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The shame of applying for an assisted living programme


So, all my life, I've "coped" with PTSD and the other fallout from trauma.

For a long time, in my 20s and 30s, I was way too symptomatic and hypervigilant and scared of being "trapped" somehow, to apply for the kind of assistance that I really needed.

After being re-traumatised badly a few years ago and having half a dozen other major life stressors hit one after another, I've been at a point for quite a while where I'm simply not coping anymore and suicidal ideation is a permanent feature.

Inpatient therapy is not an option right now, so instead I've applied for an assisted living programme. I had an initial appointment with the provider today and next week is the second appointment - with the region's health department - where they do an initial medical assessment (in my case psychological assessment). Then, in January, there will be a 3rd appt (which will be the most complicated one) where they do a several hours long assessment of what assistance is required and when and how.

I'm so torn about it... On the one hand, there's still palpable fear that this will turn into some kind of "trap" and I'll be worse off than before and my PTSD will get hyper-symptomatic and things may sprial badly. On another hand, I'm feeling a vague sense of hope and relief, that this *might* actually be helpful. And on another hand, I feel a lot of shame about this being necessary. I don't want to be someone who needs an assisted living programme.

I mean, I've needed one ever since I can remember... As a child, I needed to be in a children's home or a foster family, but that didn't happen. As a young adult, no-contact to my family of origin and traumatised out of my mind, I needed an assisted living programme but was so scared of getting trapped in it, that I rather risked death than that. So, the whole thing has been decades overdue but still I struggle to accept that I need this help.

Previously, I've always muddled through on my own - and sought limited, temporary help when I was in crisis. But this current phase has been going on way too long for it to be a "temporary crisis" and there's no sign it'll be over any time soon. I feel like this assisted living programme is the only/ best chance I've got.

I feel like an idiot for being an adult who's not coping with her life... I dunno if I can maybe re-frame it as my inner child who went through so much trauma and abuse and neglect, finally getting the help she needs? Maybe that makes it a bit less shameful feeling.
Our society teaches us that disability is shameful, because being disabled prevents people from contributing to capitalism. That's all it is. Ableism and eugenics, point blank. My country has MAID now, and 1/3 of Canadians are "fine with" people choosing MAID when their only difficulty is homelessness/poverty. Tells ya all you need to know. But it gets engrained early. If you aren't independent and productive, you are a bad human. But that's not true.

Assisted living sounds like a great alternative to isolated suffering. It is something I likely should have been provided as a young adult. I managed to be "independent" for six months before my entire apartment imploded with dirt and food and clothes and cat shit/piss and everything else. Had to quit my job, quit school, I couldn't physically accomplish these things. It is beyond the capacity of my brain, which is damaged.

And that's not my fault. It's OK that I need help. And it's OK that you need help.

Being disabled does not make you worthless. Simply by being here, you put something out into the universe that only you can. No one else can be you.
For now, I have a supportive environment to live in, but I've given it some thought for when I get older. My father was in assisted living for mental health issues for many years as an alternative to repeated inpatient treatment after I graduated from high school until he needed to move into a facility that had more of an emphasis on physical health after he was diagnosed for cancer.

I wish that applications related to disability could be emotionally easier. I dread the possibility of something happening to my disabled status and having to go through the process again.
I saw this and had to reply, as I work in assisted living.

@Ecdysis , I feel the exact same for myself with hospitals/ inpatient. I think I would kill myself. That said, it is all because of triggers and thoughts and fears (False Evidence Appearing Real). At the very least I would be so scared I'm sure I wouldn't be able to string 2 sentences together.

Trust me, the only thing anyone thinks, and I've heard it enough to say so, is "Lucky!" And "They must be Very wealthy!". Like being off work for disability at 40, you could have no legs and they'd still think the same. Definitely great envy, no lie.

Here (unrelated) we have a couple of specialized places, for ALS (Lou Gerig's) & for para/quadriplegia, they have fantastic reps and they are suited to need. People say they are like family.

I just said this to a friend, if you need the r'n'r let it work its benefits because that I think is the 1st critical basic for recovery.

I think I am older than you, but if I had had such an opportunity I think it would have saved my life. But I never asked for help and no one offered. In retrospect beyond the damage I did to myself, I almost died including by suicide. That does a lot more harm. Like someone said better healing than isolation. So I hope you can park the needless worries at the door. There is no shame in doing what is right, healing and needed. Though I understand how wrong it can feel to feel you are worth it.

Best wishes to you.
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@Ecdysis just wanted to add one thing, hope it comes out right as it's been a struggle today and this is too. Wish I could say it shorter (sorry).

