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 cool. I got in, and drove the hell away as fast as possible.
I hope I survive this.