I had another emotional collapse today, getting ready for work. By now one might think that I'd be used to them and they wouldn't happen but they still do, even when I know they're on their way. I even called Jessie into the
bedroom as it was starting so that I wouldn't be alone when it hit. It's eerie, knowing that I'm about to nosedive but that I'm not there yet and that I can feel everything on the way down into depression and be utterly unable to prevent it.
If this is what my father went through with his clinical depression for fifty-three years, it explains a lot about him that I never understood before.
This time was a bit different, though, in that it wasn't totally internal. The Parking Lot is Full, a very odd online
comic strip, runs the gamut from surreal to banal to dark and disturbing. One issue in particular, though, served as the catalyst for my crying jag today.
Looking at it, I can see the humor. I can see why it's supposed to be funny, but all I can feel is this tangled knot of emotion. The expression on the chimp's face is, in Jessie's language, a symbol for all the people who have been hurt and unable to fight back or protect themselves. Children, elderly people, handicapped people, emotionally fragile people, victims of abuse... I could list hundreds of groups, I'm sure. I felt pity for the victims, hatred for the oppressors, helplessness at my inability to help, anger at my helplessness, and probably other things I haven't even followed from there. I felt the desire to pick up that chimp and somehow promise that I would make
it all alright again, that he would never be hurt that way again.
By now, even I was thinking somewhere in the distant, rational corner of my mind, "Kristy, sweety, why in hell are you letting yourself get worked up over a comic strip? It's not real. And yet... as a symbol, it touches chords within me. I've been in the position of having people around me that needed help for whom I could do nothing, sometimes because of the situation, sometimes because I never knew they were hurting. I hate the feeling of helplessness at not being able to help those about whom I care so much.
I got into computer programming because it was a job at which I knew I had some aptitude, and at which I knew I could make money, but in truth even when I started down this road, it wasn't the road I wanted to take. I wanted to be in a field where I could help others, where I could touch others' lives. I've dreamed of being a teacher for years, but I've always put off doing anything about it because I said I needed the time in industry to make the money I'd need to live comfortably while getting my doctorate in computer sciences so I could teach at the university level.
Now I'm wondering, even if it's only in passing, if maybe I'd be happier going into a field like counselling or the like. Part of my problem is that I'd love to be able to help, but there's some part of my mind that wants it to be a labor of love. If I'm taking money for it, suddenly I'm doing it because it's work, not because it's something I enjoy doing, however crazy that sounds. I should love what I do, irrespective of whether I get paid, but there's some part of my mind that says I shouldn't take money for what I do because I enjoy doing it.
It's strange, saying at twenty-six years of age, that I'm not where I want to be in my life, but I've said it of so many other things that this one is hardly surprising, and it's something I've been saying since I was young, really. It's just something that I've always put off and not really actively sought, simply because I thought I had other priorities. I wanted to work in industry first and prove that I could put my skills to use. So far, I haven't done anything in the field that I couldn't have done when I left high school. I just have two more pieces of paper claiming that I know what I'm doing, even if they're not what I want to do.
I think once I have my surgery paid for and my life in order, I should start looking at going back for my doctorate and looking into teaching positions. Maybe I can start at a community college teaching night classes. One of the
other women in my therapy group is a teacher; she may know of some place that's looking.