Today is World Mental Health Day. If you had told me a few years ago that I would be moved out from my parents house, going to a 4 year university and hadn’t been in the hospital for almost 2 years I would have thought you had to be kidding me. I am amazed at the progress I have made in the last two years. With four official diagnoses, 8 prescription medications, and a few appointments a month I’ve managed to stay stable for the first time in 10 years. My counseling appointments are decreasing from every week to every two weeks or sometimes three. I have few self harming urges and while the suicidal thoughts still come and go; I don’t have the urge to act on them like I use to and tend not to ruminate. I used to think that I would be trapped in my lower state of functioning for the rest of my life, I hung on mostly for other people and out of guilt. Now (most times) I actually look forward to the future. I anticipate flare ups and relapses, I know I have acute chronic illnesses. But I am enjoying the moment and success I have right now.
A few days ago me and my dad got into it. It was just like every other time. It was over something petty, it involved him calling me names, screaming at me and cussing at me. But there were a few things different this time. I didn’t cry hysterically immediately in front of him, I didn’t automatically apologize for all of my behavior to placate him. And when he said he was sorry, I said if he was sorry, maybe he should try to work on trying not to do this anymore. When he said it was because he loved me and he cared about me, I flipped internally- hello the definition of abuse. I said there you go again the “old dog” and “just the way you are” and then I ran off to my room and started crying. This type of behavior has been going on since I was a child, minus me sticking up for myself somewhat. And it just really clicked what it was, what it is. And I don’t understand how he can justify it as “love” and “care.” After I stood up for myself I was practically shaking in fear, I’m still somewhat afraid but it’s been 3 days so it’s mostly subsided. My case manager thinks I’m afraid I’m going to hit him or lash out in anger towards him. Really I’m afraid of retaliation from him, not that he’ll hit me. I don’t think he’d do that, but more sudle emotional ways or something.
Yesterday was the NAMI Walk here is a picture of my 2016 Team:
Biggest team yet with 23 participants, 4 of which were children and 2 of which were dogs. It rained so it was a good turnout of my 31 people registered. I met my fund raising goal of $1,500. The highest amount I’ve raised in all 4 years too.
My ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) Evaluation is set for May 24th so we’ll see what happens I also have an appointment with the therapist that day and it’s a week after school ended. Me and my case manager have decided to go to meetings once every two weeks because I’m doing good but that might chance with the loss of structure from summer and some realizations I had when talking with some Autistic friends. I’m set to receive to more AAs this semester, Associate Degrees or 2 years degrees one in Foreign Languages and the other in LGBT studies (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). I’m not going to either commencement ceremony but for my LGBT studies one I am going to a more informal Rainbow Graduation and 20 somethings friend is going. I only invited 3 people, my sister and family friend couldn’t go both are traveling.
I signed my commitment thing to go to UC Davis and will be going to their transfer day this Friday and touring student housing and making my decision when I get home I plan on filling out the forms and putting my deposit down for student housing. My financial aid finally went through and I’m relieved I won’t be paying that much for college so if my unpredictable parents do something stupid I’m still okay.
Things are good but I’m exhausted from yesterday.
I have reached the $1,000 mark and have almost raised as much as I did last year, which was $1,065. My goal this year is $1,500 and I have a week left to reach my goal. I was hoping my sister and brother-in-law were going to have their garage sale before the NAMI Walk and they said they’d donate some of the money to my walk but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I’m still happy I raised at least one thousand. I would like to brag last years even if I don’t meet this years goal. My team this year will be much bigger about 30 people compared to 14 last year. So over all I’m doing well. If you’d like to help me reach my goal if greatly appreciate it, every little amount counts.
This is a picture of my team shirt for the NAMI Walk this year. I have the green mental illness awareness ribbon with hope written inside. I’m finally seeing a lot of hope in my life. Over a year and a half without a hospitalization. Transferring to UC Davis in the fall and moving out. Getting accepted to all the other colleges I applied to was validation and definitely help my self esteem. I’m growing up and seeing a future. There is hope.
I believe in God or some higher power.
I was not raised religious. We didn’t even go to church on Christmas or anything. In elementary school I went to Mormon camp once because my sister’s best friend throughout elementary school was Mormon and she went every year.
