Please forgive all errors, as they will and do happen.
I’ve worked at my job for almost 21 years now and I have to say, I had no intention whatsoever of staying that long when I was offered and accepted the position. It was really just a means to an end, which was proving myself to be sane (first and foremost!) and able to hold down a job for a year and get my own place. I was just coming off the Mother of All Manic episodes, the only one that I was ever hospitalized for and I have to say, the one that brought me the closest to suicide. I had served my time in rehab, was on many marvelous medications and staying with my parents until I could “get it together” and with the blessing of my soon to be ex-husband and his soon to be second wife, if I was successful in their minds, I would be able to see my son. Yeah, it was like that.
Fast forward almost 21 years and I am nowhere near the same person I was then and I am educated to the point where I have been able to manage my mental health successfully, for the most part and have avoided the in-hospital treatment. Let me clear that avoiding in-hospital treatment is not the ultimate goal; that would be to seek stability, sanity and sanctuary in my mind and soul. This could not be possible with pills or therapy alone; there are many issues to be addressed when dealing with mental health issues. Frequently, as was in my case, there is a secondary diagnosis (dual diagnosis) of addiction or alcoholism. This is the first issue that is addressed because to be able to properly treat the individual, the mood must be without outside influences or self-medication. For example, an individual on methamphetamines will present as having a manic episode. Once the drugs/alcohol are out of the picture, then a correct diagnosis will be more likely to happen. Needless to say, I was most definitely in the “dual diagnosis” category.
My mother was one of those people who would search the newspaper classified ads to see if there were job opportunities for any of her seven children and in my case, she hit the jackpot. There was an opening in a nearby city that I had never been to and while I had mad skills thanks to my dad and his business ventures, I was pretty intimidated, but my love for my son and my wish to prove to myself and everyone that I was not broken, I was not to be tossed aside as hopeless and I would be successful. I would get this job, I would keep this job and I would be able to see my son. One year isn’t that long and for my kid, I’d do just about anything.
So here I am, 21 years later, looking at retirement. I was successful in getting that job and I would move onto work for many other departments within the organization in many different positions. I have made some amazing friends, encountered my nemesis in many different people and found salvation in others. I have learned more about myself in those 21 years than I can put to paper, but the most important lesson is this:
I am strong, I am relevant, I have much to offer and I will work as hard and as smart as I can to meet the deadline or reach the goal. I may crack, but I will never break. I will fall but I will also get back up and keep going. I will seek out grace, for without it life isn’t worth living. I will learn from what I think are my failures and eventually realize they were just lessons I needed to learn. Once I learned the lesson, I was able to succeed and move on to the next one. There will be tears, oceans and rivers and lakes of tears; they do not mean I’m weak. They are tears of determination, frustration and mostly a safety valve to let the extreme emotion out without doing harm to myself or others. They are the rain that washes away those unpleasant emotions and allows positivity and faith to enter. I am not perfect, I don’t have all the answers, but I will never stop learning. I will continue to seek and search for my way to be happy. I want to be successful according to my definition and will never stop learning.
I have many people to thank and acknowledge their part in the past 21 years, so that’ll be another post, but I’m pretty sure you know who you are!!