Real Empowerment Podcast 16: In-patient Mental Health

(mid tempo electronic pop music) – [Rebecca] I am Rebecca Michael, let’s get started This is The Independence Center podcast – [Daniel] Hi there, I’m Daniel Ratcliff – [Rebecca] And we have a guest with us today who’s gonna come in and talk to us about her journey through her life which we’re actually really excited about So Holland, do you wanna introduce yourself? – [Holland] Yeah, my name is Holland Pence, I currently work at the IC with the Veterans In Charge Program as the quality and support specialist – [Rebecca] Welcome And Holland is joined by her sister, Nicole Nicole you wanna introduce yourself? – [Nicole] Hi I’m Nicole Silvia and I’m Holland’s little sister – [Rebecca] Is it little sister? Really? Okay – [Nicole] Little – [Rebecca] Are you the middle child Holland? – [Holland] Younger middle ’cause we have two older sisters – [Rebecca] Oh okay gotcha – [Daniel] Wow lotta girls (laughing) – [Rebecca] Lotta girls that was probably interesting growing up with that many sisters (laughing) So the reason why we wanted to talk to Holland today is actually because she came to us about some ideas of a podcast – [Holland] Yes – [Rebecca] And let’s explore those because what we’ve found is that when you bring your story to us, we may have a lot of questions ’cause we don’t understand it, but it’s more authentic that way So what did you contact us and wanna talk to us about? – [Holland] Well it’ll probably branch out a little bit, but a lot of it was mainly about my experiences with going inpatient for mental health Through, I, oh goodness, my start for kind of into the mental health world, as it was, probably started about around a decade ago And through inpatient I’ve been to facilities for with private insurance like Blue Cross Blue Shield and the like, I’ve also been to Medicare, Medicaid, and then also there was one stint when I had no insurance that I’ve had to go inpatient, so I think I have a little bit of a broad spectrum – [Rebecca] Yeah you have a really interesting perspective – [Holland] Yeah, yeah And just kind of what went on with there – [Daniel] So with the three different, I guess scenarios you described, of one having fairly good insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and then standard insurance with Medicaid, and then no insurance, could you tell a difference in the type of care that was provided? – [Holland] Oh yeah No insurance was not fun but also I would say there was one place in particular for when I had private insurance that was also probably one of my worst experiences ever Yeah the Medicare, Medicaid when I’ve gone inpatient for them has been the most consistent and I would say in some ways the most helpful – [Rebecca] Sure – [Holland] Which I was rather surprised with when looking back over everything For the private pay I would say it was really one facility in Texas that was probably the worst and I can only go by my own experiences so – [Rebecca] So let’s start with where are you from? – [Holland] I was born in Cleveland, Ohio Raised in Arizona – [Rebecca] Geez that’s hot (laughing) I digress – [Holland] We were up in the mountains in a very tiny tourist town for most of our lives So we didn’t really have the heat of Phoenix Although we did visit quite often because of relatives – [Rebecca] But still the heat of Phoenix, just even thinking – [Daniel] Never been, never will go – [Rebecca] Yeah you don’t want to it’s hot – [Holland] Yeah you don’t want to (laughing) – [Rebecca] So then you, let’s talk about when you started the inpatient, what created that scenario? – [Holland] I was living in Texas at the time I had moved out there to be closer to Nicole and her growing children – [Rebecca] To be an auntie? – [Holland] Yes and also to just help out in general And there was some not so fun stuff that had happened that I didn’t really deal with

Our older sister, she’s had a variety of different diagnoses And she also has her own ideas, you know? So we’ve had dablings I guess, with mental health before what happened with me But it was really like a new frontier when with mine Before I went inpatient I was working at a call center for Harley Davidson doing collections Which is not (talking over each other) Not the funnest, yeah, it wasn’t hard collections, thank god No repos or anything like that but it was like three to 59 day late – [Rebecca] Calling people and asking them what’s going on – [Holland] Yeah and the shift that they had me on I was working four days a week, two of them were like 12 hour days with like a two hour break in between, but it was like 10 hours for work I didn’t have a vehicle at the time so I was usually walking the mile and a half to work everyday And so I just, I had already kind of knew that I depression a little bit And things just kinda started snowballing You know? I was withdrawing from my roommate, wasn’t really talking to my sister much, just kind of not really wanting to do anything, and then it just snowballed to the point where I started contemplating suicide Then it just got more invasive to the point where I had a plan completely setup I had