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Welcome to Phoenixes Rising

We are two friends living in different states who both suffer from anxiety and depression. So far, neither of us have had much of a life because these monsters have been in control. It’s time to turn things around. Here we will chronicle our ups and downs as we battle our demons and learn new ways of thinking and doing things. We will also try to provide support and information for others with similar problems and those who wish to understand better. Please join us as we try to take control of our lives and become the people we are underneath the fear and sadness.

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4:30 am Musings

For years, really for most of my life, I have said that I wanted to kill myself. Yet I’m still here. In fact, despite having forcibly spent eight days in a hospital for depression seven years ago, I’ve never made a REAL effort to end things officially.

Truth is, I want to live. I see how wonderful the world can be for other people. I’m on social media, I watch vlogs and I make daily trips outside my apartment. For most of my life I was around people about as much as anyone else with school and work. I don’t have friends, but I have a few acquaintances and I can see how they live and the fun things they do.  I see people celebrating holidays, births, marriages, picking out groceries, having picnics, watching movies. I know there are more good things about life than bad…for most people.

Death was always the last resort. I never thought I’d REALLY have to do it. I’ve lived in darkness for years and I researched suicide and at one point became obsessed with it, but in the back of my mind, I thought that some reason for living would come along and rescue me from having to do it at the last moment. That’s what would have happened in a movie or a book, or even in a world that was fair. But that’s not the way it works in my life. I’ve had to receive tragically unfair consequences numerous times before it finally sank in. Duh! Look at the pattern. You can predict the future by looking at patterns. Even if it hurts, sometimes you have to look at things for what the are and accept it.

No matter how bad things were before, and trust me, it was living-in-a-shed-in-your-mother’s-backyard bad, there was always a TINY glimmer of hope that something good would happen eventually. I thought my chances had gotten even higher after I got on my own and started functioning as an adult in society again.

But no one told me that once you’re in the Freak Box  there’s no getting out, and I’d been a resident of Freak Town for as far back as I could remember. I might have been BORN in the box for all I know. Here’s the rules for all dwellers of the Box: You will never be a fully functioning adult no matter how people who love you cheer you on for the little things. There will be doors slammed in your face all throughout your life one by one until there is nothing to do but give in to what they want: to disappear out of view. If you are lucky, maybe you are one of the Box Dwellers who has a childlike mind. Then you won’t mind never being an adult and having to miss out on everything that makes life worthwhile. As for the rest of us, we have a decision to make, even though we know deep down that it has never been up to us. We never had a chance for a life. We were always fooling ourselves. We must cherish the very few people who do genuinely care about us and hope they will forgive us and try to understand that this wasn’t how we wanted it to end.  Sometimes we have to take the only road left, the only thing left that will embrace us and assure us that in the end, we are all equal. We are all capable. We are all valuable. There is a place for all of us in this world. A place not covered up where others don’t have to look at us, but a place where the sun shines on our faces and the breeze blows in our hair. A place where we can find meaning and kinship.

Because every bit of hope I have ever had for my life has been completely taken away, I am done with this world. I’m only hanging on because 1. my mother will be upset and 2. I am scared and 3. see the above — I want to live.

I wish more people cared. I wish I had a strong writing voice to compensate for my weak speaking voice and general inability to make people like me or to care. But that’s life.

Here are two things I want people to learn from my life.

1. Reach out to people, especially those who seem to need it badly. EVERYBODY needs somebody, no matter what they look or act like, no matter how difficult they are to get to know. There is no tangible payoff for caring about someone when you don’t have to, but those who care without reason are those who change the world eventually. It might not be in time for them to see it, but it’ll happen.

2. People who are different should not be looked down on and have it assumed that they are incapable of doing the things that normal people do every day. Most different people aren’t dangerous or stupid. We have feelings and it hurts when we are laughed at and when the possibilities for our lifelong dreams happening are taken away. We need hope and meaning in our lives just like anyone else.

If I think of any more I’ll let you know, even though I’m pretty sure nobody reads this.

 

 

Thanks to the 2 people who viewed/liked

…my last post. I didn’t expect any more than that and I didn’t deserve those two. However, I guess our brains are built to just keep hoping good things will happen even when it’s apparent that either there is no one in charge and we chose the “loser life” straw or that there is someone in charge and he/she hates our guts.  In other words, I needed that shit to go viral. I need someone to be livid on my account because I’m not the greatest at getting people to listen to me myself. (Two likes/views are way more than my other blog would’ve gotten). I need someone to track down TPTB and say “how DARE you?” How can someone wanting to do something so pure and altruistic and good be completely shut down?

But how many times have I gotten furious on account of something unfair that happened to somebody else? A few, but I never did anything about it.

I’m either going to live the way I want, with no restrictions from people who think I should stay in the Freak Box, or I’m going to die. No two ways. I can’t live in the Freak Box any longer.

I’ve actually been enjoying Hurricane Harvey. I live a couple of hours outside of Houston and my town has gotten the same amount of rainfall so I’ve been stuck at home since Friday – not that I would’ve gone anywhere else anyway. I’ve enjoyed laying around listening to the beat of the rain on my roof, working very little (I work at home but the supervisor is in Minnesota and thinks this hurricane is worse than it is I guess). Usually when something terrible happens to you the weather doesn’t cooperate. The world just keeps on spinning as usual with people getting up and going to work and school like nothing has happened and you can only think “don’t they know that xxx thing happened?” But since my one last wish was ripped away from me, the world has seemed to stop. All the businesses and schools in town are shut down and no one is on the road. No one shops or sees friends and appointments have been canceled. I know in a day or two life will get back to normal but for right now it just seems fitting.

After things settle down from the hurricane I plan on hounding CPS a little more to give me a chance to get another opinion. The other clinic was booked with appointments but they said they would call me if there was a cancellation so a second opinion is not even a realistic prospect right now. I even thought about having my mother call and talk to CPS since she did foster care through them for many years, but that might seem like I can’t handle my own problems. Which let’s face it, I can’t, or people wouldn’t think I belonged in the Freak Box.

