Danielle and her partner Spencer have been clients since March. The other day she was telling me about the day and it was very insightful. I asked her if she could be a guest blogger. Here is her first blog about her journey.
I am a 25 year old social worker and I just received my masters this past May. I live in York, Maine and grew up in New Hampshire. I entered the social work because I always wanted to work in a profession that would directly help others and advocate for those in need in order for them to receive the support they deserve. My work tends to be with impoverished individuals suffering from mental illness and addictions.
I graduated with my bachelors in social work in 2007 and did not know that my life as a young adult was going to change within months. Since 2008, I have been on this long journey, that as much as I would like to say, I would never wish on anyone, I am glad I am on. Some people call me a caregiver but honestly, I never think of myself as one. I am doing what I needs to be done to help my boyfriend work towards healing. And it is a lot of work, but I am on a mission. I can not even explain the emotional roll coaster I experience with my partner on a daily basis and I am not even going to try to explain it all. I will say it is intense and frustrating, yet amazing.
I am in awe of my 25 year old boyfriend who was diagnosed with Ulcertaive Colitis in 2008. He tried every medication within a year to curve his UC symptoms but surgery was needed and his whole colon was removed. Since then it honestly has been surgery after surgery and let down after let down by health care professionals and our health care system. I know now from our experiences, it is a messy health care system. We really need to be sharing our stories with each other in order to validate the struggles and support each other with our new knowledge. My boyfriend is really struggling right now and I am too. Every day we are coordinating appointments, refilling medication, and trying anything to help him get better and I can tell you: if I am not on top of it just for one day: we lose a day.
I have a wonderful and supportive family that consists of a mother, father, brother, sister, sister-in-law and my sister’s boyfriend who are there for me and my partner always, but not even they fully understand the ins and outs that I am learning through this long experience. While I was in graduate school, this past March I went to the Dominican Republic to do some volunteer work and my boyfriend ended up in the hospital. My family decided my boyfriend and I really needed some more objective support and that’s how I meet Hari. She our patient advocate! Yep, even I a social worker needed support because what I am experiencing is totally out of my element and any knowledge and support I can get, I learned to take.
Hari is the one who suggested I write this all down. And I am starting to understand and agree with her. She is pretty much the best. I like to think we really work as a team. She shares her knowledge and supports me and my partner and she has this huge desire to listen and learn from those she works with in order to continue to understand her clients.
I think I will write more later. The entries I am interested in writing about will include how I am learning to problem solve and how I am learning to help my partner and myself feel empowered.