Posted in Childless by Choice, Mental Health, Stay at Home Wife

I really am doing okay, but…

I really am doing okay, but it’s not easy.

I am more stable now than I was when I was seeing doctors and was medicated, but anxiety, panic and depression are still things that I deal with daily.

I have learned how to manage them, but managing them means having strict control over my environment. Which is not always possible.

The way that I have structured my life to manage my disorders is not always respected or understood by others. I am judged for my choice to not work. That I am a stay at home wife, even though I do not have children. I am judged for the fact that I do not even like kids and therefore obviously have no interest in having children.

I am not a social person, but some people cannot understand or respect that. I am told that I would feel better if I got out and socialized more by people who have no idea what socializing takes out of me. Not only am I one hundred percent introvert, but I have extreme anxiety. I do enjoy going out and socializing every so often, but I always pay a price for it. Which is why I love messaging and texting people (in moderation), I am able to socialize but I am also able to still be alone at the same time.

Hang up and text

It’s not that I don’t love my friends, but I have to love myself more and take care of myself. I know that this might make me a terrible friend, but I am who I am. Even if I am medicated again at some point, the medication will never completely “fix” all the things that other people think are wrong with me.

I’m always going to be an introvert, sorrynotsorry.

There are days when I wake full of purpose and can easily get up and start my day, and there are days where I feel as though I am a prisoner to that purpose or that everything is pointless. There are some mornings when just the thought of my normal daily routine is overwhelming. Where the thought of having to decide what to wear that day is paralyzing. I fear that at some point things are going to get bad enough for long enough that I will have to be hospitalized again.

The fear of hospitalization is a crippling fear.

I am aware that paranoia and mild delusions are part of my life because of my bipolar disorder. Because I know that I am prone to these things I can try to keep them under control and label them for what they are. I do fear that one day I will not recognize my delusions for what they are, that my hold on reality will slip without me realizing it. I do hope that if that ever happens that I will be able to find help quickly and that my husband and I will be able to afford it.

It shouldn’t be that way, I shouldn’t be worried about being able to afford treatment if my mental health deteriorates. I may seek treatment again before it ever gets to that point, if it ever does, but unfortunately being able to pay for that treatment has to be a primary concern.

I am honestly also somewhat reluctant to seek treatment again because I am afraid to start taking medications again. Some of the times when I was at my worst was while I was trying to find the right combination of medications to stabilize me.

It was hell.

I know that things have probably come a long way in the over a decade since I last took medications, but I am afraid that medications will only upset what balance I have found instead of help me keep it.  I do wish that I had a bit more control over my anxiety and panic, but I don’t want that at the expense of exacerbating my bipolar disorder.

Besides, I heard somewhere that some study found that people who are excessive worriers are more than likely creative geniuses.

I’m a creative genius, people. Deal with it.

Posted in Apartment Living, Blogging, Health

Today, I am stress incarnate…

Today my anxiety has taken control. I have felt this close to a panic attack since waking up this morning.

ridiculous amount of appointments

Next weekend we will be going down to the apartment complex that we are wanting to move into and will hopefully be filling out rental applications and putting a hold on an apartment. I called the office last weekend just to get an idea of availability right now, because if they don’t really have anything available for October or November our chances for getting into an apartment in December when our lease is up wouldn’t be all that great. They do currently have some apartments to choose from for November though and hopefully by this weekend will start to have information about availability in December. We plan on trying to move in December if possible, but if when we go down there this weekend they do not have any apartments available in December we will put a hold on an apartment available in November just to be sure of having somewhere to move to. I asked the management at the apartment complex if we could transfer our hold to another apartment should one become available to move into in December and was told that we could, so if we aren’t able to put a hold on an apartment that would be available in December this weekend we will check back with them a week later and transfer our hold if one becomes available. If none are available by then we’ll probably just commit to moving in November and start focusing on making that happen. It wouldn’t be ideal, there will be many more fees from our current complex, but we need to move this year and we’re going to do what we need to, to make that happen.  And while I know that there is absolutely nothing that I can do about any of this until this weekend, that doesn’t stop my brain from worrying about it.

