I think it is official, sports fans, I am staying in Houston. It’s been basically official for a bit now, but I needed to wait and have the conversation with my parents first before talking about it here. This is a big move for me, because aside from undergrad, I haven’t lived anywhere away from my family in my life. It’s a relatively new city – despite having been here since late February, I haven’t gotten a chance to see much of the city, and most of what I have seen has been with other people at the wheel, so navigating is something that I’ll have to pick up. Traffic in Houston seems like it is enough to cause spontaneous mental illness by itself, so we’ll see.
It’s big in a lot of ways, really. When I spoke with my parents, I took charge this time, telling them what I wanted, what I was planning, and what I wanted from them as far as support and what I would accept in terms of checking in and keeping track of me. It was pretty high on the assertiveness scale for me, which actually felt really good; my parents seemed to be relatively impressed, too, because they listened, asked a few questions, and then agreed that it sounded like I had a good plan and that they wanted to help and make sure I was happy. It was a far cry from our conversation last week, where I sort of mildly expressed some interest in things, was indecisive about others, and withdrew from the conversation entirely when my father started getting angry.
I feel nervous about a step like this, but I am comforted by the support network I have built, and am continuing to build, here in Houston. I have a number of good friends from Menninger and the step-down program who are remaining, or already lived, in Houston, I am finding new support groups to be a part of outside of my step-down community, and I have started reaching out to local gaming groups to find someplace I can get together and roll some funny dice with on occasion. I think having all these people who I care about, and who care about me, as well as people I can just go do strange things with, will really help to keep me grounded and from withdrawing into myself.
I can understand why people are worried about this move; it’s a big one, and I’m worried too. But I think it is a necessary step to continue my life from what I have built up in treatment; I think that going back to St. Louis would be a step backwards rather than forwards. But just being able to express myself and my feelings, and assert what I want, over the past few days has made me feel a lot better about myself and my progress, because I don’t think those are things I could have done six months ago. I am open to any suggestions about life in Houston, since I will likely be moving into my own apartment in the relatively near future, as well as having to find myself some form of automotive transportation. These are things I’ve never had to handle on my own before, so any help or advice is appreciated.
I want to be able to count on my friends here, and elsewhere, for support, but I also want them to feel like they can count on me – that I am not so broken by my problems that I can’t talk about problems they might be having and listen to what is on their minds. I want to be in a place in my life where I can get a job, go out, work, come home, and then have a life I can be active in with friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and other people. I want to be able to express myself in a way that people around me, especially those closest to me, can understand, so they aren’t having to pry things out of me – and I want them to feel they can be themselves and show what they feel around me because I won’t judge them. For the first time in a long time, I think I am making big steps towards those goals, and it feels good.