Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ship Ahoy

Hello again.

Fell asleep at nine o'clock and woke at five in the morning.

I'm debating whether to keep or return a pair of Banana Republic jeans I bought in Grand Central when I was with D. yesterday. We browsed Macy's Herald Square and also the Bryant Park Holiday Fair. I bought from a vendor a silver-tone ring. I'm not sure about the skinny jeans only because of the placement of the pockets on the back. I bought a regular size because the store did not have petites. The website has a different petite version of skinny pants. Their store in Rockefeller Center has a selection of petite clothes however I did not go there.

Oh, the dilemma: I could go to the tailor to have the jeans hemmed and ask him if he thinks the jeans look proportional in the pockets. On the website the jeans are shown cuffed and there is also a black version in addition to denim.

Decisions, decisions. I wondered if the petite version would feature legs too skinny to fit my legs in. A friend riffed on an Ellen Degeneres show where the talk show host is claiming she couldn't fit her arm inside the leg of a pair of skinny jeans.

Also: are skinny jeans supposed to bunch up? Is that the look? I will try them on once more before I leave my house today to see if I feel I can keep them anyway. The jeans I bought were in a dark denim. I would hate to wear them and have people wonder: "What was she thinking?" Of course I wanted to impress a guy and that is the reason I bought the jeans.

You can cuff the jeans however I will most likely get them hemmed unless after I try them on they look OK cuffed. Oh, oh, oh, no. What a pickle I've gotten myself into. I'm sure to most women this kind of detail doesn't matter. You can also scrunch up the hem and wear the jeans with heels for what is called a sexy look. I would still have to hem the jeans to be able to do that because the inseam is just too long on the regular size jeans.

I admit: I was impatient so bought them in a regular size. Though I went on the BR website just now and even the petite version bunches up in the legs so there you go. The kind of skinny jean I bought is not available on the website. Next time I go to the Rockefeller Center store.

You see: I just might keep the jeans. Then the dilemma is: to cuff or not to cuff, that is the question. The fault lies not in the stars but in that I was a woman on a quest to buy a new pair of dark jeans to replace my faded Loft pair which I will now relegate to a drawer in the armoire and use only to clean the house or to paint in.

Chances are I take the new pair to the tailor later and take it from there. I spend a mint at the tailor too.

Okay. I'm going to wind down this obsession and segue into something else. The train has exited the station on this one.

I gave D. a birthday card last night that he really liked. I don't see anything unusual about our friendship. He has the same kind of open-mindedness that I do. Although we are not fans of learned helplessness. We believe people in recovery need to become self-reliant. He is winding down his advocacy career and that is a good thing. He spent the best years of his life doing this. It is time for him to retire to his place in the sun.

Heck: I will not go there. The jeans are still on my mind. Let me try to distract myself by stopping at another station on the train route.

I hear there's a Lucky Brand store on Sixth Avenue near 20th Street so I might go there to see if they have the belt I liked in my size. Today I will bypass all the stores when I go to get my haircut because I have no money left.

The wind is roaring outside again. That is the one drawback to living in this apartment: I can hear the wind screaming outside.

I have the porters take the air conditioner out of the window and place it on the floor below the other window in the bedroom. There's a crack in the partition so cold air blows into the bedroom now.

Right now I sit at my desk typing on the computer wearing a Snuggly and I'm not embarrassed to do so as it actually keeps me warm. My mother bought me it in the summer when I moved here.

My train of thought doesn't seem to have a caboose today: I'm still thinking about the jeans. Also: I just bought a person on my holiday list a gift from the BR website. And mind you I'd like to buy another pair of dark jeans that fit well.


Monday night I give a talk at the NAMI Family-to-Family week 10 session. I'm supposed to talk about what I needed from my parents when I was first starting out in my recovery. Listen: I'm going to make no bones about it: I will tell the mothers and fathers that I succeeded because my parents expected me to succeed. They had the confidence that I would do what I set out to do. And so I achieved this.

There's no waffling. If you want your loved ones to recover you set house rules. Number one: get off the couch and attend a day program or a Clubhouse or do volunteer work. What your loved one does or does not want to do is of no concern. The ultimate goal is for a person diagnosed with schizophrenia or another mental illness to become self-reliant. Any adult has to make hard choices and people with schizophrenia need to do this as well. A loved one will have to do things he or she doesn't want to do if in the long run doing those things will enable them to function.

Trust me: I did not want to attend the second day program long-term. I attended two day programs for a total of two years. I fought to be taken seriously. That is possibly the only difference between me and the other ex-patients: I wouldn't settle for less. I had the goal of living independently and to do that I knew I had to get a full-time job. So I lobbied to be sent to OVR so I could be trained as a word processor.

Even the psychic told me in 1996: "In this lifetime you will be taught to do things on your own." Nobody gave me any of this: I had to take initiative to make it happen or else I'd still be warming a chair in the day program because the counselors didn't think I was capable of much else.

You will ask how I could recommend a person attend a day program when I met a lot of resistance to my goals while I attended the second one. Well: it can be a good tool for working on your recovery if you can't go to school or work at a job and don't do volunteer work. Forget about watching Ginger and Mary Ann parade about in their fashions on TV. You are the Skipper of your own boat and if you don't learn how to steer yourself to recovery you're going to go down at sea. Then you'll have to contend with the Howells.

Need I say more?

I hope you get this pop culture reference.

I have taken flak for this stance. No, it is not OK to let your loved one do whatever he or she wants while they're living at home. You want to halt their disability and one way to help them become self-reliant is to at the very least give them chores to do around the house.

Also: I have a different take on things when a mother says her son or daughter doesn't want to attend a Clubhouse because they don't want to be around other people with mental illnesses. Well: I was 32 and working at a law firm and I attended the Thursday night poetry group at Fountain House. I'd duck into a rest room to change from my suit to black jeans and a navy wool turtleneck.

That is the difference: any parent who acts passive in the face of their loved one's resistance to doing what it takes to recover is actually enabling their son or daughter to remain disabled.

Now you are going to ask: how long should it take for someone to recover? That is an individual matter. Those of us who are resilient will recover more quickly. And that is what enforcing house rules does: allows your loved one to bounce back. The longer you sit back the more likely there will be some kind of loss of functioning.

It took me three years from the time I was diagnosed with schizophrenia to the time I found my first job as an administrative assistant. That might be unusual however it proves my point: I was never far off course. I would love to see more peers speaking out and fighting for their rights the way I did in those early years.

Wow: look how far I've gone down this road. The stat counter must be dropping fast.

The wind is roaring so loud that any minute I expect Gilligan and crew to sail by in their makeshift raft on their way back home.

So I'll go sign off and leave you now to go pour some cereal for breakfast.

Enjoy your day.

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