The worst part about moving

I also have a couple of dentist appointments coming up in October, one to finish up the work that needs to be done and one later on in the month to check on the healing progress of my mouth. And I’m not all that worried about having to go to the dentist, but having appointments at all is stressing me out.

mygetupandgo

I called my doctor’s office yesterday to finally set up that follow-up appointment that my doctor wanted with me because of my high blood pressure. That is also at the end of October. And I’m worried that the stress of trying to move will mess with my readings. I also have no idea exactly what my doctor plans on doing during this appointment or how much it’s going to end up costing me. Or how many other appointments she’s going to want to set with me after this one, and how much all of those are going to cost me. Not to mention the fact that I will be getting to this appointment on my own because Curtis has to work. I hate taking Trax by myself. Luckily it’s very unlikely that I will end up getting lost while walking there from the train station, I just need to walk to the main road and walk in the correct direction and I’ll be able to easily find it.

Having Plans

I did manage to get a lot of cleaning and housework done today though, so there’s that. Though, I should probably go and switch over the loads of sheets in my washer and dryer now…

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Apartment Living, Bullying, Childless by Choice, Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Stay at Home Wife

My (super long) post about religion…

The household I grew up in was Protestant, but not extremely religious. Some Sundays my mom would take my sister and I to church, others we would just stay home and have leisurely Sunday morning breakfasts. My dad didn’t attend church with us very often because he didn’t like crowds of people, but he would come with us some Sundays. I attended Sunday school, and apparently even some sort of vacation bible school at some point based on the certificate of completion that I recently found in some of my stuff. The vacation bible school must have been when I was fairly young, because I don’t remember it at all. I do remember getting involved with the church choir when I was in middle school because I loved to sing and because a lot of my group of friends were in it. To be honest though, it was probably more because of my friends.

Choir practice happened after school once a week at the church, so we’d all take the school bus that went to the Green after school because the church was located right on the Green. We had time to kill before practice started, so we’d usually go the shops that lined the Green. Especially the candy shop. Then we’d hang out either on the Green, the front steps of the church, or if the weather wasn’t nice we’d retreat inside the church itself. We had fun during choir practice itself too, but a lot of the appeal was being able to wander around the Green before.

The youth choir and Sunday school classes also would put on plays for the entire congregation, and my group of friends and I also became involved in that. These were big productions that involved set pieces and costumes and we had a lot of fun performing them.

Like I said before, religion wasn’t ever really a big deal in my household, it was always just kind of there. I grew up just assuming that what I was taught was “Truth”, and that everybody was taught and believed the same things that I was taught to believe. It wasn’t until I was in middle school and one of my classmate’s father came in to show the class something that I found out that not everyone was Christian. My classmate was Jewish, and it blew my mind. I can’t remember what it was that my classmate’s father came in for now, possibly something to do with food, but the knowledge that not everyone believed in Jesus came as a complete shock. I had assumed that everything that I was being taught at church and at home was just more “knowledge” like what I would learn in school, and never thought that other’s might not all believe the same thing. 

When I started high school I was still a “Christian”, but that didn’t really mean much. I had never really had to look at or defend my beliefs. I was brought up Protestant, so that’s what I was. When I started dating Justin I would go with him and his family to another Protestant church a few towns over most Sundays. It was a church that I had gone to as well as the one on the Green while I was growing up because my grandmother lived in that town and attended that church. I liked that church better than the one on the Green because the Minister was more of a storyteller than a preacher. He was funny and he always made his sermons interesting. The church was a old stone church right on the shore, and it had beautiful stained glass windows. But of course the biggest draw was being able to spend more time with Justin. He went to church because he had to to keep his mother happy, and didn’t take it seriously most of the time. We would sit in the back of the room by the doors in a couple of great big wooden chairs instead of in the pews with everyone else. I think it was around this time, that I started to realize that it was possible that not everyone believed in God. If I thought a lot about religion, or why believed what I did I might have come to this conclusion sooner.

I think that I might have realized that there were a lot more religions in the world than just the one that I had grown up in sooner than this, but I still assumed that everyone believed in God, just in different forms. I had become somewhat interested in Wicca near the end of middle school, but like my being “Christian” never really looked much into it. After Justin and I became friends with John and Lauren, I started referring to myself as being “Wiccan” though. John and Lauren were Wiccan, and it seemed a lot more interesting than being Christian. Not to mention rebellious. I was starting to look into my beliefs some, but not too thoroughly at this point, and Wicca called to me in some way. I didn’t really take any of it all that seriously though.

