you’re on your own now
we won’t save you
is too exhausted
“Army of Me” by Bjork
For folks who know me, I’m on Facebook ALL the time. If I’m not posting on someone else’s page, then I’m sharing content on my own while commenting on a video or posting a random status. I also pay attention to many of my friend’s statuses as it’s sometimes my only way to check up on them.
I notice that many of these same friends tend to post something about their emotional state on their page as it pertains to something that has happened to them or someone they know. If the status is serious or positive enough, they will get numerous responses from folks showing genuine support (which is awesome—especially if the person is struggling).
I myself do the same as a way to communicate about my struggles with mental illness and ADD. But I notice something: I don’t get as many responses at 34-years-old compared to my younger friends (not that I’m looking for it either). So this makes me wonder: are there certain expectations associated with age?
Let me explain.
In my early to mid 20s, I have had what I call my Emotional Rescue Squad—groups of people who have entered my life and supported me in some way. They have been more prevalent during the time of my life in which I’m pursuing my Bachelors in Social Work and winning in the life of sobriety. My brothers, sisters and people in spirit have been willing to listen and even offer a helping hand when I make a mistake or struggle to get on my feet. When I think the worse of myself, they are there to pep talk me out of my misery. When I need money, they gave me that and then some. Even people I haven’t met before make sure I have enough to eat—literally and spiritually, with the assumption that I’m working towards a bright future that only a bright person like myself deserves.
But as time goes on, it becomes evident that the future I imagine for myself is slipping away from me. Unlike the creative 20-year-old with energy and no filter, the 30 something is struggling to keep up with a hectic grad school schedule and the ability to remain focused—all the while attempting to ignore the negative gossip among my professors around me. The bravado I once use to coast by is no longer working as my mental health issues become more prevalent.
I would post my battles on Facebook, writing entire essays about how I am being treated unfairly and wishing to use my English degree. By this time, I now have an online ERS, showing their sympathies and regard and telling me that I’m going to graduate. And I’m not only lifted up by their words, but the idea that my Higher Spirits are going to protect me—regardless of the fact that I almost fail out of grad school. I need them to help me—to lift me up and tell them how bright I am and that I’ve not made a mistake. I need them to support me in the manner I’m used to.
By the time I graduate, I’m burned out and wish for someone to hold me up. But guess what? And though I receive emotional support and then some, the ERS is now few and far between. Even as I fast forward to the age of 34, I have asked myself what the hell happened. Where is my ERS? Why are they unfriending me on Facebook or shooting me looks of disapproval when I see them in person?
Because there’s now the expectation to hold myself accountable, considering that I now know better. Unlike the 20 something aspiring social worker, the 30 something broke writer has no excuse as to why she is cannot look out for herself—regardless of the struggles she has. The intense emotional responses that I am used to getting away with will no longer work. The angry-five-year that is trapped inside this adult body is expected to be tamed by therapy and medication and not the people in my support system. In other words, I’m expected to grow up and handle shit differently.
A part of me thinks that my ERS is tapped out and have simply decided to move on because they waiting for me to act on my own behalf. But another part of me realizes that I have been searching for parents who are willing to care for me. I unfortunately will never have that parental care I long for and I have to be ok with that.
For all I know, the Dark Passenger could be using my troubles against me. I have been depressed for the past three days for reasons unknown to me. Even if my assumptions have any merit, I hope people see that I’m trying. I’m trying everything I can to make my life better so I can look in the mirror and not see a person with problems, but someone that even I will be proud of.