Journal Entry: Classroom Project

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I just finished up my experience at the Classroom Program at CAMH. I was involved with the children of the mental hospital today.

They ranged between the ages of 6-10.  I was surprised to see that these young kids have mental disorders in such as young age. One child has schizophrenia and was often dazed out, looking at the ceiling and talking to herself. She had a special counselor watch her.

Anyway, I was paired up with one child in particular who suffers from ADHD. I was trying to read some books to him, and he kept running off, distracted by other things. I tried to calm him down, but it was quite difficult. His counselor was there, but she was in the background, watching me learn how to deal with these children. I tried my best to bring him back to sit down and listen to me read, but it was too difficult. His counselor saw me struggle, and took over. That shift of mine cut short, but at least I got to experience how it is like to deal with an ADHD child.

I hope tomorrow will be better. Everyday, there has been challenge after challenge.

Reflection on my week

So this week has been quite interesting for me. Volunteering at the mental hospital is a crazy experience, both good and bad. The volunteer co ordinator is very helpful in explaining to me the purpose of certain rooms, and why patients go through certain treatments. So far, so good, with my experience at the mental hospital.

Journal Entry: At Alcoholics Anonymous

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Today we had an Alcoholics Anonymous session at the hospital. I chose to watch how things pan out and it is very interesting. People from all different age groups and racial backgrounds came out.

What surprised me the most was the 10 year old who came. Yes, a 10 year old. He told his story about his dad who is an alcoholic, and has been arrested several times for drinking and driving. Plus, his health is failing on him too. This 10 year old is very mature and brave for his age, and I was so impressed at his speech during this meeting.

My thoughts about AA is that it was very interesting and I liked listening to these stories. Although it may seem to be a little strange and depressing, at the end, the people who showed up become happy. It’s great to see that in the beginning, they have all these depressing stories to share, but then the story has a happy ending. AA is a great help!

Journal Entry: Inside a Padded Cell

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Hello everyone! So for those of you who don’t know, I’ve actually been volunteering at a mental hospital. I just started, so not much as been happening. I visited the padded cell today, which was a little weird–it was all white walls, and a bed in the centre. Some patients actually have to spend the night in this confinement… I don’t think I will be able to do that!

Actually there was a patient who was there for a couple of hours. He has OCD, and I thought that he would be okay surviving in there, since that room is so clean. Turns out he was going crazy! He noticed a bit of dust and freaked out! After he came out, it was a heart-beating sight to see.
Well, I survived today, and I look forward to tomorrow.

Alyssa

Preparing For University

Dear Alyssa,
I am graduating high school this year, and I recently got acceptance letters to universities. I am debating between two universities, one is close to home and the other one is three hours away. I want to choose the one closer to home, because I want to stay closer to my family, but I also want to go to the one that is further because of the better program choice. What should I do?
Signed,
Academic Dilemma

Hi Academic Dilemma,
You should talk to your parents and other people you know and ask for their opinions. However, the program is a big reason to choose which university to go to. If you are financially stable, then go for the university that is further as it has the program you want. Plus, you get to experience how it is like to live away from home and know that there are thousands of other people your age who will be doing the same. If you are not financially/emotionally stable, maybe staying at home is better for you. For now, talk to your parents about it, and hopefully they can help you make a decision.
Good Luck,
Alyssa

Drug Addiction: Family Member

Hi Alyssa,
I am a high school student who has a family member that is addicted to prescription drugs. This has been going on for a while, and I’m trying my best to help my family member. Nothing is really working, especially that I am trying to balance my school. We are also not a high income family, so I don’t think hiring a professional would help. What should I do?
Signed,
Worried Forever

Hi Worried Forever,
Don’t be afraid to let others know about this situation. If you have other relatives, perhaps they can help you financially with this problem. There are also support groups where you can attend, and they can be totally anonymous. You can also talk to your high school counsellor who can refer you to people around your area who can possibly help you with your situation. In the meantime, take care of yourself and keep an eye on the other family members so they are not emotionally affected. Check out this article too:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/almost-addicted/201312/five-must-do-things-if-family-member-is-abusing-drugs

Take Care,
Alyssa