First off... I love what you do, helping others. Keep doing what you're doing and I'll keep reading.
Now, to the real reason I'm typing this up. Asking for help. There are so many things wrong with me right now I can't even begin to pick just one. Let's see... Father hung himself a month ago, I suffer from bipolar disorder and IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder). My father was an alcoholic. I'm addicted to video games (Though that's going away), and the reason I'm writing you.
See, I'm 21 years old, however mentally, I'm only 18 and... Well... I just can't get started with my life. I haven't been able to get a job (or I just can't hold one if I am lucky enough to get one). So both job and college are out of the question. I want to go into college though for Information Technology, but, again, can't get a job and I don't want to be in student debt until I'm in my 40s or 50s (My mom finally paid off hers). I'm living with my mother, and I'm beginning to feel like a burden on her. I'm asking her for money left and right, and owe 2 hospital bills equaling $2,400 for going into Behavioral Health for attempting suicide. Even now, as I write this, it makes me want to cry for all the reasons that my mother were to have if she hated me (which I know she doesn't).
I can't get a girlfriend... That requires a job so mom doesn't have to go on my dates with me. I don't want to have to apply for disability for my mental issues but... It seems like I have to go that way. All my friends are happy, everyone's got a girlfriend (my best friend even got his pregnant). Every day, I keep wondering where my sweet princess is. I've tried going gay, just so maybe somebody could love me, but I've had to break a lot of boys hearts by saying I'm not gay. I just want to DO something with my life, I don't want to be just another statistic. I catch everyone saying "You're young, you should be enjoying your life." Well let me tell you something Papa Bear, I'm not... The only time I somewhat do is when I'm playing my video games, and when I play online, I'm not even that good... My K/D ration on Call of Duty is TERRIBLE! (That probably was over your head). Anyway just PLEASE help me! I can't stand it anymore!
* * *
My deepest sympathies for the loss of your father. It surely makes everything else you are going through seem even worse than it would under less unfortunate circumstances. I am sorry for your loss. Yet, you mention his tragic passing so briefly, I have to think you are trying to minimize thinking about it. He was an alcoholic, too, which likely was a symptom of other things troubling him. It could also explain or contribute to your IED. If you are subliminalizing it, that pain has to come out somehow, and a violent emotional eruption like you see with IED would be one way. If the IED diagnosis occurred after your father's death, that could be your explanation.
Next word of advice to you: lose the name. Pick something more cheerful than “Nightmare” and you’ll be surprised how it can affect you.
Another thing that strikes me is that there really isn’t much difference, mentally, between a 21 year old and an 18 year old. Not sure who told you you were like an 18 year old, but that’s a silly thing to say. Unless you mean regarding education, such as you are 21 and should be at a college level but you’re still at the high school level. That might be so. Your IED and bipolar disorder might be holding you back.
But that doesn’t mean college is not an option for you. In fact, did you know you could be eligible for a scholarship based on mental hardships? Go to the National Alliance on Mental Health website and you can find all sorts of information to help you, from legal rights to best colleges to select based on their access to mental health for students. Search for possible scholarships on FastWeb and GoCollege, and you might be surprised by what you find. You can enter all kinds of variables to discover interesting scholarships; it’s not all about just academics or athletic ability. Some bizarre scholarships include some for people who are really into potatoes and asparagus, a scholarship for people who work at delis, and one for people who are interested in lawn sprinkler systems. You can find almost anything if you look hard enough. I also advise those interested in college to consider attending a community college for the first two years. The reasons being: 1) it saves you a TON of money, and 2) you’ll get smaller classrooms and better professor-to-student ratios. Then, transfer your credits to a university for your junior year. (Actually, there are many interesting careers you can get into with a 2 year degree that earn good money, such as paralegal or LPN). It helps, too, to find out what universities have cooperative agreements with which community colleges so you can transfer all or most of your credits. Finally, you can also explore work-study programs.
About your hospital bills. Have you tried calling the hospital and arranging some sort of payment plan or, even better, seeing if you can get them to knock down the price given your economic issues? You’re 21 and unemployed and suffering from mental illness; there are things you can do. Start with the hospital you went to. Most good hospitals have a financial aid office—almost like a college! Contact them and discuss the issue calmly with the representative there. Don’t give them bullshit, but tell them exactly what is going on with you financially and they will work with you. You can also consult a regular debt counselor if the debt is too overwhelming for you.
About your mental illnesses—I don’t have to tell you that you should be on medications and/or receiving other treatment for your disorders, especially since you have attempted suicide at least once already. You are very vulnerable right now and need help. Have you tried group therapy? You need to know you're not alone and that you can lean on people for help. Because of your illness and circumstances, you could be eligible for Medicaid, and I would explore that immediately in order to get your bills covered. For eligibility requirements and information in Pennsylvania, go here.
Do not worry about finding a girlfriend (or boyfriend) until you get your mental health and income issues settled. That’s enough for anyone at any one time. Of course, if you just happen to meet someone and fall in love without even looking, then bless you and go for it. But I wouldn’t spend a lot of time and energy on it until the other issues are in better shape. Don’t worry about what your friends all have (and getting a girlfriend pregnant is not necessarily a good thing); this isn’t a competition; this is your life. Envy will just make you feel worse, so don’t worry about what they are doing with their lives. Just worry about your own life. Oh, and don’t worry about the Kill/Death ratio, okay? If playing a video game helps you relax a bit, fine. Just don’t spend too much time playing them.
The good news for you is that all of your problems can be solved, if you are willing to work on them. I hope that what I have written here will nudge you in the right direction.
And don’t forget to change your name. Creating a positive environment is a big part of the battle. Complementary to this would be to play happy music, decorate with cheerful colors, and look for the little joys in life that are around you.
You can do it. You just need a bit of a kick in the butt! *Bear boots yer butt*
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.