The moment I grew in strength was the day I admitted to someone other than myself that I was insecure and weak. Then, and now, the word “weak” makes me cringe. I don’t care to think of myself as weak or insecure. Weakness and insecurity never go well with my outfit – not any of them – yet those words clung to me like they were tailor-made. Depression soon became the accessory that I couldn’t live without; couldn’t live with it either…
Now, here I am admitting yet another embarrassing truth: I sold myself short. I settled. After years of failed effort and much courage I revealed my secrets and immediately felt I could never do it again. I could be considered a “one-hitter-quitter.” I laid out my dirty laundry, uncharacteristically allowed myself to be vulnerable, and while I didn’t get the reaction (me left in a cloud of dust while vaguely recognizing the car break lights in the distance) I was expecting from the person on the receiving end of my Big Reveal, I knew that I was never likely to allow myself to be so open again for fear of being judged, and ultimately, rejected. Although I had overcome, or to be more precise, was making great strides in overcoming the depression, insecurity, and weakness, I didn’t think I would be strong enough to stand unpolished and emotionally naked in front of another. So I settled. That is where the buck stopped for me. Dreams deferred. Growth stifled.
I didn’t want to admit that I settled. “Settled” is not a very sexy word. Not all that desirable of an action either. But, I admit, I settled.
Today, I am choosing to do something that scares me. Assessing the poor and impulsive decisions I have made in my life and taking complete ownership of how I reached this point in my life is scary, but not as scary as choosing to accept that I can never turn back the hands of time and correct the many, many mistakes that I have made, but instead must move forward to happiness in the aftermath of all that has led me to this moment. There is no room for regrets. We all know that regret is only a short fall from the corner of Pissed Off and Bitter. That block doesn’t really work for my outfits either.
Being an adult is hard work. It looked so deceitfully glamorous as a child. But of course that’s because children are far less scared than adults. I’m not afraid of the dark, or the monster in the closet, but I am certainly afraid to reconcile the past with the present and cannot bear to fathom an uncertain future. Today, I am deciding to forgive myself for past mistakes and grant myself permission to sometimes be vulnerable without fear or regard of judgment.
Join me in confronting the fear that might be holding you back. Be encouraged.
“Raise your left hand if you feel a sharp, uncomfortable pain.”
Involuntarily my left arm stiffens. My hand eager to shoot up, because thanks to Dr. Brainwash here, my mind tells me that, already, I feel a “sharp, uncomfortable pain.”
“I’m going to break a piece of the crown and then pull it off with my pliers.”
Say what now? I wonder if I’d be overreacting if I accidentally, on purpose elbow Dr. Brainwash in her abdomen, flip over the tray holding all her weapons medical instruments, and take off Jackie Joyner style towards the EXIT leaving in my wake the mouth prop and makeshift bib whose purpose is to keep my sweater free of the blood that is sure to follow the tooth-yanking-plier-episode that Dr. Brainwash so casually describes.
Buzz. Thoughts of planning my departure interrupted by the sound of the dental drill chipping away at my tooth. The sound is both sharp and uncomfortable.
Now? Should I raise my left hand now?
“You’re going to feel a little pinch or two?”
Which is it? A pinch? Or two? No time for indecisiveness here Doc. If it’s one pinch I may only need to elbow you once. If it’s “two” that may call for an elbow and maybe a mush to the face. What to do, what to do?
“Are you numb yet?”
Umm, I’m not sure. If I say no I’m in for another pinch…or two. If I say yes, and I’m not completely sure, I may learn the hard way.
Wide eyes darting from left to right, reluctantly I mumble, “I think so.”
“Ok. We’re going to separate the tooth from the gum so that it will be easier on your next visit to place the permanent crown.”
Separate? My mother paid good money for several grape flavored retainers years ago to prevent this very thing. What type of killer dentist is she? I gauge the EXIT to be just ten to twelve long paces away. I have lost weight over the past year so my elbow should be sharp and pointy. Yeah, she isn’t the only one who uses “sharp” as a method of intimidation and pain. Ha! I’ve got her number.
Two hours later. (Seriously, Dr. Brainwash tortured me for over two hours.)
The ice queen receptionist (aren’t the front desk personnel supposed to be nice and bubbly?) tells me that my insurance coverage absorbs 90% of the procedure cost. Yay! Finally I get to put my left hand to better use reaching for my debit card.
“Your portion is $426.78.” Is that a smile I see on the face of the Ice Queen? Well, isn’t this about a blimp?
In that case let me write a bogus check. Nah. I don’t think that would be the best move.
Torture used to be free. What happened to the good ol’ days?
They, whoever they is, says “beauty is pain,” but this is overkill. Visit two aborted.
I have been a self-proclaimed night owl for at least a decade. After consistently getting a maximum of 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, except during the majority of my 10 months plus pregnancy (An example of my tendency to procrastinate!), I am forced to re-evaluate my “night owl” declaration and call it what it is: procrastination; or worse, lunacy.
