Sliding downward

I had been completely centered for six wonderful days.  I had been happy, but not too happy.  Sad things made me sad but did not make me dissolve into tears.  I was able to get my work done at an appropriate speed.  I checked my 3×5 cards for hints on how to do the things I needed and wanted to do.  I was doing so well and hoped this was the beginning of weeks, months, even years, of being episode free.

And then I worked in my daughter’s classroom.

I don’t like the teachers, that is true.  I think she’s demeaning and unkind to the kiddos.  She assigns too much work and then she chews them out for not working fast enough.  Her class is full of “look but don’t touch” stuff.  She doesn’t except constructive criticism, telling me things like, “parents don’t know what goes on in the class room,” when I am in the classroom more than any other parents.  All in all, she irks me.

My Monday morning task is to put together the kids’ homework folders.  It is usually not too much, but yesterday it was.  I alphabetized a bunch of stuff and put them in the folders.  It was wearing me out – I’m not great with filing and secretarial tasks.  (I do know that they are important and if you are good at that sort of thing, I tip my hat to you.)  I started to feel pretty frustrated and down and just not-good.  I was nearing the end and still hadn’t put the science in the folders.  I finally admitted defeat.  I would have to come back Tuesday to give them to them.

I feel all off kilter.  I still ate my standard breakfast of two eggs, so I would have the fuel I needed to conquer the day.  This was a bit of a struggle to do, but I did it anyway.  Things are not going to get worse.  I walked Small to school.  I finished the folders and did not go to the assembly which was supposed to be great.  I needed this time to write and pray.  My friend, L, is having a rough day herself.  She told me not to ask her what was going on or if she was okay, so I respected her, but I am still wanting to help.

All of that is a pain, and pretty much not that big of a deal.  If you’re not bipolar.  I’m evening out thanks to this blog and I have a feeling if I keep it up I will be back on track soon.  Maybe I should just write until I feel better.  This is what concerns me:  my dreams of becoming a Marriage Family Therapist.

It was about 1 1/2 years ago that I realized I really enjoyed being in the hospital.  I liked the extra rest, I liked the painting we got to do.  I liked and even loved some of my counterparts and appreciated learning about how to manage my illness, from dealing with the stigma, to protecting your privacy, and medicine.  I liked the day programs and all I learned there.  There were special classes for those of us with dual diagnosis (alcoholism and mental illness).  We learned new ways to express ourselves, including the use of music and realizing what our triggers were and how to handle them.

DBT classes were probably my favorite.  I learned about how to handle difficult situations and what things worked for me and what things don’t.  I appreciated that they allowed me to leave the room when they played that wind-chimey music.  I appreciated the transparency we all shared.  More than that, I noticed my SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)was no longer ruling me.  I could walk up to a group and join in the conversation just like a “normal” person.  That was cool.

It was during this, or right after, I found that I wanted this to be a bigger part of my life.  My various illnesses could be used for good.  I could lead others down this path.  I could offer compassion and discipline and a dab of hope in to their lives.

But yesterday scared me.  If I can’t handle something as simple as homework folders, how am I going to handle the kind of job I want?  Can I deal with other’s pain?  There were two women there who lost their children.  In another group a woman lost her husband and her grandchild, who she was raising, to her negligent father.

Writing here, I remember I sat through this without trouble.  The things in the newspaper bother me more.  I think I see beyond the incidents in to the pain.

I have heard that “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”  I don’t believe that.  I guess if suffering means you’re wallowing around in self pity and misery you don’t have to do that, but I think suffering can be a good thing.  The initial pain of a loss, a hurt, is bound to leave scars.  The Bible says, “by his scars we are healed.”  Does it make sense that our scars are a means for healing as well?  There was a woman in the group who was extremely depressed and thought her life could never be happy, as she had bipolar and OCD.  I chirped in that I had all that and ADHD, too.  This could have helped her, it could have not, but I gave her what I had.  I was still a little scattered in a mixed state during the classes, but well enough to do all that I could to minister to others.

Many of them have had worse pain than I.  But it’s not a contest to see who’s been through the hardest pain.  There are some people that proudly wear that badge, but, in my world, it makes no sense.  I’ve said before that behavioral centers are the great equalizer.  We are desperate to end our lives, or to viciously and passionately live in a way we can’t.  I’ve felt that only a death by suicide would cure me.  I have gone so far as to construct a detailed plan.  (The more detailed plan the more dangerous the situation becomes.)

It turns out that I was wrong.  I don’t have to wait for heaven to live creatively and passionately.  This means I have to do that, though, on some sort of schedule.  There is no night out with the girls where I stay up until 1.  I have to adhere to a very strict diet.  I can’t have a glass of wine or a mai tai.  I wish I could do these things, but I can’t.  If I do, I could trigger a mixed state, end up in the hospital, or even end up dead.

All this to say….  I don’t know what.  I pray I can go back to school.  I want to be a part of the healing of the masses.  I love that idea.  The question remains, am I fit for it?

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