Invisible Illness
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Invisible Illness

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9/18/17

I don’t think anyone will believe me. The inside of my head looks like this. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t get my life going. It’s been falling apart since 1963. I don’t know how I made it this far. The mess keeps getting worse. I don’t know what to do now.

I tried to clean up a bit around here. Soon I got stuck — couldn’t figure out how to organize anything. This is how my father got to be at the end of his life. Maybe I have the same dementia starting. Jeez, I’m tired. I just want to lie down.

No one can help me. Therapy can’t help me. That is so discouraging. I had hopes. My life is going to just slip away like this. Messy, messy, messy. And poor, and alone.

When I was more spiritual, I didn’t think I would mind being alone, or poor, or dying. But my hopes were raised by therapy. I thought some magic would happen. Now I see it’s still 100% up to me. And I don’t have what it takes.

10/25/17

Just got back from therapy. Things have changed a bit in the 5 weeks since I wrote that, although still I sometimes feel like the inside of my head looks like a disaster zone. But more often it looks like a construction zone, rehab for humanity. That’s how a person changes, not suddenly, at least not usually, but one rotten board at a time is replaced, one fallen rafter after another is lifted back up and nailed into place, and after a while there’s a roof at least, a bit of shelter.

LL Bean offered me a job a few weeks ago — maybe you heard. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it through the background check (that’s another story, maybe later), but there were no felonies, so they must have been willing to overlook what they found, take a chance on an old rebel. Gotta appreciate that — I’ve had some rejections.

Nevertheless, yesterday I started a letter to tell them I wasn’t going to accept the job. It was a day of rebellion. I mentally reviewed all the things I did not like about the orientation meeting I went to. Corporate codswallop, authentic gobbledegook, what just you’d expect from an orientation, but I had hopes for something better. Afterwards I managed to dig up some dirt about the company.

Something stopped me from sending that resignation letter yesterday, prevented me from quitting before I start. A few family members encouraged me to just try it. “Give it two weeks,” one person said. I have DECIDED that I will do that. Deciding does not mean much for me, historically. I have as many parts of me that are undeciders as I have deciders, maybe more. I’m saying this publicly, because I’ve noticed that when I do that, I’m more likely to follow through on something. So thanks for reading. Feel free to tell me I’m making the right decision, and that I can do this, and that I’ll be glad I did ;-)

It’s hard to admit how low down I really am, how much help I really need. I think I should have a better job than this. But the truth is I’m not even sure I can do this one. It’s not that I’m not smart enough, or talented enough. It’s that my inner house is a mess. People can’t see it. They see my strengths. They see my intelligence. I try to keep my despair well hidden. But I’m not sure I will be able to show up for this job.

There’s a pill to swallow if you want help. Keeping stuff hidden does not allow a person to get the help they need. You have to lower yourself to your own least common denominator. Ask for help from THERE. I’ve never really been able to work. I can only think of one job I’ve ever had that I loved. I baked the desserts for a small restaurant in New Hampshire. I did not have trouble showing up for work, or concentrating while I was there. It was only part time. But I loved it. That was almost 40 years ago.

I doubt I will love this job. But maybe I can do it for other reasons. I also doubt I will hate it. I can do it just to do it. I can do it to do SOMETHING. I can do it to help stabilize my life. I can do it to bring in a little money. I can do it to grow. Maybe I’ll get over my great reluctance to leave the house. Maybe I’ll step into some cool new hiking boots.

I got mad at my therapist today. I told her it will take me ten hours of work to earn enough to pay for one hour of her therapy.

That’s shocking, isn’t it? Why do therapists charge so much? I asked her this question:

Is your work really worth 10x as much as mine?

But maybe it is. No one else has ever been able to help me. A lot of therapists who are full of shit charge even more. But my therapist actually helps people. I’m so happy with what’s happening, slowly but unmistakably, since I started seeing her a year ago. One of my best friends said that if he knew he would be able to get and keep a job after a year of therapy, he’d think the $6000 was a very good investment.

How much is hope worth?

I’ll say what I feel about that right this minute: hope is worth whatever it costs.

Gratitude can’t be forced, but when you feel it, it feels really good.

Thanks again for reading this.

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We don't talk enough about mental health.

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