It’s been a while. Sure, I have written little snippets here and there on Instagram and such but no blogs. I have just been so tired.
I took some time, finally, to heal; to heal fully. I found myself breaking again; isolating; growing more and more tired; avoiding making any kind of decisions; so depressed; and the seizures came. I was a physically ill mess and that made the depression worse. It was the happiest time of my life and I was numb. I went to a doctor and she said I had to get treatment for the seizures, migraines AND depression and I had to take time off of work to make the physical and therapeutic care worthwhile. I applied for disability and FMLA and did it. Thank God my new husband was encouraging or I never would have gone forward with that and probably would have never gotten better.
Now, several months later and I am better than I have been in years. I still need to be very aware of how I feel. I am told I could slip back into “too much” fairly easily. I was told to keep in my back pocket the possibility that I may not be able to continue in my line of work. I can give them that since event planning and hospitality is one of the “most stressful careers in the country” according to the latest polls (learned via an article passed around the office). We all just giggled as we read and went back to work, silently sighing to ourselves as we went back to our mounds of work, challenging clients and 60 hour work weeks; although I have not worked more than 45 hours a week since my return. You don’t do this job for the money. You do it because you are a little (or a lot) OCD and you really do enjoy the pressure, challenge and fast-pace of the job. Also the end satisfaction of making the impossible, possible and a job well done.
When I did finally return my coworkers were very warm and welcoming and haven’t shown the least bit of resentment or frustration at having to absorb my workload in my extended absence and that was my greatest fear and guilt while I was gone. I was so anxious that I would not be accepted when I came back because they wouldn’t, or couldn’t understand my illness and why it was so important that I took so much time to get well. It was difficult enough for me to understand. I started to try to make them understand before I left. I kind of was reaching out, maybe for help, before I left but things move so fast around here we are all almost ‘every man for one-self’ that no one really latched on. But that was really unfair of me. That isn’t how the workplace works. At least not yet. Maybe someday it will be possible to have the ability to let it be known you are breaking and need a compassionate, stable person to listen to you and get you somewhere safe before you leave, wondering into the black on your own. I mean, no one would allow a wounded, bleeding person to go and drive themselves anywhere right?! For adults…the stable place may only be work and the black may be home or the road on the way. Luckily, I have people at home that love me, but not everyone is so lucky. I will tackle this on my future advocacy task list. For now, there are other pressing issues I want to pursue.
I am okay now. That is the good news. Actually, ‘okay’ is great! Very tired still but I will take tired over numb and hopeless and seizing all of the time. I have been lucky enough to have been published many times in National publications and online (CNN.com, Women’s Running, the book; ‘My Bright Shining Star’, Women’s Running.com) as well as appear on Glenn Beck’s television show (The Blaze) on August 13th as a guest expert regarding suicide. All of that is great but what I would love even more is to be able to be able to get more to my local community here in Texas. It’s no secret we had three suicides last school year. Three students; children attending the high school where my daughter attends (luckily none so far this year that I am aware of…but I have NOT been researching and that is on purpose). Also, I know of two parent suicides and parent murder/suicide in a prominent neighborhood. When I was able to meet with Administration hoping to get them to allow me to bring in free, professional help for the kids on the subject (The Non-Profit: To Write Love On Her Arms, A movie about them is coming out in 2016 btw) I was told this is a subject best handled in the home. Obviously not. Most parents (and many teachers) do not know how to handle this subject any better than the kids do. Like the alcohol and drug programs they bring in; depression and suicide also HAS to be addressed by the professionals. A few of the faculty need to be specially trained and a program needs to be brought in. We cannot lose any more children (or parents) to this awful disease. We have to give them resources at least! It will not go away. And so, National attention is flattering, but not going to get me anywhere at home, which is what is truly important for me and this little town of Montgomery. It may help them see I know what I am writing, speaking, and teaching about. I HAVE been there (depressed and suicidal) and as such I got help and learned about depression, mental illness and suicide prevention. I learned I am NOT crazy; I know I never lost touch with reality and have NOTHING to be ashamed of; but also learned how to never be in that place again and how to ask for help if I find myself slipping. I taught my children what I want to teach (or have someone teach) the community’s children/ young adults. We have to talk about it; read about it (local paper…who is afraid of writing about it); hear about it; post about it (crisis number posters….protected behind locked poster doors). And employ trained psychiatric counselors in our district. WE NEED THEM!!! Make room in the budget. I know it can be done. I have seen the budget and have seen where some of the budget overage goes at the end of the year…don’t make me blog about that! It is very important that everyone know – *If spoken/ written about correctly (aka. in a non-sensationalistic way) it is BEST to communicate often about this subject and to NOT hide this from our children or our community. This is not something to avoid or treat as taboo. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is not good, obviously. But neither is alcohol and drug abuse, and yet we talk about that. It IS okay to offer help; A crisis hotline; a program; a professional trained in this field (not just a former teacher with a Master’s degree and a sign up sheet). Empathy is good, but not enough.*
I had stepped back from my advocacy for a while to heal myself but it is hard to stay away. I am still drawn to help but get very tired when I think about everything that needs to be done. It just takes doing the right thing; so our kids and the future, can be healthy.