I saw a video the other day about a school for autism and I had the fleeting thought, “I’d like to help people like that some day.” Then I remembered, “Oh yeah, you can’t help people like that…you ARE people like that.” It really sucks to have any and all opportunities ripped from you. To be told you can’t do it. What’s worse, they’ll never know how wrong they were. Dr. Mormon will always think he was correct in keeping the freak lady away from the vulnerable children and not think that I could have helped them at all. I mentioned in my last post that one of the workers at my (former) clinic was very professional. She always has a smile for everyone, very cordial and friendly, but she does’t seem particularly concerned or involved in your own individual case, and she offers no answers or advice. I think she is that way because she doesn’t understand what it’s like to go through hell on earth and come out not stronger (that’s a myth) but with the resolve not to sink that low again. I would have understood what it’s like to have problems. Maybe not every single specific problem, but I would have known what it’s like to be the only one, to be the one nobody likes, to be the one who nobody listens to or cares about. And if I’d been given the chance to follow my dreams I would have taught those children to have the determination to keep going despite all challenges because life is worth it. But as my life is right now and how it will likely be until my death, it’s not worth it. Life’s not worth living at all.

The Freak Box

I started this blog as an inspirational tale of two people who hadn’t had an easy time in life, but who (I hoped) would keep punching back and eventually find fulfillment in whatever it was that made them happy. Like most of my ideas, this one soon became abandoned in the back of my mind. Even when I had the desire to write, I wasn’t sure if I still had all the log on information or that we had any more followers left. (When I was on blogger I would pour my heart out in every post and not only not receive any comments, but no VIEWS. It soon became just a reinforcement of my belief that no matter how much I might have to say, no one cared.)

But now I’m afraid I’ve come to the end of my rope, a giving up point if you will, and before I can fully process that for me life was always destined to consist only of cats, tears, wistfulness, YouTube videos and trips to the grocery store, I need someone to hear my story.

When you’re young they tell you that you can be anything you want if only you put your mind to it and that if you just keep trying everything will work out for you. What they don’t consider is that some of us are born on the fringes of society. Not quite normal. Never totally included. They don’t tell you that if you are different you will have doors slammed in your face constantly throughout your life. You won’t be afforded the same support network. You won’t have same chances as a normal person (and yes, there IS such thing as normal). This isn’t the story about how every opportunity in life was shut down for me. That would take too long. This is the story of the LAST door that was shut to me and my pain in accepting the life that has always been meant for me.

I am a shut-in. A cat lady. An obese 37 year old virgin. The type of person that society easily makes fun of on internet forums and even the most intelligent of TV shows. One of the few groups you don’t have to be “PC” for yet. Someone you can make fun of without feeling guilty, because they’re just freaks, right? Who cares anyway? I don’t live in my parents’ basement but for seven or eight years after I lost my job I was so depressed and despondent that I lived in a shack in my mother’s backyard. Close enough, right?

I have always been different, but it wasn’t always so obvious. I didn’t speak in school until I reached third grade. Even I didn’t understand why and none of the adults seemed to think it was serious enough to look into. One teacher joked at Open House that she wished she had a class full of me. Selective mutism isn’t something you just get over in a day (at least for me), so I continued struggling with the social aspect of school.

As middle school approached, the other kids made it clear that I didn’t belong and that I should keep my distance. I was enrolled in a Christian school for sixth grade and that’s when the hard-core bullying started. Nowadays, bullying is recognized for the outright soul-crushing abuse that it is, but as with everything, this enlightenment came too late for me and it was just kids being kids at the time. I was shoved down the stairs, had pudding poured on my head, was poked, beaten, verbally tormented and then made to see the school counselor about why I wasn’t making any friends.

Worst of all I think was the exclusion. Every P.E. I would lean against a wall and watch the other kids play four-square. I remember distinctly looking at my reflection behind them one day in my yellow gym shirt and green gym shorts and thinking to myself “this is how I’m going to remember myself when I’m old.” The thought was so terrifying that I impulsively decided to get in the four-square line, telling myself that it wouldn’t be as big a deal as I was imagining. All talk immediately ceased when I joined the line and everyone just sort of stared at me. Then a huge discussion broke out about how I never talked or raised my hand. How I always sat by myself and didn’t have any friends. One kid spoke up, “She’s like Laura.” I perked up at that thought. Laura was a girl in the other sixth grade class who was very quiet.  As long as I was like someone, I thought. “No she’s not,” another kid said emphatically. “At least Laura expresses herself.” Having had enough, I finally walked away in tears. The next day I was back to leaning against my wall watching the game, order restored in the universe.

I didn’t stop trying. I was sure that if I only tried hard enough and waited long enough I would have a life somewhat resembling everyone else’s. You can probably pretty much guess that I didn’t have much luck with friends and relationships. I spent most of my twenties trying to make to make friends online, reading self-help books and crying every Saturday night when I knew everyone else my age was out beginning their lives.

When I was 25 I finally accepted that I would never get married or even have a relationship somewhat resembling marriage. I went on one date with a guy from work and was so anxious I avoided him afterwards. “I at least deserve to know why,” he wrote me in a note he slipped in my cubicle at work. “I don’t know why but it’s not your fault” I replied simply in email when I got home.

I recognized that the world was closing in around me and that since I wouldn’t have a traditional life, I’d need to make another way. I had some ideas, but the one I kept coming back to was foster care.

Both my mother and grandmother had been foster parents. I had heard horror stories from different kids about how they were abused and neglected. One girl’s father had murdered her mother right in front of her. Though many had problems, they were at their core just like any kids and wanted and needed the same things out of life: love, acceptance, peace, stability and happiness.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I needed someone, that was clear. I was long past the age where living alone made me feel grown up and independent. There were times I longed to cook a meal for someone or to have someone to tuck into bed. And it was possible that I could do some good for someone else. Foster care might not have been my first choice, but if I had been born “normal” I might not ever have even thought of helping a child I wasn’t related to. The whole thing finally made sense. This was why I had been through so much. If I hadn’t, I might not have empathy or patience for a child who was different. If I’d lead a different life I might have judged a birth parent who might have turned to drugs to dull some unending ache they couldn’t explain.

I became very excited about this prospect. I would have things to look forward to for Christmas, Easter. I could shop for their school clothes and experience being a “mother” for the first time. It was true that I had helped with many of my mother’s charges before and had helped to raise my now twenty year old special needs sister (also a former foster child), but I hadn’t really counted those as “mine.” If I raised one of these children to adulthood, maybe I would have someone around as I aged, someone who I would be able to talk to with on an adult level the way I couldn’t with my sister.

I admit part of my desire to pursue foster care was selfish. Isn’t a desire for motherhood always selfish? You can’t give a reason for wanting to purposely have a biological child without using the words “I” or “me.” As a society we tend to put mothers up on a pedestal and some of that is justified, but let’s not forget that anybody can be a mother (or so I thought). I was going to do it right.

