Welcome to Social Work Unplugged –
“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” ― Michael Ellner
While the name implies looking at the field of social work from an “unplugged from The Matrix” perspective, everything is connected. The field of social work certainly is rife with areas to be explored from an awakened point of view, but to attempt to make this the sole focus does not work and my own awakening process has been far too intense to keep out the personal.
As such, there is both an unplugged point of view that can be taken in regard to social work and the universe at large, as well as my own point of view as someone who worked as a “professional” social worker with an emerging, “awakened” perspective.
After growing up with social services as a part of my early years, I developed both a desire to get in to the field of social work and to do it by treating people with as much dignity as possible.
Even though I feel I was able to do this to the best of my ability with my clients, after more than two decades it became increasingly difficult to maintain a sunny disposition with my coworkers, supervisors and the incredibly flawed systems that were providing our salaries.
My first and perhaps most profound experience was at the age of eighteen, when I began working for a residential program for eighteen adults living with a range of disabilities from Down Syndrome and autism to “mental health” issues. Most of them had just been exited from State Hospitals. I learned that regardless of the approach, I had a knack for the work. I was able to run programs that the writer was unable to execute and I was promoted to management when I was twenty.
After four years, I moved to another area. After moving around in miserable retail positions, I was able to get a job with a residential home for adults living with autism. I did this for the six-and-a-half years that it took for me to get my AA in Liberal Arts and my BA in Psychology.
During the years that it took to get my Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW), I enjoyed a variety of both paid and volunteer positions assisting adults living with developmental disabilities to obtain community employment, as well as provided case management services to people who were homeless and living with mental health issues. The greatest challenge during this time was working as a Substance Abuse Counselor.
Throughout the decades I have worked also as a certified nursing assistant, as well as helped out in the family business with a care home for the elderly, while working as an investigator for Adult Protective Services.
There was a time when I was extremely proud of these accomplishments. While I am not ashamed of them, I am surprised by my lack of awareness at the time in regard to how I had been programmed myself to provide services that would assist with programming others.
I did my best within systems that have failure built in to their mission statements, but there are some nights when I cannot sleep – when the faces of those who crossed my path – however long – remind of shortcomings.
After my last job as a case manager for low-income individuals living with HIV and Hep C, I could not stand the assault to my soul any longer. I walked off of my job.
Due to a serious physical injury I have been afforded the luxury of time to reflect on my life and my passions. This blog is both my attempt to continue to effect positive change in the world and to heal: knowledge IS power and I hope to shed light on some areas of concern for vulnerable populations.
I appreciate your company and I look forward to sharing the journey.