Managing Your Mind
Well, this is probably one of the hardest topics I’ve had to write about. I struggled all day with whether or not I should even discuss this because as I’ve mentioned before I’m not exactly comfortable with being vulnerable. However, I’m hoping that the more open I am with my struggle with mental health, the easier it will be to manage.
For starters, everyday is a struggle with mental health issues. It doesn’t come in waves, it’s not a switch, it’s a cloud that lingers over me everyday. Some days I am able to distract myself from my thoughts, but they never go away contrary to what people think.
When I was working, sure I would have my low days, but it was fairly easy to keep my head up because I was around friends and grateful that I had some sort of purpose or agenda each day. Working is what motivates me. I got my first official job when I was 15, and before that I would ask my dad what I could do around his office to make money. I worked while going to school, and when I finished school I immediately started working a week after my last day of classes. I was eager to continue my path in my field when I was hired for my new job. Up until that fateful day in March that I was told the new company I was working for was forced into a hiring freeze until possibly August (yep, it’s still on hold…) I immediately broke down not only because I would now be jobless, but because I knew how terrifying it would be for me to be alone with my own thoughts in my apartment for that long.
I had already put my two weeks in at the previous job, and was in the final three days of my position. After receiving the news, I asked if I would be able to at least stay on and take less money, because I was going to be unemployed for the unforeseeable future. My boss kept being vague with her responses, and when continued to ask, she said they wouldn’t be able to keep me on because they are “already looking for someone else who knows how to use photoshop and graphics.” Really? In the midst of a FUCKING pandemic I’m SURE you’re interviewing people in between figuring how to keep the business afloat. Please miss me with that. Also – I DO know how to do these things, I was just never asked to do them (even after I would ask how I could help).
I cried for about 3 days straight, because honestly I had no idea what the hell to do. I have never been jobless or not had some sort of agenda, so what was I supposed to do now? I had three days left in the previous job, but I woke up and said fuck it and emailed the HR team to let them know that it would be my last day. I didn’t answer anyone’s messages, because I know the only reason they reached out was to get a response for my boss… NOT because they genuinely cared for my well being. I didn’t really feel the need to answer my bosses demeaning texts after they (who neglected to properly train me), told me about six months into my time there that I wasn’t doing “enough” but they had been afraid to correct my behavior. How the? What the? I can really go on and on about that, but I’m not going to stray from the point of this post. I’m sure many would think my decision to quit was impulsive, but I’m not really sure what type of reaction they expected from me after telling me I basically wasn’t good enough.
For years, I had been able to distract myself by keeping myself busy 24/7. Even if I was burnt out, it was better than having a low moment. I’d like to add that, yes… I know things could be worse, people are dying and losing businesses and homes. But struggling with depression and anxiety on top of being alone, in an apartment, isolated from the world and the busy life I had lived before is no easy feat.
The days after I was officially deemed ~unemployed~ are still a blur. It was a real “oh sh*t” moment. Sure once the unemployment came through I was making double than my previous salary. But as they say money, doesn’t necessarily bring you happiness. There are times that I think to myself, well maybe if I no longer existed this would all just go away. I mean that’s the easiest solution right? Some days I feel so defeated that I rather lay on my couch for a week and be hungry, than go out and get groceries.
Despite all the madness and sadness, something in me still allows me to be optimistic. Most people would consider being a hopeful person something positive. But I sometimes see it as a crutch. Sometimes even smallest instance of false hope is enough to send me into a downward spiral, because I truly like to see the best in people and situations. Month by month I would hype myself up and think, “OK… only a few more weeks and it’ll be all over, your life will be back to normal soon.” Our dumbass government had us under the impression that this all would be knocked out by March. But then came April… May… June… and so on. Each month concluding with disappointment and crushed dreams.
I see so many people making the best of this time by finding love or moving their relationship to the next level. People are getting engaged, even having babies, and it’s beautiful! Because I’m a hopeful person, I figure hey you know what maybe I should check out those apps again. Only to get played by dudes with superiority complexes. I’ve even had to block so many “ex’s” that felt NOW would be a good time to start talking again. Sure I’m lonely, but those people are ex’s for a damn reason. Truthfully it’s a bit frightening and extremely stressful that people still have time to play mind games at a time like this.
On top of this all, the Black Lives Matter movement suddenly blew up with the death of George Floyd. Part of me is relieved that people finally began to listen and understand what the statement really means, but it’s extremely painful to have to relive so many situations from my past. I could barely sleep thinking that I might wake up tomorrow and see my brother as a hashtag. Of course, this is a thought I constantly have in the back of my mind, but the thoughts were now so loud and inescapable. I LOVE that people are speaking out on how black women are constantly neglected and mistreated, but it hurts to keep replaying situations from my life over and over again. It’s like opening up old wounds. So while I want to keep fighting the good fight, it’s painful to relive these things every single day.
Every day I ask myself what my purpose really is supposed to be. If I did everything right up until this point, what was all that work really for? I’m still not sure what the answer to that is yet. But what I do know is that though these are bizarre times, I’m not the only one struggling. This lockdown is not easy for anyone. Truthfully, it’s long overdue that I sit with my thoughts and reflect on my past, rather than constantly try to suppress them. I’m constantly trying to restructure my negative thoughts to positive ones. I would constantly blame myself for certain things falling apart in my life. But this pandemic truly has taught me that I really have no control over these situations, especially not one of this magnitude. I have come to realize that some of the things and people in my life NEEDED to be removed. I needed a full reset to really re-evaluate my relationships and expectations of myself. I’ve kept a wall up for decades so avoid getting hurt, but since teaching myself to be vulnerable in the appropriate situations, I feel like my relationships have improved drastically. Even with this blog, I always thought to myself “nobody cares what I have to say”, turns out people do! My whole life I’ve felt like I was some sort of alien, because I looked at life through a different lens than a lot of the people around me. But honestly what I’m feeling is scary, but relatively normal for someone who actually wants to do better for themselves. I feel like even though some days are harder than others, once this is over I’ll truly be stronger than I was at the start of this.