http://www.makepovertyhistory.org.nz beautiful monsters: Huh?

March 01, 2006

Huh?

I have been here for four weeks now, and the only big change I can notice in myself is that I’m becoming more bitter and cynical.

I feel as though the approach here is quite unbalanced. Sometimes you would think there’d never been any evidence that depression could have biological components. There seems to be an insistence on finding buried feelings and suppressed meanings behind everything. It’s not that I don’t think that past experiences shape us, I just expect some acknowledgement that genes might come into it, not to mention all those crazy new ideas about things like seratonin.

I don’t see a point to a lot of the things we do here. I mean, this afternoon, we had art therapy, which did seem like a useful thing to be doing. And we had “community cleaning,” which is fair enough. Apparently housework has therapeutic attributes. But the rest of the day not much happened. Some people played board games. This morning we had community meeting. There gave beeb ongoing discussion about towels. Apparently it is unreasonable to order more towels so that people can have one to dry their hair, or to use as a bath mat and reduce the risk of spreading tinnea etc. Also some towels and pillowcases appear to be AWOL. And there are food issues. Some people are taking two pieces of fruit, or taking fruit AND yoghurt, and as a consequence the people at the back of the line miss out. Another woman brought up the issue of how much it costs to come here, so I am not the only one worrying about it. I mentioned how much more it costs than say a nursing home. Apparently the cost is mainly for staff to run the daily programme – therapy groups, scrabble etc. Apparently this place is very cheap compared to other private hospitals, and money is very tight. So we can’t afford extra towels. Or bananas. It is more important to talk about the feelings that come up (frustration, feeling like we’re competing for resources, deprivation, entitlement) and talk about where these feelings come from, what they say about us and our problems and what our mothers did to us.

Oh yes, mothers. Apparently mine is “unemotional” and this is the cause of some of my problems. I must feel unloved, because she doesn’t express her feelings towards me. Excuse me, but I have always known that both my parents, and my grandparents, adore me. My mum may not burst into tears at the drop of the hat, but that doesn’t make her cold or distant. Just level-headed and down to earth. Excellent qualities in a mother.

As a result of the way that my family of origin dealt with feelings, I am “guarded”, apparently. And coming out at 14 is unhealthy, it’s wrong to be thinking about one’s uality at such a young age. I need to “deal with” and “work through” my uality. And I need to learn to express my emotions. I don’t open up to people enough. My art and writing don’t count out, cos that only uses my head, not my heart. Etc.

See what I mean about being too cynical? How is this going to work if I think that half the things they say are bullsh*t? I don’t have any faith that their central philosphy will work for me, even if it does work for some people. I don’t really know what I’m doing here.


Posted by Fionnaigh at March 1, 2006 01:28 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Hi Fiona

Your family sound amazingly supportive. Hold on to what you klnow is the truth, and your faith, and values.
When you reach adulthood the role of being a mother changes and is more supportive than protective, but as a mother I know my children come first always and bursting into tears in front of them all the time would not leave them feeling very confident.
Will keep praying for you and that the whatever you decide will be the best for you.

Posted by: Paula Weir at March 2, 2006 05:29 AM

Forgive me for being a cynical bitch myself, but I wonder what was the point of going there if you don't think they have a clue about what's up. Just to be annoying, *what if* everything they're saying was correct? What would you do then?

Posted by: H. Blackrose at March 5, 2006 05:00 PM

Hi there Fionnaigh. I'm sorry to hear half of this isn't working for you (or wasn't when you wrote). Their perception of your family doesn't seem to sit well with what you've known of them. I don't know them, but on another topic I DO know that coming out at 14 is just not surprising to those of us who know about such things! How disappointing that such a common experience hasn't become common to staff where you are yet. I hope they start honouring your experience more, Fi. G & L Fair is March 11.

Posted by: Pamela at March 5, 2006 09:52 PM

Well, I didn't know what they were going to be like before I came here.

And, I dunno, it's possible they're right, but it doesn't ring true. Sometimes someone says something and it pisses me off or upsets me, I think because there is some truth in it. But this stuff doesn't resonate like that.

Posted by: Fi at March 6, 2006 04:15 PM

Hi Fi
Today I was reading the latest issue of MindNet - Mental Health newsletter (its on the web so you could google on MindNet to find it). Lots of fascinating stuff in it - like Mary O'Hagan's editorial on how dealing with discrimination is a really important part of real mental health promotion but how many professionals don't get it . She's one of the Mental Health Commissioners & lives up the road from me, she's family & is cool & I don't think she'd be too impressed by the attitudes of some of the "professionals" you're dealing with Fi.
Another interesting bit was the research page with links to relevant articles worldwide. In Britain thy're doing lots of research into the impact that food has on mental health .. that missing banana may have ben more useful than some of the "therapy" or pills!
I started coming out at 15 (and of course I'm still doing it - a neverending process). Its taken me a long time to be mostly comfortable with the fact that queer & weird as I might be, I'm actually normal ... especially for the culture & world I live in.
Yeah and the seals & the farm were great.
Ka kite
Love
Kay

Posted by: Kay at March 6, 2006 09:15 PM

Hi Fi
Today I was reading the latest issue of MindNet - Mental Health newsletter (its on the web so you could google on MindNet to find it). Lots of fascinating stuff in it - like Mary O'Hagan's editorial on how dealing with discrimination is a really important part of real mental health promotion but how many professionals don't get it . She's one of the Mental Health Commissioners & lives up the road from me, she's family & is cool & I don't think she'd be too impressed by the attitudes of some of the "professionals" you're dealing with Fi.
Another interesting bit was the research page with links to relevant articles worldwide. In Britain thy're doing lots of research into the impact that food has on mental health .. that missing banana may have ben more useful than some of the "therapy" or pills!
I started coming out at 15 (and of course I'm still doing it - a neverending process). Its taken me a long time to be mostly comfortable with the fact that queer & weird as I might be, I'm actually normal ... especially for the culture & world I live in.
Yeah and the seals & the farm were great.
Ka kite
Love
Kay

Posted by: Kay at March 6, 2006 09:16 PM