Waking up this morning, I had worries. Where did this come from? Facebook. I just love facebook but at the same time hate it. It provides me a never ending stream of news which I have customized it so I specifically do not see people’s status updates but rather things filled with topics of interest to me. Topics of interest to me include outdoor activities, nature, animals, cats, mindfulness, new stories of actual positive news, and following pages of non-profit groups that are aimed at helping animals or people in need. This is helpful for when I am bored, or even anxious.
On the other hand, once in awhile I look at people’s facebook pages and their status updates and am reminded at how I am behind in life with a career. People love to brag about their careers, how long they have been with their career, their accomplishments, their kids, their awards for whatever, and their expensive vacations they get to take. Not taking any expensive vacations here, the money isn’t there. I have worked all my life but I would not say I have a career job yet. I have had jobs where they could have been career jobs but my mental illness got in the way basically. At 37, I cannot say I have been at my job for 15 years or so. Sure I have taken vacations but nothing regular. My job history has been scattered and finding what I really want to do in life has been a roller coaster of changing my mind and plans often. Sure, I have graduated college and have two degrees in a certain field of study but I found I hated working in it and didn’t find a passion for it. I switched to the field of education and found much more purpose in that. For six years, I have done long term and short term substitute teaching with some paraeducation work in there. The problem with subbing is it can be a crap shoot at how much work you can get consistently. Plus schools do not run in the summer, so I have to find work for the summer.
Currently, I am in my masters degree for guidance counseling because through all the teaching I did I discovered I love being that lending ear to a student who is having emotional difficulties and got a lot out of working one on one with students as opposed to teaching to the masses. I am only in my third class and it will be a couple years before I can graduate and find a career job but I feel very behind. It is due to my OCD and Bipolar illness taking chunks of time away from my goals and putting things on the backburner is the real reason. The world is not set up for us non-neurotypical people as far as a career goes, it is not accomdating. It is set up for the neurotypical people who do not suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, rapid cycling and all that wonderful stuff you have been genetically exposed to due to no choice of your own.
So looking at friends and casual friends pages, you find yourself comparing yourself to them and in essence do not feel like you fit in. For instance, I stopped going to my sorority alumni group all together because I cannot relate to them. They talk about their successful careers, their kids, and all the great vacations they have. They have more money to do these things and I do not fit in. My husband and I pay our bills, get by, have taken some vacations, and have a lot of fun doing our hobbies. He has a career he is successful in but also does not deal with mental illness other than ADHD. He has not had the stress, trials and tribulations I have had to contend with. I also can tell these women in this group and friends from college have not had to contend with the upsets in life like I have. They are not far behind in their careers and do not have a bumpy trajectory line of life. I often wonder about all these people and if they would even survive life if they were bestowed with my illnesses. I really think they would fall apart. I have even had girlfriends tell me they don’t know how I do it with what life gave me. They say they wouldn’t be able to handle. You would be surprised what you would be able to handle when it is thrown at you by no choice of your own.
Perhaps your thinking is this a pity party or a complaining post. I guess you could look at it that way. I look at it as reflective post of my own thoughts and the ability to just type it all out and put it into the internet black hole, who knows where it goes. It feels good to just type it all out and put it somewhere other than my head; my musings, my obsessions, my interpretations.
It all is just my interpretations isn’t it? You could probably look at this many different ways. I will play devil’s advocate here. My trials and tribulations have made me incredibly strong and my ability to bounce back is strong even if it may take a long period of time. Every-time I have fallen, I have picked myself up with the help of my medical team but ultimately, it is me who did it. I have never stopped trying and while hope sometimes goes away, it comes back eventually. I do have a lot of accomplishments in life regardless of where I am at today. Honestly, there will always be someone who is worse off than you and better than you. Comparing myself to others is logically a waste of time for me or anyone else for that matter. Easier said than done though. It is not something that I think of often but this morning I did and I felt inspired to write about it.