This case will have some strong language.

Brianna was a young woman struggling with Bipolar Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder(IED).  You can learn about Bipolar here: https://tinyurl.com/lsgglvq   and IED here: https://tinyurl.com/kvp5hsy

Each in-home clinician has a caseload of five or so clients.  My original caseload included Peter, Katrina, Brianna and some others.  Brianna was a very difficult client to get a rapport and rhythm with, as her illnesses made it a struggle to do so.  I’d been warned that she may be my most trying client.  She was very guarded, and often used verbal and physical aggression as defense mechanisms.  I learned this on the first day.

I met her at her house, in a poor, crime ridden neighborhood.

I knocked on the door.

“Hello.”  She answered, smiling.  She was younger than I expected, and really took care of herself.  She was wearing nice clothes, and seemed to have pride in her appearance.  I noticed she had several marks on her body.  Burn scars maybe, I thought.  I pretended not to notice them.  We shook hands.

After introductions, we went to a picnic table behind her house to talk, to get to know each other.  I asked her about some of her goals as a client. 

“Well, I’d really like to move out, get my own place.  And I’d like to get back to school, maybe go to college.”

I was taken aback.  These were reasonable goals.  Obtainable goals.  I didn’t have any experience in the mental health field at this point, and these goals gave me some sense of direction. 

 I noticed she mentioned living with someone.

“Who do you live with?” I asked.   Easy question.  Should be an easy answer.

“Just this fat, ugly, fucking bitch.”

Jesus Christ, I thought.  There it is. I’d been told of her legendary language and anger.  This was my first time seeing it.  On our first interaction.

“Um.” I leaned in. “Who?”

“My foster mom.  We don’t get along.  I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay”, I assured her.  We continued to talk, her explaining some of her story.  Me?  Well, I was trying to avoid stepping on landmines. 

We agreed to meet in a few days to work on finding a place to live.

I power-walked to my car.  Trying my best to seem coolI got in, and drove the hell away as fast as possible. 

I hope I survive this.

-RMV

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