Just a Letter

When I was 16 my parents took me to a psychiatrist because they felt there was something wrong with me.  Because I just… did whatever.  I didn’t listen, didn’t follow rules.  I was diagnosed as being bipolar.  I only just read the paperwork from my diagnosis around the beginning of this year.  That’s what helped me to actually get on medicine, because it’s exactly how I have lived my life–combative and without consequences.  I didn’t care about anything.  It was my way and if it wasn’t, it was a problem.  It was an issue.  It’s still an issue.  I’m still combative.  But, I’m working on it.  My mom still reads that thing 20 years later.

I messed up.  I made mistakes and went to prison.  The first time my kids were the ages of 6-12.  I was gone for four years.  The second time they were 14-19.  By the time I got out, some of them had already graduated.  I missed their whole lives, their whole entire lives!  I was a letter.  That’s all they got from me.  When your kid writes you to let you know about her life, but your locked up, and there’s nothing you can do…that’s tough.
How many times can you say I’m sorry?  Sometimes it feels like it’s better to not even say it at all, because I know people get tired of hearing it.

I’ve only had two jobs my entire life that actually meant something to me.  I mean I worked here and there, but never a real job.  Then I get out of prison, and a local drive-through gave me my chance, but my mouth, my attitude–I ruined it.  And now, I’m in the same position again with my current employer.  I can only keep a job for a year before people get sick of who I am, because I can’t let go of that person.  I don’t know if I’m afraid.  Am I afraid of success?  Is that what it is?  I went from making $2000 a month on a paycheck to working 3 hours a night.  From 60+ hours a week to 16 because of my mouth and attitude.

I’m doing better now since taking the medicine.  I have never been able to talk to my dad without fighting.  I’ve never been able to do anything without fighting, but now that I take this medicine that I should have been taking 20 years ago, and now my dad and I laugh, we have conversations.  It’s crazy.  Had I done what I was supposed to do, I wouldn’t have been in prison for 9 years.  I wouldn’t have not raised my kids.  I wouldn’t have been just a letter.

I live with regret, and I try not to because the more I do, the more it’s going to overcome me.  It’s like I know I can’t go back and do anything, but I missed SOOO much.  So much.  I haven’t tried counseling.  I am open to it.  But, I’ve been that person for so long, I don’t know how to be someone else.  I try.  It’s like I can’t fight it some times.  It just builds up.  If I get depressed it just weighs on me.  And, I don’t know how to deal with it.  I mean, I know my life isn’t over.  I’m only 42 and 3/4 years old.  I see all of my kids, and they make sure my grandkids are a part of my life.  But, I have no idea about my future.  I’ve never looked to it I guess.

My advice is don’t miss out on so much.  Get your mental health checked.  Take your meds.  Save yourself from heartache and regret.  Anxiety, mental health, it truly is a real thing.  I haven’t been on medicine barely a year.  It took me a lot to step over that doctor’s threshold and say, “I need help.  I can’t stop myself from getting angry.  I’m tired of being sad and crying.”  You have to catch it early–you have to.  Because what would our lives have been like [long pause for crying] if I had just done what I was supposed to do?  Mine, my parents, my children…  How would ALL of our lives had been different?

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