My Mental Health Story (pt. 3)
posted 15th Feb
Ok, so I will once again post the obligatory disclaimer to keep me from getting eaten alive... Here it is: This story is going to be a long one. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I beg of you the mercy and kindness I have seen you all show members who really needed it and/or bared their soul. I am not looking for advice. I'm not looking to be cut down and criticized for my past. I KNOW what I have done wrong. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY that I feel so badly about parts of my past that I will probably feel the guilt until the day I die. I continue to try to accept my past and the mistakes I have made-- I am writing this to show struggling people that things DO get better. People do change. Mental wellness is an attainable goal for everyone who strives for it. If even ONE person reads my story and finds enlightenment or hope, then it would be worth the 100 people that read it and think I'm an awful person. While there may not be anything in this part of my story that is "incriminating" so-to-speak, I feel there is something to learn in every part of my story from a large range of ages.
Ok, it is circa Sept. 2009 and I have begun to get sick of sitting at home alone while CD is out doing all the things that he gets to do. So began the new tradition of me either handing my daughter to him when he got home and not giving him the option to take off OR I would wait until my daughter was safe and sound and asleep and then I would do one of several things-
1.) I would go to the gym (which I usually did every single day in addition to one of the other things I'm about to mention.)
2.) I would go grocery shopping/just hang out at wal-mart for several hours into the night/early morning.
3.) I'd go to a local hole-in-the-wall bar (one of the only places open that late at night in the small town I was near). I STARTED going there just for adult company at first. I'd talk to the female bartenders and felt like I actually existed. As my mental illness gained momentum, the trips to the bar began to take on sexual-overtures. Basically I would go for an ego boost. I'll get more into that later.
or 4.) I would go shoot my bow. (I was into archery).
Let me preface this by saying that while these activities started out innocently enough (I would even beg CD to go with me to the bow shop at first, I'd beg him to take 1 evening with me and get a drink at the bar and meet some of my new 'friends/bartenders') they all quickly evolved into seedy little secrets.
MEANWHILE, I was loosing weight at an alarming rate because
A.) I wasn't eating (I'd eat maybe a few grapes and a peanut butter sandwich one day, a bag of popcorn the next and maybe nothing at all on another day) and at first it was for weight loss, and it eventually ended up being that I never was hungry. In fact, I would forget about eating altogether. I would have to set alarms to remind myself to eat in the end because- honest to goodness- it was no longer a part of my reality to have hunger. (mental illness red flag)
B.) I was exercising insane amounts. (I'd run anywhere from 3-6 miles a day EVERY day at least and do sit ups, pull ups and push ups). Again, what started out as a means to lose weight morphed into something altogether. It was an obsession. Of course, the gratification of seeing the number on the scale getting smaller was a motivation, but really it gave me a super-human sense of power (mental illness red flag). I craved that change in my body that showed that what I was capable of. It felt like a high to run, exercise. When I say that I felt "powerful" I don't mean that in the sense that I felt like an empowered woman... I mean that I felt like I actually was super-human. That I could do anything. I am having a very difficult time putting into words what I mean. But... maybe this will help... I felt invincible when I was having these feelings. I felt like I was a superior person. Does that make sense? Maybe not, because you're probably not reading this with a mentally ill mind.
and C.) I was not sleeping. (When I say, 'wasn't sleeping' I mean that if I slept on a certain day, it would be 3, maybe 4 hours. And when I woke up I felt like I was ready to climb a mountain. I would go another day or 2 without even a nap. Mental Illness Red Flag) While the world was sleeping I was either out doing one of the aforementioned things or I was in my house rearranging the basement. Moving around all of the furniture. Doing a week's worth of house work in 1 night's time, doing yardwork at 2 am. While the body is at rest, it isn't burning calories so naturally, while I was up at all hours, I was burning yet even more calories.
In a time frame of less than 5 months I had lost 85 pounds and more than 14 pant sizes.
Around the end of October I pleaded with CD to go to marriage counseling with me one last time. I told him, outright, that if he didn't go we WOULD have problems. And he refused to go.
With all of that weight loss came a gain in male attention.
I became addicted to attention. It was less about wanting the actual MAN but more about making sure that the man wanted ME. I was addicted to being pursued, desired.
The behaviors this entailed started off as barely risky and soon escalated in every way imaginable. I would go to the bar and intentionally dress seductively to get men to buy me drinks, compliment me, try to take me home, give me money for the jukebox. I never went home with a guy from the bar- but that's probably only because I knew I COULD if I WANTED to. There was, however, an alcoholic that owned a bow shop near where I lived that I ended up getting involved with. Being an alcoholic, he genuinely didn't care about anyone except for himself and showed very little interest in me. He didn't really care if I stayed or if I didn't stay. I will cut this story short and just come out and say that by December of 2009 I had given him oral sex. And (coincidentally?) experienced my first crash from my manic super-high. I felt like I wanted to die immediately afterwards. I felt terrible guilt. I actually drove straight home and confessed to CD. Who was understandably upset. He threw a beer bottle (honestly, he really didn't drink often) through a window and locked himself in the bedroom but not before he called me a slut, a whore, and every other name in the book (that I deserved). He threatened to call my parents and have them come and get me and tell them what I slut I was. I didn't care- I agreed with him. My heart broke to see the pain in his eyes. After he slammed the door to the bedroom and I heard the lock click shut, I was crying uncontrollably. I walked over to the window (only the first pane had broken) and began to pick up the fractured glass that lay on the floor.
No one could hate me more than I hated myself at that moment. As I sat on the floor cleaning that glass, I wanted myself to hurt as badly as I could hurt and picked up a huge, jagged shard and put it to my shin. I pushed hard and grated the shard across the surface of my skin watching it split me open in it's wake. I stopped crying and was mesmerized by the pain and by the sight of the darkly colored blood seeping out of my new wound. I didn't even hear CD unlock and leave the bedroom- I only realized his presence when his arms were underneath my armpits trying to pull me up. I remember him saying, "My God, what have you done?" and hugging me. I felt like it was him saying he forgave me.
I have few memories of the rest of that night, but I remember life sort of going on as if nothing had happened for about a week. We both ignored what had happened. However, a week or so later, on my birthday, my family and I were out at a steakhouse celebrating and I distinctly remember CD leaning over to me and whispering in my ear, "I hate you. I think you're a piece of smurf" and then joining my family with a smile on his face for the rest of the dinner while I sat in the corner somewhat stunned. From then on, the manic highs were often, somehow, intermingled with self loathing at the same time. In the same moment that I felt physically superior to every woman in the room I also felt that I was worthless and needed to expunge my existence from the world. I would later learn that this is what is referred to as a "mixed episode". Sometimes I'd have a day or two of just being "high" or "manic" followed by a day of felling just "low" or "depressed", and that, I was to later learn, was called "rapid cycling".
Ok, I have to stop here for a while because I have some other things to do and I need to get into control of my emotions. I am sad to say that this is by far not the darkest place this story will go. Stay Tuned.
posted 15th Feb
<blockquote><b>Quoting Brown Eyed Girl!:</b>" You're bipolar I take it? I believe that my husband is bipolar and from the research that I have done, ... [snip!] ... your previous stories but I am interested to hear about how well things have turned out. I'm going to PT you if that is okay!"</blockquote>
Yes, Bipolar 1 with mixed episodes and rapid cycling. While I knew I was different/had changed at the time, I didn't know I was bipolar at this point in my story. All PTs are welcome. I encourage feedback too. Thank you everyone,