Monthly Archives: November 2014

Patience

Patience, as I’ve always heard, is a virtue.

I have never been the patient kind. I want things to happen and happen fast. I don’t like to wait for things to be done, and I really don’t like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

One thing I’ve found is that I need patience, from others, and more importantly, from myself to myself. I don’t give myself enough time, enough slack, I don’t take it easy on me. I’m very hard on myself. I take things to heart. I take the blame for everything. When someone is teasing with me, or even if they are short with me, I take it personally.

Now, I’m living with a guy that I met in college. We had liked each other, but I was too preoccupied with what I thought I wanted. But now that we’re together, I’m really happy. The fun part of living together, is learning each other.

The other day, I was cooking dinner, which I haven’t done in a while. In this new house, we have a gas stove and oven. I don’t know how to cook on this. Not to mention, that I’m not that good at cooking. So, I’m cooking, and I don’t have enough pans…I don’t have enough ingredients…I’m not doing too well. I’m getting frustrated, very frustrated. So I turn everything off, in the middle of cooking, and start putting on my shoes and hoodie, I’m going to the store. Marcus sees me, and asks what I’m doing. I’m too frustrated to think of a sentence.

Then something I haven’t had in a long time happens. He gets up and hugs me. It’s not a simple hug, it’s a “someone is going to hold you so tight that all the pieces stick back together” hug. He stands there and holds me until I no longer feel like I’m falling apart. And when I’m more comfortable, he asks me what’s wrong. I tell him, and he jumps in and fixes it. Like there’s no problem, nothing has gone wrong, and fixes everything.

At the time, I was ready to cry. I was mad and feeling like I was falling apart. And he made it not hurt anymore. Sometimes that’s all you need.

So patience…It’s a virtue that I don’t currently possess. But I’m working on it.

The thing you need to remember, have patience for yourself. I know, we’re our hardest critics. But sometimes, we need to force ourselves to learn to be patient with us. Just practice on it, one day I’ll get it.

Problems at the DPS

So, in case you didn’t know, I live in Texas. It’s a great state, a state that people don’t mess with. Get it??? “Don’t mess with Texas!”

Anyhow, I recently moved, to Abilene, a nice town, and so far I like it. I’ve been driving around town to find out where everything is, so that, when I need something, I know how to get there. So, I was out, looking at things, and thought “I need to change my address on my license.” I drove around until I found the DPS. Well, they moved the licensing part to the other side of town. Drive around some more, and finally I find the place. Now, let me tell you, I don’t like waiting with a bunch of people. Crowds like that make me nervous. Anyhow, so I quietly ask the lady at the desk what I need to change my address, and she tells me that I just need my license (it’s been a while since I’ve had to make a trip to get my license, so I couldn’t remember what I needed.) I give the lady my license and she looks at me and simply tells me that my license expires on my birthday next year. Duh, I knew that. What I didn’t realize was that it was so close. She tells me that I can go ahead and renew my license, for $25 of course. She gives me the paper to fill out and I go sit down to start working on it.

Looking at it, no big deal. The questions are simple, just my name and address, basic contact information. No big deal. Then, of course, it asks, do you want to register to vote? Yes. Do you want to donate your organs? Yes. Do you want to donate to this charity? No. Do you want to donate to this other charity? No. Then comes the kicker! Question 11. In the past two years, have you been hospitalized or sought treatment for a psychiatric disorder? Now, in my head, I’m thinking…”Well, that’s odd…But I remember someone saying something about it before when I was in Ft. Worth. No big deal, I’m not ashamed of what I am.” So, I check yes, I have been hospitalized and/or sought treatment for a psychiatric disorder.

Finally, they call my number. I go up to the desk, give them my paper, and the girl starts typing. She asks me what I few things are, because my penmanship can sometimes be hard to read, and I answer her questions. Then, she gets to question 11. She looks at me and asks what I have… A little too personal, I think, but since there’s no shame here, I answer “Bipolar disorder”. No big deal. Then, she turns and grabs another sheet of paper. She hands it to me and tells me to fill it out. And on this special paper, there are in depth questions, that I really don’t think are the state’s business.

