This morning, I had coffee with Janet. She was my third nursing care coordinator at Riggs in as many months. (I went through four total.) My first NCC got switched to a different team, and my second NCC got a job somewhere else. When I found out NCC #2 was leaving, I was pissed and told everyone who’d listen that I didn’t need or want another NCC. Janet was on my team, but she didn’t have any patients as NCC because she mainly worked in the medical office and only worked in the Inn (patient residence) when they were short on nurses. But she and I interacted a lot because she was the med office nurse, and I had to get weighed every week. (“Interacted” is a nice term for it. I swore at her a lot and did a fair bit of crying.)
I was in the med office one morning getting weighed, and Janet asked me to sit down. I thought I was in trouble about my weight dropping, but instead she said she “really liked” me and asked if she could be my NCC. In the moment, I was relieved not to be getting chewed out about my weight, but later I was really surprised. I was shocked that she liked me and voluntarily wanted to deal with me–in the program I was in, you met with your NCC every day. (Or another nurse on the team on your NCC’s days off.) I hadn’t exactly been very nice to her, and she knew I was screwed up and devotedly self-destructive. I had no idea what she was talking about when she said she liked me. But it worked. She became the one person at Riggs I was sure was always on my side. When she left Riggs for another job, I was devastated–she’d become a sort of maternal figure to me.
Several months after I’d left Riggs, she sent me a Facebook message. Riggs was really big on boundaries, but she said since neither one of us was there anymore, she didn’t see it as an ethical issue. We kept in touch sporadically, but I was living in Boston, the other end of the state. We talked several times while I was at Menninger, and she was thrilled when I told her I was going to Windhorse–she worked there before Riggs. Once I was back in western Mass, we got together, back around Thanksgiving. Then I didn’t hear from her for months–not that I was exactly good at keeping in touch. I finally worked up the nerve to e-mail her last weekend, and she was really happy to hear from me.
It still puzzles me. I cannot understand why she or anyone else would choose to be around me. The thought pops up a lot, but I rarely talk about it because I feel like it comes across as a manipulative ploy to get people to reassure me that they like me. That’s not what I want. What I want is to be able to see myself as they do. I mean, god, Janet saw me at my absolute worst. She knows about the things in my past I’m most ashamed of. I really don’t understand why she would choose to be around me still. Most of the time, I don’t have to think about it because most of the people I interact with are paid to deal with me. They say they like me, and I believe them for the most part–but the fact remains that they get paid to deal with me. But then there are people like Janet who don’t get paid, and they’re still there. I like it, but I don’t get it.