There comes a time in life when you take a long, hard look and decide if the things you’ve done were good or bad. For some, it’s a midlife crisis. For others, like me this past year, we see our 50th birthday roll around, and you spend it ruminating over all your experiences. For others, it happens when a new child comes into our lives.
My fifth child was born four days ago, on July 13, 2019, at 7:02 pm.
As I said, this is my fifth child — three came from my first wife. Zoey is almost 7, and she and Joey are children with Flora, my forever-wife.
The four of us share lives in our house in Iloilo City, Philippines.
How could you have another kid?
If you look at my situation, you might ask me why, at 50 years old, I would bring another child into my life. And considering my ongoing battle with mental illness, isn’t it selfish of me to even think about being responsible for another human being?
The funny thing is, I had at least four people say these exact words to me. No bullshit!
- “Aren’t you worried your kid will have something wrong with their brain too?”
- “What if you get psychotic and homicidal, aren’t you worried about your family?”
- “You’re too old to help your wife with the baby!”
- “You’ll be dead in a few years. What will your family do then?”
You think I’m making this up, but actual people I thought were my friends or loving family, said these things. People who I love even stopped talking to me when they found out we were having another baby.
I guess I’m not allowed to be happy.
First off, I do have a mental illness. But, I work hard every day to improve with the hope I’ll be free of this weight on my shoulders. I’ve never been homicidal. I’ve never lifted a finger to hurt anyone who wasn’t trying to hurt my family or me first. I’ve never even had a thought of hurting anyone in my family.
I still have bad days. I had a tough time when Flora was in the hospital having Joey last week. But you know what? Everybody was counting on me, and I pushed past my pain and did what I had to do. I was there and present for every step and every hurdle. I was there for Flora, and I was there for Joey. And I was happy doing it too.
I’m not saying I could have done it all myself. If I didn’t have help from the people who love us, I wouldn’t have made it.
Since Joey’s birth, I’ve picked up the slack. My responsibilities have increased. You can imagine everything that needs doing with a new baby around. Diapers, cleaning, feeding, burping, calming — it never ends. Add on the things I need to do to help Zoey — it’s a lot of work.
Then I have to somehow find time to be a writer.
Could someone who was too old, or too sick handle all this?
How old do they think I am? I’m not sitting on a porch in a rocking chair, yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn. I don’t need to drink prune juice for breakfast. I don’t drive slow in the fast lane and wear my pants pulled up to my chest.
I’m only 50! I plan to live to at least 90 years old!
I guess in a way I shouldn’t get upset when people underestimate me. I’ve been very sick in the past. Every other older man they know is planning for retirement and test-driving a sturdy Cadillac.
If you haven’t figured out — I’m not like regular people.
I am strong. I fight every damn day because one day I’m going to be able to say that I’m cured of my illness. If I didn’t do everything I could to help the process along, I wouldn’t be doing enough. Yes, I get sick. I get psychotic. I hear voices. I get depressed and anxious. But, that shit doesn’t define me.
Fighting that shit makes me better, stronger, and happier.
So yes, I’m mentally ill, and I’m 50 years old, but I am first a father and a husband. I am caring and loyal. I am strong, and I don’t bend to pressure. When things get tough, I do what I have to do to get things done.
So, go ahead and underestimate me. When I succeed at life, I won’t need smug looks and passive-aggressive comments. My life will speak for itself.
So, I guess you’ll have to find something else to be a troll about.
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Jason Weiland is a writer, blogger, vlogger, and mental health advocate living a dream life in far-away destinations he only dreamed of as a kid. He talks about difficult issues but has never lost his sense of humor or willingness to understand others and help when he can.
He would love to connect with you on social media.