actually tried to get ahold of a therapist before I went inpatient, but their wait time was about I think two weeks or something like that before I could actually schedule an appointment to start everything But it got to a day where I just knew if I didn’t go in – [Rebecca] If you didn’t find some help – [Holland] Things were not gonna go good So I ended up having to call my sister to take me to the emergency room And when they, after doing the intake and questionnaires and whatnot, I was transferred over to my first inpatient I think it was called Cedar Point or something like that – [Rebecca] And so Nicole was the one that brought you? – [Holland] Yeah – [Rebecca] So Nicole can I ask you a question? – [Nicole] Yeah – [Rebecca] So what I’m curious about is what was your perspective when you got that call from Holland? – [Nicole] It was a little scary because like she said, we had dealt with it a little bit with our older sister, but that was the first time I personally really had to deal with everything Like we only had a few details ’cause we were younger but my mom had always handled the taking to the hospital when dealing with all of that, so that was the first time that I had really done it on my own and everything So it was pretty, it was scary We weren’t, and me being her sister and being younger sister, they didn’t give me a whole lot of details on what was going on – [Rebecca] So you kinda felt shut out? – [Nicole] Yeah – [Rebecca] And really worried about how Holland was being treated and taken care of? – [Nicole] Yeah because her being an adult, I’m not her mom, I’m just her sister, even though we’re family, they don’t give a whole lot of details on what’s going on and how they’re doing and all that Like you can go and visit and ask them but at certain times and you never know really how it’s going – [Rebecca] Well Holland, so talk to us about that experience, was that the private insurance? – [Holland] Yes Yeah I went onto short term leave for my work ’cause at that point, I thought that hey I’d just be able to course correct and then get back to work And that stay, my first stay was 22 days Well like Nicole said I was also in a different city than where they were, so I like it was like what like an hour drive for you, Nicole? – [Nicole] Yeah it was about an hour drive – [Holland] To come visit And with inpatient, especially if it’s for suicide, there is of course a 72 mandatory hold, but after that

they can essentially keep you as long as they deem it’s necessary If it is voluntary and you can of course leave against medical advice after that hold But most of the time they try and dissuade you And then of course at that point I didn’t know anything at all going into it So when I went in, I think it was over the weekend, but I can’t say for sure, the memories there are a little muddy, but I do remember that it took a long time to actually talk to a therapist And it’s like I got setup with a psychiatrist the next morning ’cause I ended up going in there rather late because of how long it took for the hospital to finish processing my paperwork and to make sure that they had a bed And then of course there was the drive to the place, so I didn’t actually end up getting there until like nine or 10 p.m. that evening And then I talked to the psychiatrist the next morning trying to explain what was going on – [Rebecca] So the length of stay, 22 days, after the 72 hour hold What was the process of the length of time? So were you evaluated at certain intervals and they said you know you’re not there? Or we’re gonna adjust medication or? – [Holland] Not quite The psychiatrist or doctor on call usually talked to, I talked to them every few days just to see how the medications were going and stuff like that The therapist though I maybe saw a handful of times during the stay there And when I was first going in, again I had no clue of what to expect for anything like that, and so of course the first day I was like wondering asking the nurses hey when am I gonna talk to the therapist? And there was, I didn’t actually talk to her until I think like three or four days after I got in there – [Rebecca] Did they give you a diagnosis at that time or when did they finally give you a diagnosis? – [Holland] At the, through inpatient I went through kind of a myriad of diagnoses (laughing) As one does – [Nicole] If I recall it was a bunch of different ones that kinda kept changing – [Rebecca] Were they trying to like find the best medication for you? – [Holland] Yeah it seemed to be And for that first one I think it was just major depression and then an undisclosed mood disorder The second time I went inpatient when I was trying to describe like stuff that was going on, they pegged me as bipolar just because of how they thought that I was having a manic episode But what was actually going on was I was like there was two weeks outside of the first inpatient when I got into inpatient the second time, and during those two weeks I didn’t have any contact with a therapist ’cause they scheduled it two weeks out for my follow up, which wasn’t great But during that time I kind of got it in my head, the