First, let me state for the record: I am in no way in any sort of physical danger. What follows is a very un-put-together series of thoughts that basically amount to me trying to make sense of the emotional and psychological trauma that day-to-day life has had in store for me recently. Again, there is no need to be concerned about my personal safety. I’m fine.
Except that I’m not fine.
No, this isn’t a cry for help. Unless that help is coming in the form of a new and reliable automobile that doesn’t cost me a penny or in the offer of a new job or career that would allow me to make a decent salary for someone my age yet not require me to work with people… like, at all.
As the title of this post says, I don’t like my life very much right now. But that’s okay… Because I’m gonna suck it up and keep on doing what I do every day. If you’re not up for a rant or anything resembling a pity party, today’s post is not for you. If, however, you would like to join me as I wallow in the muck and mire that is my perception of reality right now, hop on in… the muck is murky.
And, please, before anyone starts hammering into me how great I have it and how much worse problems there are in the world, I know. These are my issues… my problems. I’m not comparing myself to anyone or the problems that they may be facing. Please just let me do this.
Let’s begin with the most pressing and immediate issue: the car. Backing up a bit, for several months now I’ve been experiencing an off and on annoyance involving my car. When I turn the key, it sounds like it’s going to start… but it hesitates. It’ll start, but it’ll wait just a few seconds… just long enough for me to freak out and wonder what the crap is wrong with my car this time?
This problem, I believed, ultimately led up to last Thursday, when my car completely died on me as I tried to make a right turn onto a major thoroughfare. The car would not start back up and was getting no fuel to the engine. So I gathered what little physical strength I actually have and managed to push the car into the parking lot of the gas station that I happened to break down in front of.
I had the car towed to the dealership where I bought this particular car and where I generally have all service performed. After leaving the car overnight, I was informed the next morning that the car would need a new fuel pump. Not a cheap fix. The kind of thing where I can’t afford to fix it but I can’t afford not to fix it, either. Thankfully, arrangements were made and it all worked out. But they had to order the part, so it wouldn’t be ready until Tuesday at the earliest… because Labor Day.
So I picked up the car on Tuesday. It doesn’t take much to impress me. When the technician drove the car around, I was just glad to see that it was running. And when I got in and started it back up, it immediately started and that made me happy enough. I decided to drive around for a while just to make sure everything was in good working order. Then I stopped to get gas.
When I went to start the car… guess what happened. I bet you can guess…
If you said it hesitated before it actually started, you’re absolutely correct.
I got the car home and parked it in the garage that I usually park in. Before making the walk to my apartment, I turned the key again… just to see. Started right up… no hesitation.
It makes no sense. There’s no rhyme or reason to why this car is doing what it’s doing. But I took it back to the dealership again yesterday. I sat there while I had a couple of hours to kill and was told that the technician was trying to get the car to do for him what it has been doing for me. But, of course, whenever anyone else is sitting in the driver’s seat, there are no problems at all. It’s only when I’m the one behind the wheel that the curse on my car becomes active.
At the time of writing this, I have still heard nothing about the status of my vehicle. I don’t know if they’ve managed to catch it hesitating to start or not. Maybe they just think I’m crazy. Maybe I am. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. And I’m starting to get flashbacks to two years ago when my car was with the dealership for about two months and they had to rebuild the engine to get the thing working again…
But let’s move on… shall we?
My other current issue is the job. I derive no personal or professional satisfaction from what I’m doing anymore. I know… I can hear my mother saying how proud she is of me and the work I do serving individuals in the mental health field.
Here’s the thing, though… What I do is an often thankless, seemingly pointless, generally overlooked, and vastly underpaid job. I can’t talk about my clients, so I won’t. But I can’t tell you how many times I reach the end of my day feeling like all I’m doing is spinning my wheels with these individuals. As a Mental Health Skill Builder, that’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s right there in the job title. But one can only teach life skills to individuals who actually want to learn life skills.
Let’s remove that frustration for a moment, though. There’s also the brick wall that represents the insurance companies of America. Ask anyone who works in this field what the biggest roadblock to obtaining services or making sure that necessary services are able to continue and they will very likely tell you it’s the individual’s insurance provider. And it isn’t just one insurance company that’s the issue. It’s all of them.
Across the board, it seems that the insurance providers have been issued an edict that tells them to deny mental health services to anyone who dares to ask for approval of services.
You know, we can make the claim all day long that our culture is growing and evolving and learning that mental health shouldn’t have so much of a stigma related to it and our opportunities to seek help when it’s needed. But our insurance providers? They’re moving in the opposite direction. In some rare instances where I’ve felt the need to be brutally honest and just have a real moment with clients, I’ve flat out told them that their insurance provider will pretend to be their best friend when they’ve got you on the phone, but the truth is they don’t give a damn about their clients. All that matters is that bottom line. And if they don’t feel like paying for a service that could potentially help someone with a mental illness? Well I guess that’s just too bad.
I used to genuinely enjoy the work I do. When I was working with kids in elementary schools, I loved it. I mean… sure, it had it’s moments and some pretty dark days. But more often than not, it was worth it. Then things started changing and insurance providers made it next to impossible to get kids approved for the program. So I moved on, now working with adults in a slightly different capacity. Again, insurance providers are making it next to impossible to get clients approved for the program.
Eventually, I’m going to reach a point where it will be impossible for me to find a decent paying job in this field with the credentials that I currently have. I could go back to school and get that elusive master’s degree, but is that really cost effective? Especially considering the fact that I’m just not sure I even want to remain in this field anymore. I’m tired of working with people who don’t want to help themselves. I’m tired of working with people who think I talk just to hear the sound of my own voice. I’m tired of working with people.
But what else is there? This is basically all I’ve known in my career. This tiring, maddening, depressing field that is mental health. Sure, I took a few breaks here and there and did some banking (no thanks) and did a touch of marketing for my church (which I adored but was told I wasn’t good enough at). So what else is there?
I don’t know… I just…
You guys work on that and I’m gonna go cry while I wait for the dealership to call me about my car and how much more money they’re gonna want me to spend on it that I don’t have.