I went through the rest of high school as some kind of weird Christian and Wiccan hybrid, and didn’t really think all that much about religion again until I started dating the man who would later become my husband. He grew up in an LDS household and I asked him a lot about his church. I didn’t like what I heard, and would have animated discussions with him about how messed up his church was. He didn’t really care all that much, he would defend his church and try to explain things better, but his religion was never really a big deal to him. He went because he was supposed to, and believed what he was told to. His religion only became an issue once in our relationship when he all of the sudden decided he had to go on a mission and dumped me. We talked it over the next day and when I told him that he didn’t have to dump me to go on his mission and that I’d wait for him for the 2 years that he would be gone, we got back together. Only instead of going on his mission he ended up deciding that he didn’t want to go to church anymore and stopped going.

When we got married, we were married by the Minister of the the stone church on the water. We attended that church for the first year or so after we were married. But during this time we were living in his parents house, who were still members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and my mother in law is a very religious person. I ended up asking my husband about the church he grew up in again and this time I was interested in checking it out.  A short time later I was baptized into that church. Part of the reason for this was because I was still ashamed of being arrested a few years earlier and I figured if I became devoutly religious people would have to stop judging me for my past.

Making the decision to join the LDS church was probably the first time that I ever really looked at or really thought about my beliefs. But even then I didn’t really have to think very much about it because the church very clearly told me what I was supposed to believe if I was to be a member of this church. It told me how I was supposed to live my life, and promised me that if I did as I was told, I would be happy. I decided if I was going to join this church, I was going to be a model member. I almost wasn’t allowed to join though, because during the interview process before the baptism ceremony could be performed the fact that I had had same sex relationships in the past came up. I had to denounce my prior behaviors as sinful and express remorse for my actions, as well as claim that I no longer had any attraction to members of the same sex and that these sorts of actions would never be repeated by me. I wanted a chance to see if this church could in fact make me as happy as it claimed that it could, so I denied who I really was and denounced my attraction to the same sex as sinful. In order to become a part of this church my thinking on homosexuality had to change from believing that people were born either being straight, or gay, or bisexual, or anywhere else along the spectrum and that there was no choice involved, to believing that being homosexual was a choice and a sin.

This was just one thing among many that I had to change about myself and my world view in order to be a part of the church. I changed how I dressed, and removed all but one piercing from each ear. I changed the movies I watched, the books I read, the music I listened to. I threw myself into scripture study and learned all I could about church history. Like I said before, I was going to be a model member of the church. I was determined to do everything that I needed to in order to be found worthy of going to the temple, because I was told that if I made it there I would know all there was to know about the religion. That great truths would be revealed to me. And also that I had to attend the temple if I wanted to make it to the highest kingdom of heaven.

Our first apartment was owned by the parents of one of my husband’s friends. It seemed perfect at first, especially when my husband had a health crisis that kept him out of work for a little while and then he was temporarily laid off for the winter season until work picked up again at his job. Our landlords told us not to worry about the rent, that we could pay them back once we got back on our feet. But when my husband lost his job permanently a few months later, they were much less understanding about it. Our landlord, a former Bishop in the church, told us that he wanted us out of the apartment by that weekend, just a few days away. He also informed us that we were worthless and would never amount to anything. He changed his mind a few days later and decided that would be allowed to stay if we could find a way to pay our own rent by the end of the month. You see, we had paid our rent for that month already, but he decided that it didn’t really count because we had had help from the church in order to do so. But it didn’t matter that he had decided that we would be allowed to stay, because we had already made up our minds that we no longer wanted to live there with him for a landlord. My father in law offered to help us get caught up on our rent and start off with a clean slate, and we asked him if he would be willing to help us move instead. We had decided that it was time to get out of New England and start over in the West. We were moving to Utah.

When we made it out to Utah, we threw ourselves into being the best members of the church that we could be. That should have been one of the happiest times of our life according to the church, but instead the stress of all the constant demands on our time by the church caused us to constantly be fighting with each other. But we still couldn’t be honest with ourselves, the church said that we should be happy, so we must be happy. This was also the time when I was constantly being told that all of my mental health issues could be taken away, if only I was good enough and prayed hard enough. And when my mental health issues just kept getting worse instead of better, I blamed myself, because I must have been doing something wrong. Because of my mental health issues, we had some problems with making it to church every week , and because we weren’t making it to church every week I wasn’t being the model church member that I should have been and that’s why my prayers weren’t being answered.

