Yet again, I read one of those pep talk memes that came across my Twitter feed that just made me even more depressed. It spoke of sharing your story so that you can serve as an inspiration.
Yeah, uh, nope.
Years ago, Michael Jordan drew the ire of pretty much everyone on the planet for asserting that he was not a role model. I was one of those who thought him clueless about the role he, and others in the spotlight, play. That was long before the internet. Back when no ordinary person could serve as an inspiration. That level of greatness could only be achieved by sports stars, movie stars, and authors.
Not so today. Today, everyone who has internet access through their local library can be heard. It might be a small hearing, but it’s more than had when the only way to spread our thoughts on issues was through a letter to the editor.
I am in no way opposed to the voice people have now. It has been a lifesaver to many, and not just for political reasons. It has helped raise awareness and create, if people are inclined, an openness about things that, when I was a child, we were forbidden to talk about.
But I am not an inspiration.
I don’t know how others in my condition feel. I don’t know if the other mental health bloggers enjoy the idea of being an inspiration to people. They may find it helpful.
I cringe. And for the same reason I cringe at the thought of a service dog for my PTSD. Yes, it’s a wonderful idea, and maybe it even helps some. But, to me, it’s just an added burden. It’s just one more responsibility on top of the myriad of responsibilities I have as a single mom with an abusive ex-husband and zero help from anyone here on the ground.
Look, the facts are as follows: If you want to model your life after someone, it shouldn’t be me. If you want inspiration in dealing with your PTSD or your ongoing trauma, find someone who knows what they are doing. My house is a mess, my kids’ lives are a mess. And now my life is a mess and, once again, I find myself drowning with no sight of land.
Yes, I will get up and do what I’m supposed to do tomorrow. My kids will get to school, I will get to my first counseling appointment at school. But there will be a million things left undone. I will probably not have the wherewithal to try, yet again, to contact the doctors for two of my kids’ health issues. I left messages over a week ago. I can’t face it…alone…again. If it ends up being a good day, I’ll get to the store and get some meat for the spaghetti sauce so that I can make dinner instead of us eating frozen again. And my bed will remain unmade, my clothes will be in a pile and not put away. My desk will be a mess. My car is still unwashed. And on Wednesday I will drop two classes because I can no longer transfer anything from my short term to long term memory, making tests impossible.
I want to raise awareness. I want people who suffer from PTSD to know that these things are normal. I want people who don’t suffer from it to pressure Washington to do something about the abysmal care available to people with mental health issues.
But I absolutely cannot be an inspiration. I will only fail you, and you will only be disappointed again by another human being.
No one can truly be an inspiration. We are all too flawed for that. We cannot be role models or idols. We can only be fellow humans who tread this path alongside each other, and help each other up when we fall, and hold each other up when things are difficult.