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.