I first started going to church in high school when I met PK. I didn’t believe in God. I couldn’t fathom an omnipotent benevolent God allowing me to suffer like I had in my life and I was very angry. But if I wanted to spend the night at her house on a Saturday night it meant going to church the next morning. Being a pastors daughter of course her life was over involved with religious activities and I had no other friends so I found my self mor and more at church functions or having religious discussions with her or other church members. I was on the outs with my family, and the church accepted me. It was great. I became a Christian and got super involved. And then…
Her parents found out she and I had a sexual relationship going on. We weren’t allowed to be alone together, unsupervised never mined we were in our 20’s. Her mom began pastoral counseling telling me I had been abused and this is where these “unnatural feelings” we’re coming from. I prayed. I cried. There were a couple exorcisms. I moved out of my parents house and in with the youth pastor and his wife before transferring to a private Christian university. PK stayed at the university we were both attending, graduated and teaches English in China while leading “book clubs” aka bible studies. I’ve tried churches since but nothing has fit not fully accepting my gayness I’m afraid to ask churches their policies. The mental illness comes into it to as some people thought I was possessed.
As for now it’s easier to be an independent believer. But I’d like to flesh out exactly what I believe in and find a community.
Today in counseling we talked mostly about my visit to San Diego State University. I went over the pros and cons I posted on my last blog and talked about how I felt like no one was supporting me in even considering SDSU as a choice. I also was generally talking about family and spring break, so it came up about my sisters. Lil sis’ 30th birthday is Friday and she always jokes that March is her birth month and whenever she wants anythings shes says, “but it’s my birth month.” So I’ve been celebrating her whole birth month with gifts and surprises. Monday I drove up there and surprised her with an edible arrangement at work, I stayed the night and made her gluten free cookies and gave her some matching necklaces I had bought. She is a dental assistant, so Tuesday I went and had a dental exam and my teeth cleaned, we went to lunch and then I drove home. My other sister is pregnant and the family isn’t very supportive, for their various reasons. I’m making her a pre-pregnancy smash book. Right now I’m keeping track of dates and stuff she says. I even downloaded the same app so I can keep track of the size of the baby and how far she is along. My case manager said how I was like a mom to them, or mothering them or something. I made some joke about how someone had to do it and just like when we were kids. (Because of my mom’s drinking and just coldness in general) Then she mentioned how I never had a mom, and how they (my psych team tried to fragmentally try to mother me unsuccessfully) and how I seemed to do it for myself. I think I kinda disagree, but whatever.
Anyways, strange enough I get home and we are having a family dinner. Dad’s actually home and my sister and her husband are over. My sister is talking about a First Five commercial that talks about the importance of talking and reading and singing to your kids for brain development; and how she talks so much so it will be great and her kid will be so smart. She jokes something to my mom, whose standing next to her about how they must have talked to me a lot since I’m a genius, and she laughs and then says yep and then she could read so we didn’t need to talk, sing, or read to you or lil sis. Yet another reminder (evidence) I mothered my two sisters, even from a young age. And everyone accepts this and normal.
When do I get to be mothered?
I wrote in my last over arching post about privilege about how I come from an upper class family, but it wasn’t always that was. Also if you remember or click black on the link you will see that privilege I a continuum, with extremes on each side. I’m not, and have never been at either extreme.
We grew up in a working class family. My mom was a waitress and my dad was a service manager at an automotive repair shop. Our first house was a one bed room, one bath 5 acre lot up in the mountains that my family did an expansion on, with my grandparents.
When I was about 5 my parents bought a gas station with an automotive repair station about an hour away from where we lived. My dad commuted to work for about 2 years before we moved to where I live now.
Business was rough until I was late in elementary school. My parents were workaholics and the business wasn’t thriving like it was now. But we were doing okay, but nothing like the more extravagant life we live now.
As the business did better and better, my dad began traveling more and more for fishing as they were self sufficient. It created a lot of family drama but that’s for another post.
By high school we had grown to three fast stations and auto repairs. My dad was gone much more and my psych issues were peaking. The benefit of being economically well off was I was seeing a private therapist weekly me parents were paying for. I didn’t have to worry about treatment for my psych issues. I wasn’t able to work because my psych issues but my family could support me. And almost every time my dad went out of town/the country he would leave me money to do things with.
I am very lucky in that I can afford treatment for my mental health issues because my current upper class standing. It’s a privilege that I try not to take for granted, especially when reading other people’s blogs and the struggles they have with insurance and paying for or receiving mental health treatment.
And this post is just in regards to economic privilege along with mental health treatment.