July 19, 2019

Wow! It is 50 years since my kids and I watched a man walk on the moon. We were living on Belmont Street in Toronto . I was 35 years old and not long out of Whitby Psychiatric Hospital. How did I land in a psych ward and live there for 6 or so weeks? It started when, I believe, through no fault of my own, I got fired. I was working for a car dealership and my boss had given me a lot of responsibility. I was a hard worker and a rather smart cookie. He seemed fond of me. I had been there for some months when for some unknown reason he was fired. The following day the Big Boss called me into his office and said something like “I’m sorry Betty but we no longer have a place for you.” That was the kickoff to my landing in the psych ward. I don’t remember the next sequence of events aside from knowing I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent on the rather nice one bedroom apartment where my kids and I lived. I didn’t see myself as a fragile person although I now recognize I had been walking on a mental tightrope for most of my life. As the doctors later wrote on my chart “the patient lacks insight”. Boy, did I lack insight! My daughters were at an awkward age,14 and 16. Questioning me and holding my feet to the fire at every turn. The days when I was their everything were fast fading. I come from a mentally unwell family [better understood and acknowledged now than 50 years ago] which meant my kids, through no fault of their own, were still my everything. My rent was due on the first of the upcoming month, May 1/68. Soon it was the eleventh day of May. At least one notice had been slipped under my door. I hadn’t yet paid my rent and had no idea how I was going to pay it! PS- if I had this to do over again and if it was 2019 I would simply have gone back to the company and said give me proper notice and rent money or else - things were much different 49 years ago! I was also much different 49 years ago. to be continued .... tomorrow or the next day ... or maybe the next...

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