Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and I paused to reflect on that. On any given day I have a tendency to wonder to myself: how have I made it this far and stayed reasonably psychologically okay?
My day started off horribly. Four almost five years now after my “Life Disruption”, I was reminded once again my life is still not my own. I don’t have a home. I’m at the mercy of other people’s whims in trying to continue on with my own existence. I knew that would be the case when I started the new journey, but occasionally you’d like to live in the sound peace of what is comfortable to you and not others.  Every day I wish something will change; that I’ll have someplace I can throw my hat where I want, and rearrange furniture if it so pleases me, or bring someone home for coffee…or a date. My days have a lot of ‘wishes” now, but I’ve become pragmatic about them.
I work very hard. Dirk says people would be surprised to see how much I work to try to get ahead…or maybe a few steps forward and closer to those wishes. My motto has always been: “Don’t worry – work!” But I won’t lie. I’m normal. I worry everyday just like everyone else.
I’ve stripped my life down to basics. But I’ve been private about it. I don’t want sympathy… I feel sympathy incapacitates me. But I feel I need to be honest and upfront with those of you who feel you’re struggling today as well.
I can’t afford to go to restaurants. I told Tina, my editor and friend, my idea of luxury these days would be to walk into a McDonalds and simply order a large fries. My diet is restricted by budget — intensely. But it made me healthy and fit so I don’t throw public tantrums about what I’ve given up. But don’t think I don’t want to walk into a restaurant and just order everything and eat it until I’m gorged. It’s on my wish list too.
It will surprise you that I don’t have television. I haven’t for over a year. I can’t afford it. So I listen to other people tell me about the shows they’re watching. I watch whatever movies I can find for free on YouTube and, thankfully, the gym has television and I can watch movies there. A one hour movie on FX takes three hours… So now you know how I can do cardio so long. lol  I haven’t been to a movie in five years. I miss that a lot. So…add that to the wish list.
I’d hope to get ahead enough to afford doing  photoshoots again. That’s why I began selling my backlog of photo stock, but so far it covers necessities. There hasn’t been any residual. So I work all night into early morning on that. It’s horribly frustrating. Work sometimes literally keeps me from worrying.
The only control I have in my life is with my workouts. They keep me sane. They temper all my human dilemmas – my anger and hurt and sadness. The one thing that is remarkable in my life is that I now look better than I have in the last twenty years… the screams in the gym are truly primal. Their core is what I refuse to speak.
I will not cry. I told myself that five years ago when I couldn’t stop crying. No matter what – no more tears. When I’m alone..in the silence…dealing with the realities of my life… I feel those tears… they’re like red hot cinders behind my eyes, but I will not succumb to them. But if you feel like crying. Do it. Every one has their own way of coping.
I think what has helped me is what a friend of mine (who was a therapist) said to me long ago: “Success is not measured by how many things you’ve acquired in life. Success is measured by how you can deal with Life itself.” We’ve all seen Lotto winners whose lives have become messes… so that gives credence to that.
That, also, helps when your life is pared down to four suitcases every time you move.
A few years ago it would have bothered me immensely for people to know things about my private life. We all want others to have a certain image of us. But what I’ve learned thru my recent experiences is that my trials have made me a more humble person.
I have not dated because, of course, all these reasons… most notably…not having my own home. I kinda miss that because I know people are interested… but add it to my wish list.
I’m telling all of this a day after World Mental Health Day because I know there are others of you, like me, that are out there who feel sadness and depression and anger because of what life has dealt us. I wanted to tell you because you are my friends who have helped me… and maybe this will help you in return. When it gets bad… reach out… talk….tell the truth…ask for help..be willing to accept it… we will all get thru this with each other..
Like the old saying…. when you think you’ve reached the end of your rope…tie and knot and hang on…
Gawd knows I’ve had my hand on that knot for a while now..
Love and Peace