Of course I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday – hoping it was Friday. And then after caffeine, reality stepped in and I realized it’s only Wednesday. It’s been raining for weeks – and I don’t live in the Northwest, but I’m told it’s monsoon season down here right now and I think it’s getting to everyone. One of the few people I trust in this place came into my office yesterday and said “god, everyone is so bitchy”. Amen sister.
This is the meeting day from hell. I am here for hopefully no more than 12 hours, but who knows when I will be set free. It saddens me as this is the last day my partner is here because we finally found our groove last night. It always takes time – since we no longer see each other every day and I have to get used to his quirks, just as he has to re-adjust to my OCD tendencies, and that always takes some time. But he will leave tomorrow (depending on the monsoons) and I am not sure when I will get to see him again. His son is almost done with school for the year and he is the primary caretaker during the summer, so his freedom is very limited.
I am frustrated that none of the places I’ve reached out to for a new position have gotten back to me. I’ve jumped over the hurdles they set – phone interviews, in-person interviews, etc. I have even applied to places because mentors of mine know my skills and think I would be a good fit. But all I hear are crickets. And I don’t care how many people, consultants, professional advisers are out there, telling you to have patience – mine had grown thin. Mine is gone. I know I wasn’t chosen for these places that I spoke to. I know there is a fleeting chance since it has now been 9 days since the last position closed that I will get a call for an interview. My desire for this goddamn profession is in the toilet.
And as any of you know who read this, I don’t even want to be in this industry anymore. I want to pursue my passions. But with our country in a myriad of disarray, and health insurance wobbling on the balance beam, I cannot simply quit and follow what calls to me. I need an income and coverage for my insane brain, in case I have yet another meltdown and have to be hospitalized again.
Amazing, isn’t it, that my freedom of choice is limited by the fact that I may have to be locked away again? One can be put in these wards full of lost souls who wander around in hospital gowns with blank eyes. In some ways it shocks you back into your own perception of the world. You think “perhaps I’m not doing that bad”, but you know you are. You are there for some reason. You checked yourself in or had someone take you, because you simply could not handle the “real world” anymore. And so you end up in a twin bed, with a roommate who is alien to you, sleeping on rough sheets and a flat pillow, eating the shit they call food. You go to the meetings and activities they have filled your days with in order to give you some form of a schedule. But it is mind numbing and after a few days all you can think about is getting out. Getting away from these people who remind you of what you could one day become because of what is happening in your head.
The mental health situation in this country is appalling and mostly ignored, except when someone in the category of “unstable” does something shocking and it ends up on the news. Granted, it is better than it used to be, when people like me were simply locked away for the rest of their lives in horrid places that modern tourists visit because they have heard of “ghosts” that reside there. If I was subject to the shit they used to put people like myself through, I would probably haunt it too. But even in this day and age, people do not want to hear about it, unless they are suffering from it as well. How many counselors go into the field because they may have a disorder themselves?
I am not bad enough yet to be locked away again – at least not today. I know it’s getting bad when I develop severe agoraphobia and the panic attacks begin when I think of interacting with anyone. Or when I can’t stop crying. My mother always used to know, when I was a child, if I was ill because it was the only time I would cry. When I was born and the doctor spanked my on the rump, I laughed. I used to be such a happy person. What the fuck happened to me?
Genetics. Thank you, father.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing is those who are “normal” will never understand the myriad of emotions we can go through in one day. Up, down, sideways, reversed, scattered, paranoid, anxious, unworthy, angry, full of hatred, sorrow. If I am lucky, a rare day will come along (like sunshine in the last few weeks) and boost me into mania, the state that is my favorite place to exist. But it is fleeting and sometime during the night, it will escape the breath exhaled from my sleeping lips and I will wake up the next day simply knowing. Judge Dread had descended once more.
Perhaps it is the agony of being misunderstood, because people are not well-informed or simply do not care. That, my friends, is heartbreaking. Even those you love, who love you, if not affected by it themselves cannot ever begin to imagine what this is like. And the fear we live in day-to-day of it coming back, never leaving, or ending up locked up forever in a ward full of zombies is a tightrope we try to balance on. Ultimately, it is a death sentence. It is something that will never go away, forcing one to sleep in armor, put on a “normal” attitude and always pretend that everything is fine.
Nothing is ever fine.
But perhaps this is the best Oscar performance anyone does. Keeping up the facade. Trying to act like everyone else, even when inside you can feel your soul dying and the life slowly seeping from you until you no longer care.
© Sorrow & Kindness