As excited as I was about the prospect of fostering, something nagged at the back of my mind. See, any time something good is about to happen to me, something happens to prevent it. I’m not exaggerating or being paranoid. The biggest example I can think of is that after losing my post office job ten years ago, I almost got a job I really wanted as a mail carrier. After I had completed the training and everything I was informed that they couldn’t hire me because I had an old record on my driver’s license where I didn’t have car insurance (which, trust me, is about as bad as murder in the law’s eyes). I guess I could just sense something bad about to happen.

I went ahead and completed the necessary classes to become a foster parent, called PRIDE. I drove the hour out of town each weekend and attended the nine hour classes. I bought a fire extinguisher, my mother’s friend gave me an old baby bed and I was assigned to and met with a case worker. Almost everyone I knew thought it was a wonderful idea. An old neighbor even gave me three hundred dollars to help with the expenses of gettting lisenced. My father was the only one who seemed to think I shouldn’t do it, but he’s another story. My mother had to stop fostering when she married him, so I hadn’t expected him to be on board. He’s slightly racist (used to be very much racist), zealously religious and very button-down and proper. “That’s a 24 hour a day job,” he warned. “Just like with any parent,” I replied. “You could get one like Erica,” he said, meaning my sister who has displine problems to say the least. “Kids who are severely effected go to therapeutic foster homes who are specially trained to handle them. I would only be getting babies under three since I live in a one bedroom apartment,” I answered. Starting off with babies didn’t seem to be such a bad idea anyway. I would work my way up to helping kids who most people wouldn’t want. “You’d have to change diapers,” he tried one last time the last time we saw each other, as though 99.9999999% of women don’t have children and eventually have to change a diaper. “I just want to be as normal as I can,” I finally told him, which was uncharacteristically more candid than I usually am with him. His doubts only made me want to prove myself even more. I would not allow my life to be a succession of runs to the grocery store and Netflix movie nights. I was going to do something important and meaningful. Everything looked like it should be fine, but I was still worried.

Back when I was filling out the forms for foster care that pretty much asked about every aspect of your life, I paused at the place we were supposed to list our medications. I take a lot of medications. For health-related issues such as high cholesterol, but I took several prescriptions for my lifelong depression and anxiety too. I knew that I would need a note from my doctor because of the psychotropic medications I took. But surely that wouldn’t be a problem, would it? They couldn’t discriminate, could they? I had been punished enough for my problems and it was time for things to look up.

I had recently switched doctors at the clinic I went to. The new doctor’s name was Dr. Mormon. He was very serious with plaid button-down shirts and his hair combed over to one side. He reminded me of my father. He specialized in treatment resistant depression so I was a little excited about the prospect of his helping me. Not that I felt too bad in particular, but I had just never experienced that night-and-day difference that most depression patients describe when they are on medication. I had another theory too though. What if I wasn’t completely happy because I was unfulfilled in my life? Most people wouldn’t be happy with only their mother and their sister to talk to. Some people would commit suicide over just that.

I went along with the regimen anyway, though, which consisted of Lamotrigine, Latuda and Cymbalta with Trazadone to help me sleep. Although I still felt like my same old self on these medications, before my doctor’s appointment on Monday I had been having a good few months. I don’t recall being in a bad mood or crying once during that time. As I’ve said I functioned fine in life regarding the basics. I had had my own apartment for about three years, had a job working from home about that same length of time, and had been told by the government six or seven times (!) that my depression wasn’t severe enough to qualify as a disability. I did everything that was expected of an adult. I just needed something to make me happy.

I went into my appointment last Monday only marginally nervous. Because life has knocked me down so many times I am wary any time I think something good might happen, but I had foolishly let myself believe that he would write me the doctor’s note and all would be well.

I brought up the subject of foster care before anything else, because I wanted to stop worrying about it. I explained that I had already finished with the requirements but just needed a note from him about the medicine I take.

Before I had finished my request I knew what the answer would be. His eyes shifted to the other side of the screen (as I said, I never met this doctor in person). “Kids are stressful” he began. I knew it. I KNEW IT. My eyes began to fill with tears.

He told me how he had been a child psychologist for six or seven years and that many of those kids had been foster kids. I tried to tell him of my experience in the matter. That I had been around them ALL MY LIFE and that the special needs kids are sent to special foster homes and that I would only be allowed to take babies under three. But it didn’t matter what I said. The more I talked the more I cried.

I asked why. I had been in his office three or four other times and had remained calm and composed while we discussed my medication and had never given off any signals that I was unfit to do anything that any other adults could do.

“But look at you now. You’ve been in my office for two minutes and you’re crying.”

I wished I could have reached through the screen and slapped him. I mean, I wasn’t going to get what I wanted anyway, so why not? How would YOU feel if some cold, unfeeling, clinical person who didn’t even know you or your story used their power to smash your one last remaining dream for your life in front of your face with no REAL reason and then used your resulting tears as further proof that they were right? It’s like a policeman proving that a man is violent by punching him in the nose and waiting to see what happens next.

“Why do you want to do this in the first place? Is this just about having kids?”

I did my best to answer for a while but I finally said “I give up” and fled the room in tears. I guess my modus operandi hasn’t changed much since that day in sixth grade when I finally got the hint that I wouldn’t be included in four-square.

Doctor Mormon is very upset that you just ran out. He went ahead and filled your prescriptions and we’re going to make another appointment for next week. Are you taking your medications on time? Are you taking them at all? You’re bored? Dissatisfied with your life? Have you tried the Hope Center across the street? It’s free and there is a different talk there every day at three and there are also board games and coloring pages. If you decide not to do anything to help yourself that’s your choice to make. Don’t say we didn’t try to help. Do you have any plans of harming yourself this evening? If you were going to kill yourself, how would you do it? No, I can’t promise I won’t call anyone to take you to the hospital. Don’t you think you can be happy without kids? Well, yes, I do have kids and I’m not sure how I would feel…let me just put Tina on. Will you give Tina a chance?

I didn’t want to speak to Tina. She is the super-professional one. All she wanted was to make the appointment for next week, which you have probably guessed by now that I refused.

I contacted CPS (who I was licensing through) immediately and told them what happened. See, I’m way, way too honest. I shouldn’t have told them I took medication in the first place, and when, out of frustration, I mentioned this on the phone, the worker said, “You shouldn’t say things like that. Now I don’t know what else you aren’t going to be honest about.” She said she would forward the information to her supervisor, but didn’t sound too promising. Because most people on medications DO get approved for foster care, I think she thought I must really have something wrong with me.

