Category Archives: stories

Bipolar barbie at 19

I was 19 when I met my boyfriend. And, looking back, I was a completely different person. I was a sophomore in college and that September when I arrived back at school I decided to stop taking my meds. I think it was a curiosity thing. I had never consistently taken my meds, but I had also never completely stopped taking them. So I was curious what would happen. I had little to no responsibilities besides produce good grades and maintain good health, and I was morbidly indifferent toward the latter. I spent the summer before (which was dark and deep in its own way and certainly deserves its own post separate from this) hypomanic. I entered the new school year all sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I went out every weekend and drank until I puked. My favorite part was trying on different personas. Themed parties were in, and I was more than down to get into character. When there wasn’t a theme, I created my own. And every night ended with my favorite game: Who am I going to fuck tonight? (Answer: Whoever responds to my 2am-bootycall-text first).

I hit my breaking point during halloween. I was dressed as Peter Pan that night. The original plan was Tinkerbell, but I impulsively box-dyed my hair brown one day, so Peter it was. I have a very specific memory of running down the street, yelling back at my friends that they either needed to catch up or I’d meet them at the party. What a metaphor, huh? Well, anyway, that’s where my memory starts to blur and all I know is that I crashed that night. I ran straight into that spot where mania meets depression and the two enter into a violent love affair with full intentions of, quite literally, murdering me. Within a few days, I was on a train home to “rest.” I resumed taking my meds and within a week I was healthy enough to be able to convince my mother that I was healthy enough to return to school. Between you, me, and I’m sure my mother’s inner voice, I certainly was not healthy enough.. Whatever that means…

We met as a one-night stand. I was drunk and dancing in a haze of manic promiscuity. “I’m crazy.. no seriously, I’m crazy hahahah” was actually a good pick-up line for one night stands and relationships that meant next to nothing. Guys looked at me with amusement, bewilderment, and lust. I can only imagine what others thought of me. At the time, I couldn’t care less. And now, the past is the past. It turned out pretty damn well and even if it hadn’t, you can’t change the past, so whatever, right?

 

It’d be really cool if I had a point to this post. I don’t. Just reflecting. *shrug*


“Coming out” as Bipolar in the Workplace

Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. I never actually said the word “bipolar” and the person I told is a person I will probably never see again, at least not in a professional setting. However, it was the closest I’ve ever been to telling anyone at all in my professional world about my mental illness. So maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but it definitely got my heart pumping. And the response was one worth noting.

It was the last 30 minutes of the last time I will see this specific person. She asked me what my major in college was and when I told her it was Psychology, she joked that, “That completely disproves my theory! I always said that all psychologists are nuts themselves because all my friends that were psych majors have so many issues of their own, but obviously you don’t.” I let out a laugh and switched the topic.

But it was brewing in me. “I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER BUT IT’S OKAY,” I wanted to scream. Eventually I managed to get out, “Actually, I do have mental health issues.” She responded with something along the lines of, “Really? But you’re so NORMAL! You’re the last person I’d ever suspect to have that stuff. You’re so normal and put-together. I hope you didn’t take offense to what I said it was just a joke! And I really mean this all as a compliment.” I told her I receive treatment and “I’m also heavily medicated, which allows me to be the normal person you see.”

It was scary, but it felt good. Like now this one person knows that someone who looks so “put together” can also have mental illness. The two CAN go hand in hand. It’s small: one person, one very weak admission, but it’s a start, right?

Last thing worth mentioning: When I came home and told my boyfriend the story, his response surprised me. He was against me “coming out” in the workplace. He said after he told the head of HR at his company that he suffers from anxiety, he’s since felt “she can see right through me” and “is always looking out for signs that I’m not okay.” He said that even though she seemed supportive and understanding, he regrets telling her. He told me to “be careful.”


Brush your teeth, Take your meds.

Love is messy. It’s not perfect. And I think sometimes it just comes out wrong.

