NEW STEP INTO INDEPENDENCE
I was scared at first. I hadn’t cooked a meal or gone to the grocery store for my own meals in almost two years. Would I panic in the grocery store?
Slowly but surely I made my way. I had stopped the tutoring though.
A new pressure came up from my stepmom. She thought that since I was able to move out of my sister’s place that I could now work full-time. She put hard pressure on me to get a job within a month. She was holding the purse strings and was flexing her muscles.
I plunged into depression. I couldn’t find a job NOW. I had just started a new part of my life and trying to cope, and NOW THIS?
I was so hopeless and felt like such a failure that I felt like a burden on the family. I was living with this disorder that had a hold on me, and I felt out of control of my life. I was SO LOW that I started to plan taking my life. I then wouldn’t be a burden anymore. I called my therapist and talked to her. She talked me down. Not long after that, I had started on new meds. They were causing bad side effects. I ended up in the Emergency room with my dad. He had gotten me there. They assessed me as needing mental health help because of my threats of suicide, and immediately put me in the hospital for a week. They also were assessing my meds to get me back on track.
It was during Thanksgiving of 2010 that I ended up in the hospital. I was nervous but hoping for better help. The time I spent there was much needed. I got individual help with new meds and some counseling. I loved being around others with mental illness; we could relate. I didn’t feel so stigmatized with my disorder there. I made friends. I realized then that it would be great to live in a home with others like me. I hoped it would happen.
I think my family FINALLY realized I had mental illness. They saw the seriousness of it all finally. I was so glad to get their support. It was a changing time for my family. And it was so good for me. I got a new psychiatrist too. A much better one once I left the hospital.
NEXT STEPS into 2011
I started the year feeling hopeful, still renting and living in a small bedroom in someone’s home. I didn’t like my roommate, so I stayed in my bedroom most of the time. I found a job working as an afterschool tutor for elementary school kids not too far away. It was about 2 hours a day. That felt like a good next step for me – not too many hours and working with kids. Before each work day, I would park in a nearby park and get myself to relax, so that I didn’t have a panic attack or anxiety attack. I had actually started to have more anxiety attacks than panic attacks. They are different experiences.
I was really happy that I could get myself to work more during the week, and it was a low key type of job. The kids were a handful, but I got so much love from them. I really enjoyed the job. Again, this was a baby step for me into having some income coming in and being able to cope on the job.