You know what I’m not honest about? Nothing. Because I have nothing to hide and have never done anything. I will never have any of those memories that make life worth living after we have lost everything else. I won’t have anyone to comfort me as I take my last breaths. No one will want to read the twenty or so volumes of diaries I’ll leave behind. No one will have any true memories of me (because Erica tends to remember things differently than they really happened). No one will remember me as anything but a good (quiet/awkward) person.

People who are different are often placed in boxes by society, away from view, certainly far away enough so that we don’t get close enough to see that they have the same wants and needs and have feelings just like anyone else. This is where we are supposed to stay and anyone who tries to venture out too far into Normalville gets the hook soon enough. So we stay in our lane strictly in Freak City because we don’t belong anywhere else. We aren’t capable of doing anything more complicated or meaningful than keeping ourselves from crashing too hard into the huge wall that divides the two worlds. After a while you see that it’s best to stay inside the Freak City box because to peak into that other world, that more ideal world where the trees are green and you can look above you and see the blue sky peeking through the clouds and hear the friendly shouts of your neighbors saying “Come on over, You belong”…it’s hard to see how wonderful that world must be, knowing you belong in the smaller, darker world where it’s so stale and lonely that it’s sometimes hard to even breathe and where you can’t see where the road you are on is headed. You have no control over your vehicle. You just know that there will be bumps and crashes along the way until you finally can’t go anymore. Then we finally really will be all the same.

The night Dr. Mormon delivered my soul-death sentence, I went to HEB because food is my drug of choice. On my way to the front I passed by a t-shirt with the words, “I Can. And I Will. Watch Me.” printed on it. Years ago, around fifty disappointments ago, I would’ve taken that message as a sign to fight for what I know is right until my dream came into being. Because let’s face it: what happened wasn’t fair. Anybody can see that. But now I know my place. I stay in my box. I’ll let these unfair proclamations about my competency as an adult of average intelligence fall down on me barely noticed and woefully tolerated, like a summer rain. And I won’t show my face to the normals again unless I absolutely have to.

 

 

My Experiences in a Mental Hospital

I have an eerily good memory when it comes to dates. Like, I hardly ever forget a birthday (though admittedly I don’t have too many to remember). So today I’m remembering how, six years ago on this day, two policemen came to the door of my shed and demanded that I come with them. They didn’t say where, but I knew…and part of me was glad. I’ll just post what I wrote three years ago, since my memory of the events has grown hazier with time:

Three years ago I was even more depressed than I am now. Hard to believe, huh? It’s possible. I’ve found that a good rule to live by is to appreciate what you have now, because things can get worse. And they will.


Three years ago I was so depressed I only came out of the shed at night. I remember picking up my mother’s new cell phone and flipping through all the pictures that had been taken. Thinking how very little I had to do with life anymore and wondering how it could go on so easily without me. A volunteer came in to do things with my sister since I no longer would. I didn’t care. My sister had an operation on her back to correct scoliosis. I wasn’t concerned at all. I slept as much as I could in the daytime and cried all night. I don’t remember much about that time.

On the morning of October 13 of that year a loud banging on my shed door shattered my peaceful, miserable existence. I was in my nightgown about to go to sleep. I should’ve known better than to answer the door. It wasn’t my mother’s knock or my sister’s. I wasn’t comfortable answering the door to anyone else. Even though I’d had no warning whatsoever, some small part of me knew who it was. Two uniformed policemen stood outside the door, saying I would have to go with them. That same small part of me who had known who was at the door, who still thought I had a chance at life, was rejoicing. Good! Finally! But my first instinct was to change clothes. I made the request and it was firmly denied. They came into my shed. My personal space. Even though I have nothing in here that is in the least illegal, I didn’t like it. I panicked. I begged them not to go through my stuff. One assured me that they wouldn’t. And that was the last thing either of them would say to me.

I was lead around to the front of the house to the police car parked at the curb. Crying. In my nightgown. I know a lot of people will have far more horrific stories about being in a mental hospital than I have to share today, but remember that being out in public was my worst fear. At that time the most I would have to do with the outside world was going to the store every now and then at night, using the U-scan so I would have as little human contact as possible. Imagine the thing you are the most afraid of and then imagine being forced to face it over and over times ten without warning and against your will. If you don’t have any major phobias, just picture how you would feel being forced to eat copious amounts of fire and glass and you’ll be able to empathize with what I was going through.

The police wouldn’t answer my questions about where we were going. They just talked to each other and completely ignored me. The only indication they gave that they were aware of my presence at all was that one of them answered a cell phone call and said something like, “as soon as we drop this girl off.” It got worse.

We arrived at what I later would learn was a “behavior hospital.” Not only for patients with depression, the facility mostly treated people who had violent tendencies and drug addictions. I want to emphasize that I hadn’t actually done anything to get sent there. I was telling my mother all the time I was going to kill myself, yeah, and had been for years. I guess that can be classified as a “behavior” that needs to be corrected. But I don’t think it is on the same spectrum as people who were there because they had just tried to murder someone, and I shouldn’t have been treated as such. Although I guess being treated as a criminal is better than being thought to be out of your mind, because authorities don’t respect the latter group at all.

When the cops dropped me off in the women’s waiting room, the only other patient there was a lady who was in obvious distress. She seemed to be going through what I’ve heard called a “manic” episode. Huddled in the corner, she was talking loud and fast in a foreign language. I collapsed in a chair, still hysterical because of the indignity I had suffered and the frustration of not getting any answers. The cops looked at the two of us and laughed with the secretaries at the front desk that “there must be a full moon tonight”. I couldn’t let that one go. “That isn’t funny,” I shouted. Indignation is the only thing that makes my aggressive side come out, and it usually doesn’t manifest itself in any way that is productive. I guess they thought that we were both so crazy that we didn’t have the sense to know we were being made fun of. Or maybe they just didn’t care? The cops immediately turned serious though, and from the snippet of the rest of the conversation I caught between the group, I gleaned that a judge had issued an order that I be brought there. No doubt brought on by my mother.

I didn’t blame her for that. I am bitter that it took her so long to take action. Decades too late for me to have any real life. And it would have gone a lot smoother if she had communicated with me what was going to happen. Patients who check in voluntarily do not have to go through being picked up by cops and are generally treated a lot better. That said, I understood that it was the only thing she knew to do.

