Living in 2020 with mental illnesses. Talk about a wild ride. I'm a 30 year old female living with her fiancé and soon to be step daughter (every other weekend and when circumstances deem it necessary.) Many days I feel like I'm the only responsible adult in the whole dynamic. A viscous thought that I frequently feel guilty for. Other days I feel as though I'm failing more than everyone else around me. Mental illness can confuse you like that. Between financial difficulties, work troubles, and co-parenting squabbles I feel as though my brain is trying to work overtime without any fuel for even its normal work. My body doesn't seem to be doing much better than my brain either. My day to day battle just to feel like I'm surviving in the current climate seems more like a lose lose battle inside my own mind.
With the pandemic running rampant through our country many are out of work or suffering from reduced hours or wages. And I think its safe to say we all feel for these people. But what about the rest of us? The ones who didn't lose their job? Who were forced to work the same hours they were before on the same wages as though nothing special is happening? Its exhausting and frustrating to be denied help because you are "living lucky" in comparison to others. I work in customer service. Since the pandemic hit I have all my old worries and stresses with all the worries and stresses that we have accumulated over the course of 2020. But as a customer service employee I am ALSO dealing with my customers stresses and fears. They look at me as if I'm supposed to know what to do any more than they do. Ive been insulted, cursed at, and had my life threatened over requesting that a customer wear a mask inside the store in accordance with new policies and mandates. Surprise! I'm just as clueless, angry, and scared. With the mental health issues and physical maladies I suffer from I have wished many times over the course of this year that I had chosen a job NOT deemed essential.
Of course many would tell me that there is an abundance of government and local support groups and programs to help with nearly any situation. And they HAVE told me. I and many others have looked. If your like me, you were holding on financially for a while. By the time I was struggling enough to feel as though I could ask for help and not be laughed at I was told that funding for rental and utilities assistance literally dried up the day before I inquired. Talk about a kick to the gut. So bills have fallen behind once more. Every time I attempt to think of a solution to the predicament I either come up short on logical solutions or something comes up to disrupt the fragile plan that I have painstakingly attempted to put into place. Mysterious illness in my fiancé i.e. stomach aches, hurting back, diarrhea, severe exhaustion. Mother of my stepdaughter being put into quarantine multiple times for covid scares. Every time something happens to the mother we become solely responsible for our daughter and all her needs. Not very conducive to getting to work on a regular basis or keeping any kind of normal healthy schedule or routine. As my boss once mentioned to me, it seems sometimes as though that if I didn't have bad luck I would have no luck.
Perhaps this reads more as a diary entry rather than a good read piece for someone looking for entertainment or advice. But I was always told that the key to discovering your own writing talents was to write what you know. These paragraphs are a small compilation of things that I know. Something else that is frustratingly clear to me is that just because we KNOW something does not mean that we UNDERSTAND the things we know.
As my thoughts do their usual race and worry with my situation I remind myself that its never too late to try something new no matter how scary the venture seems. Writing is more scary to me than bungee jumping. You bare your soul through words in hopes that it touches enough people to not make you look like a waste of web space or paper. Its hard enough opening up like this to a spouse... more so I think to do it with a large group of seemingly anonymous strangers who feel no loyalty to your feelings.
I truly have no idea where 2020 or writing will take me. I'm simply going to bear my soul, go to work, pay the bills that I can, and hope for the best. With any luck and a great deal of planning I intend to write something every Tuesday. Perhaps next week I will have thought of a subject worth your time and attention. Crossing my fingers. Till next week my beloved strangers. May you have a week untainted by the cruelty of the year.