workbook that the therapist had given me, if I finished that, then I’d be able to fix myself – [Rebecca] Oh okay, so you left inpatient with this workbook? – [Holland] Yes And a lot of medications, I think I was on like four different ones at the time – [Rebecca] With a diagnosis of? – [Holland] Just depression and – [Rebecca] And this undetermined mood disorder? – [Holland] Yeah And of course when I was discharged the first time it was not an easy transition either because the therapist there did not give me or Nicole any warning at all, they’re like “okay you’re getting discharged today.” – [Rebecca] So there was like no transition from this inpatient kind of schedule? – [Holland] No, no They told me that day they’re like “okay you’re discharged today.” So I had a complete panic attack as one does (laughing) And then the therapist essentially sat me down and was just like okay you have two options, you can either walk out of here calmly with your family or you can get a shot and get taken upstate to the state hospital – [Daniel] I think I’ll choose the first option – [Holland] Yeah that’s the way I went

– [Rebecca] Unfortunately yeah – [Daniel] I wanna kinda like go all the way back to ask the question of what was that phone call like to your sister? – [Rebecca] On your end yeah? – [Daniel] On your end and then I wanna hear it from Nicole’s end as well – [Holland] It was awkward and at that point depression had gotten to the point where I didn’t really feel anything so other than just everything sucks and I felt really bad for having to rope her into this and being like “hey I need you to take me to the emergency room.” I didn’t really know how to portray what was going on I just said that I needed, I don’t remember the conversation very well, but I remember I think I just said that I needed to go to the emergency room and I’m not doing good – [Daniel] That took a lotta strength and I wanna just commend you for that – [Rebecca] Definitely because not everyone would have the wherewithal to go I need to kinda let go of the fact that I’m going to loop in my sister and that’s gonna be stressful for them, to say I need some help So kudos to you – [Daniel] Self-awareness that’s important – [Holland] Well I think a big part of it is that I didn’t have the money to get transportation to the hospital Otherwise I wouldn’t have roped her in at all – [Rebecca] She was your ride – [Holland] Yeah – [Rebecca] I get it – [Holland] Well also she would need to know where I was – [Rebecca] Yeah that’s kind of important too – [Daniel] And Nicole so receiving that call from Holland, what was that moment like for you? – [Nicole] Well the first time she went in, like she said she, as I recall too she just called and said nothing about her thoughts or anything, just that she needed to go to the emergency room and she’s not feeling right My brain went to okay she’s like stomach, heart something, not mental right away ’cause she didn’t say anything like that, so I thought it was just I’m not feeling right physically, like my stomach’s upset or something’s going on with my heart kinda thing So when I took her and then we were waiting, I don’t think you had said anything in the waiting room either, we were just kind of sitting there and then it wasn’t until we got actually back there and she was talking to the doctors that she had said what was going on, and that’s kinda when it hit me and it doesn’t I haven’t dealt with any major depression or anything like that, so I didn’t really know how it felt kind of thing, I guess So the first initial call for the first visit, I was kind of oblivious and just thinking she needed to go to the hospital for a different reason And it wasn’t until we got into the backroom where she was talking to the doctor that I really kinda realized what was going on And now hearing her talk about it ’cause she probably didn’t want me to know really what was going on kinda – [Holland] I didn’t wanna worry you I thought unnecessarily – [Nicole] Yeah you don’t want me to know, it’s just you don’t want to worry me, and then I’m sure it probably has something to do with watching our older sister go through, and mom and everything so – [Rebecca] It’s amazing how families can kind of can tie you up into knots without you even realizing it until something like this comes up and you’re like I don’t wanna react the same way, I don’t wanna, that was stressful enough and I don’t wanna worry my family, so yeah that does make sense why you would think that – [Daniel] Yeah it does, and I can definitely identify with the depression piece, where sometimes it may be, let alone speaking to somebody, it’s hard to even get outta the bed in the morning And like I can just, I really connect with you on that level And I would like to ask once you were given the diagnoses and what was that like? Once the doctor says okay this is what we think is going on, was it like a (exhale) now let me research this? Or was it a oh my gosh type of thing like? – Well since the first one was just major depression, it was like okay and? (laughing) You know? – [Daniel] Like got that one – [Holland] Yeah duh (laughing) You know?

