One of the clients that lives in the CILA house I am the main DSP for asked me what ‘the future‘ meant. That was the best answer I could come up with. Working with a special needs community (ranging drastically in functioning levels) makes you have to answer a lot of questions you don’t normally think you’d be asked. At least by adults. Some of them more than twice your age. That you cook dinner for. And help learn the difference between pushing and pulling. And teach manners in a grocery store.
I was freshly thirteen when I had the first manic episode I can remember. It lasted MONTHS, and ended with a bang. I had hit the major depressive whiplash from the damage done and thought that my life was over. This was nearly a decade before I’d be diagnosed with Bipolar and several years before anyone would assess me for depression. Either way, therapy wasn’t in the cards at the time, but my dad did hand me a book as a ‘gift’. It was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. The book became my bible. I read it again years later as a 20 something when I was having a really rough time, and it still held its head tall with values for people of all ages.
I remembered this book on my ride home from work when I thought about my future. Big changes are ahead regardless if I welcome them or not, that’s just the way life works. The prospect of some of these had been popping my heart strings tonight and firing my anxiety off like rockets. I thought to myself, “Barbie, if you can cross your arms the opposite way for 30 days, you’ll have retrained your brain. You would make crossing those arms a learned habit, and if you can create a habit like that in 30 days, you can deal with other big changes in 30 days, and looking at it like that makes life changing events seem like much less of a living nightmare.” I felt less like crying after a little clear thinking, but I still felt like crying, nonetheless. I started tapping into memories from different ages and circumstances. My life adventure has been turbulent.
The holiday season every year since I got “the news” about Santa has been an emotional time for me. I think about the mortality of my family, and hold traditions and immediate family bonds more sensitively than I do the rest of the year. I’m also Bipolar, so, duh, I’m extra emotional to begin with. I start to doubt that my boyfriend who I’ve been through the ringer with (who I met 11 years ago this month) and who I’m getting closer to spending the rest of my life with would be able to fully accept the fragile little holiday Barbie that I am inside the grown up shell. I hold up my sword and shield every time I walk out the door, but have only ever let down ALL of my defences in front of my mom, dad, and sister and let myself be 100% vulnerable. One. Hundred. Percent. This is because I know I’m accepted regardless and supported, and of course they’ve known that squishy Barbie for 28 years, in addition, to the Paladin Barbie that I am when facing the world. In fact, I’m sure my family knows that side of me LESS.
I’m embarrassed to show them the paladin the way I’m embarrassed to show ANYONE else the little girl. I’m really horrified to put that part of me on the table for my partner in full, and I wouldn’t even know how. He knows me, he’s my runner up to my immediate family and knows me better in a lot of ways, but I still face fear of rejection in this one aspect of my life. Again, that little girl “me” that only my family has experienced has never even tried going out in the sun before, and I fear how badly and quickly that could start a fire, charring everything around it.
Originally, this post was meant to tell stories from work and about how I miss an online gaming community aspect and how great I’m doing at always keeping myself busy with things I enjoy which makes me feel fulfilled and accomplished. About how I’m the best caretaker I know, how I’m glad to have the opportunity to care for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and how I’m damn good at it. The perfect fit for the job actually. This post was going to be about how the only aspect of my job I detest and makes me want to call in on a daily basis from anxiety, depression and anger is every other staff I have to work with or under. Their actions and their attitudes. About how come December I’ll have that coveted 1 year of experience in my field, and once I get the degree paper in hand, I can wave around that experience and let the fish bite, moving my career forward. Then this post was going to tell of how my adviser screwed me over unintentionally, and I can’t run the experiment for my independent study until next semester, which pushes back my graduation date another several months, which leaves me feeling trapped at my job, and makes my days a little colder.
I may have squeezed a post into a paragraph, but I feel less constricted that I’ve let ALL those feelings fly. I hope never to stop writing, and I hope people will always be around to read what I have to write. That being said, I’m going to try to catch some Z’s.