Stability outside, chaos inside. That is what my life is right now. And saying stability outside may even be a bit of a stretch. But I guess for those who don’t really know me (and even some who do), I appear stable.

I’m not at all stable. I barely know what day of the week it is anymore. I haven’t paid any of my bills this month. I don’t even know why. It’s not like I have a legitimate excuse. I’m not even working. I’m just existing.

I am useless, and not for lack of trying. I tried to get my regular doctor to write a note for me to return to work. Bad idea. It took an hour for me to even get her to consider writing me a prescription for an antiobiotic. An antibiotic. Not a narcotic. I’m just asking for some penicillin, because I clearly have an infection in my lungs that was not going away with steroids alone. And she even agreed. That’s the best part. She knew I needed medication, but told me in fancier words that I was too complicated to treat, between the COPD and my heart condition. I was lucky I got a Z-Pak; getting a note would have clearly just been too much.

So I told myself I’d wait. Just another week, and I can see my cardiologist and she’ll write me that note, she’ll clear me for work. And then I get a call four days before my appointment, with a voicemail that said my cardiologist has resigned and my appointment has been cancelled. The woman on the phone said it like it was no big deal. Even added in the have a nice day. This cardiologist performed my surgery. My cardiac monitor is subscribed to her name. She was a specialist. She was the first one to legitimize my concerns. What in the fuck am I supposed to do now?

I called the office back. I told them I was out of work. I told them I had been in the hospital several times since my surgery and needed to be seen. She told me I could see my old cardiologist, the one that always assumed my heart issues were really just the aftereffects of cocaine abuse and a possible seizure disorder, completely dismissive of anything cardiac despite everyone else telling me my heart is not beating right. Fine. I have no other choice. I’ll take him.

Great. Now let’s get an appointment. Well, he doesn’t have any openings until next month. Are you fucking kidding me? My surgery was in May and I haven’t even had a post-op appointment yet. I have stitches hanging out of my chest that I have tried my hardest not to pull out myself. I am out of work because, understandably, who the fuck wants to be liable for someone working who passes out consistently. But let’s just give it another month. Fine. Because I really have no other choice.

It’s frustrating. I want to scream and cry, but instead all I do is bury it down and put on a smile. I’m good at that. Hide the anger, hide the pain. I hide my tears, too, until I can’t hold them in anymore. Then I run. Out of the house. A few blocks away. And I sit on a bench and cry. And I smoke a cigarette until the pain goes away. I tell myself I’ll smoke just one more, and then it’ll all be fine. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. Just one more line, just one more drink, just one more pill. But it’s never fine. It’s not now, and it never was in the past. Yet I still keep trying. It’s how I ended up on a bench in the middle of a thunderstorm, soaking wet, with an empty pack of cigarettes, wondering why I couldn’t breathe.

I am a mess. Not wanting to die, but not caring if I exist. Because I feel purposeless.

People tell me my intelligence, my grad school work gives me purpose, but it doesn’t to me. I just finished a year of graduate school and maintained a 4.0 GPA, but it just doesn’t matter to me. I didn’t put forth any effort. I didn’t study. Hell, I took my last final drunk and started and finished my final project in the hour before it was due, and I still managed to pull 100s. That is not effort. That is not purpose. That just is.

My intelligence does not give me purpose. If anything, it only causes me more pain. Knowledge hurts. Because I know how to fix the damage in others, yet I can’t seem to fix the brokenness within myself. If I didn’t know any better, it wouldn’t bother me as much. I’d just be broken.

How can I plan for a future when I don’t even know what’s happening now? There are things I’ve accepted. I won’t have a family. I won’t live as long as planned. I am sick, and I will be sick for the rest of my life. But how can I plan around that?

I dreamed of being a therapist because I wanted to help people in ways I wished people helped me, I wanted to make a difference. But that dream isn’t realistic now. I can’t be a therapist with DID. I know they exist, but they have to exist in hiding. Because the world will never accept them.

I don’t know how to make a difference outside of that. I can’t stop every child abuser. I can’t make people understand that mothers abuse their children, too. I can’t get people to open their eyes to truths they don’t want to see. So what is my purpose?

Beyond housework, I am nothing right now. I keep busy as much as I can. I wash the dishes. I do the laundry. I sweep the floors, vacuum the rug, take care of the dogs. But in the moments where there’s no more laundry, there’s nothing left to clean, and the dogs are asleep…those are the moments that scare me. Those are the moments I hear my mother’s voice, telling me I am nothing, that I am a burden.

Those are the moments I sit and realize that I am purposeless.

Why I Chose Psychology

Psychology was not my original major.

When I first started college, I majored in mathematics. I’m not even sure why I did. I liked math. But what the hell do you do with a mathematics degree? Shit. You do shit.

Then I bounced around from majoring in English to communications to who knows what else. I was 18 and didn’t even know myself, let alone what I wanted to do with my life. All of the departments wanted me, so whenever someone grabbed a hold of me and gave me their pitch, I ended up changing my major to that. Looking back, it was such a hot mess. Thankfully, I didn’t waste too much of my life there.

I took a course in psychology to fulfill a social science requirement. It was my first psychology course – my high school never had anything psychology-related. I really enjoyed it and found it interesting. One day in class, we were discussing odd behaviors in childhood. Students were sharing their stories. I, for some reason, decided to share my childhood fascination (not the right word, I don’t even know) with saving my poop. Through the laughter, the professor came up with possible explanations for my behavior. Something in me clicked that day. If psychology gave reasons for my shitty (literally) behavior, what other things could it explain?

I soon switched my major to psychology. Unfortunately, a short time later, I dropped out of school. But I never lost my love for psychology; it only grew. I was determined to find explanations. I wanted to know why I had so many issues. What were the reasons for my behaviors? What caused my mental illness? What is really wrong with me?

And as I went along, I started seeking out answers to explain my mother’s behavior. What makes a parent hate her child? What makes people abuse others? How are people able to act one way in public and a different way in private? Are people like that aware of what they are doing? Is it mental illness, or is it a choice?

I needed answers. I spent so much of my 20s, even out of school, researching and reading and looking for answers. I needed answers. Some of the answers, I did find. But most regarding my mother were left unanswered.

I realize now that not every question has an answer. I may never know or understand why my mother did the things she did. No one knows for certain except my mother. But that won’t stop me from trying. I want to understand. I need to understand.

I turn to psychology to help me understand. I turn to psychology so I can help others understand. I want to know the ins and outs of the human mind. I want to understand behavior. I want to understand what makes people do bad things just as much as I want to understand what makes people do good. I want to know about resilience. I want to know it all.

I was meant to study psychology.