Anyway, after the police cleared out, Gladys, the other lady in the room, came over to me and began praying for me. Loudly of course, and partially in Cuban, which I don’t understand. It seemed to calm her down a little, so I just went along with it and acted like it made me feel better. And with kindness being in such short supply at that moment, in a way it did. A few minutes later, a woman was lead in in handcuffs. She had just chased someone down the street with a knife. The cop had a talk with her about how it was best that she check in here rather than facing charges. He glared at me in my thin nightgown, still crying. “She wants to be here,” he assured the secretary, referring to the woman with the knife. For the second time that day, I argued with a cop. “Nobody wants to be here,” I snapped back at him. I wasn’t even being treated like a criminal anymore. I was below a criminal.

A teenage girl came in next. I’m not really sure what she was “in for.” She was waiting to be placed on the juvenile floor, but apparently all the women and girls shared a waiting room. She asked me a lot of invasive questions. She wasn’t really being mean about it. My case was just a curiosity to her, like the sideshow freaks of yesteryear. When I was finally obliged to reveal that I lived in a shed in my mother’s backyard, she jumped up and hurried to the desk at the front of the room. She said something like, “Why was I sent here? This is a place for people who aren’t in their right minds! I’ve got homecoming this week and I’ve got tests to study for!”. You could almost hear the unspoken prayer of thanksgiving in between the lines of her protests that she was young and had a life to live and was not some homeless 30 year old loser. She got over her panic soon enough and was back to asking me questions. When she probed into my personal life and whether or not I’d ever dated, I finally politely declined to answer any more questions. I said it only made me feel worse to be scrutinized and compared to others. “Don’t worry, he’s out there somewhere for you,” she couldn’t resist adding. I laid back on the bench and thought about the absurdity of this statement. I guess to a teenager being in a relationship is the be all and end all of having a happy life, but I gave up on that notion years ago. I’ve realized that concentrating on the basics is crucial because securing a job and a place to live is difficult enough and the best I could hope for anyway. I can’t even make friends. “But don’t kill yourself, because you know where you go then,” were her final words of wisdom. I already addressed that issue in the previous post.

The hours passed by and we wound up waiting late into the night. When I was first brought in, I kept asking when I was leaving. The ladies up front ignored my pleas the first few times, but finally said that I had to see the doctor, and they didn’t know when that would be. The first person we were called in one at a time to see was a nurse. It turned out it was her job to do a strip search. This threw me into another tailspin and I related the day’s events to her in a rush of words that probably made me sound like Gladys had. The nurse handed me two mitten-like objects and, in the middle of my spiel, I immediately put them on my hands. The nurse looked at me carefully and said, “I’m going to need you to put those on your feet.” I started laughing when I realized they were slipper socks. After I had calmed down, the nurse wound up not really doing the strip search, probably against orders. She just gave me a hospital gown to put over my own. I didn’t thank her for her compassion, though, because she then mentioned that I couldn’t leave the hospital until I had seen the judge. This sent me off again. A judge? I had to go on trial!? For what?

My mother and sister showed up sometime that night. We all had to go into a room so that an unemotional man behind a large desk could ask a lot of questions. Unlike the nurse before him, he had no sympathy for how upset I was. Why should he? He probably saw hundreds of patients a week and was immune to sob stories by now. “If you cannot be nice we can do this later,” he intoned in broken English. Since I had already waited about twelve hours to just get to this stage that was not an attractive option.  The man asked a lot of personal questions. He had decided that I wasn’t reliable, so he looked to my mother for confirmation each time I gave an answer. Some were embarrassing, like had I gained or lost weight recently. This was the only one where my mother objected to my answer. She hesitated when the man looked to her for “the truth” as he had each time and she finally said, “she’s gained a little“. Like that really had any bearing on the situation. She couldn’t talk to me about my problems all these years until we were in front of this cold-hearted stranger? Talk about kicking someone when they’re down.

There were many more kicks in store. I had talked to Knife Woman for a while (I don’t remember her real name) about the problems that had lead us to where we were on that day. She described getting into a fight with someone at a restaurant who insulted her and whipping out a knife. I guess she didn’t remember this conversation because the next morning she told me she was there for wanting to kill herself. Around midnight, most of us gave up waiting to see the doctor and tried to sleep in the chairs in the waiting room. I heard Knife Woman talking to her boyfriend on the office phone. “I thought I had it bad,” she confided, “but these are the most fucked up, retarded people in [town].” I lay there in the dark under the blanket one of the nurses had provided, letting the hurt wash over me, knowing that the remark would have stung a lot more if I hadn’t already been completely defeated. “I’m sure she was talking about Gladys,” Teen Girl consoled. Gladys had tried to hang herself with her bra earlier in the evening. Everyone rushed over to her, but of course she was fine. Unless you have a gun or something, it’s a lot harder than that to kill yourself.

Around two or three in the morning, the doctor was finally available. We all crowded into a tiny room to await our turn. More patients were brought in. In one case, the girl’s entire situation, which had to do with illegal drugs, was spelled out in front of the group of strangers. My name was called, or a name similar enough to mine that, along with my last name I figured meant me. Two professionals of some kind directed me into an even tinier room and remained at my sides the entire time. I felt like Dorothy approaching the Wizard. Now here is part of the story I would actually think was funny if it weren’t true. There was no doctor in the room. We were talking to a giant flat screen television monitor featuring the top of a man’s bald head. Like not even enough of his head to see his eyes. Still, there was no question that this was THE doctor, and his facelessness only added to his mystique. One of the workers next to me read off of a chart: “This is 

. She lost her job two months ago [try two years] and wants to kill herself.” I don’t even remember what the Doctor said. I was too busy trying to correct the misinformation. I felt like if they knew it was really a long time since I lost my job they would see I was no immediate threat to myself. But no one paid any attention to me. I was shuffled out of the room by my two handlers mid-sentence. All that waiting; it was so anti-climatic.

