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?
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.