Being to Truthful can have Negative Consequences *May Trigger*

I have been accepted into a graduate program. As part of the program, I have to complete an internship. That meant that I had to write a current resume and two pieces about myself and why I wanted to go into the field of my choice. I wrote from my heart and I gave an honest answer. I would not have been interested in this field prior to my diagnosis and hospitalizations in the early 2000’s. That changed the course of my life. I struggled to find myself as I slowly lost my family.

For me, coming through that horrible time and wanting to assist others in getting better is why I want to go into this field. Apparently, writing that was big mistake. People do not want to know about adversity or overcoming the worst parts of life to find something good. The real motivation of my own abuse and trauma and my experiences with the system were not accepted by those who controlled my fate.

As I write this this morning, I do not have an internship. No-one wants to take a chance on a person with a mental illness who admits to having that as a inspiration to learn how to treat others with the same struggles. I am not going to tell my story to those that I am helping. yet I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the situation. One that makes me just a little different from those who have only read about these experiences in a textbook.

I was asked to rewrite my essays to include less personal details of my experiences. I know that I may have to extend the original program because no one at this time is interested in having me intern. At least not the person that has been through the experiences that I have. I am left feeling like I have to hide who I am. That I cannot be genuine about why I want to go into this field and why I choose this field out of all others. I have to struggle not to say to much and to keep my past locked up.

 

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Hidden **May Trigger**

There was a time when I just thought that people could see. That by looking at me, they could tell that I had PTSD or depression. I dreaded going into someplace new because of the thoughts that others would just know by looking at me how messed up my life had been.

The reality is that those around me cannot see. Maybe that is a blessing in some ways. In other ways it is a curse. Hearing people talk about parents with mental illness should not be allowed to have their kids, people who self-harm are weak, and the worst is that my mental health diagnosis does not exist.

If that is case then why do I visit with my kids on a regular basis, how can I be sitting in class and they not know, and how do they know what is happening in my head. Most classes I actually forget. My memory was affected by the ECT and has not fully recovered.  I can have a flashback sitting in the middle of class. Topics such as molestation and physical abuse trigger memories that I would rather forget, yet seem to be etched into my memory.

What if what I saw in my mind could be projected onto a screen. A mother yelling at her daughter that she wished that she were dead, a mother who broke one curtain rod while administering a beating going to get another curtain rod, a small child going as far as possible into the corner of her bed so that the beating only hurts in certain places, a child being molested by a family member, a father holding his child by the neck, a mother putting a pillow over her daughters face…. I could continue, yet I won’t. By this point many people would have walked out of the room. Either they feel uncomfortable, they cannot believe abuse exists like that shown to them, or they have experienced the abuse and cannot bear to see what is up on the screen.

Instead, I sit in class. Another student. Another number on another day. People are not aware of my past or the reason why I want to be a social worker. They do not see the struggles that I go through just to make it to class and look “normal.” Sometimes I want to say something, to be able to let it go, yet I have been told to keep most of it inside.

People like it better that way. To pretend that the world is ok and good. All have their reasons. Maybe, I would like people to be honest. Hurt sometimes strengthens us. Those who are going through it need to know that there is hope and a future on the other side of the nightmares. That sometimes for a few hours a week, they could have the opportunity to focus on something else.

Cracks in the Image

Cracks in the Image

When I was younger, everything had to be “fine”. I had to use manners, make sure I did “not overstay my welcome”(whatever that means), and the most important of all to not tell what went on inside of my house. To this day the last message is very strong inside of my head.

When I had a mental illness, I could at least pretend for a few hours that I was ok. There was nothing on the outside of me to show that I was sick. Even when I was first in school, no one knew that I was mentally ill. Now I speak for NAMI and I hear stories of other people who try to keep their mental illnesses a secret.

Enter, one clinical day in nursing school when something triggered me. Needless to say, my cover was blown. At least, I was already in the program. I proved to others that over the next, year and a half that I could have a mental illness and take care of patients.

With the physical illness-fibromyalgia, arthritis, and who knows what else, the cracks are quick to show. Leg braces, a cane, a handicapped tag. These have become signs to the rest of the world that I am not like everyone else.

Sure, normal has a broad range of definitions. We have all faced challenges. deaths of loved ones, loses of things that were dear to us. To lose the ability to walk, to take my kids out for a day without the consequence of not being able to get out of bed the next day-these are things that I just cannot seem to wrap my head around.

So, the image is cracking that I have tried to put up. Who knows what the new image will look like. I have kept going and am in the process of trying to figure out what to do for a career now that my body is not as functional as it used to be.

Maybe the cracks are good. At least now, I am being honest with myself an admitting that I do have an illness!