February 21, 2023
A Talk with God
This blog was written by someone in mental health recovery.
YES, MY DARLING?
I don't want to live any more, can you please take me to Heaven?
I'M REALLY SORRY, SWEETHEART, BUT IT’S NOT YOUR TIME, YOU HAVE MUCH TO DO. WHAT ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH? MAYBE I CAN HELP.
It's just, you made me to do great things, I know you did. You helped me to excel in undergrad so that I got a degree in Special Education Cognitively Impaired. Then you helped me through a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis and a Board Certification to be a Behavior Analyst. I was gifted in these areas, and so prepared, but then you gave me a severe mental illness that made it impossible to live out. I think I literally have spent more time in hospitals and residential programs than I have working. Why would you give me these gifts just to take them all away when I needed them most?
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE FIVE AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY SAT TOGETHER TO WATCH THE JERRY LEWIS TELETHON ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND AND I MOVED YOUR HEART? WHAT DID YOU SAY?
When I grow up, I want to volunteer at Muscular Dystrophy Camp.
AND DID YOU?
Yes, I started volunteering when I was sixteen years old. I loved it so much. I prayed for you to cure muscular dystrophy so many times. I took phone calls on the telethon. I learned so many skills regarding medical care. And I fell in love with so many kids who were grateful for just one day. But it didn't matter. My bipolar started showing up and I was dismissed after just ten years.
JUST TEN YEARS?! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LIVES YOU TOUCHED IN THOSE TEN YEARS? HOW MANY PARENTS GOT TO TAKE BREAKS FROM GIVING TWENTY-FOUR HOUR CARE OR GOT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH THEIR NONDISABLED CHILDREN? HOW MANY CAMPERS FELL IN LOVE WITH YOUR SMILE AND MOTHERLY PRESCENCE AND JUST KNEW YOU WOULD KEEP THEM SAFE? AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES, THE NUMBER OF FREE ICE CREAM CONES YOU ALL ATE JUST BECAUSE THERE WERE NO RULES? AND YOU KNOW THAT I HEARD YOUR PRAYERS BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY MORE TREATMENTS NOW AND PEOPLE WITH MD ARE LIVING MUCH LONGER.
AND DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST DAY AT THE GIFTED AND TALENTED SCHOOL WHEN YOU DISCOVERED THAT THE OTHER HALF OF THE SCHOOL WAS MODERATELY COGNITIVELY IMPAIRED?
I was terrified.
YES, BUT YOU'RE DREAM WAS TO BE A SERVICE SQUAD AND ALL THE GIFTED CLASSES WERE FULL SO YOUR ONLY CHOICE WAS TO SIGN UP FOR A SPECIAL ED CLASS?
I was even more terrified.
YES, BUT I KEPT NUDGING YOU AND YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. YOU SIGNED UP FOR A SECOND YEAR AND BY THE END OF YOUR TIME THERE YOU HAD DECIDED THAT WHEN YOU GREW UP YOU WERE GOING TO BE A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER.
I know, and all through school I knew it was for me, but then I started teaching and my Bipolar got worse. I was hospitalized for the first times, and I was only able to keep teaching for about three years. I didn’t even make a bit of a difference.
DIDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE?? DIDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE?! YOU WORKED WITH KIDS WHOM OTHERS HAD GIVEN UP ON. YOU USED EVERY SKILL YOU HAD LEARNED TO DESIGN INDIVIDUALIZED LESSON PLANS AND TEACH THOSE KIDS SKILLS THAT WOULD HELP THEM WITH THEIR DAILY LIVES. WHEN OTHERS CALLED IT GLORIFIED BABYSITTING, YOU WERE DETERMINED TO TEACH. EVERY CHILD THAT ENTERED YOUR CLASSROOM WALKED AWAY WITH SKILLS THAT THEY OTHERWISE WOULDN’T HAVE HAD, THAT MADE THEIR LIVES A LITTLE BETTER. THAT SURE SOUNDS LIKE A DIFFERENCE TO ME!
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE THREE AND YOU WERE WATCHING CHRISTMAS EVE ON SESAME STREET AND YOU SAW LINDA TEACH THE KIDS TO SIGN THE SONG “KEEP CHRISTMAS WITH YOU”? DO YOU REMEMBER HOW MUCH IT MOVED YOUR HEART AND HOW DETERMINED YOU WERE TO LEARN AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE ONE DAY?
Yes…I took an extra semester in college so that I could get as much ASL as possible. But what does it matter, I never used it, I don’t even know anyone that is Deaf!