We were also being made to feel like we weren’t a real family because we didn’t have any children. We were pressured to have children, and when I was not able to conceive for whatever reason, I was made to feel like I was less of a woman because of it. We tried for years to have children, but it never happened.  We were made to feel guilty about it, and were told that because we didn’t have children our time was worth less and that we should happily volunteer as much of our time as the church wanted us to.

I started to have some doubts about whether or not the church was the best place for me, but because I was taught that if I left the church I would no longer make it to heaven, I stayed and tried harder to be perfect. I started to regret ever having joined the church, and felt extremely guilty for those thoughts. I decided that we needed to buckle down and do anything and everything that we could to be found worthy to enter the temple. Because if I could just make it there, then I would learn things and life would finally make sense to me and I could finally be happy.

But when we did finally make it to the temple, I didn’t actually learn any new truths. There was just more things that I needed to memorize if I ever wanted to be allowed into the highest kingdom of heaven. Life did not get any better. My mental health did not improve. I had done everything that was asked of me and although I was promised that I would be happy, I was finally having to admit to myself that I was not happy. When I stopped and really looked at my life, I realized that all of my actions for the last few years in the church were motivated by fear and guilt. I was told that if I didn’t do exactly as the church told me, I would go to hell. I was told that if I wasn’t happy, it was because I was doing something wrong and that I needed to try even harder, give even more of myself to the church. We slowly stopped going to church, and then eventually admitted to ourselves that we didn’t have any plans of ever going back. We had not been to church in a year or more, but the thought of actually admitting that we were leaving the church was terrifying. I knew that my life had improved in the time that we had not been going to church, but I was still afraid that we were making a big mistake because I had been told that anyone who decided to leave the church was in the grasp of the devil.  I had been taught that I couldn’t really be happy outside the church, and was very confused with the fact that I was happier outside the church. My husband and I got along better. My mental health had improved significantly. All the stress from all the demands of the church had gone away. Looking back,  I had to admit that the years that I was in the church were actually the unhappiest, most stressful years I have ever experienced. When I decided that I wasn’t going back to church, in order to deal with the fear that I was making a big mistake I had justify my decision to myself. I told myself that I didn’t want to go to their highest heaven because if I wasn’t happy with having to live by all the rules of the church while alive, and didn’t want to be around other members of the church now, there was no way that that was how I wanted to spend the rest of eternity. I reminded myself that their idea of heaven would actually be a kind of hell for me.

After I got over my guilt and fear for leaving the church, I started to do a bit more in depth research into the church. I soon realized that a lot of the things that I was taught were in fact contradictory, and that the church wasn’t in fact true at all. I now no longer look at the the LDS church as a “church” but instead see it as a cult.

I thought that when I left the LDS church I could just go back to the religion I had grown up with, but I realized that I no longer believed in any Christian religion. Once I had opened my eyes and really examined my beliefs, I realized that I could no longer call myself Christian, or even religious in anyway. But because my family and my husband’s family are both still religious it was hard to admit that I no longer believed what they wanted me to. So I would tell my family that after leaving the LDS church I was taking a break from religion for a while.

But now, years after leaving the church I have come to realize that I am not just “taking a break from religion”. I have in fact had more than enough religion in my life already. In the years that I have been living in Utah, I have been forced to live with religion shaping the laws of the state. I have had to deal with being discriminated against because I am not the “right” religion. I have gone from being devoutly Christian to not being able to stomach religion at all. I still have not been honest with my family, but I am now being honest with myself. When I really look at my beliefs, I realize that I am in fact an atheist. I do not need religion in my life to be a good person.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Family, Mental Health

The realization that there is no “wrong” way to live my life…

Closesomedoors
I was replying to a comment on my last blog post earlier and it got me thinking about how I was feeling when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life over 2 years ago, and when I revisited my decision earlier this year. When I originally made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I was at a crisis point. It was a situation of either my sister had to go, or my sanity would go. I chose to keep my sanity, but it was an extremely difficult decision to make. I felt like I had failed even though I knew that I had already done all that I could do in order to try to keep my relationship with my sister. But since I was the only one willing to try, the only one willing to compromise I ended up compromising my sense of self. When I realized that I had to be a different person around my sister than who I truly am in order to even attempt to avoid confrontation, I knew that our relationship could not continue. Especially since I was acting less and less like myself even when I wasn’t even around my sister. I was more nervous, had a harder time making decisions, and always in the back of my mind was the thought “will this get me in trouble with my sister?” Nobody should have to live like that.