Back to the waiting room until a bed became available in the hospital. I was closer to accepting my fate by now, but I couldn’t fathom staying locked up for 78 hours. That was the time frame I had heard tossed around a lot. I was sure I could get someone to hear my case and get me out sooner. A male nurse came to take our pictures for identification purposes. As the bright light flashed before my expressionless face, I was vaguely aware that we had gone to school together, but I was too tired to feel any shame over it. A nurse finally came to show me my room, but not before having to ask another roster of the exact same questions I’d answered before. I made a bid for her pity, as I had with everyone else that day. I began to explain the situation in detail and ask when I could leave. She stopped me cold and told me she didn’t deserve to be treated that way. That she was “just a nurse” and couldn’t do anything. I always thought that being a nurse meant a lot more than filling out forms. Like caring about people. Maybe I’m being unfair because it’s a hectic job and it’s not like they are required to be counselors as well. But I would’ve been grateful for any form of kindness that day. Like Gladys with her Cuban prayers or the nurse deciding not to subject me to a strip search. Some choose to reach out and make a horrible day a little better and some choose not to care and make it a little worse. It must make a difference because I still remember how I felt three years later. She took me to my room. The halls were quiet except for a chainsaw caliber snore which turned out to be that of my new roommate. I dropped into the other bed and cried for the few hours that remained until it was time to get up. I’ve felt alone my entire life, but never more than then.

That was the worst part. My experience in the hospital itself was a mixed bag. Some sympathetic but clueless (about my situation) nurses, one who refused to get in an elevator with a bunch of us patients going to dinner because as she laughingly said, she was “scared”. She said that right in front of us, again either assuming we were all developmentally delayed as well as crazy or simply not caring whether or not she hurt a mental patient’s feelings. I didn’t get lunch my first day there because no one told me the rules about when to come out. One guy who worked there was explaining this and the lunch tray lady looked at me in disdain and said to him, “don’t let her touch that!”. It’s no fun being considered crazy or stupid or dangerous, especially by people who should know better.

I was assigned a doctor to talk to about the medication he prescribed. The only reason I knew he was not the TV doctor is that he had a full head of hair. I was given medicine that made me feel good. Not I-can-actually-have-a-life good, but a sleepy, who-cares good. I saw counselors too. My main one was the type who wants to convince you that it’ll be a piece of cake to fix you. All you have to do is fake it until you make it. (Hey–another cliché to add to the list!) Sorry, but I know better and I am apparently not a very good actress. And yes, I had to go to court because I was depressed. With lawyers and a judge and everything. I was told it is against the law to say you are going to kill yourself. A fellow patient explained to me that I would probably lose the trial and be forced to stay longer. Since most people were there for detox, they were ready to go after 78 hours, but my situation was very different. It was true; I wound up staying for 8 or 9 days. A lot longer than most. And they STILL insisted that my name was what they had incorrectly written down on my chart and my real name was just what I “preferred to be called”.

At that time I hadn’t seen my father in about two years. That’s a whole other story, but I had my reasons. He only likes perfect people and after being laid off I was far from that. He wouldn’t understand my inability to get a job. He wouldn’t like that I had gained weight. He and his wife live out of town, but still visit my neighborhood occasionally because they own several houses on my street. I took measures not to see him, though. It was part of the reason I only came out at night, when I knew they wouldn’t be around working on a house or collecting rent. It wasn’t paranoia. My father is very judgmental (he’s so racist he makes Archie Bunker look like Mr. Rogers) and only likes a certain type. Since things had been going better between us before I got laid off, I couldn’t bear to see him again and feel his disapproval and disgust. But my mother got the harebrained idea to call him up while I was in the hospital and tell him where I was. As bad as it would have been to see him on the street, it was a million times worse to face him in a mental hospital. Yeah, he and his wife decided to visit. As expected, he wasn’t very sympathetic. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye, his gaze kept darting around the hospital cafeteria. At first I tried to pretend everything was normal and they’d just picked me up from my apartment to have lunch at Luby’s like we used to. But then I started crying and he got uncomfortable. I said there was nothing left for me because I was too old to start life at 30. He said think what all you’d be doing if you’d gotten help earlier. I swear I did everything within my capabilities. (Read my post Names & Reasons for my earliest attempts). Most social phobes don’t have to do it all on their own. Or at least I hope not. I tried to lighten the mood by making some offhand remark about how some of the patients sat around with crayons and color pages like little kids. My father said most of them probably had the minds of little kids. I know I’m too sensitive, but I can’t help thinking that it was sort of an insult to me too. I was there too, wasn’t I? The visit ended with my stepmother saying she hoped we could see each other again soon. He didn’t say anything. I went back to my room with the same empty feeling I usually have after spending time with him. I’ve seen him twice briefly in the neighborhood since then (I no longer go out of my way to hide). Both times yielded pretty much this same result, but without the tears and confrontation on my part. He seemed more interested in talking to the neighbors than me.

Ironically, the most helpful part of my hospital stay wasn’t in talking to doctors but in being around other patients. Sure, some weren’t too nice. One rather large guy, who was convinced he was Jesus, had a habit of turning over tables and throwing chairs without warning or being provoked. And he wasn’t the only VIP in our midst. On my first morning a patient introduced himself to me as Batman while we were waiting for breakfast. He was always flirting with all the female patients, I guess looking for his “BatGirl”. I’m not sure what condition they had or what they were on, but both seemed harmless enough. Gladys quickly improved and soon became like a different person than the wild-eyed woman I’d first seen in the waiting room. I observed her with her husband and nine year old daughter who visited her every day. I found myself wishing that medication could have a similar miracle effect on myself. Some patients had schizophrenia. I don’t mean to generalize because I’m sure the disorder effects people in different ways (and in fact, I was diagnosed with a form of it, though I don’t agree). These two that I saw were really in their own world. That would be okay, because if you can’t make a good reality, creating a fantasy world is the next best thing. But this was different. It was like they had a foot in the real world, but some invisible force was pulling them somewhere else. In an uncharacteristic move, I tried to speak to the girl, but she ignored me. (Though, as I’ve said before, that often happens with me). I heard plans being made for the guy to move in with his brother. But the brother refused, and the man was sent to a facility far away. It was sad, because I think he understood most of what was going on. A depressed elderly woman joined the group, uncomfortable at first because she was older than everyone else. A young girl who had just been gang raped. A woman my age who had hair all over her face (I’m not sure why) who didn’t say much at first but turned out to be really nice. A man who had been in and out of the hospital since 1990. An eighteen year old girl with dozens of new cut marks up and down both arms (and she still got out way before I did).

It wasn’t like I went to this place and realized how lucky I was because other people have it worse. I am in no position to look down on anyone. It was more of a community thing. I hadn’t felt a kinship with anyone in so long that it was nice to have people to talk to every day. People who were also having a hard time so (usually) they weren’t going to judge. It must be what normal people feel like all the time. I was happy on the day I was finally let out, but knowing that I had nothing but a lonely shed to go back to, I knew I would miss the comradery that came with being in the hospital. It’s strange, but I have sort of a wistful, nostalgic feeling writing about it now. When I was 18 I was in an auto/pedestrian accident with myself being the pedestrian (and don’t be like my last counselor and accuse me of doing it on purpose). I was in the hospital for over a week then too, and I was sad to come home because I missed the attention I got there. There really must be something wrong with me to feel that way. I wish there was some way for me to meet fellow screwed-up people without resorting to having myself committed or being hit by a car.

