In my journey as a homeless person I have made many mistakes but I think that I am on the road to recovery and a better life with the help of many people. It’s hard to admit to making mistakes and it is very hard to correct things when you don’t think that anything is wrong.
In the shelter I see many women behaving in the same way that I was behaving and I have to resist saying anything to them because they are on their journey, the same way that I am on mine. The only thing that I can do is try to be supportive and if they ask for my advice, give it. No one ever asks for my advice. It’s hard because you see people doing what you were doing and you desperately want to say something but you can’t, because to say something is not your place.
I hear of stories of women who insist that they don’t need mental health when they clearly have rage issues and other issues that are causing them pain. It is unbelievable to me that their is a stigma about mental health in a place like a shelter, but there is. The attitude among the women that I hear is that drugs like anti-depressants and mood stabilizers aren’t healthy for you. A person to calm their mood should take marijuana instead of mood stabilizers, cause marijuana is considered more natural than anti-depressants. You can see clearly that the weed is not working but they don’t want to admit that there is mental illness in them and they continue with the self medication.
When does a person decide when they have had enough of a certain lifestyle and get some help? For me it was 20 years of making the same mistakes over and over again. I wonder how long it will take them. I know that it is not any of my business how someone runs their lives but it hurts to see it nonetheless.
Everyday I see women who brag about making really bad decisions, such as the woman who bragged that her boyfriend beats her up. These things make me tired and worried and so I just try to avoid everyone altogether in hopes that I don’t have to hear the stories that are so heartbreaking.
Not everyone is having such a hard time though, there are women who are struggling and they are trying to achieve a better life and be positive and they are the women that I look up to. They are working and trying to make a change for the better, despite their problems. The trick to living in a shelter is learning what to accept, what to ignore and what to call attention to. I pick my battles carefully and try to always show respect for others. I don’t think that a lot of these women have been given respect in their lives. I think that for a person to be empowered they must first respect themselves and that comes from being respected by others.
I know that we have all made mistakes but what bothers me is how you have to pay and pay for the mistakes that you have made. When does the mind finally give it a rest and decide that enough is enough and behave the way a normal mind should. For that matter, what is a normal mind? I believe that at this moment my mind is behaving in a way that is normal and functional, but the mind can be very deceiving. What one person believes to be normal and sane another believes to be completely out of control and insane. I know that my living in a shelter to some would be considered not normal and that my lifestyle would be looked down upon.
I think one of the things to realize is that the decisions in your life are not necessarily mistakes, they are decisions that you make at that point in your life because that is the place where your mind has taken you. Experiences, lifestyles, upbringing and frame of reference all play into the decisions that we make. But our upbringings and experiences are so vast that no one person can have the same outlook on life, that is why life is so different from individual to individual.
So I guess what it all comes down to is that I made so-called mistakes and I will continue to make them because that is how I learn. The mistakes will cost me but I hope that they will not cost me too dearly in the future. I wish this for not only me but for everyone. I hope that you will be safe and the decisions that you make will effect you in only a positive way.