Reflections: Grateful for Independence

In continuing this week’s blog of Independence-Dependence, I had several examples of why it is important to be thankful for the ability to live independently and have a place to call home. After losing my first home, I now realize how close I was to losing the opportunity of ever being independent for a long time.

I have shared many times that over two years ago that I had a severe relapse at the onset of COVID-19 when the United States shut down. A month prior, I had to vacate my first apartment suddenly and while continuing to pay rent for some time with no timetable of returning, was also relapsing due to the effects of the lockdown, not being able to attend work or programming in person along with the continued loss of independence. Add all of this in with the factors of my mother working remotely, I working semi-remotely at less hours and attending day program virtually the remainder of that time and wanting to have manias as a effect of going several days without medication, and a toxic friendship was a recipe for disaster that ultimately resulted in two very large meltdowns that if my therapist hadn’t been able to calm me down from, I would have ended on the curb of the local hospital and would have lost it all.

Recently, while having a need to be grateful for the things I have, The pure luck of being active in finding a new home turned up an optimal opportunity to have the home that I currently occupy came available. I now realize that I couldn’t live with my parents long-term. It isn’t nothing that they did wrong, in fact they are great genuine people who always see my best interest, oftentimes before their own. The challenging personalities can be difficult to manage within my own mental health and with the initial taste of freedom being taken away, eventually I would have ended up in what would have been a group home or community living situation.

Last week, after my mother helped me do some tasks for myself that was needed, I went to my parents’ house to help them with some of their needs. At first, I reluctantly wanted to not help because of the challenging week I already experienced. After having lunch, we set our tasks. As they started, the dynamic that I previously cringed at was coming back. It was shortly discovered that the horses that my parents had broke free from where they were contained and the task was ultimately prioritized to us all having the task of getting the horses to safety. While the same ways of my parents will still occur, I mostly was able to contain my behavior or disagreement for having to do this unwanted and challenging task. 

Once that was completed, we returned to the tasks at hand which we completed. At times it became struggling with the ways of my parents and my frustration increasing as the tasks went on slower than expected along with my stubbornness to have to do it for fear that my parent would just worsen the situation. Eventually we finished all the tasks that were earmarked for my assistance. After that, my mother wanted me to accompany her to a store in a neighboring county for a few hours. I denied that request and while she was disappointed in that, she took me back to my residence. I had regret for doing this, but after being out of the house for five hours with an intensive therapy session, having to make multiple trips for food and deliver them to my nearby home after each visit, then several hours with my parents being in some of those past dynamics that I had experienced prior to my independence, I was checked out and knew I would make the experience my mother and I would be sharing downright miserable. I knew I had to have some time for myself as it is essential for my mental well being.

It has been moments like what I experienced last week that makes me grateful for the opportunities that I have and I must realize that they are precious to have and must be endured along with that delicate balance of having family time. However, there must be an ability to understand when you need to just check out of what you have to go through to better protect yourself and those around you from being further detrimental to the situation.

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