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THINGS FROM MORE THAN ONE ANGLE. YOU HAVEN’T MET ANYONE WHO IS DEAF, BUT YOU USED THOSE SIGNS TO COMMUNICATE WITH KIDS WITH AUTISM WHO WERE OTHERWISE NONVERBAL. ALSO, WHEN YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO AFRICA AND TEACH VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL AT AN ORPHANAGE FOR KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, YOU JUST KNEW YOU COULD TEACH THEM, EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN’T SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE. LEARNING SIGN LANGUAGE WASN’T ABOUT SPEAKING WITH KIDS WHO WERE DEAF, IT WAS ABOUT REALIZING THAT THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO COMMUNICATE AND THAT YOU NEED TO BE OPEN TO WHAT WAYS YOU CAN REACH THE CHILDREN THAT OTHERS CAN’T.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU STARTED A MASTER’S IN AUTISM, BUT YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS WAS AT A ROUGH SPOT AND YOU DIDN’T THINK THERE WAS ANY WAY YOU COULD FINISH THE DEGREE? I SENT YOU AN AMAZING PROFESSOR AND FRIEND THAT HELPED YOU SEE THAT YOU WOULD BE GREAT AT APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS, AND THAT MASTER’S YOU COULD GET WITH A DEGREE ONLINE, WHICH WOULD MUCH BETTER MEET YOUR NEEDS? DID YOU THINK THAT I SENT HER TO YOU JUST FOR FUNSIES? I SENT HER TO YOU BECAUSE I KNEW THAT SHE WOULD DIRECT YOU DOWN THE RIGHT PATH AND HELP YOU SEE HOW TALENTED YOU ARE.
But even after getting my Master’s and passing the boards I was only able to work for about three years. It was practically nothing.
BUT IN THOSE THREE YEARS DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LIVES YOU IMPACTED. YOU TAUGHT MANY YOUNG ADULTS TO LOVE THE FIELD OF ABA SO MUCH THAT THEY WENT BACK TO SCHOOL AND BECAME A BCBA, TOO. AND YOU GOT SO MANY YOUNG ONES WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER ON THE PATH TO START LEARNING LIFE SKILLS AND BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE IN WHICHEVER WAY WAS MEANT FOR THEM. I DON’T CALL THAT NOTHING!
Yeah, but then I was in such poor shape that I had to go to a short-term residential facility. I was at my lowest of lows. It was like I was starting over from square zero.
YES…BUT DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE AT THE END OF YOUR STAY. YOU WERE CO-FACILITATING PRACTICALLY EVERY GROUP YOU WERE IN AND YOU WERE RUNNING A SOCIAL GROUP SO THAT PEOPLE CAME OUT OF THEIR ROOMS AND PLAYED GAMES OR JUST CHATTED. I NEEDED YOU TO SEE THAT EVEN AT THE TIMES WHEN YOUR DISABILITY IS AT ITS WORST, YOU ARE STILL ABLE TO BE A TEACHER. YOU ARE STILL ABLE TO BE A MENTOR. YOU ARE STILL ABLE TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU AND SHOW THEM THAT THERE REALLY IS HOPE.
Hmmm…but what about now. I’ve been on disability for a few years, I know that I won’t be able to work full time, I still have been in and out of the hospital, and now that I’m not making very much money I have to go to the horrible hospitals!
ALL IN THE PLAN, MY DEAR. I NEEDED YOU TO SEE HOW DIFFERENT MEDICAL TREATMENT IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ABLE TO WORK AND FOR THOSE THAT AREN’T, ESPECIALLY KNOWING THAT THE MORE SEVERE YOUR DISABILITY, THE LESS LIKELY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO WORK. IT IS AWFUL WHAT IS GOING ON DOWN THERE. I GAVE YOU THE POWER TO WRITE AND TO SPEAK, AND YOU ARE USING YOUR VOICE TO MAKE THINGS DIFFERENT. I KNOW YOU LOOK AT THE ANALYTICS OF YOUR WEBSITE, BUT THERE IS TRULY NO WAY FOR YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT YOU ARE HAVING ON THE WORLD. ONLY I CAN SEE THAT. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU DO NEXT! SO PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP NOW. I KNOW YOUR LIFE IS DIFFICULT AND YOU ARE RUNNING LOW ON HOPE, BUT TRUST THAT I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU AND THAT ONLY YOU CAN FULFILL IT. REMEMBER THAT IN MANY OF THESE INSTANCES IT WAS YEARS BETWEEN WHEN I GAVE YOU THE SKILL OR DESIRE AND WHEN YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO USE THAT SKILL. MY PLANS ARE LONG TERM, WHILE YOU CAN ONLY SEE A FEW MOMENTS IN ADVANCE. YOU NEED TO TRUST ME, I AM ALWAYS PREPARING YOU FOR THE NEXT STEP…BIG OR SMALL. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
Yes, I think so. If I end my life now, it’s probably in the middle of a plan, and it could mean that that plan was never fulfilled. I have to keep fighting…but I know that You will be with me.
I WILL. I LOVE YOU WITH A LOVE THAT IS SO BIG YOU CAN’T EVEN UNDERSTAND, AND I AM SO SO PROUD OF YOU FOR CONTINUING TO FIGHT. YOUR BRAIN WILL TELL YOU IT’S TIME TO GIVE UP MANY MORE TIMES BEFORE IT’S TRUE, BUT REMEMBER THAT I AM HERE AND WE CAN ALWAYS TALK THROUGH IT. I’M ASKING YOU TO PLEASE NOT GIVE UP, AND I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT WHAT WILL COME NEXT!
Thank you, me, too. I love you.
I LOVE YOU, TOO. NOW GO CHANGE THE WORLD!Back to Blog