Did anyone actually make it this far? If so, thank you, thank you for listening to my story. It’s one I’ve wanted to tell for some time now, but back then I was too depressed to write anything. So did being in the hospital help in the long run? Although the intake procedures for involuntary patients leave a LOT to be desired and I don’t think adding in a courtroom drama was necessary, being there did give me hope for a while. I was turned over to a clinic where my medication would be affordable, but we never could find a medicine on the approved list that made any difference for me. Sometimes knowing that people did try their hardest for you and you still failed anyway is even worse than thinking there is still something out there that you haven’t tried that might work.


In the six years since I was taken to the hospital, I’ve come to realize that it was probably the best thing that could have happened. Although the process was a very slow one, I did eventually come to feel better about myself and my life.

I promise I will stop being lazy and actually add some content about what’s going on currently. It’s just that not much is at the moment. That’s my fault…I haven’t been pushing myself as hard as I was a month or so ago. Hopefully writing this blog will inspire me to keep moving forward.

Suicide Cliché #2: The Easy Way Out

So here’s another entry from the blog I kept a few years ago when I was super depressed:

I’m back to discuss another worn out piece of guidance. This one I assume could only ever come out of the mouth of someone who has never been anywhere near death because it is patently untrue. Again, the last thing I want to do is make anyone feel bad, so if this sort of thing depresses you then please quit reading now.

It’s the easy/coward’s way out. Really? Have you tried it or seriously thought about it? First of all, it’s probably not a good idea to make someone who is already at rock bottom feel worse by calling them names. This is just one example of insults being hurled at people who are already too hard on themselves. Selfish, coward, no better than someone who wants to kill others. (And there’s a huge difference between suicide and homicide. All too often people who are depressed are treated with the same suspicion and hostility as a cold-blooded murderer.) You wouldn’t talk like that to someone who had confidence, so why do you think you can shame someone into not having low self-esteem and depression?

Also, I highly doubt dying is anyone’s Plan A. Don’t you think living is a much more attractive scenario? Death is the great unknown. Most are taught that if they go out this way they are ensured an eternity of burning in Hell. Living, while it may be extremely painful, is the predictable route. Not that it isn’t admirable to keep getting up and trying no matter how much the odds are against you or how many times you get knocked down, but choosing death is even harder. That’s why I’m still here.

Yes, suicide is a hasty, spur-of-the-moment decision in a few cases, but even then not necessarily completely without thought. Most people give it a lot of careful consideration, and even the thinking and planning is far from being easy. Speaking for myself, I’ve agonized for something like 13 years. Thinking about the pain I would bring my mother, picturing myself in Hell. I even spent an entire night weeping uncontrollably, just worrying whether or not my cats would be taken care of. And the really hard part is the act itself. I’ve been on the brink of death several times, only to stop myself at the last second because I was scared. I remember a TV movie from the 80’s in which a suicidal Molly Ringwald wails how “It’s hard to take a life!”. Truer words were never spoken. Everyone who has ever done it has had courage. I can understand not agreeing with their choice, to think they weren’t in their right minds and to disagree with everything else I’ll say on the subject. But it took guts and was definitely not easy. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think outside the box a little before just spouting off a hurtful and false cliché.

Next time I’m going to write about the misconception that everyone who wants to die is not thinking clearly due to mental illness.

Three years later, now that I’m only mildly depressed (sometimes), I can’t say that I disagree with much that I wrote here. It’s very hard to kill yourself, and that’s the only reason I’m here. However, I have to give myself credit for living too. It’s not so easy to get up day after day knowing that your life is less wonderful than most people’s and to face challenges that sometimes overwhelm you.

Contemplating Suicide

WARNING: The following post discusses a sensitive issue, so if this topic triggers negative thoughts or feelings, please abstain from reading further.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and I would be remiss if I did not write something on the subject. It is hard to face the truth that even I have faced the prospect of succumbing to suicide. However, before I discuss my own brush with this reality, I must first voice my opinion on the subject.

Although there is a month dedicated to focusing on suicide, I fully believe that this is a topic that still needs some attention. The stigma surrounding suicide creates many fallacies that people accept as truths. For instance, people associate suicide with criminal acts. I mean, people are said to have “committed” suicide like those who “commit” murder. Personally, I find that there is a big problem grouping these two things together. Sure, premeditation and the loss of life can be involved in both acts, but one is more private and a means to an end; whereas, the other is taking something that doesn’t belong to the perpetrator. Let’s take a closer look.

Murder and other such crimes should be punished. An individual should not be allowed to take what does not belong to him or her – including another person’s life. However, one should not be criticized if he or she considers taking his or her own life. It does belong to them, right? Now, I know this comment is going to draw some negative reactions. People who die by suicide are said to be condemned to an eternity as civil servitude. Okay, if this is true, why make people feel bad who flirt with the idea? Many people are already on the edge, so why push them. I don’t know. I have a problem with people judging those who choose suicide, but that may just be me.

Another thing that bothers me about coupling homicide with suicide when it comes to contemplating committing either one is the line between perpetrator and victim. When people say he or she committed suicide, they emphasize the “commit” part. Now, shouldn’t people who die by suicide be seen as victims instead of offenders? I mean, I think they should not be seen as bad human beings. Again, this is probably a personal opinion and one that may not be popular.

Okay, so now I’ve briefly discussed what I think, now I have to apply this to myself. Like I said before, this is not something I like to admit, but I have contemplated suicide. In fact, I have tried to carry it through on a couple occasions, but I guess I wasn’t strong enough. I’m not going to go into the specifics, but, thanks to a certain someone, I have not followed through with my plans. I don’t think I’m a bad person, but sometimes suicide seems like such an easy solution. My life has had many ups and downs, with the downs being really, really low. My anxiety and depression has led me to dark recesses that I didn’t even know existed. When I get into certain moods, I feel that the only answer is ending it all. I am admittedly pretty impulsive and I have a propensity of self-harm; however, I still have not been able to bring myself to finish the job.

