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Should I Obtain My Records?

Discussion in 'General' started by susane99, Sep 15, 2007.

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  1. susane99

    susane99 Member

    I am not sure what to do and would welcome some advice or thoughts on this.

    I was in a state run home when I was younger and have been given the address where I can obtain copies of my "records". My sister got her records and she was pretty upset by what was in them. They made her out to look like a very mean person, especially to me (which I do not remember at all). She didn't think I should get mine.

    I'm torn. On the one hand, I would like to piece together some things, but on the other hand, I'm not sure if I want to go back there. I fear that I will read something like "Susane is a freak with no hope of ever living a normal life". What will this do to my already weak self esteem? My faith in humans?

    Any thoughts?
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  3. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    I, too, was in "care' as a teen. Although what we get for records, in Canada, is different; I understand the confusion over doing this.

    Ultimately it is up to you. I have never got mine. I'm not ready emotionally. If my therapists need them, fine. Let them get them. They can cope with it. I can't.

    If you don't feel ready to cope with the emotional aspects of it, I would suggest not doing it now. Wait until you are ready. Those files are not going anywhere.

    Let me know what you end up deciding.

    Ohh.. and another thing is the perspective. I was considered a "bad girl" and the file would reflect that. Seeing the file, would only make me rage further at how I was ignored and abused by the system. If this is your case also, weigh this with how it's going to affect you right now. Again, look at whether you can handle it or not.

  4. metis-siren

    metis-siren Active Member

    I was in a group home as a teen, and we were able to access our file when we were there, except no one ever did... except me. I wanted to know what was being written about me. After reading them, everyday for a while - I began to understand that some of them just weren't paying attention to what was really going on, some of them were very biased and rude. I confronted the staff on this, and they began to write notes that actually reflected my behaviour, instead of (imo) their dislike of working there. I also began to see who was actually working, and who spent the entire time on the phone or away from what was actually happening, and would bs some of the responses. I learned who was my allies when living there, because their notes reflected it. I was the one who would question and write letters if I was upset about my care. I have copies of my conferences from every few months, which were summaries of my progress, and though I keep them for reference - and to remind me how far I've come, I also know that aside from using them for therapy and other official documentation - i.e. compensation for primary abuse as it shows to some extent what I was dealing with, I have found it unnecessary to look at.

    I suppose I should mention, I was in the best group home in my city, and the level of care was higher than in many other facilities, I'm still in contact with one of the social workers, as she changed my life in a very positive way.

    This is a decision you have to make for yourself, and you have time. I have found that looking at the files have brought up a lot of what was going on during that time, not just my feeling about what was written.

    Keep us in the loop.

    A. Lauren
  5. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack Well-Known Member

    Only you can truly decide if you want them. If you don't get them, the damager from knowing is not done, but the downside is it may bother you if you get them or not.

    I remember when I was in temporary care I was described as grossly obese. I weighed 150 pounds, and was five pounds over-weight. Yeah, there's grossly obese for ya. BS. Had I now gotten that I wouldn't have known. But curiosity was eating at me.
  6. susane99

    susane99 Member

    Thanks Bec, Lauren and Cactus J. I think I'll leave them alone for now. I don't think I'm up to reading mere opinions of staff members who may or may not have had a bad day. I know I need to work through some trauma from that period but I doubt there are any "aha" notes in my records that would change anything.

  7. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I saw my medical records, which is not the same kind of records that you have been offered but similar. I also saw most of my counselling records from an organisation I was involved with as a child. The counselling records I felt were fine, the only problem was it was triggering reading about my past. The medical records... some I felt reflected me and my behaviour (there were some mental health records in there, but not all), and some I felt, as others have mentioned, more accurately reflected the professionals attitude towards their job, people and life.

    Personally, I was glad I did it. But I was ready to look, and I was prepared for the possibility of bad notes written about me, so I was happy when I found some were good, despite some being not so good too. Sometimes I think that it is awful that people have the right to write their personal (as opposed to professional) opinions about another person and I have first hand experience of the damage that does from another situation. Some professionals recognise the importance of what they are writing... sadly, some don't.

    You have your eyes open so when you feel ready you will be able to handle whatever you read, but only you know when you are ready.
  8. zoe

    zoe Well-Known Member

    I agree with all said above. If you choose to get the records it might be a good idea to have someone you trust be with you as what is written can be upsetting, whether true or false, making it difficult to keep perspective.
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