Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pay It Forward

Last night I spent some quality time with Puck while watching Pay It Forward . What I had heard about the movie was true. It was excellent. Idealistic perhaps, but I'd like to think people selflessly giving to others in hopes that they'll turn around and help another is possible. It could happen. Maybe it is already happening among us. It was a feel-good movie, despite the ending, and I needed that shot of optimism.

It was with this optimistic buzz still humming that I arrived this morning to pick up the teenager I mentor. A moment after getting into my car he said, "Something really bad happened this weekend." Uh-oh. "What," I asked? "My dad got kicked out of the house," he said, and then proceeded to describe the f-ed up scene, complete with beer dumping, physical violence, and police cars, that had transpired the previous evening. "Oh," I said. "I'm sorry." Crash went the buzzing optimism!

In the above situation, you may assume it was the father in the devil's role. After all, he got kicked out of the house--just like in Pay It Forward. Unfortunately, the more similar characters are the mothers--drunks, both of them. But unlike the movie mom, my teenager's mom has no interest in quitting her alcoholic drinking. Unlike the movie mom, my teenager's mom has no concept that she has a problem, or worse, that she IS the problem! The family flits around her, taking care of her every whim and desire, although never up to her standards or intellectual superiority, so that she may stay home, barely dressed, direct traffic, and drink. She is the queen, and they are the angry, resentful bees stuck in her sticky, sick mess.

Dad will be back. She can't live without him. But there will be no apologies, no admitting of fault, no discussions, no change in family dynamics. The sick, resentful, angry buzzing will continue to fester and infect all who enter the hive. The kids, especially, know no other way of interacting with this world.

Pay It Forward would be lost on the teenager I mentor. The selfishness surrounding him daily has warped his brain. His development stopped long before his current chronological age. I often wonder how he functions in school surrounded by brains so aged in comparison to his own. Though he is not far from graduation, "please" and "thank you" were foreign concepts until I introduced them less than one year ago. He is a beautiful child in a man's body in a house devoid of teachers. It makes me sad. It makes me angry. It makes me committed to stick with him.

I had Mrs. Hoffman when my life was devoid of teachers.
Pay It Forward. Maybe it is real. Maybe it works. Can't do anything else but try.
Paying it forward...


crackedheadblog said...

Very very nice post.

Untreatable said...

I enjoyed that movie as well and it would be nice if people adopted that philosophy into their own lives as the world would be a much better place.

etta said...

Thank you, PJ.
AMEN, untreatable!