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Absolutely Mental | Ian Macks

Two summers ago, my life changed for the better.

From the outside, I was rock bottom. Out of school after a sophomore year where I’ve never felt more depressed or insecure in my life. Lacking acceptance and understanding from my family at the time, I had two options: Enlist or Get a Job. The only jobs I had prior to this time in my life were in the Mental Health field. Since my mom was an Occupational Therapist, the only real in that I had job-wise were through her prior and current jobs. I had worked at her old job, Center for Disability Services, as a Relief Counselor from the summer before my Freshman Year through the summer before my Sophomore Year. I was the youngest person to every work that position at that job, landing it exactly on my 18th birthday.

Here’s the first lesson I learned: People are not born crazy. We have all been victims of this harsh reality one way or another, whether that incident is small or great. During my time at CFDS, I mainly worked with the physically disabled and the autistic. This made me appreciate the little things, things you can easily take for granted in this reality. Waking up, making breakfast, having a read, going on a run. These people couldn’t do that. In fact, they just needed someone to help them get through the day. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be dependent on someone to help me take a shower, go to the bathroom, eat a meal, and take a walk outside.

The weird thing was the whole process left me paralyzed emotionally, at least at that job. My co-workers had no issues helping these people, but you could tell their heart wasn’t in it. They were in it for money to help them pay for school, rent, gas, etc. Legitimate reasons to do a job that pays over 10 dollars an hour right? Yeah, but the people who needed the help could tell they really didn’t give a fuck, and it showed in the way they were treated. They were helping them to help them, they were just doing it to get it over with, get paid and take care of their own bullshit.

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