So with that first one it was yeah, it was just more of okay and what now? When the bipolar it was a little, it was unexpected but it was like okay I’ve got a name – [Rebecca] You know you have something that could – [Holland] You know I could go a certain route with it, of course it was completely wrong diagnosis – [Rebecca] But sometimes when you get a diagnosis you kinda feel like finally I have an answer – [Holland] Yeah oh definitely yeah And especially for medication-wise, you know? And then just for also therapy I’ve found once you at least know a little bit of what’s going on, then you can kinda self-direct stuff – [Rebecca] So with the second hospitalization you said it happened two weeks after? So was that the no pay or was that the? – [Holland] I was still with private insurance at that time I was also still in Texas The main catalyst that made me go inpatient the second time was with my outpatient therapy that the first place had set me up with, we had trouble finding it And I ended up like 30 minutes late to an hour appointment I was in full panic attack mode trying to talk to her and she was like “you are way too anxious, you need to check yourself in, make sure you don’t go to the same place.” (laughing) – [Rebecca] Wow that’s what a provider told you? – [Holland] Yeah that was what she said so I was like okay So we went to the emergency room and I just kept on saying what she said, don’t send me back there, don’t send me back there And they eventually took me to the hospital’s mental health pavilion – [Rebecca] So then with that did they give you a different diagnosis at that time? – [Holland] Yeah that was when they gave me the bipolar diagnosis – [Rebecca] Oh goodness With new medications? – [Holland] Yes – [Rebecca] Wow – [Daniel] That’s our healthcare system – [Rebecca] Oh my goodness So then when you get to the second one, you get a new diagnosis, new medication, how long were you in for that second time? – [Holland] I think about 11 days And then they took me out – [Rebecca] How was that discharge versus the first one? – [Holland] A lot easier One, they gave me warning and then also the, for their pavilion for that hospital, there was a lot less people and it was a lot more relaxed The counselor slash therapist that was there, he had a pretty much an open door policy, so I was able if there was something on my mind, I could if he wasn’t talking to somebody else, I could go in and discuss things with him Versus the first place where it was you had to have a schedule They were, the scheduling was actually, I found really helpful because it was like okay you’ve got activities from like one to three, you know? And stuff like that However, the actual therapist was not great But the second place the counselor was really nice And then most of the, there was mostly women there when I was, I don’t know if it was separated by gender, but I think there was like three or four women in the same time and we had all gotten the same diagnosis (laughing) – [Rebecca] At the same time? – [Holland] I don’t know, I don’t think at the same time but we just all happened to have – [Rebecca] The exact same diagnosis – [Holland] The exact diagnosis – [Daniel] That’s very weird – [Holland] So the conversations, the groups and stuff like that that I was in, tended to gear towards more of the bipolar end, sharing our experiences – [Rebecca] So then when did the third, so after this 11 day stay and you transitioned out, and you’re now, you now had the diagnosis of bipolar plus did you still have the same diagnosis of the unidentified or undisclosed or? – [Holland] No I think it was just bipolar and then it was PTSD, that’s it as well – [Rebecca] So then you get out, you transition out, you’re taking your medications, how long is it from that point do you go in again for hospitalization? – [Holland] For that, I can’t, I wanna say it was like maybe like two or three weeks I did actually try to go back to work and I got, I went there for like two days I think and just stuff started happening again And then that third time I ended up back to the first place But since I had been treated inpatient there the first time, they sent me to a different section where the military people were And for their military side pavilion, they also did rehab,

