stigma-blog: reality check

Reality checks are the best! I received an answer speedily to my email to the manager, I just did not post it as I was dealing with something far more important to me than whether or not I become homeless: the health and well-being of my equine partner. He was injured and whatever happens about where I live was on a back burner.

He will be fine, thank goodness, but it put into perspective once again that life and living beings matter more than stuff to me.

The reply I received was as follows:

“Caroline, ‘Keep working on tidying’ was a personal note to you as I know you struggle with organizing the stacks of things you have in your apartment. It had nothing to do with the violation. The front of the cupboards were the only violation there was. I appreciate that you have them cleaned off already. Attached is the rules and your lease. I am having printer trouble so I hope you can read it.


So, it was a classic case of catastrophizing on my part. My post-traumatic stress disorder was triggered and I started to fear the worst, but I am grateful my training kicked in and I did a reality check to ask questions rather than just freak out. The manager is not my mother, nor the domestic abuser, nor my domineering trustee, and she was just doing her job and history does not have to repeat itself. I did not lose sleep over it and it all became resolved. This is progress for me and I am very thankful indeed.

Anytime I can think something through and take action–preferably in writing–I am better off. Otherwise my mind turns in on itself and just revolves the negatives over and over until I am living in a waking nightmare of all my worst dreams come true. I have to force myself to look for a solution rather than obsess about the problem.

That is what I did when my former therapist asked me what I would do when the Interstate closed down due to snow and ice when I had to move my equine partner an hour away. He knew I went to see him every single day. I said, “I don’t know.”

The therapist replied, “Are you feeling anxious?”

I said I was and he said the time was up for the session. So I left and started to think about what I would do. I searched for apartments and calculated how much I would be spending on gas to make the daily commute and it was substantial and I could pay for an inexpensive apartment for that figure. I found a place but they would not allow rabbits and I could not just abandon my two rabbits. Then I found the place I now live and I qualified because I have disability and told them about the special needs trust. It is all calculated on a sliding scale and was investigated. I told no one who knew me of this move because I knew for sure that my brother would try to stop it. He had already refused to buy a small place for me here.

I was right that he was up in arms about my moving but when he found out, it was a done deal. Later, my psychiatrist and my therapist said it was one of the best things I did and I got a lot better here. It was the result of just focusing my mind on finding a solution, as well as a lot of prayer.

Thank goodness I still have a place to live and from whence I can find a way to work again, as has been my goal from the beginning. Now it is like a game to me–the trustee can try to derail my life and I can just get smarter about how to proceed with what is best for me, which is not in his calculus. He is just sure he knows what is best and uses the trust as a way to deny me my recovery, although he would not say that is what he is doing. He just sees things from him limited view, which he is entitled to, but I can just step up my game and get stronger in my ability to deal with ego-driven dream-stealers. He can have his life and he can live it however he wants. He just does not get to destroy my recovery. No one does. And that is up to me not to let anyone do it.

I am determined to show that someone who has suffered what the Pope says is “irreparable harm” can still recover. That is what drives me now because I refuse to become another statistic of suicide or death by addiction due to priest abuse, so help me God!


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