My Mental Illness Recovery Story: Chapter 7

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” (Robert H. Schuller)

After the military, I immediately entered the workforce, but repeatedly got fired due to my disability. Doing factory work, in most jobs, I didn’t last more than a month. So I decided to go to college.

In 1994, when I was twenty-one years old, I started going to Jackson Community College in pursuit of an associate’s degree in computers. Because I was in the Navy, I qualified for some pell grants that I didn’t have to pay back. It was, though, a little embarrassing, to submit my DD-214 military discharge papers, which identified my reason for Navy dismissal (psychological / personality disorders).

My unknown illness and low self-confidence, just like in military school, made learning difficult; but in the long run, I excelled as JCC classes were much easier than the ones I took in the Navy. Most of the classes I got either a 4.0 or 3.5; to get those high scores, I spent hours and hours making flashcards to memorize information. I did especially good in giving speeches and doing computer work.

At JCC, I took computer programming classes (Visual Basic, COBOL, BASIC, dBASE IV, etc.) which were relatively easy to learn, as there is much structure in writing computer programs, etc. This reduced my OCD’s tendencies to get bogged down in details. I also took basic writing classes. At first, I struggled, but I did well as the teacher’s homework wasn’t real intensive.

Dawn and Valerie

While attending JCC, I lived with my grandparents (mom’s parents). One day, while studying, I got an anonymous phone call from one a girl in my political science class. (The teacher handed out a student phone number listings of everyone in our class). Her name was Dawn Geissler.

Dawn asked me out on a date. She was a pretty, a little heavyset, but still good looking. Obviously, since I never been on a date before, I resoundingly said “yes”. We watched a movie in Coldwater; afterwards we went out to eat. It was really good night, even though I felt really nervous. Since I didn’t believe in premarital sex, we never did have intercourse.

On another date, before we left my grandparents’ house, grandma was crying heavily as her dog Sugar died. After returning home from the date about four or five hours later, grandma had a new dog living with her. Dawn and I thought it was comical.

Another date involved going to a country line dancing club, the Stampede, in Quincy, Michigan. I hated having to conform to the choreographed- dance moves that everyone else was doing. So I started my own dance routine, dissimilar to what other dancers were doing. Back then, I was a very wild dancer who had a lot of stamina, in which I could dance extremely fast for several songs without resting.

A month later, my inexperience of being around women had the best of me. One night, kissing in the car, Dawn asked me to go steady. Afraid of losing her, I said “yes”. Never having a girl before, I became infatuated with the experience of being around her, but I didn’t truly love her – if she didn’t go so fast in the relationship, things might have been different. However, what made me nervous was the fact she was divorced with a kid, and she was quickly looking for a husband.

During this time, I met a mega-attractive woman named Valerie, who was about ten years older than me. She was a realtor at Action Reality, about two miles from home. I spent a lot of time there, as her boss hired me to do lake property work.

I talked to Valerie a lot when I was at the office, which made me real excited and happy. Soon I became very obsessive in wanting to be around her. After finishing my employment at Action Realty, I continued to visit her. I screwed up things when I bought her a birthday day, which happened after me Dawn broke up. Valerie then put an end to the visits; thus I had no woman.

While working at Action Realty, I remember using a scythe to cut high grass, when I lost the tool in high weeds. I got frustrated as I spent 10 – 15 minutes looking for it. So, I prayed to God to help me find it. The next thing I know, after taking a step forward, I step on the scythe and it smacked me directly in the groin. I was on the ground for a while, moaning in pain.

Listen to this inspirational song, related to the theme of this chapter:

Brighter Days – Blessing Offor (lyric video)


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