I grew up in a home where I was severely sexually and physically abused, as well as mentally and emotionally, by my father. I was also beat up at school every day by a gang of girls. I hated myself. I hated life. I was introduced to drugs and alcohol, as well as cigarettes, at age 14. I quickly learned to use these means as a way of attempting to cope with the abuse.
I was also raped twice at age 15. I had my first boyfriend shortly after, and sex quickly became a part of our relationship. When he broke up with me, I acted out sexually. I didn’t know at the time that I was suffering post traumatic stress disorder, from all of the abuse, nor did I know I had bipolar.
I was arrested for drunk driving when I was 21. I lost my license, but I kept going out and getting drunk, and realized I could not stop. I had a couple of amazing incidents in my life that freed me from the drugs and alcohol, after 10 years of abuse! I was in recovery, at Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Survivors of Incest Anonymous. I was working hard to heal and to overcome the abuse in my life, after having a son and meeting a man I thought would be the answer to my prayers.
I was also in therapy. I went to see a Crisis Counselor, as well I was part of a RASAC group: Rape and Sexual Abuse Coalition group, and seeing a counselor through them as well. I really wanted to do ‘surgery’ on this ‘root’ of pain and anger in my heart.
I married this man and moved away from all of my support, friends and family to a place where I knew no one. This man began to abuse me verbally and physically. I lost touch with reality, and attempted to kill myself. This landed me in a psychiatric hospital for 3 1/2 months, where I went through a lot more therapy: individual and group therapy. I was put on meds, and that is where I was diagnosed bipolar. I was 30.
Upon my release from the hospital, my mom sent me a card that said, “Bloom Where You’re Planted”. I attempted to get involved in my community and church. I sang solos both in church and for community events. I volunteered with an organization, “Say ‘No’ to Abuse”, where I was able to share my story and to sing.
My husband at the time got himself into some trouble with the law and ran off and left me and my kids in this town. Five months later, he came to get us and we moved to another state, where again I knew no one. Within 2 months after moving, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and within 5 months she was gone. Again I had no support, no friends, no family. My faith was all I had to get through that horrible time in my life.
It took several years for me to finally gather the courage to leave my ex. I left him and got back with him several times. Until I left him for another man over 5 years ago. I wish I could say it’s all been a bed of roses since leaving my ex. Being away from his abuse was great! But, I still had a lot of issues to deal with, and one of them was the bipolar. I had been on meds, but found out the hard way they were the wrong medication.
I went through a very difficult time when my ex moved out of state and left me and my new husband with all of the kids, and our place was not large enough to have them all. So, we had to find a new place - quick! And did not have money saved to do so. It was during this stressful time that a voice told me to take a handful of pills, and I did.
My husband took me to the hospital. I was released, only because I had such a ‘supportive husband, who obviously cared about me’, the nurse said. I was given information about a psychiatrist who worked for the state and who could see me at a significantly discounted rate.
I went to see her, and she again diagnosed me bipolar, and began treatment immediately! I have been on several different medications in an effort to find one that works for me. I think we have finally found one. It seems to be keeping me more stable emotionally. I can function at a higher level of stability and normalcy than I ever have before.
I am working on not allowing the anger to control me. I have been part of another recovery group, off and on, for several years: Celebrate Recovery. Being a part of that group, when I can go, has been beneficial. But, I am interested in reaching out to more of the NAMI groups, so that I do not feel so alone in the world, thinking I am the only one with bipolar. I know I’m not in my head, but it sure feels like it sometimes.
I know I hurt my kids growing up, because of the anger I had towards my dad, that oftentimes came out towards them. I did not abuse them sexually or physically, and that was my prayer! But I know I hurt them with my angry outbursts at times. Now that I am on the correct medication for me, I have been working hard to heal those relationships and to make amends. I love my kids, and want the best for them. I want them to do better and to have better than what I did growing up.