Believe it or not that was me the Spring of 2011. I was leading a wonderful life. Healthy, happy, fulfilled. I prayed multiple times each day, attended a few different services through out the week, and traveled to attend services to visit Bishops. I felt stronger than ever and was looking towards a wonderful future with my husband. Until this happened…
Yep, that’s what mania looks like for me. It hit me quick and hard. Suddenly I couldn’t pray and lost all interest in being a good Orthodox woman. I wanted all the men, I bought tons of sexy clothes, went out partying all the time and slept very little so I could do more of those previous things. It was a disaster to say the least. It effected my husband, friends and family, because when I’m manic I think the things I’m doing are 100% acceptable. I had no guilt about my actions. I was having fun!! It took a long time for the mania to subside and when it did my life was in shambles.
It’s been a long time since I was a devoted Orthodox woman and since that manic episode. I still feel like I’m trying to put together all the pieces. I don’t fit in a box. None of us do. There are pieces from both times that need to be a part of who I am. They linger deep inside of me. I want to be more connected to God. I want to have my faith strengthened, but on the other hand I was so changed with mania I can’t ever become the person I was. There were some wonderful people that I met when I was manic. People that are still in my life and I never want that to change. The question I struggle with is whether the things we do when we are manic are sinful or not. I really can’t find the answer. There’s so much grey area, yet I feel 100% confident that things happen for a reason. So in your 100 shades of grey where do you find peace with who you are today?
Yes, this time I’m blaming my self. For a long time I trained my brain to tell itself that it wasn’t my fault. That issues with my mental health were not my fault. Which is usually 100% true. But this time I can only blame myself. For so long I have managed to keep a healthy balance of how much to think about traumatizing things and to know when to keep it healthily pushed out of my mind. I screwed up. I got in too deep. I started to try to make connections. I tried to push myself deeper in my head than I should have. Today started out so great. I had an amazing time with someone who always makes me forget about everything. I needed to forget about everything for a little while. But eventually I had to go home to my normal life. Yesterday I had a flashback. Something that has not occurred for years. I put myself in a position that I should have known would trigger a bad response, but I did it anyway. Now I’m sitting here feeling stupid. Now I’m sitting here wishing for mania. Longing for that feeling of feeling on top of the world. I want to do anything just to feel better. Something manic. Too bad I’m broke, don’t have anyone to hang out with, and am stuck in the house. There’s a ton of stuff that I could do to temporarily feel good, but none of them are possible now. I just want to shop or go have a drink with a friend or just do something wild. But as much as I want to be manic, it’s just not the case. I’ve got to maintain a healthy balance in my life where I work on my mental health issues and where I go have fun, enjoy life, plan, dream, and just enjoy everyday things. So yes, it is my fault. I pushed too hard and now I’m suffering the consequences. I have learned one thing though. I’m done and I mean done with thinking about it. I’ve tried to piece it all together and now that I have I’m closing the book. I’m moving on and never going to dwell on it any more. I’m strong now and there is no need to keep over analyzing things. So, I’m sorry self. I screwed up.
I have spent most of my life trying to connect the dots. Trying to make a timeline of when I first experienced trauma, when I had my first episode of bipolar disorder, when I first experienced PTSD, what had happened when they all come together, what the real truth is.
This morning as I was thinking about all of it. A thought that I never had before popped into my head and nearly knocked me over. I must have been manic when I started being sexually abused. I’ve never thought that before, let alone say it out loud. I felt like I now had this terrible secret inside and that I was to blame for everything that had happened. Now that I’m typing it, it seems less like a secret than I thought it should be. It’s the truth, but it wasn’t my fault. In the past I would have been beating myself up, hating myself, having suicidal thoughts, the whole gamut. Now I can say, OK I might have been manic, but I was still taken advantage of. I was a naïve young girl that had no experience with men and was preyed upon by an evil manipulative predator. So what, I was intrigued because I was manic and young. So what I might have played a long a little too far out of curiosity, but having dirty phone calls and being sexually abused are not the same thing. Period. I did not come to this conclusion immediately. I spent a few hours freaking out and panicked and a disaster, but the one thing I have learned over the years is to stay calm and be honest. I have learned not to blame myself for what I do during times when I have been manic and I have learned to forgive myself.
So there you have it, it’s now out there for the world to see. I was probably manic in the beginning of the relationship with my abuser. If I had been older and wiser and my parents would have known I was sick maybe things would have been different. But now I feel like I know what the truth is. It doesn’t matter what happened when and how it was all connected. My wonderful friend bipolar_issues has been talking to me today as I told him my terrible “secret.” and he said the most helpful thing. “Don’t worry about the dots. We know what the picture looks like.” The picture is what I am today. Maybe there are others like me trying to connect the dots of their messy past. I hope that maybe we can forget all the terrible parts, the dots, and look at who we are today and move forward from here.