so there were people in there for a few months The military people were actually pretty decent The people in there were pretty nice And then on the rehab side there was, I think, like a Wii game also that everyone just played like Mario Kart and stuff like that (laughing) That was a little fun yeah – [Rebecca] So then third hospitalization happened, how long were you there then? – [Holland] That one I cannot say for sure Nicole do you remember? – [Nicole] That one, the last one when we were? – [Holland] Yeah the last one in Texas – [Nicole] I don’t, it was less than a month, but it was more than maybe like two and a half weeks, three weeks? – [Holland] It was once the first inpatient happened for basically those like eight years was very much a blur (laughing) – [Rebecca] Did they maintain the same diagnosis for? Or was this a new one, a new diagnosis? – [Holland] The bipolar stayed and so did the PTSD but that, I don’t know what was up with that place but their therapists were not great ’cause that, both of them were women and then the second lady, she mentioned to me at one point that people were thinking that I was faking it She got very angry at me because at that time I was not maintaining good eye top contact at all So she would ask me to make sure to maintain eye contact At that point I had developed a tick of jiggling my foot And she would get angry at that too saying “you need to stop that.” – [Rebecca] Oh my goodness So after that one, at the third hospitalization in Texas, where did you go next? When was the next hospitalization and what state? – [Holland] It was in Arizona, after that third one I was just like okay I can’t stay here, I need more With Texas ’cause I didn’t want to continue bringing down my sister, my roommate at the time ’cause I just wasn’t able to keep up my end of anything at that point So I had contacted our older sister Amanda, older middle, not the oldest – [Rebecca] Lotta girls – [Holland] Yeah And she had offered to let me stay with her, with a few conditions, mainly it was just to keep my mental health in check, that was the main thing And I think when I got out of the third time I was on maybe like six different medications at that point – [Rebecca] Oh wow ‘Cause it sounds like they kept adding medications – [Holland] It was a medication shuffle and add for quite a long time And I ended up having to leave pretty much all of my stuff in Texas My sister and, Nicole and my brother-in-law ended up having to sell a lot of my stuff – [Rebecca] So in Arizona, that was your next hospitalization, right? – [Holland] Yeah and that was with no insurance I had tried to get some help a few weeks beforehand And I remember going twice to a kind of walk-in mental health clinic for them And when I was on like those six different medications, whenever I went in they would give me completely new medications – [Rebecca] I’m just stressed out just hearing about this I couldn’t imagine my body going through this – [Holland] Yeah well after I think the second round of completely new medications, I actually ended up having some auditory and visual hallucinations Just because of the cocktails that I was on – [Rebecca] That’s realistic that to yeah that totally makes sense – [Daniel] But through all of that, were you finding points of growth? Where you could look back and say I am better today than I was some time ago? – [Holland] During that particular section I would no Absolutely not Except for maybe like just having the knowledge of how to go about the system, or at least what to expect, at least I thought And then I ended up attempting suicide by overdose Which got me into the no insurance place – [Rebecca] And how did, what did they do with your diagnoses? – [Holland] They didn’t change anything as far as I know When I went in with the no insurance,

at first they sent me to, it almost seemed like a place for people to sleep off like drugs and yeah like a detox area There was a bunch of people sleeping on the floor and like pallets and stuff like that And then in again, late at night I ended up there In the morning I ended up switching over to their mental health side I use that term loosely It was a – [Rebecca] She even did quotation marks for those who are wondering – [Holland] Well it was a converted office There was two, it was probably the most soul-sucking place I have ever been to There was like four rooms, two of them were split up by gender, four people to sleep, there was like four to six beds in each room, there was a back area for food, a front area for people basically to just sit, and then the doctor’s office There was also a small door for us to get fresh air, which was basically, you know those the office ones where, you got the high wall and like enough space to put a chair next to the door Yeah, that was it – [Rebecca] That was your fresh air? – [Holland] Yeah – [Rebecca] Wow – [Holland] People just yeah – [Rebecca] So at that point did they change your diagnosis or did they just? With an attempt of suicide by overdose, you would think that they would really evaluate what medications you were on? – [Holland] You would think but I actually ended up looking at my ER notes afterwards, and they thought that I was lying For the overdose Because at that point I was on an anxiety med, it was Vistaril? Which is pretty close to, I found out was pretty close to Dramamine, to Benadryl Just to kinda calm me down And I had overdosed on that thinking for – [Rebecca] Yeah it makes sense – [Holland] You don’t really get overdose poisoning or anything like that from Benadryl (laughing) So even though I wasn’t showing anything, I did take like maybe like kinda think like 15, 20 pills? – [Daniel] What was that feeling going into, not to bring you back to that point, but just for our listeners say, for identification purposes, what was that feeling going into that attempt, was it a feeling of like the system had failed you and there was no good help and it was like? Like just describe that? – [Rebecca] Like they don’t understand me maybe? Or this isn’t working? – [Holland] Well nothing was getting better and I felt like I was, I was just being a burden on everyone And then with the auditory hallucinations, nothing seemed to actually, it’s like I had like started trying to get help like months back, and I was not anywhere better In some ways I was a lot worse because of the hallucinations and stuff like that, and I was just done (laughing) – [Rebecca] So with that, how long were you in for this time in Arizona, how long were you? – [Holland] Three days and it was basically long enough for my mom to come down from our hometown in Lakeside to Phoenix ’cause she had to wait until the weekend so I was there for only like two or three days – [Rebecca] So you were essentially in that 72 hour hold? – [Holland] Yeah Just long enough for my mom to come get me – [Rebecca] So when she came to get you, what happened after that? – [Holland] I moved back in with my parents and we well one, I got onto Medicaid and mother had helped our older sister get onto disability beforehand So we, I think we had start, we at least got started discussing me getting onto disability And then I started going to the counseling center in my hometown and things started to get at least a little bit better There was a few hospitalizations but I would say half of them were because of med changes – [Rebecca] That would make sense – [Holland] And I think there was only that was for suicide – [Rebecca] That was with Medicaid, so did you find that with Medicaid you actually got the help or at least the diagnosis that makes sense? – [Holland] I actually didn’t get my correct diagnosis until I moved here back in 2016 ‘Cause I was still labeled as bipolar with PTSD – [Rebecca] So when you got here – [Daniel] What was the difference? – [Rebecca] Yeah what happened that created the now, the aha moment? – [Holland] It was a multi-step process

One of the major things was I went through EMDR therapy – [Daniel] Great therapy, by the way – [Rebecca] Been there, totally loved it (laughing) – [Holland] Because before the EMDR I was getting triggered multiple times per day It’s like I couldn’t handle noises up to a certain pitch, or volume I was not comfortable around people in any space And like even just trying to do tasks were just way too overwhelming But after being able to go through the EMDR process it kind of, I was able to manage things a little bit better And then around that time, my brother-in-law ended up getting stationed here in Colorado Springs And my parent, with our hometown there wasn’t a lot of options for really anything for either jobs or – [Rebecca] Treatment or anything – [Holland] Yeah Well the EMDR counselor was really great and then the psychiatrist that I was helped with, she really tried her best So we, when my brother-in-law got stationed here, we, me and my parents basically decided that we were gonna move over here And it was a multi-step process – [Rebecca] So then what diagnosis did they finally land on that was like that makes sense? – [Holland] I’m currently diagnosed as autistic with major depression and PTSD – [Rebecca] And do you feel like you got the answer like that makes sense? – [Holland] Oh yeah definitely The, for my autism, it explains a lot of my social anxieties And just like how difficult it can be for communications