There was a time when I felt I could change the world — or at least a small chunk of it. I then spent the next 40+ years trying real hard to do so. I like to think I made a difference, but I'm no longer sure.
One of the problems is that at my age (59) I still tend to view life with the brain of someone in their late 20's. Then I look in the mirror and wonder who that stranger is there looking back at me. The romantic in me sees the broken nose and lines as battle scars from fighting the 'good' fight but the realist sees just an aging, unremarkable fellow.
One of the major things I learned in life was that 'care', built into the human psych, is like a battery. You and give and give in vast amounts, but eventually, you need to have some returned or the battery wears out and caring becomes a chore, you tend to turn inward and, in many cases, just stop trying.
I've also discovered that many people may depend on you for this 'care' and when you falter, they vanish. You gave them what they needed, but they're not willing or able to return the favor when you fail.
I know I've had an interesting and often exciting life, but now I'm regulated to 24/7 caretaker of my 80+ year old Mother because my siblings can't be bothered. Basically, for me, life is over. I'm living in the family home I left ages ago and counting pennies, tethered to my disabled Mom by a personal beeper and a disposable cell phone. I have to see a shrink for my primary disability, which is not getting much better because of the situation I'm in and now, I'm starting to physically fall apart.
In the 1970's I worked in a hospital, often in the ER as a Medical Tech, in a white uniform that often was bloody splattered by the end of my shift. I was good at my job. I absorbed knowledge like a sponge. I helped save lives. I comforted the sick and, at times I protected the nurses and aids. I was someone doing something.
I drove a 1967 Pontiac GTO, which was my pride and joy.
Depression has become a lifestyle for me. Along with isolation and an increasing mistrust and disgust in humanity. I've watched my siblings succeed while I stagnated. I took needy people into my own home to help them out, only to have them steal from me.
I entered the field of psychiatry as a psychiatric assistant and nearly got fired when I saved a patient's life over the phone by sending the cops to her house when she overdosed. Apparently, I discovered, the clinic rules did not allow such an action. I never found out, until long after I resigned, that my effort had ACTUALLY saved her life. My superiors chose not to tell me. Instead, they made me feel like a heel.
(I found this out when, before I left, I picked the lock on the supervisors door, got and copied my file and put the copies away when I got home. A couple of years later, I took time to actually read it and read the official report about the incident.)
I'm tired of being depressed. I'm tired of being disabled. It's been so long since I've been really happy that I've just about forgotten what it's like.
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