I DESERVED IT, DIDN’T I?

I was physically assaulted for years by different men and there were times when I woke up that I didn’t remember agreeing to have sex with a person or know where I was.

Alcoholism will lead you to dark places and to people you wouldn’t normally be friends with.

My parents were actually good parents. They had some moments when we were younger that could’ve been better but I don’t think any of it was too bad. Then again maybe it was and I don’t want to remember it. I don’t really know. I do know I was always painfully shy, over weight by the 6th grade with glasses and acne. It wasn’t fun from the 6th grade to the 12th grade. A lot of damage was done that couldn’t be undone.

When no one stands up for you as a child or intervenes you start to believe what is being said to you. So I believed I was fat, useless, ugly, unlovable, even that I smelled when I didn’t because everyone believes when you are fat you must smell. I was the cleanest person I knew. I became obsessed with expensive perfume as I grew older because of one comment made in the 10th grade. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on perfumes from places people have never had of.

The group of people I surrounded myself with when I began drinking at 16 were all predators in some way or another. Some were emotional predators, some financial, and some sexual or needed to feel in control.

I was perfect for all of it. I had zero self confidence and thought I was nothing when I arrived. I worked hard and always had money. I was easy to control when drinking and I was always drinking to numb a feeling or fake a personality or emotion or to feel normal. They saw me coming a mile away and never wanted me to leave.

While one would say and do cruel things another would be there to act as the good guy. Then it would flip. I went on like this for almost 9 years starting at 16. Those are important years where you learn how to be a young adult then an adult. I didn’t learn any of those things. I learned a lot of street smarts and how to immediately scan a room for scumbags or trouble. I learned to always sit with my back against a wall facing the door so I could see who was coming and going. I learned not to trust anyone ever again and to look people in the eye. I learned how to read facial expressions and tell when a person is lying to me.

I learned all of these things the hard way and by slowly becoming the monsters I hated.

I never fully became the monster but I still carry that fear with me and the street smarts. I also carry the “Trust No One” mentality with me because it huts too much to trust and be let down over and over again even by your family. I have brief flashes of the rage I carry deep within me and I won’t lie, it scares me. I wouldn’t hurt another person but I would hurt myself in that rage as I tore through the World. So I have to be careful with it and channel it into something else. That’s where the tears and stuttering come in I think.

I didn’t ask for any of this. The mental illness I knew was a 50/50 shot so was the drinking. But when I was growing up no one really knew that or talked about it. If my parents had taken me to a Doctor when they first suspected I would have been institutionalized until the age of 18.

It’s here and now at 44 that I decide how I want to deal with all of what I’ve been through, what I’ve learned, what I still need to learn, and pass it on.

If I could travel and speak on Radio Shows or in High Schools and tell the absolute truth with no sugar coating that’s what I want to do more than anything. There are too many organizations right now that so many feel like they don’t belong in because all they see are the positive messages of hope and recovery which is fine but don’t promise it right out of the gate. When I’m feeling like 0 the last thing I want to see are shiny happy people holding hands because I’ll already have the thought of failing in my head.

I don’t know if I’m making sense about this at all or if I’m completely off base and too messed up to even know it. I wouldn’t mind some feedback as long as you don’t completely tear me down because then that’s all I’ll think about for weeks. Ridiculous! But that’s who I am now. I’m a lot stronger in many areas but I still seek love and approval. I’m a work in progress like everyone should be.alone-by-edgar-allan-poe-scarebaby-design

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THE BULLIED BULLY THAT I KEPT A SECRET FROM MYSELF

Bullying started early for me. I went into puberty at a very early age, I had breasts before the rest of the girls which also came with hormones and everything else. Having adult breasts at the age of 10 isn’t as good as it might sound to some people. Boys at that age are not ready for breasts and are still at the “Girls are icky” stage.

It didn’t help that with puberty came acne, glasses, and weight gain. I was also the tallest and heaviest girl in my class. My twin sister wasn’t having the same problem.

A group of kids called me “Dino” after the dog on the Flintstones. My first name is close to Dino. Every piece of paperwork had your last name first. My last name has to do with food in a way. When it was called out first everyone laughed and said that must be why I’m so fat and ugly.

