By the time this post publishes I will be turning 27 in 2 days. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and talking to friends who are in the same boat as me and for some reason we’ve all agreed that 27 is distinctly different. It feels different. I feel that this is the age at which people can’t dismiss me as a young upstart anymore. I mean i’ve been a homeowner since I was 24 but things like that don’t matter to people who still want to see you as a dimissable child. At this point in my life i’ll be an OFFICIAL adult to outsiders. When I tell people my age they won’t be like “oh well you’re young you’ll LEARN” in that voice we all know and love so dearly.
I’ve never been on the “i’m not an adult” train. I’ve felt like an adult for a very. very. very long time because i’ve worked hard to be independent and build a sustainable and practical life. My friends often joke, as recently as this weekend, that if they ever decide to grow up and be actual adults that i’m the one they’ll call. I can help with taxes, refinancing your mortgage to a 15 year (and the benefits of it), and consolidating student loans. Heck if you’re buying a car i’m your gal! I’m great at playing bad cop and getting great deals.
I’m also getting married a month after I turn 27 and that has added some weight to the situation. Not because getting married changes anything, I mean, Mando and I have been together for over 6 years now, we’ve lived together since fall of 2012 and this more so just feels like legalizing something that we’ve been all along (and getting those sweet tax benefits). So that’s not it. The reason it changes stuff is because one big reason it’s important for me to be married is because I personally need to be married before I have children. It’s a thing for me and no it’s not religious, it’s life. We’re not getting married JUST so we can have kids either but we have an agreed upon timeline that has a lot to do with our 5 year plan, how fast we can pay off cars and student loans and increase our savings before we decide to bring kids into this world. We have a plan.
And part of that plan is that before I can have kids, I need to really take care of my mental health. I’ve known since puberty that i’m depressed and anxious. I also have known that i’m stubborn. And so for years i’ve stubbornly refused outside help out of pride. Now that’s not to say that i’ve been a mess. I’m really proud of the progress i’ve made when it comes to coping and dealing with my mental illness and i’m even more proud of the fact that I am VERY comfortable sharing that fact with people. I advocate a lot for mental illness awareness. I advocate a lot for transparency and destigmatization. I advocate a lot for making sure we treat it like any other medical condition and don’t blame ourselves for chemical reactions our bodies have.
However this doesn’t mean I always practice what I preach. I find myself blaming myself a lot for panic attacks or when I don’t notice that i’m slipping. I try so hard to forcefully keep myself in check that I forget it’s not up to me, it’s up to my brain and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. No matter how much I journaled, tracked my emotions in my bullet journal, took a lot of time for self care, whatever, no matter what you do you can’t just shut down a chemical imbalance. It’s not like your brain is going to go “well she made her grocery list, separated it by aisle, and is listening to a very soothing podcast, therefore No Anxiety at HEB this time! Huzzah!”. Yeah, no.
But i’ve been comfortable and i’ve been dealing with it. Mando has helped me deal with it and often times he catches me before I even see that I need to be caught. But at the same time our relationship has made me realize that my mental illness and struggles (or not) with it don’t just effect me, they effect him too. My mania effects him. My depression effects him. My blank emotional slate effects him. And it’s not because i’m not trying, god knows i’m trying to keep myself in stasis, but once again, that’s not up to me.
So with that realization I was forced to make another realization: I can be stubborn and deal with my own shit all I want but it is not the job of my children to also deal with my shit. I do not want to raise my kids like this. Now once again, I want to point out that most of the time i’m doing just fine. I stay busy, i’m very responsible, i’m good. But then sometimes i’m not good. I’m still high functioning but i’m artificial. And I never want to be artificial for my children. It is not their job to deal with my shit. So before I have kids I need to get proper outside help and I need to see a therapist and a psychiatrist.
For those of you who don’t know me irl this is how big of a deal that was. I texted my mom to see if she had any friends who saw counselors and psychs in our insurance network (we are both teachers and have the same insurance provider) and my mom was calling me in .5 seconds “Are you okay? What’s wrong? Do you need me to come over?”. It was such a big deal that she thought something REALLY BAD must be happening for me to make this choice but it was just the opposite. I was doing just fine, it’s just that now I have a literal time line and actual countdown (thanks to the life span of my birth control implant) for having kids and because I was in a good place, and because I made that realization, I knew now was a good time to act.
Yeah that was in October.
It’s mid March now and i’m JUST now getting around to booking appointments. But it only took me six months and hey after begin stubborn for 14 years about it I don’t think six months is that big of a deal in retrospect.
So this month my insurance is getting put to the test for real. I saw an optometrist last Tuesday and last Wednesday I had my first appointment with a therapist. Full disclosure, i’m writing this Wednesday morning so I haven’t actually gone yet as of writing this and i’m jittery as hell about it. I’m also preemptively exhausted about having to start from scratch with telling someone all the reasons i’m occasionally insane. Like, that’s a LOT of talking. And then next week I see both the dentist for a cleaning and my brand new Psychiatrist because i’m ready to stop fighting body chemistry. I shouldn’t *have* to struggle like this. It’s not a point of pride to suffer through it (even though God knows I love to suffer through things rather than take medicine, ask Mando, i’m quite vexxing that way “Why don’t you just take ibuprofen if your arthritis is acting up?!” “No i’m fine, it’s not that bad yet!” “*huffy exasperated sigh from Mando*”)
So yep. This month I find out just how good (or not good, eep!) my insurance is and how much I can get done. It’s not a one time thing either. I know this is a very small step on a very long journey that will have to continue through my kid’s childhood. But i’m finally ready to start and i’m finally ready to do what I believe is best for me and for my future progeny.