I knew that I was happier when I didn’t have to have contact with my sister. I had had minimal contact with her for years before, and had decided to try to “have a more normal sister relationship” with her… which turned into me having to drop whatever it was that I was doing in order to answer her call no matter what time it was, or immediately respond to her text messages or emails. And always living in a constant state of dread of when those calls, texts or emails might come next… and if this next phone call would be the one where my mask slipped and I inadvertently fell out of character long enough to provoke my sister’s rage. I did not like being in contact with my sister, and I felt extremely guilty for it. My determination to suck it up and force myself to have more contact with my sister in order to be a “good sister” wasn’t working out. I couldn’t figure out how it was that other sisters could happily talk to each other everyday… until I realized that not everyone had a sister like mine. Other people could have a good relationship with their siblings because those relationships weren’t one sided. My relationship with my sister was always about my sister and keeping her happy, and it simply wasn’t sustainable. One day I simply had enough of her bullshit and wrote that email cutting her out of my life… which she ignored, so I had to repeat myself a couple more times before I decided with the help of my husband that if I simply stopped responding to her emails she might get the message.

I didn’t simply make the decision to cut my sister out of my life and never revisit it though. I would have conversations with my mom where my mom would tell me how her relationship with my sister was doing much better and I would have to tell my mother that I just didn’t think that I was ready to allow her back in my life yet, and that it was possible that I might never be ready. I was feeling guilty for still not wanting to have my sister in my life. I felt like if my sister really was “doing much better” and had “really changed” then I had to give her another chance. That if I didn’t, I would then be the the bad guy.  I would have conversations with my husband about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want to have my sister in my life, I was happy not having contact with her, but I was afraid that I was doing the wrong thing simply because cutting our sisters out of our lives is something “we just don’t do”. I once said to my husband “Who cuts their sister out of their life???” and he responded “Who treats their sister the way your sister treats you?” It took me a while to realize that even if my sister did “really change” I still had the right to continue to not have contact with her. The trust had already been damaged beyond repair. And in the end it isn’t about her anyway.  The choice of whether or not to allow my sister in my life is about me. I need to do what is best for me. My sister could really change for the better, and when it comes to her having a relationship with me it could be too little, too late. If I don’t feel right about having contact with her, if I still dread the thought of talking with her, then I am not ready.

I cut off contact with my sister because it was what was right for me. If I choose to resume contact with my sister it should be because it is what’s right for me. 

But even though I realized that I was doing what was right for me, it still felt like I was getting life “wrong”. It’s a very hard feeling to try to describe… It’s kind of like when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I had done something that just isn’t done. Like I had broken some unwritten rule that everyone just follows. Like there’s a way that we all go about living our lives and I had done something that took my life outside of that and made me different from everyone else. Sharing my story on here and hearing from others who have had to make similar hard decisions has helped me to feel less like I am going to be told at any moment that I have to get my life back on script with everyone else. I have the right to do what is best for me, and there is no wrong way to live my life. And since there is no wrong way to live my life, I am now free to discover who I really am… and that is a very exciting thing.

 

Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.

Posted in Apartment Living, Blogging, Cat Mom, Childless by Choice, Marriage, Mental Health, Stay at Home Wife

Excuses for ignoring my blog…

It’s been almost a month since my last post on here… that is if you count that last post as an actual post… If not, it’s been a month and day since my last actual blog post… oops…

First there was my husband’s week off from work where we actually went on vacation! Granted it was only for one night, but it was our first night in a hotel in close to a decade. Life had gotten extremely stressful with the unexpected news of having to find a new place to live come November if we didn’t feel like spending over $100 more in rent to stay where we are now. Not to mention my neighbors being their normal noisy asshole selves. I “affectionately” refer to the kids in my apartment complex as “Demon Spawn”… and yes, they do deserve the nickname… Their parents aren’t much better either, especially the ones the live right below my apartment. I will never understand the need to play your music so loud that it might as well be playing (and playing loud) in my own living room, not in the floor below…

But, anyway… We needed to get out of our apartment for a while. So we decided to go ahead and take the fairly new FrontRunner line out here as far south as it goes and stay a night at a hotel. The hotel room had a Jacuzzi tub. Enough said. 🙂 We stopped and checked out a couple of nearby shopping malls before taking FrontRunner back home the next day.

