I find myself in an all too familiar battle. With me.
I’m at a point in my life where I’m unsure of my purpose. Like I said, it’s familiar, but (whiny voice) I hate it!
Most people can be satisfied by simply conforming to society and cultural norms. The outline is get married, raise a family, work hard, go on vacations, try not to get divorced (although about 50% will) birthdays, graduations, retirement, and then the sweet bliss of death.
Most people find their purpose in there somewhere. They might have their purpose instilled in them through religion or what they have been taught.
We live in a culture that puts children’s needs above everything, so it makes sense that most mothers feel their purpose is their children. Not to mention the human instinct to provide, care, and nurture our babies.
Some might feel their purpose lies in helping others and spend their lives doing acts of service. Some folks live their entire lives only indulging their every want.
My purpose has always seemed relatively clear to me, with the exception of this particular phase of my life.
As a kid my purpose was clear. Be a kid, go to school, get good grades, hang out with friends, make out behind the bleachers.
At 19 I became a wife, and at 21 a mother. At that moment I knew my life was no longer my own. I lived and breathed for my son. Then along came my daughter 2 years later. I thought I had it figured out.
I was wrong…
Through a series of unfortunate events, mental illness and a nervous breakdown, my now ex-husband was awarded custody of my babies. I was so lost. What was my purpose now?
I met Keith.
It was love at first sight. We were inseperable all but 3 days a week when I stayed with my Mama to give him a break from me. I’m not even kidding. Apparently I’m exhausting.
His struggle with mental illness was conspicuous from day one. We had that in common, but we ended up balancing each other out. It worked.
I could never remember to take my meds, but he reminded me. If I was having a particularly hard time, he set them in my hand.
Keith needed a lot of care and I could always seem to take care of him, even when I couldn’t really take care of myself.
Both of us couldn’t remember our own appointments with our psychiatrists, but I always knew his and he knew mine.
He pulled me back down to earth and I intermittently pulled the stick out of his ass. You get the idea.
When Keith and I began seeing each other he told me he was drinking himself to death like Ernest Hemmingway. I just said, “Well, if that’s what you want. Who am I to interfere with your death plan?”
Eventually, he saw his purpose was to be a good husband to me and mine was to be a good wife. We got sober. We had the kids every other weekend and for the most part, life was pretty peachy.
Mental illness won its battle over my poor sweet husband and he took an early exit. Since his death I have had 2 prevalent phases of “what now”?
The first phase was my “Blue Period”. I was sad. I was so lost that I literally couldn’t breathe. It was like I had to learn a new way to inhale and exhale to remain conscious. Just, lost.
The 2nd phase is my “Pissed Period”. One day I was sad, and then I started thinking about Keith making the choice to check out early, and it filled me with rage. How dare he? He made a promise to me and he broke it. He didn’t simply leave me, he left the fucking planet. He left me to fend for myself and I was suddenly so alone.
I’m coming out of that phase now but still struggling with my purpose. I can’t accept that my life is to be an endless array of fucked up occurrences sprinkled with slivers of joy. Sure, the joyous moments although few and far between, keep me from checking out early, but I need to believe it gets better. I need a reason to want a late checkout with a continental breakfast.
I love my children more than anything, but they are with their Dad and awesome step-mom and although they love me, they don’t need me. That’s a fun fact I had to learn to accept.
So, my purpose? YOU.
I think I need to tell my story and to a lot of people. I want the stigma surrounding mental health to disappear. I’m gonna talk about it. I’m going to talk about the real deal.
No sugar, no bullshit.
If I talk to 5,000 people struggling in silence, and 50 of those people begin to feel someone understands and then 25 of those people ask for help, I have succeeded.
I will never stop. I found it, my purpose.
If you are one of the many suffering with depression, mood swings, mania, OCD, schizophrenia, or have no diagnosis but don’t feel right, please reach out. If you don’t want treatment, there are alternatives. You don’t have to live like this, and suicide causes pain you can not imagine to everyone stuck here. The world is not better off without you. That is a lie your mind has made up. If you truly feel you have no one, or that no one gets it, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or