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Archive for the tag “Mental health”

Good Friend, Bad Friend?

Clearly mental health had consumed my mind so much this week that by the weekend, I was worn out.

A number of things kind of came crashing down on me and led me to not do much all weekend long. I didn’t have the energy to even study, which made me feel worse for not being productive.

In my previous blog, I discussed Miriam Carey, the woman who crashed into the gates of the White House last week and led authorities on a car chase to the Capitol. I mentioned how close to home her story felt.

But there were other things at play this weekend. I already felt some kind of way because I had to ask my father for money to hold me over until pay day, and I hadn’t done that in a very, very long time.

Then for some reason, I made matters worse by asking my dad how much of his parent loan for my schooling did he have left to pay.

The number sank my heart and to think of how much he had already paid over the last ten years knocked the wind out of me. But he was so sweet and so encouraging. And his love continues to humble me. I got of the phone feeling terrible.

I called my sister and I was emotional. I was sad that my dad seems to have always had to sacrifice so much and has such a difficult life. I took it a step further and my sister and I had a conversation about my mom and what my life was like dealing with her issues, while my sister, much older than me, was living her own life very far away.

I told her I was jealous she didn’t have to endure or see or hear the things I did at the age I had to deal with. I told her some stories and she was shocked. She said she’s always felt guilty that she couldn’t be there and that she didn’t understand the progression and when and where and why things got so bad. It just seemed like she came home once and life had completely changed.

What I appreciated most from the conversation was my sister clearly understood I wasn’t blaming her or upset with her, but that it was important for me to tell her how I felt and I think it was a conversation that was filled with love and understanding.

A few other things continued to make me emotional.

I requested my transcripts for the grad school I’m applying to and asked for a personal copy.

I’m glad I did. Sometimes your version of history doesn’t line up with what’s in black and white.

I had serious struggles while I was in school. The semesters I did well, I did really well. The semesters I tanked, I REALLY tanked.

Fortunately, I eeked out just enough to make the overall gpa requirement for admission to the program I want to get into. It’s so funny, because nearly 10 years ago, I figured just get through this, graduate. I’m not going to grad school anyway. I’ll be a journalist.

Oh life.

Then the last thing to add fuel to the fire was being stood up. I was looking forward to my date with Renaissance on Saturday. And when he blew me off to haze pledgies 20 minutes away, being annoyed was an understatement.

We had good conversations. He seemed interested in learning about me and not just surface, silly things. He asked me great questions.

But what made things go off the rails, was when a good friend, who has a tendency to often say the wrong thing, said the wrong thing.

When I shared I was having a bad day and emotional week, judgements started flying. And her preoccupation with something else and telling me she didn’t have “time for this shit tonight and to pull it together” made me nuts.

She further told me I needed therapy and that I shouldn’t date until I “got myself together.”  That was insulting because I’ve been working on myself for nearly three years, not really dating anyone seriously at all. I’m a woman and I’m allowed to be disappointed if a guy I was interested in stood me up.

She further said that I should go to therapy before I spend thousands of dollars to go back to school because it’s clear I’m searching for something.

Because I didn’t feel like fighting or justifying my feelings or actions, I simply said, I’ve been wanting to go back to school. That is not an irrational decision. It’s because I’ve hit a wall at work and all of my dream jobs basically require that degree. I’ve thought about this.

She’s already thrown shade about me going back to school, saying it’s pointless if it lands me a job that won’t make me more money than I make now.

Gee. Thanks.

I do give props to the friends who have checked on me and just listened.

The friend who shades me dating and going back to school, decides after the event she was too preoccupied to deal with my shit for, she’d stop by the house and bring me food. Which was nice.

The tension in the air was thick. I did my best to be pleasant. She hugged me and jokingly shared bible passages of encouragement and on her way out said, “see, you need friends who can knock on your door!”

I waved goodbye, thanked her and went back to watching t.v.

Then an hour later, I got a bunch of text messages about how “we’ll get through this.” And how my parents would never forgive her if something happened to me.

I didn’t realize I had become suicidal.

I texted back. “I’m not suicidal.”

She returned with, “You better not be.” And then she went on about dragging me across a finish line.

At that point, I was unable yall.

I guess she felt guilty about her response to me the night before, but now she was laying it on too thick, and it was actually annoying me more. I felt that she did mean well. But it was frustrating.

She went from one extreme to another.

If anyone has advice on this, I’ll be glad to hear it.

I’ve complained about this person before and I’ve made excuses for them. All of my close friends know this and they are always prepared for our semi-annual falling outs. I decided that I’m not going to end the friendship, but always taking one for the team gets tiring.

Miriam Carey Is Not So Different From My Mom

I felt my old newsroom self bubble up twice this week. The first time was when the shutdown clock was running out and our legislators decided to let hundreds of thousands of government workers be furloughed, or report to work without getting paid.

I’d been on news websites and twitter like a junkie, reading and reacting and feeling. Then wearing myself out.

The second time was yesterday.

First the reports said there was someone shooting at the Capitol. And there was a sick part of me that, while I didn’t want anyone to be hurt, I wanted our politicians to understand shit is real and they are not exempt from the pain and the violence and the problems that they argue over all of the time but don’t actually do anything about.

All hell broke loose when more facts were revealed. It was a woman.

Then it got worse, the woman who rammed her car into the White House and set off a car chase to the Capitol, a woman who was not shooting or exchanging gunfire, as reported earlier, also had a baby in the car. 34-year-old Miriam Carey, suffered from mental illness.

Oh, even writing this hurts my heart, because there are so many familiarities that I see between this young woman and my mom.

For whatever reason, people with mental health issues are obsessed with the belief that the government is after them and it’s a real fear that haunts them night and day and day and night. It keeps my mom from ever leaving the house. It makes her nervous when someone brings a cell phone into the house. She won’t even use a cordless land line phone.

This young lady drove from Connecticut to Washington. She went to the very heart of the government to finally face them and win the war in her brain. She rammed the gates of the White House, not even to as most of us assumed, prove a point, but after hearing my mom scream and yell into a phone with no one on the other end but a dial tone asking that they leave us alone, and stop using the air waves to send pains into her body, I have a sad understanding of how Miriam Carey decided to fight back and hopefully silence the voices in her head.

I am not writing this blog to say I understand her completely, but going through what I went through with my mom, the picture is a lot clearer for me than maybe other folks who are trying to piece this all together.

I hurt for her beautiful little girl, who will have to deal with the loss of her mother and the very public and controversial way in which she left the earth.

As folks dig deeper into this woman’s life, I see that she was working as a dental hygenist, who was starting to have problems at work. That basically happened to my mom, but we didn’t know she was let go for three months, because my mother kept getting dressed and kept going to the job until a work friend called us and said the company started calling security on her.

The back story was they sensed something was wrong and because she was a dedicated employee for over 20 years they offered her a buy out package, but she wouldn’t take it. She didn’t understand. But she didn’t tell my dad. We were all in the dark.

I say this all of the time, mental health is real.

I know that my mother’s problems are a major reason why I am terrified of having children. There is a part of me that is very worried I would be like Miriam and suffer from post partum depression. I’m very afraid of being resentful about having a child and not having the maternal feelings mothers are “supposed” to have. And I know my experience with my mother plays a large role in that.

I pray for Miriam Carey’s family and her precious little girl.

Lord, guard our hearts and minds. Our struggles are real and often a little too much to bear. Give us your peace.

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