There were not many days where I wasn’t tripped, called names, had chairs pulled out from under me, spit on, or ignored.

I began drinking at 16 and went to parties with a group from another town. They were older. A few were from the town I lived in and went to school in. There were nights where I was bullied at parties and would lock myself in my car where I cried myself to sleep. These parties were up an old dirt road called “Purgatory” that the police never found out about. Purgatory was a good name for it.

It’s where I thought sexual acts equaled someone liking you or a way to get someone to like you. I would take many years for me to realize that sex and love are two different things.

It’s also where a darker side of myself started to emerge little by little.

If you are mistreated and told you are nothing for long enough you start to believe it. When you’re Bipolar and don’t know it and an alcoholic you can turn that hurt and pain into something else at times.

There were times when I was drinking where I felt cocky, almost better than everyone, like I could take on the world. Situations became really bad, really fast on these nights. I remember one night J’s grandfather had passed away and he was depressed. But as usual there was a group of loud idiots in the living room. I left him in his room and went to tell them to be quiet. A girl I didn’t know said “F*ck you! Who are you anyway, you fat c*nt.” That didn’t sit well with me. At the time I loved J and I knew what it felt like to lose someone close to you. He had no one to take with him to the wake so he asked me because he knew I had manners and could speak respectively to adults. So I to be fair I asked the girl to repeat herself in the hope that the people with her who knew me would tell her to shut up. Nope. So I punched her in the face. She was very quiet after.

I’m not proud of any of the things I’ve done but in a way I miss that person could stand up for themselves and say what they wanted. Instead of this person who starts to stutter and shake at loud noises, heavy footsteps, angry men’s voices, and cries at everything.

I usually didn’t get into physical fights with other females because I didn’t think it was fair in my mind. I thought because of my size it wasn’t fair. Not to mention it was mostly men who did the most damage. I did fight a lot of men for good reason but violence isn’t really the answer. One day you will meet someone bigger and badder than you are, and on that day no one will help you, some will think you deserve it, they won’t know what you’ve been through your entire life.

In the end you’ll go back to being the frightened child you used to be but this time it will be much worse. This time you will have memories of the things you did and the worst that was done to you.

If someone had intervened when it all started maybe things could’ve been different. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad now. I don’t know. I do know that when an adult notices something is a little off with a child they should go with their gut. You don’t have to call in Children’s Services but maybe observe their behavior or talk to their teacher.

If nothing is said than nothing can be done. And where does that leave them as an adult?

TALKING TO MYSELF

I hate repeating myself. I have a hard enough time getting a complete sentence out as it is. When I have to repeat myself three or four times it isn’t only difficult in a cognitive way but thoughts of unworthiness start creeping into my head. Of course this will snow ball to the point where I’m convinced the people left in my life are tired of dealing with me so they pretend I’m not here. I’m invisible so I talk to myself. Sometimes I forget I’m in public when I do it. It isn’t often I’m in public, only 2 to 3 times a month but it’s still embarrassing.

I felt okay yesterday and this morning but now I’m overwhelmed by sadness. I miss my Mom. I miss her hugs, I rarely get hugs since she passed away. I miss watching her graceful hands as she did jewelry, knit, cooked, or held my hand. I miss how she would tell my Dad off and he would listen. He’s angry all the time now so I walk on eggshells all the time. It’s more like landmines. He’s always been intimidating.

Knowing how people see and think of you is the hardest part. One of the biggest problems is the misconception that the labels that have been put on me equate me with a lower IQ. It’s the exact opposite. I’m too observant, intuitive, I love to research and learn about specific subjects, I pick up on social queues, I just keep it to myself.

I know my sister doesn’t want to be around me. My Dad feels guilty and like he’s stuck with me. I used to get 10-20 phone calls a day from different people to see what I was doing. In the last 9 years I’ve had about 10 total calls from my 1 best friend to check if I’m still alive.

I might be alive but this isn’t living.

