About a year ago I wrote a piece about suicide, inspired by a father who came and talked to the students at the school I work at. Since then my life has not been a fairy tale. It has been a roller coaster with twist turns loops and I felt, sometimes, the cart might have jumped off the tracks. I was very optimistic at a time it was the hardest to be. Then as we went into 2020 we were hit with a pandemic, loss of hundreds of thousands of people from celebrities to close family and friends. By the summer I could not financially help the way I needed to for my family. Now, as we close out the year, I begin/continue a road to recovery.
Counseling and Therapy
I can honestly say, I was one of those people who thought, “Therapy, that’s for crazy or weak people”. But I have learned it takes a lot of strength to say, “I’m messed up and need some help”. It is so looked down upon in minority communities but I can say from personal experience, it is helping me. I never knew talking about my issues would help. I’m sorry I sound ignorant about this. You have to understand. Our way of dealing with issues was either getting together to commiserate about it, not to talk about it, get another job, or find a vice (drugs, video games, shopping, shoes, sneakers, drinking, etc..).
Honesty and transparency, it’s the only way this can help. I see 2 counselors and I notice the more I’m honest with them and give them more, the better the help they can give me. I have also started to become a little more tight lipped toward friends and family about my medications and my process. Why? I’ll explain that in a bit.
Having a person be real with me and look at the situation from an unbiased angle sometimes hurts. But, in the long run it does help.
My second job, in education, was with kids with behavioral problems. A couple of them were on meds. I want to say about 30% of them. I used to be so against meds, BUT then, I saw the change in my kids. I saw how off them, they were terrors, on them, they were just regular students. I started to think, “Maybe meds are not so bad”.
I say all that to say, medication is not so bad. If given properly and the right amount it can help you. The ultimate goal should be to be able to maintain without the meds.
It is not your fault
I have to apologize to my wife daily. I had to come to the realization that as much stuff as she has, she has to deal with me and my crap. I blame myself for every mishap and every misstep in my life and everyone connected to me. I flog myself so much about my failures and mistakes that it has become my way of living. It’s the only way I see the world now. Imagine living with a person who can only see the bad side of a situation. Imagine talking to a person who gives no good answers or silence in fear of only saying what bad. She is truly a trooper.
I am slowly coming to the realization that all the bad around me and in me is not my fault. I was born into a world that viewed me as an, uh oh, baby (a baby out of wedlock). I didn’t ask for that. As many cousins and friends as I had, I felt alone, I didn’t ask to feel like that. I didn’t ask to get “touched” by cousins or teased by them. I didn’t ask for this body that my male family members thought to be unmanly. I didn’t ask for anybody’s opinion on me in general.
People will be people. In the grand scale and time of the universe, humans have only been around for less than 1% of that time. We are still gestating in the womb in comparison to the universe. Like babies we are still feeling out the world, we are going to mess up and those mistakes will affect our loved ones. I know I made many with my son, BUT, I guarantee, when he is ready to talk about my actions toward him in the future, he will get an honest, loving answer that I pray will help him.
One day at a time
I find it hard to focus on myself and my own health. Knowing I have to be there for my family and that my son is watching every move I make, it’s a lot. Sometimes I’m very overwhelmed but I never use to talk about it. Everyone around me are these mentally tough people and it’s even hard for them to relate. I know some of you understand this. Some of you are probably saying, “Just man up”. I say to both those statements, I understand.
See for those of us who find it hard to put our thoughts out there usually have to work 2 or three times as hard to find the strength and courage to talk and say how we feel or share our knowledge. For me it’s hard to ask for help because I feel in so many areas I lack so why keep adding to the list of flaws.
For those of you who don’t have this problem I applaud and envy you. You have a skill to say how you feel and speak up that I wish I had. It takes a lot to say what you want and walk away and not let it bother you.
BUT, we are what gives the world diversity. Some of us are quiet, some of us are loud. If we all said how we feel we would all be either at each other throats or never really listening to each other. If we are all quiet we would never know how we really feel and would probably make a lot of wrong suggestions.
Balance is the Key.
I find this one to be the hardest for myself. I do have a good support group around me, BUT, like I said before they are mentally strong folk. I understand I can be frustrating. Knowing that makes me look at myself as less and less of a person. It’s like being the weak link in the room and you know it. I have slowly been learning that I am important, I am special, I am loved, and I have something to contribute (sound familiar?). I wrote about this almost a year and some time ago. I can honestly say I almost forgot what it is like to be heard or loved.
I spent so much time trying to get out of my sunken place, the harder I fought the more it pulled me in. But I did learn one thing, how to stop and breathe. I am just learning how to focus on my good, but it is so hard. Stay focused on the things that bring happiness to your life. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff.
It is your journey and know one else’s
I mentioned before about therapy. To make this plain, this is your walk. I go through a different set of traumas than anyone else. I say I keep tight lipped about my process due to how opinionated people can be. I am in a place where I’m starting not to care more and more about people’s opinion of me. Four months ago I didn’t want anybody to know I was even considering therapy. Now I’m accepting that this is me and I need help. I’m not getting help for just me but for my son too. Hopefully I can show him what it looks like to conquer the screams of resentment, hurt, and pain in your head.
This is my journey and if you want to know mine I will tell you. If not keep your opinion to yourself and move on with love.