It started back in February, 2016, when I got my dream job and was flown to California for a week of training. I knew something was “off” before I left, I knew something was wrong, I knew my anxiety was way off the charts, but I tried to push through. I tried to ignore it. It didn’t work. I ended up in California, alone, and terrified. I couldn’t explain what was going on in my head, I just knew I was freaked the hell out.
I then made the biggest mistake of my life, one that would ultimately end my job and my relationship. Mistakes that would be my eventual demise. I was in the midst of full-blown mania.
All of those details are still foggy for me, except when I got to the detox facility. It was a big open co-ed bay filled mostly with homeless people and those strung out on various drugs. Some people were there strictly for a place to sleep. Most terrifying thing I can remember.
I decided to drink, in an effort to cope. Wrong answer. I proceeded to go on a 3 day bender, mixing alcohol and Ambien and have little to no recollection of what happened in that week. Wrong answer. My former boss ended up putting me on a plane back to Texas, where I then decided to drink some more. I apparently passed out in the airport bathroom and was removed by ambulance in Phoenix, AZ. The next thing I know, I’m waking up in an emergency room with tubes in my arms and no idea where I am.
I was issued a cot and a trash can, one to dry heave in as I detox. I had to suffer 24 hours before I could get sent to the “rehab” side, where there was food, and beds, and therapy. I made it. I spent another 3 days on the therapy side, before I was discharged and sent back to Texas. Of course, there are many details that I’m leaving out, only because I’m too terrified to revisit those feelings and memories. Worst experience of my entire life, hands down.
My first full-blown manic episode, brought on by extreme stress, fear, and sexual assault. I’m bipolar, I know this. I chose to not treat it for the past 3 or 4 years, pretending that I no longer needed to. Hell, I don’t know what I was thinking. I thought maybe I was misdiagnosed, I thought I was strong enough to over-power, out-think the urges I had. See, bipolar mania makes me feel like I can do anything, that problems don’t really exist or think the ever so present “I’ll worry about that later, everything will be alright.” NONE OF WHICH ARE TRUE. NONE.
When I’m in a manic state, I take risks, I don’t see consequences, I don’t see things as choice. I believe I’m ok, and that everything will just work out fine. Some people will think this is all bullshit and that everyone has a choice, and to some extent that may be true. For me, when in a manic state, impulse will always win. Risk, always wins. Always. I only think about myself, what I want to do, and what will make me happy in that moment. I don’t see any further into the future, than the next 5 minutes.
The most selfish thing a person can do, yet I didn’t know how to stop myself. I should have been strong enough to resist, I wasn’t. I needed help. It’s so, so much more than substance abuse. It’s a mental health issue, one that is very destructive but also very treatable. If I wasn’t such an asshole and battled this stupid disorder head-on, maybe I wouldn’t be penniless, broken-hearted, and devastated at 38 living with my parents.
I lost the love of my life. From the moment I heard his voice, I loved that man. I wanted him. The first time I hugged him, I was home. I knew, deep down in the deepest parts of my soul, he was in fact my souls’ mate.
And I blew it.
I hid my disease from him, pretending I didn’t have bipolar and pretending I wasn’t an alcoholic (horrible attempt at hiding with both). I was afraid to tell him about my baggage. I also thought that our love was enough “medication” for me and that I could handle it. I thought his hugs and kisses were all the medication I needed. It was the beginning of a 2 year downward spiral. I could keep my shit together for about 3 months at a time, and then I would have a break and go on a bender for a few days, and David would patch me back together, never knowing what was at the heart of it all. I don’t drink when I’m depressed, I drink when I’m manic. I drink when I get to the state of mind of not seeing consequences. I drink when I think I’m strong, and invincible, when I think I can handle it. It sounds like a cop-out, I get it. I can’t explain why I chose to drink, other than not seeing consequences, at the time.
I understand why David no longer wants me. Who would? I’m a mess. I have a debilitating mental illness combined with substance abuse issues that have severely impacted my life in a very negative way. I’m so angry with myself that I ignored the root of the problem for so long. Why couldn’t I just treat the damn mental illness, and circumvent the substance abuse? Maybe if I had been upfront with David about my diagnosis this all could have been avoided? He is literally my every other thought. I’m drowning in our early memories of when we fell in love, and how hopeful I was. I never thought in a million years that I would have to see a future without him in it, yet that is my reality. I miss his arms and his lips and kissing him good-bye in the morning. I miss his laugh and his eyes. I miss the way he looks in a t-shirt and jeans. I miss talking to him about silly things, important things, and just being together.
He was my BEST friend, my fishing partner, my confidant, and my lover. Gone. If the situation were reversed, I would never leave him, I would try to be as strong as I could for him and be there next to him, every step of the way and help him get the help he needs. I understand not everyone is capable of that, so I’m not angry at him. I just wish things could be different. I’ve already accepted that I will never get over him, I just have to continue life with that hole in my heart and try to go on anyway. He was the love of my life, and I ruined it.
I’m now at my parent’s house, feeling abandoned and alone, in a house full of people. I try to find things to be positive about, like the fact that I found a therapy program that starts next week, where I will hopefully get the help I so desperately need. I also have an understanding of how lonely I was in Texas. David was ALL I HAD, period. I need a bigger support system than just him, which wasn’t fair to him either. I need to do normal things, other than work and sit in my apartment. I need to spend time with family and friends and realize how important I am to those that care about me. I lost that in Texas. I was so detached and secluded from everyone, which is dangerous for someone like us. I need to learn to lean on my family and talk about my feelings, instead of hiding and burying them. I need intensive therapy.
For now, I wake up each day and try to get through it the best I can. Some days I can manage a smile or two, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m trying my damnedest to see the future and see the positives in life. It.is.a.struggle. I cry hard, and I cry often. I miss David, every single day, a thousand different times a day and that is my punishment. I deserve that. I just hope one day there’s less pain. I hope I heal. I hope.