I can’t motivate myself to get out the door. The last time I did it was because I was going to a concert out of state and had backstage passes. Stuff like that doesn’t happen anymore. I thought of going to Salem, MA because I used to love it there but I would rather go to New Orleans. I’m not sure how safe a trip there would be for me.

So today I’m kind of stuck in the middle of nowhere.

GRIEF ISN’T SOMETHING I’M ABLE DO

I went to the grocery store yesterday because I was forced to. I went to one I don’t usually go to but my Dad likes. I walked in and saw a very thin, frail looking man, hunched over his carriage. I knew he looked familiar but he looked so old and sick I thought it couldn’t be him, it couldn’t be my Dad.

It was. I couldn’t move, I felt the numbing heat that starts in my legs and travels to my head. I knew the shaking/tremors were going to start, I didn’t know I already had tears on my face. I was stuck where I was standing and staring at him. I felt such fear and anger. Anger because he doesn’t listen to his Doctors or anyone else, anger because my twin sister has once again left me to watch our remaining parent die or kill themselves slowly because they’ve given up.

I’ve left her so many texts it’s like I’m a stalker. She hasn’t responded. I left a voicemail and she hasn’t responded. She thinks I’m too dramatic. I’m getting upset over nothing. My Dad’s Nephrologist told him he has less than 4 years and he’s being very optimistic with that estimate.

I told my Dad last night that I don’t want my name on the house or anything. I refuse to be here when my sister and her husband show up and start criticizing the house and yard. I know exactly how it will go. “How could you let it get this bad? How could you let him keep all these birds? How could you let him keep all the clocks? Why wasn’t the floor redone? How could you let him plant more flowers? Why didn’t you have those trees removed?”. I’m not going to listen to it when they weren’t here for any of it.

The didn’t offer to help with anything or come to visit. If my Dad wants to see his grandchildren he has to try to contact my sister and arrange a meeting. Meanwhile I’m a prisoner in this house of antiques and dirt. A prisoner of my own guilt and shame for the things I’ve done in the past that hurt my parents. There’s no way I can ever make up for the things that I’ve done or said.

Is there a time where I say enough is enough? Where I do something I want to do like an adult? Make a decision like an adult? If I turn out to be wrong I take responsibility and try to correct the wrong. Simple things like driving a long distance should not make my Dad angry or worry so much that he’s dry heaving. I might only have a few more years left than he does I think it’s okay to take a road trip or stay out past dark.

I know most of this is my fault because I never really moved out on my own. I knew in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t make it living on my own years ago. I’m a different person now. I still need to do a lot of work and I’m not 100% sure about being on my own but I would like to have the choice. I won’t abandon my Dad. This isn’t in my nature to do.

When I think of the man who taught me to swim, who could swim like a fish himself, who loved the water and looked like he was born from the sea, I smile.

When I think of the man who taught me drive with patience and enough trust to let me drive him over a large bridge in the pouring rain, I smile.

When I think of the man who saved every little animal I brought to him without hesitation, I smile.

When I think of the man who sat by my side night after night watching movies and TV he wasn’t interested in just to keep me company so I wouldn’t feel alone, I smile.

When I think of the man who saved me dying, I shut down and cry.

My mom passed away nine years ago and I still have not come to terms with it. Her death haunts me almost daily. Maybe it was because I watched her die I don’t know.

There are still some of my pets that have died that I have a hard time with when I think about them or something triggers a memory. I know people who are diagnosed Bipolar have a harder time with grief but I also know this is something more.

HOW DO YOU TRUST YOUR OWN MIND?

I have many regrets and I have hurt many people over the years. I won’t use alcohol or not knowing I was dealing with a mental illness from an early age as excuses. These are only insights to my behavior. Bipolar started at an early age for me so I didn’t know life without it. People that hear or read this always have doubts. I had doubts because I am skeptical by nature and question everything. If you know me than you know I also research everything.

There was too much evidence proving that it started early, scientific, physical evidence that I couldn’t ignore. The research team at Harvard University couldn’t ignore it either nor could the team at Brown. At the time I was so overwhelmed with this new information I panicked and shut down. Someone else had to speak for me and tell them I couldn’t do what they were asking. I couldn’t be their freak in a lab, locked in a room with no access to my family. They should’ve known how damaging this would be. Even the suggestion of it was terrifying.