Purposely I ward off sleep for fear that the next day will come too soon. Never one for routine, I strictly oppose mundane schedules that would require me to get out of bed the first, or second, time the alarm sounds, get dressed, head to work on the same road, missing the same green light by 4.3 seconds, to only arrive at work to say “good morning” to the same few people who happen to arrive at work at the same time as me because they too have been seized by the arrow shooting monster who transforms adults into robots.
When I am not at work, or being Mommy, or being Susie Homemaker (the term I use to describe myself when I wearing my domestic hat), I want to use my time how I choose to use my time. If that means staying up all night to online shop just to return the merchandise upon delivery because the green boots aren’t actually green but kiwi, watch god-awful television, write out “to-do list” for the next couple of days, or share with the world – by world I mean the 3 people who actually read my blog…lmbo! – my idiosyncrasies then so be it!
Procrastination may be keeping me from achieving the desired REM cycle, but I’ll sleep when I die. In the meantime, I’ll continue to fight my sleep in lieu of the good stuff, staying awake complaining about how tired I am but enjoying my “me” time that I only seem to get in the wee hours of the night. I know that I’m not missing out on much by staying awake being pretty much unproductive, but my psyche tells me that my days are longer when I’m awake to not perform the many responsibilities that my life roles demand.
Sleep is good. Sleep is necessary. How else could we have such wonderful dreams without sleep? But who needs dreams when staying awake and fantasizing is an option?
P.S. In case 1 of the 3 of you readers are concerned about my lack of sleep please take comfort in that I catch up on my Z’s
at work on the weekend. On occasion I exercise good sense and responsibility and actually tuck myself in at a decent hour. I will go to be bed at 10 P.M. tomorrow…says the procrastination queen.
Mental and behavioral health is one of, if not the most, neglected area of health care in the entire world.
There are a number of Americans of various socio-economic backgrounds who are struggling with mental illness and the overwhelming disparities and stigma greatly impact the level of care and how that care is executed to those diagnosed with a mental illness.
Understanding the gravity of mental and behavioral illness and acknowledging that safely managing mental illness is equally as important as a physical medical condition is critical to rehabilitating America’s crippled mental health system. Obtaining proper care once a person has been diagnosed with a mental health condition is ever elusive. Namely due to limited access to mental health services for reasons that include, but are by no means limited to:
- Location – Psychiatric services in some communities, especially rural areas, are far and in between. For those mental health patients who are actually followed in the community by a medical practitioner, these practitioners are usually primary-care doctors who do not specialize in psychiatric illnesses and have restrictive authority on the use of prescribing psychotropic drugs (medications used to treat/manage mental illnesses).
- Uninsured and Underinsured – Persons who suffer from severe mental illness have great difficulty maintaining employment, thus without insurance coverage and funds to pay for an insurance policy. Not to mention the working poor who do maintain employment yet still cannot afford adequate insurance coverage, but are not eligible for state funded insurance coverage.
- Insurance Companies Reign Supreme – Those who do have adequate insurance coverage can still be faced with limited access to appropriate therapies just as those who suffer from physical medical conditions. Many insurance policies do not cover the cost of mental health therapies, specifically for inpatient therapies, leaving the policy-holder responsible for expensive out-of-pocket fees. The caveat, if you view the cup as half full, is that patients tend to have coverage for psychotropic drugs as a means of treating and managing symptoms, but for some drugs only combat half the problem. Also, health care reform – The Affordable Care Act – proposed by the Obama administration in 2010 have begun to address this issue by “ensuring” that insurance companies offer comprehensive medical care to persons with mental health diagnosis equal to the of patients with physical medication conditions.
There is so much than can be said in the area of mental health. I won’t bore you to tears dear Reader with my rant inspired by an already rough work week, but I cannot mention mental and behavioral illness without speaking of its twin.
Because of the barriers to access many persons, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, self medicate via illicit drug use. We all know the havoc that drugs wreck on an individual, family unit, and community. This alone is reason enough to continue to review and revamp the way in which care is provided.
Lastly, the stigma associated with mental health diagnosis can be so very painful. We’ve all seen and probably have participated in the stereotypes and misrepresentation of mental illness. I personally have worked with persons who were diagnosed with a medical condition and were fortunate enough to have a supportive group of relatives and friends rally to provide encouragement and support to help uplift the patient despite the sometimes terminal diagnosis. Conversely, I’ve also witnessed a person be diagnosed with a mental illness only to be shunned by family and friends when a bit of support could have greatly improved his quality of life. Of course there are sets of circumstances that lead to the effect, but not in all cases. It’s simply our on ignorance and fear that often leads to the effect.
Mental and behavioral illness has long been one of the most neglected areas of health. It gives us no dignity to avoid the sick especially when the failure to acknowledge and treat precede larger, devastating issues like crime, poverty, homelessness, addiction, and fractured communities.
Dang that was deep. Lol. Thank you Reader for listening. Personally, it’s been a rough week to be in the health care profession, but nothing a few strokes of the keyboard and several glasses of Asti can’t soothe. Next up: Hump Day!
For my information on mental and behavioral health, health care reform, and where to find help for mental illnesses, click here.