Thrown for a Loop

I’m a big fan of plans. I like case plans, treatment plans, plans for the weekend, plans to hang out (online, at a bar, at a show). Hell, I make plans on the way home, “First I’ll do the dishes, then I’ll get some water. I’ll play/read/write till dinner…” etc, etc.

I had planned, this month, to write up on the war, health care and a few other things. At least, that was the plan. On Monday things changed dramatically. If I could write it all up, I would, but I value confidentiality more than I value a good blog post. Confidentiality is only one part of this equation. Respect for the others involved is the other.

While I have decided to stop beating myself up over this–as this particular change was not my fault–it is going to take some time before I’m back on my game. While I plan on getting back into the swing of things by reading up on the war, health care and Woody Gutherie, it maybe some time before I completely shake this funk.

Nano breakthrough?

For my first attemptat Nano, I’m fictionalizing my first job: working at a residential home. I’m adding cthonic monsters to the mix of staff and clients. Given that people ask me, “How can you work with those monsters! What they do is unthinkable!” I figured I should add real, “unthinkable” monsters.

The breakthrough came to me while I was walking to the Pink Line. When I asked about the theory behind the methodology at my interview all those years ago, I was told Psychodynamic–but when my interviewer explained further, the program sounded more Cognitive Behavioral. Psychodynamism falls squarely within the Cthullu mythos, and gives the treatment modality a creepy bent.

The writing will begin when I get my first cup of coffee.

My Coffee Pot is My CoPilot

In addition to NaBloPoMo, I’m doing Nano AND I a third writing project. Each one of these writing projects blend blend with my blogging. I’ll be looking at the Nano stuff here, blogging about the non-nano project here and following this fairly strict schedule:

up at 6:45
Make Coffee

Round 1 Nano Writing 12:00-12:30
Round 2 Nano Writing 6:00-8:00 (except thursday)

Friday: Update Nano Profile

Two hours of writing prior to to Chores

Per Lauren’s advice, I have: my play lists set, a variety of pens, a college lined composition book AND Shannon’s French Press. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a fuck ton of writing to do.

First Friday: Didn’t finish

My first Friday Writing. I didn’t finish it.

I only worked with him for a year or so, and I was never his primary.  When I had started at my first job, we’ll call it The Home, I was assigned to the Gangbanger Unit.  He, we’ll call him Steven Smith, was assigned to the Psychiatric Needs ward.  I had heard about him–IQ of over 200, 60+ hands on victims by 16–during training.  During out training class, we were always encouraged to look past our clients histories and offenses and see them for the kids that they were.  Of course, The Home tried to train us to keep the the offenses in the back of our heads, but not keep in mind that our clents were still children. 

Steven made that damn near impossible. 

The rumors surrounding Steven were terrifying. He was rumored to have a safety plan for every member of the staff:  He was allegedly fantasizing about raping or murdering (or both) every member of the staff.  He was alleged to have created his own language where he kept his notes on how he was to accomplish his assaults.  He was also supposed to have manipulated all of the clients on his floor into sexual activity with him.  I didn’t pay most of it any attention.  The staff member who told me these rumors was, to be generous, a lying asshole who couldn’t be trusted to clock in on time.  Eventually, Steven was transferred to my unit.  Without going into great detail, the psychiatric ward was completely mismanaged, and a number of clients who were difficult to work with were transferred to our unit (we had the greatest success rate of any unit in the facility).  I was looking forward to working with, if only to try my hand at more difficult clients. 

I wasn’t made his primary caregiver. That task was assigned to another male staff member.  Steven was not allowed to have any female staff.  His primary and therapist had to be male.  Steven had manipulated staff before.  I was also told that his fantasies had been to violent to allow him to alone with any of the female staff.  All of our clients had to keep fantasy logs.  We were encouraged to read them to helfp facilitate our client’s treatment. I read some of Steven’s older ones–but he started putting odd symbols on them–and I couldn’t find his newer ones. His therapist, the agencies second doctor, was the only one who was allowed to read them.  If I remember right, we were told, “It was just too weird” to read. By this point in my career, I had read fantasies involving all sorts of terrible things.  Being told I couldn’t read his logs let my imagination run wild.  We did get emails from this therapist notifying us of new fantasies–typically “heads up, Steven doesn’t like you right now,” or “Steve is having sexual fantasies about you”–but nothing more detailed than that.  At this point, I had read fantasies involving rape and murder.  We still couldn’t read Steve’s. 

Without the documents, all I had left was Steve’s behaviors.  To introduce myself, I played him in chess.  My brother is surprisingly good at chess, and I’ve known how to play since junior high. I’m not terrible at it.  But Steve beat me faster than any computer program I’ve ever played.  I figured he would.  Residents at phase one would get to play board games, and the agency had a chess team.  Given half a chance, Steve would play chess against anyone.  The only real challenge for him was Speed Chess.  I knew this going into the game, but i used it to get a chance to talk to him. 

I told Steve right away that he woudl be able to beat me.  The rest of the staff talked me up–I was supposed to be the smart guy on the unit–but by my first move, Steve knew the truth.  I wasn’t a match for him.  He beat in fifteen moves over three games.  What he told me, however, was even better.

Steve bragged about how smart he was.  How good his memory for moves was.  He admitted he thought “at least ten moves ahead.”  When I pushed him on he thought outside of chess, he smiled and said, “yeah.  I tend to plan out everything.”

Let me tell you about STeve’s smile.  “A smile that doesn’t reach the eyes,” is often used in fiction to describe someone who was lying.  There are other implications, especially if you think that the eyes give a special insight into the soul.  Steve’s smile wasn’t something he had developed naturally.  When he smiled, it looked like he was trying to remember how to smile per the proper occasion. 

Writing Project #1: The Kid Who Scares Me

At the end of the workday on Friday, I found my hand written notes on my writing projects. Some of them are nerd based, some are work related, but a few are the ones for the “Friday Workshop” day. Up first is something on the kid who scares me to this day.

As a general rule, I am not afraid of my clients. I worry about what they will do if they don’t get the treatment they need or how their lives will turn out, but I have never been threatened by a kid I worked with on a long term basis. Even the kid who scares me (I guess now he’s a full grown adult) never threatened me directly.

So I want to write about this client examine why this one–this brilliant, scary and thoroughly damaged youth–affected me so much.

Anyone have any advice, or direction, on how to approach this matter?