I’ve been working with “Johnny” since August of 2011. His first stay with Covenant House was back in March 2010 and since then; he has had 14 stays with us. The duration of those 14 stays were typically for one or two days and this youth usually left without telling anyone where he was going. He didn’t invest much time into building any relationships with his youth workers. Johnny battled daily with his mental health.
This stay, Johnny received a new diagnosis of “Bipolar Disorder”. He said to me, “Jackie, I’m Bi-polar. I guess I’m one of those people now”. A couple of weeks went by and Johnny was struggling, but he came to terms with the fact that he was Bipolar and battled through some of the stigmas associated with the diagnosis, like a true warrior. He has attended all of his doctor’s appointments, educated himself on a daily basis of his diagnoses, remembered to take his medication, has built relationships with his workers and is even currently attending school.
One day this week, Johnny approached me and asked if he could make a request. His request was to be given permission for a weekend visit with his family. Historically, Johnny has had a particularly fragile relationship with his family and he has been through a lot because of it. He left his family home when he was 13 years old, as he and his step-father did not get along. Now he wanted to visit them. This request was granted and Johnny was super excited!
Today, when Johnny returned to Covenant House after his weekend away he couldn’t wait to tell me all about the weekend and how well he got along with his family! He spent the majority of his time helping his step-father demolish rotted wood decking. He described every last detail and explained every emotion he experienced over the weekend. He reported that he got along really well with his family, particularly his step father who he has had a great deal of conflict with, growing up. He got along so well with them that he has decided to request to stay with his family for another week very soon!