So last night, I pretty much just told my boyfriend I was still offended by what he said. He asked me if I knew why he said it. Well, no, not exactly.. He said that at the time he was thinking, “So I’m just going to let her not take her meds and then in a few days she’s going to be stuck in bed or yelling at me for no reason or just not well and it’ll be my fault for not being more insistent right now that she take them.” He said he was just frustrated that I was being so stubborn about not doing something so simple as telling him which pills to get me, opening my mouth, and swallowing. He said he realizes now that I was right, taking one dose of meds a few hours late isn’t going to affect my mood nearly as much as the amount of alcohol I had consumed that night and that he didn’t need to push it. But at the time he felt like he did. And now he feels like shit because he said one stupid comment that turned out to poorly affect my mood for nearly three days. He takes it back.

Okay. I’m not an easy person to love, I knew that long before we’d met. But I guess I’ve gotten so comfortable with him now that I forget that sometimes. I forget that he worries about me. And I forget that sometimes he feels at fault for my moods.

It’s an interesting thing to have to take care of yourself for someone else’s wellbeing in addition to your own. I think I’m still trying to figure it out.

P.S. He actually said to me, “And it’s not like just not brushing your teeth.” Lol. You think he read my post? 😛


Work out your own salvation, do not depend on others

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I came home last night pretty drunk. Smoked with my boyfriend, got into bed, and was absolutely ready to pass out. Mindset: I haven’t brushed my teeth, but who the fuck cares because I’m fucked up and about to sleep forever and it’ll be great and I’ll brush and floss in the morning. My boyfriend was laying with me and asked if I took my night meds. I told him no, but whatever I’m going to take them in a few hours.

So I don’t fully remember what happened next, something along the lines of him being a bit stern in telling me to take them and me going into don’t-tell-me-what-to-do mode, which probably came out as, “If you push it then I promise you I will never fucking take them.” Whatever.

And, again, I can’t remember where exactly this fit in, but I guess he was slightly angry with me for not taking them and said (this I do remember exactly), “Don’t fuck me over,” which translates to, “don’t let me plan my future around you and then have you go and kill yourself or stop taking your meds or something and fuck me over.”

THE FUCK?!

We’ve known each other and been together for 3+ years. In that time, I’ve been hospitalized ONCE. I had a manic episode, recognized (after independently calling my doctor) that I wasn’t safe, needed to go inpatient to stabilize, and I voluntarily checked myself in. Yes, my boyfriend was there to drive me to the ER to go through the finding-a-bed process, but, realistically, if he wasn’t there, I would have taken a cab. My point is, I have bad times. This is a chronic illness that can be treated, but not cured. I know that and he knows that. However, I have NEVER given him a reason to not trust that I can and will take care of myself.

He apologized this morning after realizing I was holding a grudge. I haven’t accepted it yet (hence the angry rant). I’m still so mad that he said that. I’ll find a way to get over it, obviously, but FUCK. I’ve pretty much just been hiding in my bed all day and he’s been out in the living room or whatever. I don’t even know.. I’m just so mad he said that.


Fear of Failure

Originally written Nov. 6, 2013

When I was little, maybe 4 or 5, my parents decided I needed to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. A completely age-appropriate expectation with fully supportive parents and a Dad willing to take me up to the near-by playground to teach me the same way he had taught my older siblings. I refused. The truth is, I was embarrassed that I didn’t already know how. What if I just couldn’t do it? What if cars drove by and saw me learning? Then these total strangers would know that I couldn’t ride a bike on my own and they would judge. Somewhere inside of me I must have known this was an irrational fear because I refused to give my parents an explanation for why I was refusing to be taught.

Instead, in private, I took my new two-wheel, big-girl bike and practiced by myself in my cramped garage – think two-car garage (with two cars in it) filled with bikes, scooters, gardening supplies, sports equipment, pool toys, and, obviously, my pink Barbie Jeep. When I felt confident enough that I could balance and pedal once or twice on my own (there wasn’t any room to pedal much further than that), I told my parents that my Dad could teach me, but only in my cul-de-sac, of course, because the playground still carried too many risks of being seen riding less than perfectly.

For years my parents gushed about how smart their daughter was; teaching herself to ride a bike without any help. The truth is, their little girl had been too paralyzed by the fear of failure to have learned any other way.