From Age Thirty to Thirty-Seven

After I had my breakdown at age thirty, I moved back in with my parents. I found I wasn’t able to function on my own. I would fall asleep driving to my temporary job with Kaiser. When at the job, I couldn’t even read. The words were all jumbled. I appeared competent. No one could see that I, a highly educated and articulate former professional woman, COULD NOT EVEN READ A SENTENCE.

So to Hermosa Beach and my parents’ care, I returned. They were tremendously supportive and encouraged my recovery by giving me work to do and charging me room and board. The rent was more than I could earn doing odd jobs around the house. We drew up a promissory note with well-defined terms, including interest charged for the money I owed them. Once I was up for it, I got outside employment, starting as a temporary file clerk for Cushman and Wakefield, a large commercial real estate firm. What followed was a decade long career in commercial real estate. It was a welcome change, not emotionally draining as was helping severely emotionally disturbed youth, and it used my analytic and problem-solving skills. Still, I continued my pattern of overdoing it, working long hours and neglecting myself, leading to repeated burn out and cyclical depression. As a result, my résumé which you can find on LinkedIn lists numerous short stints at various jobs and in multiple career areas.

Soon after moving back to Hermosa Beach, I met my future husband, a civil engineer who didn’t own a car, just three motorcycles and a small plane. Not your average engineer. Interesting. Complex. He even spoke Mandarin. Three years after we met, we married and later had a son. Since both my son and husband are very private, I hesitate to write much of my life as wife and mother. I can say, though, that I found being home with an infant difficult. At the same time, I found being at work, away from him, heart-breaking. After childbirth and a pregnancy that kept me bedridden for five weeks, I returned to the workplace on a part-time basis. My job, as always, grew, consuming more and more of me, while my son needed me home with him. When I worked first two then three days a week, my sister and my husband would care for my son. By the time that my responsibilities demanded that I work four days a week until 7pm, I put my son in a loving home-based childcare setting. Every time I would leave my son at childcare, he would cry for a good one and a half hours. I visited him during my lunch hour, which meant that he we would cry again after lunch. It broke my heart. Finally I decided to quit work and stay home with him full-time.

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5 thoughts on “From Age Thirty to Thirty-Seven

  1. Doreen Bench May 16, 2014 / 12:19 pm

    It sounds like your parents encourage a strong work ethic. Being a stay-at-home mom can play tricks on me – especially when I struggle with mood swings. I often think the grass is greener or that another situation in which I appear more ambitious would keep me more mentally healthy. I had a pediatrician once tell me that if she was a stay-at-home mom she would kill herself. Having just woken from postpartum psychosis at the time, I didn’t mention to her that I was close to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley May 16, 2014 / 1:47 pm

      Being a stay-at-home mom is definitely not intellectually stimulating. It is difficult to have an advanced degree and not use it after having worked so hard to obtain it.

      Like

      • Doreen Bench May 16, 2014 / 3:16 pm

        Yes! That’s huge! I can see how that would be hard!

        Like

  2. SalvaVenia May 16, 2014 / 2:21 am

    No answers to be found in materialism. Period.

    Like

    • Kitt O'Malley May 16, 2014 / 10:26 am

      I agree, Salva, but honestly I wasn’t pursuing material gain. My ambition and workaholism came from my personality or were a symptom of bipolar disorder. I did not pursue money. I just wanted to get the job done, and do it well, and would do so at any cost to myself and my family.

      Liked by 2 people

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