Day 33: take these broken wings and learn to fly

Well, I did it. I officially resigned from my position.

It feels like I got punched in the chest.

Over the past two years, I have worked tirelessly to assist adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities improve their life situations. Seeing them smile, do something new, grow as individuals is immensely satisfying… but it was killing me. Literally.

I am going to miss everyone. Very dearly.

I’m not going to miss the stress or the pressure though. There is a tremendous amount of stress that comes with knowing: If I don’t go to work today, someone could go to the hospital or We could get fined $25,000 or the State could be visiting. That’s a lot of pressure, especially since I take a lot of pride and integrity in my work.

Being in the business of people is not something to be taken lightly.

With retail, at the end of the day: it’s just clothes.

With food service, at the end of the day: it’s just edibles.

With social service, at the end of the day: it’s someone’s life.

I treated every single consumer in the organization like I would my own children. I am a fierce advocate for my children. Multiply that times about 130… every single day. It’s bound to wear on you.

And it did. I finally broke. March 1st. The Meltdown.

I have always been fairly open about my lifelong struggle with Depression. I can remember being 12/13, laying in my room with the lights off, and crying. A few years ago, I had another very low moment and I needed help. The outpour of love and support from others was amazing and unexpected. About a year or so ago, I made a shelf for myself: my happy thoughts shelf. It’s directly across from my bathroom and houses my daily needs… you know, the important stuff like deodorant and contact solution and, now, medications.

Every day these items are right in my face.

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It’s hard not to smile when I see these things. I have a giant ass Lego man that one of my wonderful friends made for me for Christmas last year. I started to cry when I opened the package. The little Lego figures and heads were put together by Girl Child. My fiancé calls me Sugar and gave me the packet as a silly inside joke. The package of playing cards has the cards he proposed to me with in it. The bracelets were from a fun adventure we had at a music festival where I had a serious party foul the first day. My favorite things, though are the origami flowers with accompanying letter and that torn off piece of paper that says, “I’m also glad you exist.

The origami flowers and letter came from a very dear friend of mine in college after my first major public breakdown a few years back. I had received them as a surprise package in the mail. The contents of the letter are genuine and heartfelt and let me know that I am not alone in my struggles. The beautiful flowers will never die.

Why would I keep a ratty torn off piece of paper that says, “I’m also glad you exist”? What the hell, Melinda?

As I’ve said, I’ve always been open about my struggles and support suicide prevention and awareness. A few years back Sevenly ran a campaign for suicide awareness and I bought a tank top that says, “Hello, I’m glad you exist.” It came with this neat little postcard:

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Which, as you can see, is propped up in my bathroom window. Every time either I or anyone else uses our bathroom, they see this message.

I have a combined birthday party every year with one of my best friends. After my birthday party last year, I came to find that little piece of paper tucked behind the corner of the postcard on my mirror. To this day, I still have no idea who put it there. But I am forever grateful they did.

It serves as a constant reminder that the good you put out in to the world will come back to you.

Most days, I feel somewhat functional… Hard to get motivated, feeling like an outsider, unsure of my life’s pathway, but always knowing that I am loved and have a purpose (even if I don’t exactly know it yet)…

Then I have moments like this morning with Boy Child. I introduced him to MST3K today. He laughed and laughed and laughed and added some of his own rifftraks.

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Afterwards, I dropped him off with his Daddy for the day… as he walked up to the doorway, I couldn’t help but smile. Boy Child will be 11 soon. 11! I thought back to when he was 2 and would tantrum for hours on end. I couldn’t understand him. He didn’t speak till he was almost 5 years old. I thought about how unsure I was about his future – was he ever going to talk? Is he ever going to get potty trained? Will he ever have any friends?

After years and years and years of hard work and team effort, here’s this jovial, funny little boy that has friends. He has friends! I can say that now! My kid has friends. I’m so proud of him and how far he has come. There’s still room for improvement, don’t get me wrong, but, man. What a good kid.

I am blessed.

Anywho, I think I’ve written enough for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Be sure to continue your story.

I am glad you exist.

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