There’s a problem with letting your family see you at your weakest. They never forget it. They also never forget all the times you broke their trust while drinking. How could they? Letting my twin sister see me when I thought I was 5 years old and our Mom was coming to pick me up was a huge mistake. Allowing her husband to trigger a Conversion Disorder/PTSD episode like I’ve never had before was another mistake. Her seeing me so out of control and confused about where I was and blacking out gave her ammunition. More to put in her memory bank to bring up later.

She hasn’t been answering my texts about driving from New England to California but has answered other texts.

Today I finally talked to her, as in I actually spoke to her on the phone, it didn’t make me feel better.

She said she honestly didn’t think it was a good idea for me to try to make that kind of trip. She said she didn’t think I could handle it. It’s too far away if something happens and I panic or lose control.

I have been doing pretty well with control lately. I either write out my issues on paper or here. I also use other tools to calm myself down until I can think about a situation rationally.

I know I probably wouldn’t make it all the way but I wanted to try. Now I have butterflies in my stomach and I feel like I can’t swallow. I also feel trapped, like time is passing me by and it’s all too fast. I lost so much time already. I don’t have that much time left. This is something both my dad and sister refuse to listen to me about and they won’t listen to my Doctors. They won’t look at the statistics or my medical records. They refuse to talk about my alcoholism and the amount I drank. How much damage it did permanently both physically and mentally.

I’m not sure if I am thinking clearly or not because I’ve never thought like other people do. I’ve always loved the dark beautiful side of things, understanding human nature, nature vs nurture, survival of the fittest, basic instinct. I would read books and want to be a vampire queen, a Goddess of Rock, The Morrigan, a warrior in a magical land, anything but myself. But I woke up the same every morning. I lived in a fantasy world for a very long time. It was safe there in my books, in my bedroom, hiding from the outside.

My best friend W called yesterday to catch up on things. She asked a question. “Would you get better if the person who hurt you the most apologized? Or if you talked to him and got closure?” I knew where she was going with this. I knew that she had seen and been around him in the last year or so. I told her the truth.

It isn’t about him anymore, it’s about me. I’m not the same person who thought they deserved to be treated like garbage. I have self worth now. I actually pity him because he’s incapable of changing. I will be honest and say that if I saw him do that grin he does I can’t promise that I’ll remain calm. It’s hard to know so I think I’m better off leaving it alone. Do I want him to see me now? Yes, I do. I want to stand in front of him and rub it in his face that I am now a beautiful woman who has more than he ever will. But people like him will never get it. He’s manipulative to the point of being a sociopath.

Her response was “Jesus, you just said everything I was thinking about him and you’re right he hasn’t changed. I was around him 2 times for E’s sake and I couldn’t take it I had to leave early both times. I hate him, I hate his face. I’m kind of glad you said what you did. He had a rule where no one could say “Jesus Christ or for Christ’s sake” in front of him and when I heard that I wanted to puke. That was what did it for me, all I could think about was you and I left.” W understands me better than anyone.

W’s advice about the road trip? DO IT! If you get homesick turn around and head home. you know yourself and how you are going to feel, you’re pretty good at judging when your mood is changing or when you’re going into crisis mode I’ve seen it. Don’t listen to anyone but yourself, don’t tell anyone until your ready and in your car on the highway.

So I’m still confused because I listen to too many people and not to myself. I’ve learned not to trust myself because other people don’t trust my decisions.

Still confused.

I TRIED TO OWN WHAT I DID IT DIDN’T GO WELL

I tried to own my actions with my brother in law when I talked to my sister last night. It backfired. My sister started yelling a lot and some of it I blocked out. She did say “Every time we talk it’s about death or health when I just want to have a normal conversation! If you wanted to die that bad you should’ve done a better job all those times you tried! I’m sick of hearing all this bullshit!” I hung up. I was trying to take responsibility and show that I’m aware that what happened was partly my fault when I had been blaming my brother in law for the entire thing.

