Saturday, January 4, 2014

A life story ....

I have a client who is moving this week. She has been by far my most challenging client ever, but I am so grateful that I hung in there with her. I have grown to care so much for this woman and I am sorry to see her go.

I have shared here a little about her before, how I wanted to just quit in the beginning. She made it clear she didn't want me there and she certainly didn't need my help, often screaming, swearing, even punching and shoving at times. I tip-toed around her for awhile, trying to honor where she was, but also trying to tend to her most basic needs. There was nothing rewarding about going to see this woman.

Until one day her son was at her house and she had taken to her avoid the over-stimulation of listening to us, no doubt. lol  He and I sat and talked for hours and he told me her life story. Sad things that had happened to her as a child, her choices as an adult, her need to "save" other people, her career choices and amazing successes. The many many wonderful and good things she had accomplished....I am hesitant to go into too much detail, but they were admirable and brave actions for the time, taking care of other people who the rest of society wanted nothing to do with. In addition to the above, she loved substance abusers, men who needed her help.

I know that place deep inside that is touched when you help another, even when they don't seem to deserve it....I know what its like to be a co-dependent adult, someone who is getting into other people's business and helping them to figure out a better way to live. Of being filled with hope that "this time will be it." That feeling of , "Ok we are on our way now, I've figured it out," only to have it days or weeks later, come to be revealed that its all fallen apart and I was the only one doing all the work to begin with.

All of a sudden I could relate to this woman. I could understand why she was so afraid to allow anyone close enough to help her. I could understand why she didn't want anyone doing anything for her....she had always been "the helper" "the doer." She wanted to be in control and was terrified when it seemed that that was going to be challenged in any way.

I changed the tricks that I had up my sleeve and I stopped swirling around her trying to get her to do what I wanted her to do. I let her be in charge. I gave her back her power. With her son's permission, she only showered sporadically during this time but she was able to tolerate having me there. We were hopefully building something together, a friendship based on trust, hopefully. She began to smile and laugh when I came in and when we talked. I started to bring my little dog Rosie and that was a safe bond we could share. She loved Rosie and Rosie loved her.

We eventually started her on a medication that calmed her down and I could shower her, I could trim her nails and even give her a hair trim, and blow dry. I could sit by her on the couch and rub her feet and legs, she would let me sit with my hand on her back....I felt for her especially that human touch was so important. Eventually I was able to hug her when I left the house, tell her I love her and I will see her soon. She wouldn't remember after a minute, but she let me get close to her now. I had finally become a safe person to her.

She is being placed into a facility where she will receive 24/7 care closer to her son. I hope that I have set up the transition for her with having her established on meds, getting her used to human touch, showers, and knowing that a stranger can be a friend.

We have worked hard together, she and I and I am sad to see her go. My hardest client has ended up being my most rewarding and fulfilling client. I learned so much in taking care of her and I have grown to love that sweet prickly pear.



mary christine said...

What a beautiful story Annette. Thank you for sharing it.

SoberMomWrites said...

I just love your guts you know that?

Addiction-A Mothers Perspective said...

I love this story. Hearing about another person's past so often gives us insight into that person's heart and helps us have compassion. I'm a teacher, and I find every year that the students who are the most challenging always teach me more than any of the others about compassion and love, and the tenacity of the human spirit. People who push others away almost always have lessons to teach us if we keep an open mind and heart. I'm sure you made a difference in this woman's life.

Liz said...

God bless you Annette..