I’ve been a writer my whole life, and before that, a story-teller. My mom says I came out talking, with a book in hand, and it’s not too far from the truth. I was obsessed with the written word from a very young age, and always was far, far ahead of my classmates in reading, especially in elementary school. I remember there was a program called RIF, for Reading Is Fundamental, that provided one free book per child. I was in second grade when they brought the books to my school, and I made a beeline for the chapter books, because I was long since past picture books. One of the parent volunteers tried to steer me back to the books listed for my age group, but I stubbornly refused to move, and chose The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum. I was proud to come back and tell the same parent volunteer the next day that I’d finished the book already and gave them a quick synopsis. (I’ve always been oh so humble. Can you tell?)
Writing what I know can feel frustrating at times because I live and breathe mental illness; both my own, and working with my clients. Sometimes I honestly cannot understand how other people can be ignorant of the facts of mental illness, and the amount of stigma, vilification, and oppression I face can be daunting. I choose to write for just that reason; to help myself get some of these words out of my head, and to help other people understand, or to know they’re not the only one fighting this hard fight.
I ended up off work for three days last week, because of the breakup with my boyfriend. My FMLA paperwork had to be re-filed and they added the stipulation that I need a note from my psychiatrist to return, and the earliest appointment I could squeeze into was Wednesday at 4:00. We’ve discussed it and have a plan in place so I don’t have to spend a couple days twiddling my thumbs at home, missing out on work and feeling like even more of a disappointment. When I returned I had to go to HR and get new forms that the doctor has to fill out every time I return, and she has to RE-file the FMLA paperwork she has now done twice if I miss more than three days, which was her initial estimate for how often I’d be off. (I was out eight days in January.) I ended up crying in HR again which always sucks. Then I found out that I didn’t have enough money for the rent, so I had to call my mother to borrow money AGAIN so I can afford to keep my home, as well as feed myself and get myself to and from work. My boss is letting me work extra for the rest of the pay period to make up at least one of the missing days, and my vacation and sick time accrued will almost cover another, and then the four whole days I had the crisis phone should cover the remainder. Imagine, a paycheck that actually pays ALL the bills without having to float anything! It will be amazing.
I’m scared to death to do my taxes. After pulling my 401K out to pay off a credit card when I moved (which I have since maxed out YET AGAIN) I know I’ll owe some taxes on it and I’m afraid my refund will not cover it. I do have that extra check coming soon- the one that hits every six months that gives you an extra paycheck. Maybe I’ll manage to get ahead this time. Who knows.
Someday, my plan for this blog is to take my disjointed ramblings and write a book. Maybe by age 30 (I’m almost 29 now) I’ll have something suitable. It’s something to strive for, anyway, and having goals keeps me from completely giving up, even when it feels like I’m drowning in debt (which I am, bee tee dubs, but I am too stubborn to die this way.) I think all that’s kept me alive this far is having friends and family support, and sheer bloody mindedness. I refuse to let the illness win the war. It might win battles here and there, and some are major; I’ve spent the last six months losing. But I will win the war.