The rest of my husband’s vacation was not as relaxing, but we did get a lot done that needed to get done. We checked out some of our top choices for potential apartment complexes. We were only able to check out an actual apartment at one of them, but the information we were able to get and being able to see the grounds of all of them really helped us to decide which complex we’d like to try to move to in November. Since we are planning on downsizing from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 1 bedroom, we needed to go through our storage closets and downsize the amount of stuff that we have. It was not fun, but we got rid of a ton of stuff and I am feeling a lot more confident about being able to fit our stuff into a smaller apartment now.

The time after my husband went back to work up to the beginning of last week was filled with good intentions. I intended to keep up with my email, reading the blogs that I follow, and posting a new blog post or two on my own blog… but it just somehow didn’t work out that way. Posting a blog post wouldn’t have been all that hard either seeing as I found a whole bunch of new artwork that I need to add to my “My Artwork” page, plus I finished a couple of new pieces… and yet I just never seemed to be able to find my way to my blog.

Then there was last week. The Week From Hell. It started with all of my random anxiety that had been building over the last few weeks finally boiling over in the form of a massive panic attack on Sunday. I was still anxious and drawn in on myself on Monday and Tuesday, but slowly getting better. Until there was a knock on the door Tuesday evening right around dinner time. It was the maintenance guy showing up to “fix” our swamp cooler. He invited himself in and we had to explain to him for at least the 5th time what was actually wrong with our swamp cooler. (It worked on low, but the output of air wasn’t any more on high. Plus it had a tendency to squeal. Loudly.) He proceeded to ignore what we told him and tried to fix problems that we didn’t have. After about 2 or so hours he succeeded in breaking our swamp cooler so that it wouldn’t even turn on at all and leaving us without a working swamp cooler overnight. Which was super annoying because it was hot and we almost never turn our swamp cooler on high anyway. We were fine with dealing with it working only on low since this is the last summer that we plan on having to deal with it anyway. Then I had to get up early and wait around all day for the maintenance guy to show up on Wednesday. When he finally did show up (at least 4 hours later than when he said he’d be there) he managed to get the swamp cooler working again but this time he left us with the choice of having to leave it running until he came back again on Thursday to fix one last problem, or risk having it not turn on again if we turned it off. I went from sweating one night, to freezing the next night because I didn’t want to risk not having any sort of air conditioning during the next day. He was late showing up again on Thursday, but very quickly fixed the part that needed to be fixed and left us with a swamp cooler that works on all settings. We thought that would be the end of that, but on Friday our swamp cooler just randomly stopped working on us. We flipped the breaker and tried to turn it on again. Nothing. So we called the office only to find that we would need to wait until Monday to have it fixed, because the maintenance guy only works Mon-Fri. Nevermind the fact that it’s supposed to be close to 90 degrees out here this weekend and we live in a top floor apartment… After hanging up the phone I tried flipping the breaker a couple more times and the swamp cooler started working again. So we canceled the work order and are now hoping that it will continue to at least work on low for the rest of the summer… because I am so past being done with dealing with our maintenance guy…

And here’s a random (not so great) photo of my most recent (not so great) do-it-yourself manicure… You’re welcome… 🙂

IMG_20130608_223423

 

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Family, Keeping my promises, Mental Health

Keeping my promises, part 3…

You can read parts 1 and 2 here and here.

To continue on with my story I need to back up a bit. During the time that Justin and I were dating I had a nervous breakdown/panic attack in the high school foyer one day before school. The details of that day are a bit fuzzy, but I can remember all of a sudden starting to cry and not being able to stop. Justin tried to get me to calm down, to get me to tell him what was wrong, but he couldn’t and I couldn’t give him answer. I had no idea what was wrong. He brought me to the guidance counselor’s office and sat with me while I continued to cry uncontrollably. I can remember sitting there on the couch with a deteriorating tissue in one hand and Justin’s hand in the other. When the guidance counselor was unable to help me, my mom was called in to pick me up and bring me home. I had absolutely no idea what was going on or what was wrong with me. I was scared and confused. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that somewhat similar things had happened to me before. Once when I was in Kindergarten and just all of a sudden had to get out of there and go home, and the time that I skipped school and ended up being raped. Only the time that I skipped school didn’t involve uncontrollable tears.

