What’s your silly crying scenario?
My dreadful drive to work begins by 6:15am, yet the existence of the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show on Jack FM radio allows me to enjoy this commute on the Dallas North Tollway. Their family-friendly, hilarious morning show has been a happy place of mine for years. A couple weeks ago, host J-Si shared that his wife Kinsey cried over not being chosen as a chaperone for her son’s first field trip. Then, the cast opened it up to their audience members to share their silliest reasons for crying. I instantly knew what my moment was. It’s what made me realize I needed to seek help for emotional instability and the status of my mental health. My silly crying scenario involved coupons.
I was a new mom and already emotional.
My son was born in February 2003. Although I took twelve weeks maternity leave, the night before I returned to my teaching job to finish out the year…I sobbed hysterically. I cried every single morning that I dropped him off at daycare. During the summer I soaked up every minute with my boy. Soon, however, the academic year began again, and I again cried every…single…morning when I had to leave him. I shed plenty of tears over the months, but it seemed understandable. I loved my little boy to pieces and just couldn’t get enough of him. I yearned to be a stay-at-home mom, but we just couldn’t afford it.
Unexpected expenses arose.
Born a preemie, he lived in the NICU for several weeks. Although the hospital was on our insurance plan, the unknown independent NICU within the hospital was not. What kind of idiocy is that? So, financially we were strapped more so than we ever expected to be. I quickly learned to be better at bargain hunting and coupon clipping.
One sunny afternoon, I grabbed my shopping list and coupons and drove to Target. I filled my cart, carefully checking my list and matching up my coupons, and queued up at checkout. The typical conversation began with, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” Another employee with a clipboard was standing nearby. She asked if I was interested in saving 5% on my purchases every time by signing up for their credit card. I quickly declined, explaining how we put a freeze on any credit card sign ups due to dealing with identity theft a year or so prior. I explained the hoops we would be required to jump through, and we just weren’t interested in dealing with any of it. I’m sure I gave too much information, but she was pushy, as was her job. Throughout this brief discussion, I completed my purchases by signing my name to the card I swiped.
Then, it hit me.
My hand still clutched my coupons. I hadn’t used any of them! I just spent more money than I had planned. Tears fell immediately. Frustrated and angry, I blamed the woman with the clipboard for distracting me while I was trying to make my purchases with the employee running the register. I snapped at her, spouting that this wasn’t the way she should be doing her job…that she shouldn’t be distracting people trying to check out. I’m sure I sounded loony…and appeared so while wiping away tears with the back of my hand.
I grabbed my cart and pushed my way out to my car as quickly as possible. Driving home, I struggled to hold back more tears. Minutes later, I parked, entered our house, passed by my husband saying, “I just need a minute”, opened the door to the backyard, and exited the house. The door slammed behind me; I squatted down, buried my face into my hands and cried…loudly…ugly crying…and yelling out in emotional pain…over coupons. I know my husband must’ve been perplexed and concerned, to say the least.
I had completely lost it.
It wasn’t just the coupons. That was the drop that made the cup run over. Within a week or so, I found myself in a general practitioner’s office receiving a script for an anti-depressant. I was embarrassed and immediately felt stigmatized. I had struggled off and on with depression and anxiety for years; I thought it was normal. But those coupons were the commencement of my ten-year quest for a proper diagnosis. It began with my general practitioner…then neurologist and neuropsychologist…then psychiatrist. I didn’t know any better in the beginning, but the psychiatrist should have been sought out first.
By the end of 2013, I had the official diagnosis of bipolar 2 and was finally being treated for it appropriately.
Mental illness led to a new purpose.
My passion has become bringing awareness to the daily struggles of mental illness…how we are affected, how others view mental illness, how we cope (or don’t cope), and how others can help. Eventually, I began fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, helping spread the word about the Peyton Heart Project, and blogging about the battles for mental health here on my site Life, So Daily.
Copyright © 2017 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.