In my second year at Columbia Basin College earning my AA Transfer Degree, I remember being in stress management class. I believe it was the first time that I was exposed to what I have heard over and over in my professional life regarding stress. He discussed a concept of clustering. This could be referred to as chronic or complex stress. This clustering is when an individual experiences a number of stressful events all near the same time period. Both in my life story and so much more in my experience working in mental health over the years, I can really see the truth and frequency that clustering happens.
Over and over in my interactions with my clients, I’ve heard them discuss complex stress even when they don’t understand it as such and only see it as a matter of their daily lives. Working with Medicaid clients and the severely chronically mentally ill at Tri-Cities Community Health’s Behavior Health Services Department (Neuva Esperanza Community Counseling Services), unscientifically I would propose that majority of our clients are experiencing the most complex trauma and stress. In thinking about it, I realistically don’t have any client who is only experiencing one major concern in their lives. Their lives tend to be series’ of crises and other problems. As a clinician, it can often times be difficult to discern what their underlying needs are or what issue to work on first.
Life and Its Constant Search for Balance
On Saturday, October 13 Minnie and I were at Tony Romas celebrating the life growing inside of Minnie and getting ready for our baby boy that is expected to come in January 2013. We were completely focused on celebration prep and all of the friends and family that would be attending. I made these pretty snazzy invitations in Adobe Illustrator.
We were preparing for a baby shower and had both of our families and friends from all over to celebrate at Tony Romas restaurant and to give us baby gifts because we didn't have anything. As we were celebrating this new upcoming life, we had no idea that Minnie’s mother would pass away in a little over a week. You can check out the photo album, It’s a Boy! Family & Friends Baby Shower, on Facebook. During the baby shower, we had everybody participate in an activity where the guests wrote pieces of advice on a note card for Minnie and I. I really thought this was a cool idea, and wanted to find a great way to share them with everybody. I made a picture collage and a flash object.
The day after the baby shower, Teresa Garcia, Minnie’s mom went ended up going back to the hospital. She had fallen a couple of weeks before, but had not been improving even under her doctors care. While there was a lot of different factors and things that happened, all of which I’m not going to share here, her mother ended up in the Intensive Care Unit at Kadlec Hospital being sustained by life supportive machines. For over a week, Minnie was at the Hospital all day every day with her family and friends. After I would get off work, I’d head to spend time at the hospital too. This gave us a lot of different things to think about and consider.
She and her family had to make decisions about what quality of life is and what her, Teresa Garcia’s, desires would be given her living situation. It was not an easy week with a myriad of other things that came up and difficult situations. Last Monday (10/22/12) the family made the decision to take Minnie’s mother off of life support and she passed away several hours after that. You can see her death notice and her obituary in the Yakima Herald.
I took the rest of that week off to be able to be supportive and to help with the arrangements. During this time, we were asked to move in with her father and help to support him in Prosser Washington. We packed up all of our stuff and put two thirds of it into a storage unit in Pasco and moved the rest of it to their ranch. This week, I’ve been back a work but it’s been hard to catch back up. Other then moving and all sorts of other crazy stuff... I also got my wisdom teeth pulled (all four of them).