On a broader note, it is simply brave to admit, address and seek what you need, everyone struggles with something.

I read, "If you've been away WELCOME HOME!" written brochure from a place not overly welcoming to their own. Had thought of a moment in time I should have called something out, more than once actually, to others, and am sorry I didn't have the guts. What I mean is it comes to me people exist to help and care for one another, not try to shred them to pieces as they so often do. We're supposed to be more like LEGO for another, or scaffolding, and nurturing of one another. Some people might be judgmental; as I was told, "So what! Who are these people anyway?!" This is your survival and life and quality of life. The quality of the lives of anyone even remotely passing judgment on you, and your healthy choices at that, has no quality of life themself. Reminds me of how they treated Steve Jobs. And it worked out better for him than ever.

And just to say, for weeks I can't find words. Now I say, "I can't recall the word", or to myself, "I am looking for something". Because I can't recall the word, or what I'm looking for sometimes. If I see it and remember I say it out loud, eg 'water bottle'. I never did this to this extent until the last covid. But the other times I got it this didn't happen. Who knows. Look at catatonia. Even our 1st rescue dog started that way. But not with us. Then again I thought, maybe it's also a reflection of having no semblance of what I would call therapy/ therapeutic for 2 months. A wake up realization but not useful for me to self-blame, or (what's the word? lol)- ~grow my own shame. That won't help. (A funny one though, I texted someone 'Fat Rinse' meaning big (tree) tinsel 😊)

I held a power tool battery in my hand today I picked up (purchased), and I would have sworn it had no packaging, that I could feel the curve of the ridges where it goes in the charger. I phoned the store as to whether that was normal, no packaging? (As it was ordered for someone else/ a gift). Made arrangements for new one, only to get home and look again at it all packaged. Am I crazy? Tired? Distracted? Who knows. What it does say to me as I think it says to you is you need to let your brain and heart batteries get their own re-charge. That's not shameful that's smart and honest.

And grief. I recall at one point after my mom died (months or more later) ending up in tears on the floor as I couldn't get my jeans on, a pretty simple task. When huge things are discounted and minimized and managed by ourselves only and everything goes on, soon even small things are difficult. I went to school with a young, 'tough' girl like that (Police Officer dad). Her parents got divorced, nothing ever got acknowledged in terms of stress, struggle and pain, and then one day she sat down in the middle of traffic. I don't know what happened next as they moved shortly after. I have been tempted to do that myself, out of exhaustion. Even crossing the street felt/ feels like I need a Pit Stop. Does that make me a bad person, or wrong to know I need help, or ashamed my body and self is overwhelmed?

I too know what is frustrating (for me) is things like triggers and FB's and sometimes even simple interactions reflect where I feel I'm in, not what I am in always. We have to manage it, but shame is optional, as is negative self talk and perception or self-judgment. Whatever makes you feel better about it, use it, such as your inner getting comfort or care. Might I suggest that inner child deserved the exact same care and comfort as your current adult self also deserved and deserves.

Let people take over some of the load. That's good for them, also. Good for all of humanity.

Hugs to you. 🫂🫂 🫂
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ETA, and lots of times I've been so anxious I thought I would explode, temporarily or sustained. I can't discriminate depression from anxiety because I think (my) depression is just when my anxiety has burnt me thoroughly out. No one can sustain these states. I think even the DSM puts ptsd under a Stress Disorder grouping now, or something similar?

Good luck to you. 🫂
I’ve been in a couple/few PHENOM places whilst sick/injured, and was wellest soonest (in practically no time, ESP compared to being at “home” and slogging through a life I wouldn’t put a dog through). The last time I got badly sick? 3-6mo skilled nursing prognosis turned into upwards of 2 years actual time to recover gimping along on my own.

Go. For. It.
@Ecdysis just rushing but I remembered something important, even critical. Forgot to say, from what I've seen, if a person is more introverted, assisted living works well because you can manage your time, amount of exposure, and don't need someone to keep you occupied (you aren't lonely all times when you are alone). But for extroverted people they have a really hard time, occupying their time on their own seems unbearable. (A person or two told me that felt like torture). And really, overall the atmosphere is quieter, punctuated by stuff most people can take or leave (except for meals, and even some people I know choose to pick them up or get them delivered).

Hope you are doing ok, good luck.
All it took me was the realization that there are times I can't deal with things myself. How far that list extends depends on whats happening in therapy etc.

It's a hard thing sometimes but when you realize things you think you are doing well you are not doing well......is when you realize you are causing more stress and anxiety than you can deal with too.

And there's no shame in inability. It may be permanent it may not but today - it is what it is.

...and at the moment I have a disability.....