I went to a counselor today. A mental health counselor. It wasn’t planned.
I woke up and had already planned on going to work late because I had to take my mom to an appointment. I came out of the gas station, coffee in hand, and saw a text message that the appointment had been pushed back. And all I could do was sit there in the gas station parking lot and cry. There was nothing wrong, but there was nothing right. Life has just been bleh lately.
Last week, I sat at a stop sign and for a split second, I contemplated pulling out in front of a speeding city bus. Not because I was suicidal. I just wanted a break. The logical side of me knew that I was just tired of everything and a break from life wasn’t going to be had by pulling out in front of a bus. But at that moment, I knew I was not really OK.
When I couldn’t stop crying this morning, I thought about my friend who recently lost her ever lovin’ mind. It still hasn’t returned to her. And I wondered if this was what it was like before she stepped over the edge. Nothing wrong. Just nothing feeling right. So I immediately got on the phone. I called office after office trying to find a doctor, counselor, therapist, anyone who could see me today. Mental health isn’t like the flu. You can’t just go to a walk in clinic and be seen for losing your shit. You should be able to, but he haven’t come that far. We do have this thing here called mobile crisis. I guess it’s a number you can call if you are contemplating suicide or if you are having a mental breakdown, but I didn’t think I was there yet. I just wanted to stop crying.
Mom’s appointment ended up getting pushed further back until 2 so I knew work wasn’t happening. I was kind of relieved. I put in my two week notice earlier in the week and my boss has been giving me shit about it all week. It’s all been in good fun and in his defense, he has no idea about my mindset right now. He also doesn’t know that I literally feel guilty about any decision I make that may put someone else in an uncomfortable position even if it puts me in a better one. I am perpetually in a state of guilt. So his ribbing me about leaving only made it that much worse.
Finally, I found an office that could see me. I only had to make it one more hour. I didn’t know exactly why I wanted to go talk to someone. I think partly because I wanted an impartial person. Partly because I didn’t want to freak my friends out by falling apart because it’s not usually what I do. Partly because I wanted someone who just had to listen to me bitch and moan and not offer me any advice. I wanted someone with no skin in the game. Someone who wouldn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. Even though I wanted to hear that there was nothing wrong with the way I was feeling. And that it was fine for me to cry uncontrollably and ponder pulling out in front of a bus. I wanted to hear that was all normal.
I’m not a very religious person and I usually hesitate to reference God in many situations, which maybe is part of my problem, but I will say that God put this lady in my life at exactly the right time. She listened to me. She asked questions. She listened to me some more. She understood what I meant when I said I wasn’t suicidal, I just needed a break. I’m sure there was plenty that I said that she had no clue what the fuck I was talking about. Like, “I know I’m not ok when I stop writing.” But she only had an hour and she was just trying to get a grasp of the big issue that was causing me to feel the way I did.
I feel like I do everything for everybody. I never say no. I’m always trying to help people and fix their problems. And I’m resentful about it. More accurately, I hate myself for not saying no, but when I do say no, I feel guilty.
She used the word boundaries. I told her I don’t have any. She laughed and said that’s what she was trying to delicately say. I told her I don’t really need delicate. So she skipped forward past the touchy feely stuff and said she was pulling out her session 4 homework. She said normally she would wait, but she could feel that I was really not in a place to be pussyfooting for 3 more sessions.
She gave me a book, called Boundaries. Despite the fact that it is overtly Christian, it’s been pretty decent so far.
I haven’t cried since I left her office. I owe her a box of tissues. I texted my siblings and asked them to take over mom duties for a while. After my mom’s appointment, I told her that I was spread too thin and I needed a break and asked her to call her other kids for a while if she needed something. And something amazing happened. She said OK. My siblings said OK. It was a small step. It didn’t make all the other things on my plate go away, but it was a start.
I turned my phone off and put it on top of the refrigerator. I’m not picking it up again until who knows when.
And I’m trying really hard not to feel guilty about any of it.