When it comes to suicide and anxiety/depression, many people are not as aware. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “More than half (53 percent) did not know that people with anxiety or panic disorders are at risk for suicide, though they were aware that those diagnosed with depression and PTSD are at increased risk.” In other words, the connection between mental illness and psychological disorders are evident, yet anxiety and panic disorders are not known to result in suicide. Okay, so maybe I was not really aware of the specifics myself, considering that I’m just coming to terms with me having an anxiety disorder, but it proves that this area needs some serious attention. Through the efforts of the ADAA and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), hopefully treatment and prevention will become more prevalent and suicide will not appear to be the best answer.

The Gambler

gambling

The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. As a small child in the early 80s who hadn’t yet developed her own musical taste, this story song of a young man who receives life advice from a seasoned poker player was one of my favorite songs. I never thought that much about the lyrics or what they meant, until this weekend.

Gambling is illegal in the state of Texas, but I live close enough to Louisiana that almost everyone I know goes to one of the casinos there several times a year. I’d only gone once, with one of my mother’s friends about fifteen years ago. The thought of playing the slot machines appealed to me, but the thought of going alone did not. And I never had anyone to go with.

Enter my aunt Teresa. I got to know her a few years ago when she came to live with my mother (I was there too at the time). She had fallen on hard times and had no where else to go. Teresa is a good person…generous, complimentary, thoughtful and kind. That is, until she starts drinking. Then she turns into a selfish, argumentative, impossible person to deal with. Unfortunately she drinks the majority of the time.

I had heard from various relatives how difficult she could be and how wild she lived. Despite our differences (her: impulsive, uninhibited, me: shy, anxious, nervous) we became fast friends. At one point, she got a job cleaning the church down the street and she offered to share the job and the pay with me. It was the first time I had worked in years.

She also suggested fun things to do, like going to the Bingo hall and the comedy club. Even though she had too much to drink at the club and got in trouble for heckling the comedian, it was still my first time going out like that…ever. We went to the beach together and then talked about making a trip to Louisiana to gamble. Unlike my mother, Teresa was interested in gambling, having gone to Vegas before with her friends, and was excited about the prospect of going.

Not long after that, she got picked up for some past DWIs she had been dodging. She’ll be in prison for at least two more years. Part of me was relieved because her drinking had really gotten out of hand, but the other part of me was sad that I no longer had a friend I could do things with.

The summer passed by, and I never forgot about that casino trip we had planned. One day, I impulsively booked myself a room for September 24th. It was a couple of weeks away, time enough for me to get used to the idea. I’m not sure exactly what I was scared of. I just pictured myself walking in there and everyone staring at me as I frantically tried to work the machines. I worried that my anxiety would take over and I’d leave not having had a good time. Still, I didn’t change my plans.

I wasn’t worried about the actual traveling to Louisiana and staying in the motel by myself. I was looking forward to that. But then my developmentally delayed sister got angry that I was going on “vacation” without her. I reluctantly agreed that she and my mother could come along. I felt this was somehow taking away from this challenge – that I wouldn’t be doing it completely on my own.

The day came and I began to feel anxious. I stopped myself when I began worrying too much. It occurred to me that this trip could be fun – if I’d let it. I’d let my anxiety prevent me from so many good times in my life. Why couldn’t I concentrate on the fun part and push the anxiety to the backburner? So I imagined walking into the casino, thinking only about the parts that I was excited about and forgetting the rest. I thought about the flashing lights, the possibility of winning money, the new experiences, all the little things about Louisiana that I love (the swamps, the accents, all the Cajun stuff) and the fun of playing the games.

Before leaving for the casino, my sister and I swam in the motel’s pool while our mother stayed inside the room and read. As I walked toward the pool, I got a sinking feeling inside. There were other people there already swimming. I made some comment out of their earshot about my displeasure and my sister asked why I cared if other people were there or not.

She wouldn’t understand. Erica could talk to anyone. Despite her developmental and behavioral issues, she has plenty of friends, a serious boyfriend and lots of admirers. We got in the pool and unsurprisingly, Erica made fast friends with the two middle-aged women and their year old God baby. I exchanged pleasantries with them, but then gave them a wide girth, keeping on the opposite side of the pool that they were on.

After a while, one of the women swam over to me and asked what my sister and I “did.” I explained that I worked and my sister went to school. This somehow morphed into a conversation about my sister’s behavioral problems, which I won’t go into in depth on this blog. Suffice it to say, Erica had had a meltdown before we left for Louisiana that day over her phone not working. She cussed at us and hit my mother. I explained these things to the woman, who, as it turned out, has a mentally challenged daughter. We exchanged stories and commiserated a little. I left the pool feeling proud of myself and invigorated for the larger challenge that lay ahead.

By the time I arrived at the casino, it was dark. A tour bus of older people let out just as I arrived at the main doors. I walked into the fanciest hotel I’ve ever been in. There was a huge fireplace in the waiting area out front and numerous restaurants, most with French names, lining the halls. I felt like one of the Beverly Hillbillies. The casino room, the main attraction, was right as you walk in. People streamed past a man standing behind a podium into the large room, some stopping to show an ID.

The room was much larger than I had imagined. I guess I had envisioned a sort of adult Chuck E. Cheese. The room was lined with banks of slot machines with the card games set up in the back. The best part was that no one was paying attention to anyone else, least of all me. Music was blaring and everyone seemed to be hunched over a machine. I was free to make all the mistakes I needed to.

Nerd confession here: I had actually watched some You Tube tutorial videos in preparation for playing the slots. None of them compared me for actually playing one. I was confused about several things and didn’t learn until I had wasted two twenties. I finally found a penny machine at the end, which, with the small amount of money I brought with me, I should have stuck with the whole time. I ended up losing over a hundred dollars.

But I don’t feel like I lost. I feel like I won something intangible that can’t be taken away from me. The small victory is that I now have a new weekend hobby to enjoy. The bigger triumph is that I completed yet another “challenge”…this one of my own making, and I lived to tell about it. And I had fun! Something I haven’t had very much of in my life.

This challenge will lead to bigger, scarier challenges. My co-blog writer and I plan to have a video chat soon. It’s really hard for me to talk to someone face-to-face, but I’m going to do it. This will prepare me to meet with two of my internet support group members so that we can plan a larger group meeting for everyone.

I think I know what those song lyrics are about now. Life is all about risks. You can’t be so focused on where you came from or where you’re going that you miss out on what’s right in front of you. Unless I fall into another major depression (which is entirely possible), the rest of my life will be about playing the hand I was dealt to the best of my ability.