Anyway, when my mom arrived Justin walked me out to my mom’s car. I was still holding his hand and the thought of having to let go of his hand and leave him brought on even further panic. My mom literally had to order Justin to let go of my hand and walk away back to school so that she could get me in the car to go home. All while I was screaming and crying hysterically. Justin had tears streaming down his face while he kept apologizing to me as he pulled his hand from mine and walked away.

Once home I was able to calm down some. My mom called and set up an emergency appointment with a therapist for later that afternoon. I had been dragged to therapists appointments years before, but I never cooperated. I would refuse to talk and would tell the therapist and my mother that I wasn’t going to talk and that continuing to make me go was just going to be a waste of money. I would tell them that I didn’t need to see any shrinks because I was not crazy. This therapist appointment was the first one that I ever took seriously. It was clear from what happened to me at the school earlier that something wasn’t right and that I needed help. Being reassured by the therapist that being depressed and needing to see someone for it did not make me crazy was a huge revelation for me. I was prescribed and started taking my first antidepressant that day: Zoloft.

I continued with therapy regularly and my dosage of Zoloft kept slowly being raised. I thought that it might have been helping some, at least there weren’t anymore breakdowns in the middle of the high school foyer. My therapist told me that it would help me and I believed her and let her continue to up my dosage as she saw fit. She had diagnosed me with major depression in that very first visit and assumed that that’s all that was wrong with me. She saw no reason to question her diagnoses. Looking back now, there were probably glaring warning signs that she should have seen, but she had become more of a friend than a therapist toward the end of my time seeing her. My sessions had turned into times when we could gossip about what was going on in my life. She became too caught up in my social life to see the signs that something was desperately wrong. My recollections of that time are very blurry, but I can remember telling her several times that I didn’t think that the Zoloft was helping and that her reaction was to continue to up my dosage over and over again. This was frustrating to me, but she was the doctor so I trusted that she knew what was best for me.

Oh how wrong I was…

To be continued…

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Bullying, Keeping my promises, Mental Health

Keeping my promises…

A while back I promised to write more about the time when I was a junior in high school that I ended up getting arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital. I do plan on keeping that promise, perhaps in this post, but first I feel that I should write more about something that happened before this experience. Something that I have spoken about in my blog before, and thought that I had given more details about than I really had. A couple of years before the arrest, during October of my freshman year of high school, I was raped. I was 14 years old and this was my first sexual encounter.

I had been dating a boy that I met in my science class. His name was Eric. He was a sophomore and we had a nice little relationship going. Nothing too serious, we would hold hands under the lab tables during class, talk on the phone for hours, and go on dates to the movie theater. One day I called his house and his older brother, Dan, answered the phone. I ended up talking with him for a fairly long time. In fact, I’m not sure that I actually talked to the boy I was dating at all that day. The older brother was a senior, and he was paying attention to me. I had known and was friends with both of the brothers. I never thought that Dan might be interested in me though. I can’t remember if there was only that one phone call, or if there were more, but Dan somehow managed to convince me to break up with Eric. I didn’t realize until later that this had a lot to do with Dan always wanting to take away things from his younger brother, having me interested in spending time with him was just an added bonus for him.

So at some point after this phone call (or phone calls) I was on the bus heading to school. It started out as such a normal day, and I am still not quite sure where things went off track. I can remember sitting on the bus wearing a pair of light blue jeans and my favorite dark gray t-shirt that was fairly worn and was in fact on long term loan from my mother. I was sitting there with my headphones on listening to a cassette tape on my Walkman. I can even remember the specific song that I was listening to in this moment. “Sex Type Thing” by Stone Temple Pilots. Everything remained normal until I got to school and walked into the main lobby. Dan was there, along with a lot of my group of friends in our usual spot in the foyer. I walked up and said good morning to everybody and started to talk with Dan. Then I all of a sudden decided that I didn’t want to go to my first period class. I had never skipped a class ever before, but that day I wanted to. Dan was more than willing to skip with me, and we exited the building and went off to the very edge of the woods right next to one of the sports fields. We were hidden from the casual observer, but if anyone really looked into the woods, they probably could have seen us. We just sat and talked for a while, and looking back now on the situation, I was probably in the middle of a mild panic attack. After a while of talking, Dan decided to kiss me. I was okay with being kissed. I was even okay with a bit of making out, but Dan kept pushing things further and further. At this point is when my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember that I would tell him to stop, that I didn’t want to go farther, and he would. For a little bit. Then he would start all over again, from the beginning. It would always start with a kiss. And each time that he would start over, he would get a little farther until I would say “No”.  He was training me to realize that “No” didn’t really mean anything. No matter how many times I said it, he would always start over and push a little farther. He was breaking me.

