"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly." -Albert Einstein

Friday, October 25, 2013

Greetings from The House.





I'm sucking on my second delicious coffee since about 9 pm, and I thought this would be an excellent time to jot down some thoughts. Since I AM still employed at The House, I will give you some observations about some of the people I get to work (for) with. I want to preface that, though, with this statement:
Whenever there is a group of people living under the same roof, eating meals together, and kinda doing life together, they will tend to become like a family. Whether it's been a group of college kids sharing rent, or an intentional community, it would seem to be the way things are. This is not a good thing nor a bad thing. Maybe it's better than it is worse, I don't know. But as I have been allowed to watch and learn from the folks here at The House, I can see that it is even more apparent that we need each other. Us. Humans. I'm glad, today, that God created us for relationships.

In order to protect the innocent (or not so innocent) I will use ficticious names, here, of course. None of the names are of the actual residents.

Every one who lives in this place has some kind of schizo-affective disorder, (among other things) which is to say at any given moment, there's probably someone hearing things that aren't there. Lots of paraniod delusions, too, so we often have to assure our people that we are NOT poisoning them. (No comments about when I get to help cook, please. And thank you.)

I guess I'll start with my favorites, which are easily Bill and Jane.

Bill is about 50, a soft-spoken gentleman who is often paranoid, and prefers to let the person who cuts his hair, shave him. He will get a pretty good scruff going before he decides to go get "gussied up"- I like to tease him. I asked him last time if he was going to get a mani-pedi, too? He grinned at me, and said no. His grins start at his eyes and eventually spread over his whole face. 
Bill has paranoid schizophrenia, so every time he is in a vehicle we have to reassure him that "Yes, we will get there and back safe and alive." He grips the door and the cupholders while traveling.
One way we try to help him with this is to distract him while we're driving. Talking about the song on the radio is one way. Another is, when we go past the local "PNC" bank, we think of things the "PNC" might stand for. Bill thought of "Pretty Nice Chicks" once, and grinned. He clarified "I mean you know, like girls, chicks like girls." Pretty cute.
The first thing you notice about Bill, though, is the drool. He constantly drools. It's a side-effect of some of his medications, Unfortunately, it could give the impression that he's not too bright, but Bill is a smart guy. He told me that he studied architecture befoer he got sick, and checked out several books on blueprints at the library. I believe that he did. He's a smart cookie, under the mental illness.

Jane is tied for first place with Bill. She is also living with schizophrenia, almong other things. Jane talks about her thoughts falling out of her head all over the floor. She won't do to church because, as she explains it "what if I was thought-broadcasting and my thoughts flew out and hit, a Bishop, or the Minister, or something?" Jand is a delight. She is almost always smiling, and in a good mood. She comes off with some really random things, and she loves to go to the Dollar Store and buy stuff.
Jane goes to the Senior Center nearby and likes to hang out there. From what I hear, they fix lunch for them and also do a lot of crafts. Jane is a very crafty lady. Jane is about 65, but she wears her hair in a cute bob cut, and her mother still tries to boss her around. I guess some things are universal.

There are 6 other rooms here, but currently only 5 other occupants. We should be getting a "move-in" next week, which is sure to be interesting.

I love my job. I love being able to help people, I love being able to show them that I care, and helping them find solutions for their problems, even if it's the same solution, day after day. I will confide something to you, dear reader, but don't tell anyone. I feel lots of times, that I could easily have ended up in a place like this, where others get to tell you what to do, all day, and every day. Where not everyone recognises that you are a human, adult, and treats you with the respect and consideration that you deserve. I'm grateful that I have been able to get to this point with as sound a mind as I have.
But sometimes, I feel like I'm undercover. I'm really much closer to the residents here than anyone else needs to know.  ;)