My last blog was about my psych diagnosis and then I jumped ahead about 4 years with the birth of my daughter. I wanted to add that in that 4 year period, I did have several moments of the fear and sadness episodes. Of course as I’ve always done in the past, I would try fight the feelings. I continued to wonder why I was having them. What caused me…or what had I caused or done to have these moments where I felt like I was in hell?
In that several year interim before my beautiful daughter was born, I had gone from job to job…either by quitting or being fired. I believe when I count back, I had 12 jobs in that span of time and had quit all of them after being there for a short period of time. (Less than 1 year). Three of those past employers had fired me. At the time, I hadn’t quit those numerous jobs because I had found something else, but had quit because I felt like I didn’t fit it. When I say “fit in”, I mean that I distinctly felt as if my co-workers didn’t like me. I could “sense” them whispering behind my back about me (I never actually heard what was said) and I felt inadequate. Was I just being paranoid?
I would try really hard to learn the in’s and out’s of each job but I would often think that I understood the task at hand but really didn’t and made many mistakes. If I didn’t know something, I would “fill in the blanks” with what seemed to make sense to me. There were times when I was not clear on instructions but I didn’t want to appear stupid by asking what seemed to be very simple questions…In the past, it seemed whenever I did have any questions and did ask someone, they would tell me, “you should know this by now”. This made me feel even more inadequate. Perhaps I should have known but the not knowing and the not being able to question often lead me to do the wrong thing.
I remember once I was approached by a model scout in a parking lot of a hotel to become a model at her agency. I was excited and went to be interviewed by her the following day. (I had always wanted to try modeling and did have an opportunity while I was living in Japan but it was forbidden to me at the time as I was living in Japan with my maternal relatives solely to help them with their family restaurant.) The owner of this agency signed me on as a model and during the interview, she found out that I could speak Japanese. She asked me if I would be willing to work in the office as a clerk when she wasn’t using me as a model. I decided that I might as well as I had recently quit a job.
It was a typical office job with clerical duties and often other models would come through to pick up any future assignments. I remember seeing all those beautiful girls and thinking to myself that they were so pretty. Although many of them didn’t wear makeup when they came by the office, they had flawless skin and carried themselves with such confidence. I thought to myself that I could never be like them. I didn’t have what they had and I was never going to be beautiful.
One day my task was to contact about 60 of her models and let them know of a “cattle call” for a Japanese vendor who was looking for girls to do a print ad/commercial for Nike. (A cattle call is when a bunch of models show up for an interview at the same time). I don’t remember the name of this Japanese company but they were a large account for this agency. The agency’s owner told me the location of the cattle call and in my head, I thought I knew exactly where this was. I called all 60 girls to let them know the location and gave them instructions on how to dress and what time to meet. (Early evening sometime). After making the phone calls, my day was done and I went home. (Living with BK at the time.) In the back of my head, I started thinking about the location and it suddenly hit me that where I had instructed all her girls to meet was not the actual location. Oh oh. It was now about the time that the cattle call was taking place. This was back before the days of cell phones and there was no way to contact all those girls. I got home and the phone would not stop ringing as my boss had been calling me. I chose not to answer the phone. Instead, I let the phone ring until BK finally answered it. It was my boss who angrily told him to give me a message that I had made a mistake in the location and to call me back as soon as I could. I didn’t think that anything good would come from me calling my boss back as I was sure that she was going to fire me anyway. I never returned to that job…not even to pick up my last paycheck.
This is how it went until the birth of my daughter. I went from job to job…quitting, or getting fired. I was sure I was a screw up. I guess my Mom was right about that…I would never be good at anything.
Now we jump to shortly after my daughter K was born and I was a stay at home Mom. I loved waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of my baby’s cry. I would pick her up and put her to my breast and just sit there and stare at her. Stirring within me were such feelings of deep love that I had never felt before. She was so precious. Life was good for the moment.
My parents were a part of our lives then because I had already contacted them when I found out I was pregnant. Mom was never able to have babies of her own so having an infant grand daughter made her happy. We would often go to my parents house and spend time with them. My Mom was warm and gentle towards her granddaughter and little K loved her grandma and grandpa.
The first time I felt the fear within me again was when K was about a two or three years of age. It started with that deep sadness followed by the gripping fear. It would go back and forth between sadness and fear and I would fight the feeling like I always had. I thought to myself, “why am I having this again?” I think in the back of my mind, I had assumed that the birth of my daughter and all the hormone changes would caused the “blacks” from ever happening again. It been been a while since the last bout, and I hadn’t been thinking about the fear. After being diagnosed as a schizophrenic, the fear was always “just around the corner” even though I wasn’t really feeling it but I always knew it was just around the corner and could come on at any time. Often times, just the anticipation was enough to bring it on.
At this time, BK and I had been living in our small two bedroom townhouse that we had purchased. I was still a stay at home Mom but I started thinking that I needed to have a skill of some sort. I had a “sense” that I needed to go to school. I didn’t have a clue as to what I could possibly be good at but I had the desire at the time to learn how to be a “beautician”. (Today, we call them aestheticians) I looked into the “beauty” classes but was drawn to the nursing curriculum. So that’s what I pursued instead.
BK wasn’t thrilled about me going to school because it was an extra expense. I convinced him that in the long run, it would pay off. He was insistent that even though I was in school, he still expected the house to be spotless, his meals to be ready when he got home and for me to continue with other “wifely duties”. My Mom told me that all of this was a waste of time…that I would never finish the nursing program so I shouldn’t even bother. I remember thinking to myself that I HAD to try. So off to nursing I went…
I really enjoyed all the aspects of the nursing program and did very well in school. We would form study groups and I found that many of my fellow students looked to me for answers. I remember when we were studying about diabetes that many of the students were having a difficult time grasping this disease. I guess I found a way to help them to understand.
Things at home were not good. My marriage was falling apart. I did the best I could but our study groups would often run late into the evening and BK was not happy about this at all. After a while, BK would just stay out at nights. I guess he figured there was no sense in him being home because I couldn’t totally focus on him. I loved the nursing program but I was worried about my marriage. We were about three quarters through the program and I seriously considered quitting. There was a catholic priest (student) in our class whom I had confided in at the time about my failing marriage. I shared with him my thoughts about wanting to quit the program and he gave me the best advice ever. He said that we were almost near the end and to hang on. Graduate…then deal with the marriage at that point…but to give up after coming this far was a waste and if I quit the program, I would probably not resume and the worst part of all… I’d be in the same situation I had always been in…no skills and no job. This was actually the first time I had confided in the clergy for advice on anything other than church doctrine.
We had just began our medical/surgical rotation at a hospital in town and we had to be at the clinic by 6:30 am. Luckily, the day care where I had been dropping little K off could accommodate these early hours.
So it was time for our final exams and I felt that I was ready. Results came in the next day and this was when we lost about a quarter of our students. We had already lost about 10 students since the beginning of the course and the finals would determine who would graduate or not. We lost 10 more. We started with 60 students and graduated a little less than 40.
I was graduating with honors in my nursing program and I was excited to tell my parents and my husband!