I eventually gave up on saying no. It didn’t matter if I said it, cause he was going to do what he wanted to anyway. And that was how I ended up naked and dazed in the woods right on the edge of a sports field, when a gym class came out. He found this humorous. He himself was still fully dressed. He allowed me to put my clothes back on, minus my favorite pair of underwear that he had literally  ripped off me at some point earlier. Then he led me off deeper into the woods. I went with him because I was more afraid of getting in trouble for skipping school than I was of him at the time. So I allowed him to lead me deeper into the woods, where I quickly became lost. If I wanted to find my out and back to school to catch the bus home, I needed him.

He found a small clearing and put our jackets down like a blanket over the leaves on the forest floor. And then I was naked again, and so was he. This was the first time that I had ever seen a boy naked, and he was trying to convince me to participate in the “69” position with him. I turned my head to the side and he eventually gave up on that. The next thing I remember, he’s on top of me and he asks me if I want it. And I have no idea how to answer him. I’m lost in the middle of the woods, scared and cold, and I have just been taught that “No” means nothing. He doesn’t wait very long for an answer though, I might have nodded at him, or he may have decided that silence was consent. It doesn’t matter though, because I had said “No” very clearly several times earlier. Things should never have gotten to this point. There’s also the fact that I was only 14 and he was 18. However you look at it, what happened next was rape. I was lucky enough to either not feel anything because I was numb at this point, or my memory has blocked out any feelings that I might have felt. It wasn’t all that long before I found my voice again though, and told him to stop. And he did.

I got dressed, and then when I thought about what had just happened, I burst out crying. He was instantly apologetic, and beat himself up for pushing me too fast. He made it all about how horrible he was, he played on my guilt. And then he said he loved me, and asked if I still loved him too. And in my mind I decided that what just happened could not be rape, because we were dating. We were in love.

If the story ended there, I might still believe that what happened was not rape. But it unfortunately does not end there. He led me from that spot after a dog wandered into the woods and he gave it my torn underwear that he had previously had hanging from a tree. Because he thought this was hilarious.

He led me off to a nearby apple orchard. And I lay there on the ground and told him I was tired. Then he changed. He told me that if he was going to get in trouble for skipping school that day, that he was going to have fun. And he started in on me again. Only he was a bit more forceful this time. I don’t remember a whole lot very clearly. I remember at one point we both still fully clothed and I was lying on my back. He crawled on top of me, straddling my hips and started “riding” me, like he was some sort of cowboy. I think he even said “heehaw” and he was laughing hysterically. This hurt a lot, both physically and mentally. The next thing I remember was him on top of me again, inside me again. I quickly found my voice again this time too, and he stopped when I asked him to again, while making a joke about how I always “finish” before him. Luckily, very soon after this he led me back to school, where we thought that we would just be able to slip on the bus and go home. Only our mothers were there at the school. The school had called them when we didn’t show up for class. They had been worried about us all day. When I saw his mother, I burst out crying hysterically, and she had me sit in the back seat of her car to wait for my mother to come out. Dan told his mother that we had been picking apples and that I had been “like this” (meaning hysterical) all day. He was just trying to help a distressed friend.

I never told anyone what really happened until much later, because I didn’t realize what had really happened to me for a while. I got in trouble for skipping school, and even when my parents later found out from a guidance counselor that broke confidence that I was “sexually active” I still didn’t tell. I defended Dan when my father was talking about having him charged with statutory rape. I fought tooth and nail to stop him from doing it, and my father eventually relented. I thought that we were in love then, now I wish that I had allowed him to do it.

When I did finally have the realization that I had been raped, and confronted Dan about it. He apologized and then proceeded to try to back me up against a pillar and hug me. I found my voice much quicker and louder that time. I informed him that he was never allowed to touch me again, and I walked away from him into the school building.

This post ended up being much longer than I thought it would be, so the story that I promised to tell will have to wait for a later post.