and stuff like that The PTSD I definitely understand, I understood from the get-go especially from with my first few hospitalizations definitely added to the PTSD And the depression essentially same thing, it just kinda piggybacked off of, I’d say all three of them kind of overlap a lot of like my more nitpicky issues Yeah since that it’s been a lot helpful – [Daniel] Holland, I’m trying to remember when did we meet at the IC? Was it 2017? – [Holland] 16 – [Daniel] It was 16? I just want all of our listeners to know when I first met you Holland, I don’t think that we would be right here Talking on a podcast – [Holland] Definitely not – [Daniel] And I’ve seen the growth from when I first, well first I met your mother, and then meeting you and working in our office and you were just so shy and just like this She was so shy – [Rebecca] I have a hard time seeing that – [Daniel] Well this is a totally new Holland that you can just see the growth and the drive and the comfort that she has and I just wanna say like, I loved watching this growth in you, it’s a wonderful thing It’s a very wonderful thing and I’m happy that you’re here with us today – [Rebecca] So when did you start at The Independence Center? ‘Cause you were an employee of The Independence Center, so what did that look like? – [Holland] It was definitely unique, I don’t think anyone else can say that they’ve had the same journey with me So when I moved here, mainly just to be able to live outside of my parents shadow as it were, I knew that I had to at least try and go through employment So I got in contact with my mom working at The Independence Center at the time, she had talked to me about the DVR program And I got connected with one of the counselors there and they transferred me over to doing an assessment essentially to see where my strengths would be And that got setup at the IC with the employment department at the IC Went through that for a few weeks ’cause I, at that point I had been unemployed for quite a few years and I was really nervous going back into working And I wanted to make sure that I could handle it

and that I’d be able to actually work properly – [Rebecca] Good environment, yeah that makes sense – [Holland] After the assessment I got setup to do paid work experience, and that was when I met, sorry – [Rebecca] When you met Daniel? – [Holland] Yeah when I met Daniel and Michelle Kirby who was working in the benefits at that point – [Rebecca] Who now you work with on the VIC team – [Holland] Yes And basically just started helping with data entry, like converting their medical records and answering phone calls and stuff like that Did that for about three months and at that time our, my current manager was overseeing benefits and employment at that time, and I guess she liked me because she ended up after my paid work experience was done, she hired me on for billing for the Veterans In Charge program – [Rebecca] Wow That’s quite the responsibility Especially working with the VA and then hours, and negotiating through all of that – [Holland] The VIC program was definitely a lot smaller when I had started, it was something like 30 or 40 veterans, and it was getting to a point where Marcia could not do the billing by herself anymore (laughing) – [Rebecca] Drowning – [Holland] Yeah yeah – [Rebecca] Help me Holland – [Holland] Yeah a little bit So I got hired on for that as a temporary Then absorbed by the finance for – [Rebecca] Was it absorbed or was it stolen? Let’s just always call it out – [Daniel] Just throw it out there – [Holland] Probably a bit of both ‘Cause I was still doing the Veterans In Charge group, got I also ended up – [Rebecca] I’m pretty sure it was based off of your talents and your abilities why they saw the value – [Holland] And I ended up helping out home health as well for making sure that authorizations were correct And then once they ended up phasing out my position to just somebody who does billing for both home health and VIC, Marcia brought me back onto the Veterans In Charge program with the position I have now and that’s been for a few months now – [Daniel] Let me ask you, how has The Independence Center impacted your growth? – [Holland] It’s immensely helpful With being, this is by far the longest job I’ve ever held I just recently, my two year anniversary, at least for being on the IC paperwork If you have the paid work experience, I’ve been here for about maybe two and a half years – [Rebecca] Nice – [Holland] Being able to work this consistently and also how understanding everyone’s