This paper asks questions like: When were you hospitalized. What is your disorder? When were you diagnosed? When was your first treatment? When was your last treatment? And there were a few others that I can’t honestly remember. So…I fill the paper out, and hand it back to her. In a whisper, she asks “How long were you hospitalized?” Having looked at the back of the paper when she turned it over, I knew that I was getting into some trouble. Why? Because the form on the back asks something along the lines of people being in voluntarily hospitalized, there were some special instructions. I told her a week, back in 2013, and it was voluntary. She writes down that it was for a week, that it was for a bipolar episode, but she doesn’t put anything about it being voluntary.

Now, I’m getting worried. She’s quietly writing away, flipping the page over and over again. She looks at me, grabs this pink piece of paper and asks me to fill it out. That’s when she informs me that I will need to take a driving test before I can renew. Really? I’ve never taken a driving test. When I took driver’s education, I opted out of the driving test because the thought of driving with a policeman frightened me and I knew that I would fail. So I’ve never taken one. When I questioned her about why I would have to take one, she simply said that the State of Texas requires all drivers that have been hospitalized in the last year to take a driving test before renewal of their license. There was no other explanation or further expansion on the matter, that’s just how it is. She schedules me a driving test for tomorrow, and I’m to be there by 8:15.

By now, I’m infuriated. I don’t understand why the state thinks that just because I’m bipolar that I can’t drive a car. I could understand, maybe, if I had something that had more psychotic episodes, or if I was disassociating at the time or something. But the state is saying that I can’t drive my car without being reviewed. That doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, I don’t yell at the lady, it’s not her fault. I walk out calmly, but when I get to my car, I get mad.

I go to start my car and it doesn’t start. So, on top of being mad that I couldn’t just renew my license and move on, my car won’t start. This is just great. Long story short, the car does finally start and I go home.

I started looking at it online. Texas isn’t the only state that does this. Other states make you disclose your disorders when you apply for a new or renew a license. And, some times, they deny people their license! They have to go before the Texas Medical Advisory Board in Austin before they can get their license, and I’m thinking that they deny some people anyhow.

People have been upset about this, so I’m glad that it’s not just me. The Houston Chronicle┬áreported on it. They did some research ( I think they just stood outside a DPS and talked to people coming out) and people were not happy about it. Some people with disorders hid the fact that they had them. But there can be charges if you lie, because, let’s face it, your application is a legal document that you have to sign stating that everything on that paper is correct. “Texas applications carry a warning that failure to tell the truth could result in criminal charges, jail and a fine of up to $4,000, but officials suspect many people just lie.” – Houston Chronicle.

My thing is, if we are constantly fighting the stigma of mental illness, and we’re fighting ourselves, why do we need the state to come in and say that we can’t drive. My bipolar disorder does NOT hinder my ability to drive. My PTSD does not hinder my ability to drive. My BPD doesn’t hinder my ability to drive. I’m a decent driver, I’ve only had one accident and it wasn’t even my fault.

People can fire back saying that people with psychiatric disorders shouldn’t be allowed to drive because a car can be used as a deadly weapon. Just like gun regulations, you need to be of fit mind to get one, why not with a license to drive. Here’s the thing, I’m not going to be using my car to kill anyone. I don’t need a gun. Don’t step on me just because I’m bipolar. I will never join the military, I will never have a license to carry. But I need my car so I can get to work, and to the store, and so on and so forth. I need my car, and just because I have a psychiatric disorder, and have been hospitalized in the past, doesn’t mean that I’m a menace to society that doesn’t need to drive.

I think that this is going too far. I don’t think it’s the state’s business to know that my head isn’t on quite straight! I think that this is a breach of privacy. But that’s just one girl’s opinion.

So, I have a driving test tomorrow…And I guess we’ll be seeing if I’m allowed to drive after it.