m in a weird email conversation with the new trauma therapist. She isn’t cheap but the practitioner that referred me said she has “sliding scale” on her website. I’m like ok I can work with her on something. I have my people thank GOODNESS.
Basically the first appointment was me rattling off my whole story, and I didn’t get enough sense of HER. Which was a mistake, I realized.
Also, there were these kind of steep wooden stairs outside - which make me nervous if you’ve been following me, you know I feel wobbly on some days. These stairs in the rain would make me very nervous.
I asked her at the end of the appointment about the sliding scale option. I’m not too with it these days, obviously, and somehow left the appointment without hearing a number. I did learn, however, that she does group therapy and charges nearly 3 figures for THAT.
Now I’m all for people being paid what their worth. I’m especially protective of women, and in healthcare. So I didn’t balk at the hourly rate. But when people charge a lot for the second tier on their business model - like group or classes which is MY wheelhouse, I get a little piqued.
Ok, Julie, settle down.
I’m so tired, and worn out and edgy, I have to dial it back and really think: would this person be a really good fit for me? If so, then my mental health is just as important as the IV therapy - which took me MONTHS to feel comfortable getting. But I don’t want to die! That survival instinct is strong and outweighs my annoying codependent side.
So I emailed her and asked for a number - I explained more of my situation and said I was happy to share my official paper work from the government regarding disability and my medical case, etc. I also have links to my social media buried in my email so she could check me out.
Anyway, she writes me right back and says we can discuss the rate in PERSON. I also asked if she had a wheelchair access - I was curious if someone that works in TRAUMA is available to people with physical LIMITATIONS.
And the answer is No.
I wrote right back and said: I’m going to be NY blunt. I need a number. What would you charge me? I don’t have the bandwidth to come in person to discuss it AGAIN. I need to work things out with the people who take care of me and budget accordingly. I also asked more about the group therapy which I’d asked about in previous email - how structure it was, drop in or what. I guess I’d have to do a 2-3 hour intake that costs $180 and then they decide if I can join the group.
Obviously, it’s not looking like we will be a good fit. (Is it so hard for me to find someone to be direct around here? Direct is great. Wishy washy ugh.) What is so hard about stating the rate? I mean, someone with a fair amount of experience should have a range for their sliding scale for patients like me, right?
My friend is confirming that the mental health services in this country are truly geared toward the wealthy. Her kid needs a lot in that department and pointed out that even getting kids tested for learning / disability issues can cost around $1500-3000! Without that test, the kids can’t get the support from the public school system!
I’m sure there are other methods to get the services, but maybe not. There’s still SO MUCH I don’t know about disability / services / government benefits / school accommodations / rules around what businesses can and can’t do. I’m still not woke at all, please let us get that out of the way right away.
When I taught at the San Diego high school, I had a kid in my cooking class. Omgosh this kid should not have been in my cooking class. He was 14 years old but had the motor dexterity of a much younger child. He also struggled with focusing and following basic instructions.
I taught cooking for so many years, I can assess a kid fairly quickly after handing them a semi-dangerous tool like a peeler or grater. I can watch how well they hold the tool, whether they are capable of moving onto trickier tasks and of course, the chef’s knife.
This kid should not have had the chef’s knife but I didn’t know what to do! I normally decide if a 9 or 10 year old can hold a knife. Maaaaaybe, a 12 year old that struggles with it and I’ll work with them one on one. But I was so delirious when I set up the program for this school, I forgot to budget for an assistant so I was working with all volunteers, which happens a lot in programs. This program, however, had the budget for the assistant but…well that’s a whole other story.
Needless to say, I tried my best to get this kid flagged for extra help in my class. And I asked how he was doing in the rest of his classes, and of course, not well. He missed social and verbal cues. I’m no expert at diagnosing - I just have a lot of people around me that are - but I’d guess he was at least a little bit on the spectrum. Which I can totally have in class, no problem, but I need to be able to address it head-on. Make sure I’m learning from a professional and the parent: this kid struggles with this, this, that and really excels at this, this, that. So that I can effectively develop a lesson that can incorporate the child into the group without making them feel left out, or feeling bad. Without that crucial cooperation and information, I’m left freaking out that a kid is going to chop his finger off in class or hurt another child.
I have no idea why I’m rambling about this. Oh, how messed up our country is! Hahaha like that takes a lot to get going on.
I couldn’t get him any help. The parent refused to talk to anyone about it. I went through the appropriate channels, the right staff, even the principal. But I learned that if the parent is in denial and refuses to work with the school, the staff really have tied hands. We can’t work on extra services or making sure the child is getting the most effective lesson possible because we simply don’t have the data, and/or in my situation, I couldn’t even request a “shadow” to work with him. I should probably mention that I've worked with special needs kids on and off for many years. But always with parent involvement or other professionals that would get me up to speed.
One of my favorite things about teaching cooking was that I can adjust the curriculum so that pretty much ANYONE can do it. I can have 2 year olds, senior citizens, rowdy teens, special needs kids with physical or cognitive impairments, they were some of my most amazing classes.
But I was hamstrung in San Diego and I was only part-time, and my own bandwidth was so limited.
I wish we had a number like 911 but for mental health. I wish we also had more information to filter through all the possible practitioners online. Blerg! I’ve had that idea for years but my bandwidth. It’s so so frustrating that I’m dealing with SO much and it’s so maddening and hard to find the right help! I guess there is a real shortage on pediatric mental health professionals! And many only see kids during the school hours (whaaaa?) and and AND….
I’m grumpier than usual because I’ve been in pain. I got a little too excited about that whey protein and overdid it. I can’t imagine what else it would be - I’ve been VERY strict with everything. But it’s been a new pain - right inside my scar - usually it’s the worst off to the left where the small and large intestine are attached. This was new and hurts badly.
That annoying voice that says: how can I keep doing this? gets louder with the pain. I wondered about that. I see why those couple of months were so so awful. When I can’t eat too! The pain is so bad that I’m scared to risk eggs!!! I don’t know what to do. I think I will have to walk and move this evening, but I’m so tired. This heat makes me so tired and I already gave myself one liter.
Anyway, strange day. I haven’t cried about my dad today though!!! Just feeling frustrated that I’m constantly having to beg. I HATE having to constantly beg. I wrote my letter to the state today to get my food benefits increased. I’ve been working on that since…I think March?? I wrote some emails. I’m trying! I’m really, really trying to get shit done, and stay on top of things.
It’s so hard. In this body, grieving my dad, hungry, oh what I would give for one day of eating normally. Oh what I would give to get some Mexican or sushi! I almost got fish last night but was too nervous since I’ve had this pain. I really want to test it but decided against it. I’m drinking tons of good broth. Still no trader joes cookies but they are sounding quite delicious now….
Ok, must keep getting some things done, before the busy week picks back up again.