been Being able to take a mental health day because things are not going, the winds aren’t blowing the right way (laughing) And also the flexibility for my schedule, them being open to that has been extremely helpful as well – [Daniel] Sister Nicole watching Holland go through the experience of coming to The Independence Center, have you seen like growth and change, and if so just speak on that a little bit? – [Nicole] Oh man, immense change Like if we were talking about like where we thought she would be during those hospitalizations in Texas, we would obviously hope that she would get to this point, but I don’t think I would’ve never imagined It’s an immense growth – [Rebecca] That’s so great – [Nicole] Just seeing the changes is really amazing and we’re all extremely proud of her After those hospitalizations in Texas, I was really worried and wasn’t sure she would be able to just do it from going through all the medications and everything and not getting the right diagnosis and everything and, but now like she said she’s this is the longest job she’s been able to hold, she has her own apartment, she’s done amazing – [Daniel] She talks more now We used to just get the laugh, I used to like making Holland laugh ’cause she has a very unique laugh (laughing) – [Nicole] She, even just, sorry, between, since she started working there she, like she was saying,

being around people even family was kinda difficult for her and now even though we’ve moved away, she always calls the kids, she talks to them at least once a week, if not more She’s constantly calling, she keeps up with us, and it’s really nice – [Daniel] That’s wonderful – [Rebecca] You’re a good aunt – [Nicole] Oh yeah They get very excited when she calls – [Rebecca] Well Holland, thank you I wanted to make sure that I express not only gratitude for taking that leap of coming and saying I have a story and that it’d be valuable to talk about it, but trusting that we would be able to hopefully convey your message and allow you to speak about it in a safe environment, I really appreciate the trust And how the story is just – [Daniel] It’s powerful – [Rebecca] Yeah and you know, I just know that when you transition from finance into VIC this second time there was such an excitement, like true excitement that you’re gonna be able to help out and help keep this growing ship of VIC straight Keep everybody accountable, make sure they’re doing their paperwork And your team members speak so highly of you and they’re so grateful for the work that you do, so I just wanna let you know that they speak very highly and we hear about it – [Daniel] We had a how can we keep Holland conversation? When her benefits work was ending, it was like well how do we keep her? Like she is awesome – [Rebecca] Let’s find a way And that speaks very highly of who you are, your character, your drive, your ability, so thank you so much, we appreciate it – [Daniel] Thank you Holland – [Rebecca] For those who are interested in finding out all of the great work that not only benefits does and employment does and VIC, please check out our website at www.theindependencecenter.org And you can come visit us at – [Daniel] You can visit us at 729 South Tejon in Colorado Springs 80903 – [Rebecca] And our phone number is 719-471-8181 and if you’re interested in any of those awesome possibilities, just ask for the information and referrals specialist, Marita And she’ll get you connected with all the great things at the IC and hopefully we can, and if you ask to meet Holland, if you’ve heard this podcast, just ask for her at the front desk and you can meet the person behind the mic – [Daniel] They’re showing us something right now, I don’t know what that is – [Rebecca] And they’re telling us that we need to thank Nicole for her flexibility – [Daniel] Thank you so much Nicole – [Nicole] Oh yeah no problem – [Rebecca] We’ve enjoyed your perspective and many times we talk about what happens from a patient’s perspective or a person with a disability’s perspective, but we also need to acknowledge that family is there too And when someone goes through something and watches that person struggle, their impact is also there too, so thank you so much Nicole – [Nicole] Anytime – [Rebecca] Thank you, Holland – [Daniel] One last thing if you are looking for any of our podcasts, you can find us on YouTube at Real Empowerment, that is our page Please like and subscribe or you can find us on Podomatic under the title Real Empowerment – [Rebecca] Thanks so much (mid tempo electronic pop music)