My brother in law was the smallest in his class and went to a school where he was one of the few white kids. He was made fun of or beaten daily. He was also sexually abused at a young age. As he got older he had problems with how he saw his body and an eating disorder followed. The only time he felt comfortable was when he played guitar and drank with his friends.

Music became his life and so did alcohol. He became best friends with a group before they became famous and they treated him like family. They all drank together. They all had their problems. He started to spiral when it looked like his music career wasn’t going to be what he thought it would be. To him music was everything, it was validation that he wasn’t nothing. I understand that now. I understand so much of it now and all I want to do is cry.

Instead I’m scolded again and another person in 48 hours says something similar to how maybe I should’ve done a better job years ago so I wouldn’t still be here. What do you say to that? How am I supposed to feel? I can’t stop stuttering or shaking. I have to hide my tears so I’m not yelled at. I want to go home. I am home.

Alcoholic Reminiscing

It’s difficult relating to other women about relationships and men because I’ve it’s always been complicated with me. I always had crushes that were never returned or revealed. When I started drinking it was 1990 and we all hung out in groups. I’ve said before the group I hung out with was not filled with your boy next door types. They were all older and the majority had done some kind of prison/jail time but not all of them. There were not many women around on a day to day basis except me.

Everyone gathered at J’s apartment. People were in and out constantly and the music was always loud. So loud that he had his phone rigged to flashing lights so he would know someone was calling. I was there so often that J would tell me to answer the phone and the door after giving me a list of who he didn’t want to see or talk to. He usually had a revolving door of roommates I answered for too.

One was John. I loved John. He was 6′ tall and thin with blond hair that went down almost to his waist. I remember walking to the store with him one day, I fell behind and a group of guys drove by and started whistling at him. They couldn’t tell it was a guy. lol He was warm, funny, and when he hugged me it was always like he would never see me again. He would pick me up too which I thought was impressive considering my size. He didn’t like it when the other guys said stuff about me in front me. He was one of the few that would tell them to stop. We were good friends for years until I messed it up.

He always had girls around him. He was in a band, taught guitar, and sold guitars so he was popular. He also drank too much, liked coke and crack too much too. At first he had a crush on my best friend but I thought of him as a friend so it didn’t matter. A few years later my feelings had changed. Unlike most men I’ve met he actually sat me down in a room and said “You know I love you. I love you so much but not in the way you want me to”. If more people were just honest my life might’ve been a little easier.

Two alcoholics who have been drinking together for years are eventually going to do something stupid. I initiated it and felt incredibly guilty when I remembered the next day. I stayed away from J’s for a little while. There were consequences to our actions that I felt were mostly my fault so I didn’t tell him. J with the big mouth decided to tell him. John was pissed. I didn’t know this and went to the apartment and started drinking with J like I usually did. When John arrived I was already drunk. He wouldn’t talk to me or look at me. The song “Black” by Pearl Jam came on and when I heard “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s life” I pretty much lost it. I tried not to show emotion in front of them for years. I learned early on they smell weakness and prey on it. This time John lifted me from the table and took me to an empty room where he just held me and rocked me back and forth.

He said he wasn’t really angry he was sad. It wan’t the decision he wanted me to have to make alone. He’s also the only man that has ever told me the only reason he regretted being with me was because we were drunk and I didn’t deserve that I deserved to be treated special because he loved me.

We continued to be friends. A few weeks later he hooked up with a stripper. I had a hard time being around them and drank more. She had me beat. She drank so much she would wet the bed every time she stayed over. But there was always another to take her place. There were a lot of strippers that came and went and I didn’t like any of them. I tried at first but they never looked past the fat girl hanging out with the guys. Some of them didn’t like that I was always around. I was rude to 1 or 2 by saying “you’re not that great I’ve slept with your boyfriend too he’s not that picky”. I know not a great thing to say. Whenever I felt bad about myself or backed into a corner I lashed out and if cheap hard liquor was involved forget it. The cheaper the vodka the meaner I would be.

My story took a turn for the worse didn’t it? John has been with the same woman for years now and doesn’t drink as much. I haven’t seen him in about 17 years. I’ll always remember the good things about him. Even though I was drunk I can still have those memories of things I’ve never had sober.