Monday, April 20, 2009

D'Oh !!

Can't beleive how stupid I am. I missed the MS walk this past weekend! I thought it was on April 25th.
It's raining today, otherwise I would go out and walk to make up for being a dummy.I'll still make my usual donation.I don't have any pledges, partly because I'm not allowed to solicit money at work ; the United Way being the official charity there. I tell anyone else to give money directly to the MS Society. That way I don't feel like I'm pressuring anyone to give.

Anyway,I've been thinking about this whole charity business for along time and have decided to become a volunteer at the MS Society. I have always believed that giving my time is more effective than throwing money at something. Not sure if they have anything like what I would like to do; be a listener. By that I mean not counseling or giving advice, simply listening. I know how weird it is to find out that you have MS or might have MS.

I went through all the stages: anger, denial, bargaining, depression. Can't say I've reached the acceptance stage yet. I know it would have been helpful if somebody, anybody, had just listened to me without giving me advice( you need this drug, you need to see a psychiatrist, etc.) hadn't judged me,( you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and think positive) outright rejected me (MS! Oh! I might catch it!) or worst of all, loved me too much( act like a victim Carole, and we will love you to death).

I have developed good listening skills thanks to my job. . It's always been a good way to diffuse an unhappy person. I let them rant for awhile and listen to what they say, often times repeating it back ( You think the Prime Minister is an *%#!?!?## **%!!!?) Then I try to explain that even though that might all be true, they still have a problem they need to resolve, and that's why I'm here.

This method worked pretty good too when I volunteered at Youth Justice. I chaired a committee that helped first time offenders avoid a criminal record. It was a one kick at the can deal. After listening to the youth and often times the victim and other parties (social workers, shrinks etc.)we would discuss what could be done. The youth agreed to whatever measures we came up with and also to stay out of trouble. If they didn't, then it was back to court and face a judge. 85% success rate, meaning the police never saw or heard from the youth again.

I found the biggest problem was that people didn't listen !! How many times a panel member would ask a question about something the kid had already mentioned, for example, youth:" I love basketball" "I would play it everyday if I could" panel member: "So Billy do you like sports?" This drove me crazy as I saw it as a lack of respect and general disinterest. I also hated the parental approach " Now son we are doing this for your own good" or judgmental one "You smoke drugs !!! "

I loved that work yet gave it up. Some of the sessions would last over two hours and with my fatigue and memory lapses,I found I couldn't mange it anymore. I thought it unfair to the kid who's life I was intervening in too. I was making decisions that had legal implications. Either I gave it my all or not bother.

Now I would like to sit, listen to a person, and maybe help them by at least allowing them to talk. Talk up a storm, without worrying about how I will react.

Think there's a job for me out there like that ?


Lori said...

The last person I should've talked to when I was first diagnosed was someone from the MS Society. I was telephoned by a woman who was matched with me because we're the same age.

I have a freakin' horror story about the devout Christian I was matched with because we are the same age. I'm an atheist and being told to pray for acceptance didn't go over at all well.

I got way less judgment from the people who work at the MS clinic than I did from the MS Society peer support volunteer or the local group. I believe my involvement set me back mentally and emotionally by weeks if not months.

Please be careful and please remember that your disease isn't their disease.

Taxingwoman said...

Lori that just proves what I said People don't listen .No way would I preach to anybody