My Mental Health Story/Journey

I’ve told my story before on Facebook, back in 2013. However, a lot of things have changed since then, so I’m going to tell it again. If you can’t handle reading about self harm and suicidal ideation, probably best to stop reading now. You’ve been warned.

My whole life, I’ve been different. As early as 1st grade, I told my mother I wanted to die. I was six. I don’t remember this (she tells the story sometimes, which is how I know about it) so I don’t know details. Even then I was a sad kid. I cried a lot. I think even then I knew something wasn’t right, but I was way too young to grasp what it was.

The remainder of my time at that school was uneventful for the most part in regards to my mental health. I don’t even remember much of it.

In 2005, right after my 10th birthday, I found out we were moving away. Far away. Almost 150 miles south far. I don’t even remember how I reacted initially. I was still extremely outgoing (to a fault) at the time and I went off on a kid for being rude to me within minutes of my first day of school there starting. He never did learn to like me, but most kids there didn’t.

I was harassed by him and a friend of his. Other kids joined in too. I was accused of being a pedophile because I slept with my brother (due to a misunderstanding on what the term ‘sleep with’ means), and I had a rumor spread about me that was so widespread that Casey (who was in 1st grade, so 4 grades behind me) came home from school three days after the incident leading up to it and told my mom he heard I flashed my bra to some kids at school (which I did not and would not do). I believe my mom had a meeting with the principal after this. I still don’t know who started that rumor, but I had some suspects at the time.

6th grade was the year my bullying got physical. Another 6th grader would punch me on the bus while the girl between us claimed she ‘didn’t see his fist’ and let him do it. I reported it to my counselor and was told that wasn’t a school issue. I didn’t pursue it beyond that. This boy was always an issue for me, all 4 years I lived down there, though 6th grade was his worst year. I only ever struck back once and it was when he went after my brother.

By this point, I was ready to just kill myself. I didn’t have a plan in mind at that time, but I was so over it that I just wanted to end it. I told one of my ‘friends’ and she said ‘You won’t do it. You don’t have the nerve.’ I don’t know if I ever would have, but that was the year my mom got pregnant with my sister. After wanting a sister for almost a decade, you can bet I wanted to be around to meet her.

7th grade was the first year I can recall ever self-harming. I didn’t do what would eventually become my preferred method yet. At that time, when I was frustrated, I would bang my head into cabinet doors. Not hard enough to leave a bruise, just hard enough to hurt.

I got into a lot of fights with my parents during these years. I will always live in regret because I hear of people priding themselves on having never told their parents they hated them, and I can’t say that I haven’t. They don’t seem to hold it against me, considering what’s come out since then, but I can’t help it.

Halfway through 8th grade, I found out I was moving back to my hometown. I didn’t want to leave. I don’t know what I was thinking. I hated it there. I suspect it was because of a diagnosis I received many years later that had a symptom of not wanting to accept change. More on that later.

Anyway, nothing really happened that final semester at all that contributes to this story, so I’m going to skim over it for now. In late May of 2009, we moved in with my grandma, who let us stay with her while my parents sold our old house (which ultimately didn’t sell for almost 4 years). It was rough because there were 6 of us in a house only made for about half that many. For a couple months Casey and I shared a room while my parents built two new rooms. That wasn’t a bad summer. Much better than the following one.

Then my freshman year started. I’ll admit, I was a little bit intimidated. I’d gone to private school when I lived here previously, so it was an all new experience. And the school was bigger than anywhere I’d attended before. Overall though it wasn’t a bad year. I did make some friends, including one my very first day whom I was good friends with almost up to graduation. We lost touch after that, but that’s common. I wrote two novellas that year, mostly in study hall. I got accepted into the radio program for the following year.

I had a couple of boyfriends that spring, including my first ‘real’ boyfriend. Then he dumped me and I had a rebound for about a month. We broke up in late May 2010 and I got together with a guy I’ve mentioned previously (‘Tyler’). That’s when my problems truly began.

I won’t retell the entire saga of that relationship, but to sum up, he wasn’t allowed to date and decided to get with me anyway, very likely to piss off his parents. Obviously, I was caught in the crossfire and blinded by love, so I stayed and it caused me to fall into a very deep depression. That was the worst summer of my life and I have very likely dozens of songs I wrote during that time that prove this. I began cutting at the end of the summer (late August) and eventually word got back to my parents. They did not take it well at the time, which didn’t help matters any. I was so stressed out after this that I decided to fake being suicidal at school because I knew I’d get sent home and I needed a day off. One of my parents came to get me and I believe I was grounded for a few days. This was around when I started going to counseling.

This cycle continued, where I’d be sent home for being suicidal or for cutting or talking about cutting, and my parents would send me to get cleared by my counselor to go back, wash rinse, repeat.

I was somehow managing to make and keep friends for the time being at this point. I’m not sure if they just didn’t know what was going on or it didn’t concern them, but I didn’t lose hardly any friends my sophomore year at all.

Midway through that December, my parents and I got into a fight. I don’t even remember what it was over now. All I know is, I stormed to my room and could hear them out in the living room talking about me. I can’t recall exactly what was said, but it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was at the time. That was the final straw for me. I had Christmas lights hanging around my room. I decided I’d use them and finally do what I’d been wanting to do since 6th grade. I made a noose (read: wrapped the lights around a hook once) on the closet door and tried resting my chin on it. Obviously it didn’t hold and I was back to square one. The only person who knew about this at the time was Tyler (whom I told a couple days later). Eventually I told my mom (whom I am positive told my dad) because I knew at that point I should probably go on antidepressants and would have to tell my counselor about the incident. Looking back, I probably could have avoided telling her and just said ‘I feel depressed. Is there anything I can take?’. But regardless, she referred me to my first psychiatrist, who just put me on Lexapro without giving me an official diagnosis.

I was on Lexapro for about a month, but it wasn’t helping. I felt like I was slipping away from happiness more and more every day. Everything from that period is tinged in gray.

Eventually, I got caught not paying attention in my favorite class (German) and the teacher yelled at me. This was out of character for her and it shook me up so bad that when I got to my science class the following period, I opened the ‘science kit’, took out the scissors, and cut.

The next day, I confessed to two teachers. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the ‘mandated reporter’ thing (though I think these teachers cared and would have said something regardless) and next thing I know, I’m in my dean’s office being told I’ve been double reported and they were recommending I check into Wellstone, the local psychiatric hospital. They were sending someone from there to come check and see if I was eligible and I left school immediately. I wasn’t around for German, and my teacher, who knew I was depressed and the last thing she’d done was yell at me, called my mom to check on me the following day. By this point, I was already in the hospital for my stay.

I won’t go into detail about that 10-day stay because I could go on for hours, but I’ll say this–I do not recommend Wellstone at all. I will never recommend it. I’ll probably write a separate post about it someday soon. I spent my birthday there and it was horrible because of staff being rude to me. The other girls in my group were fine. They even made me cards. But the staff–grown adults–made it miserable.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder my first full day there and put on Abilify. I was on my best behavior after that, especially once I was on the full dose. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t ready to leave. I may have never been ready to leave. I wasn’t better yet. But, I wanted out so bad I put on an act to get out. I tried to tell my doctor I (and a few others) suspected I had anxiety, but he blew me off. That’s important later.

I finally left late on the night of President’s Day 2011. I was so glad to be out and I refuse to go back. I have lied in the past to professionals just because if I told the truth that was a plausible outcome. I’ve thought about giving a scathing 1 star review recently (well over 7 years later) just to balance out all the glowing reviews from people who work there. I firmly believe I’d have been better off not going.

After Wellstone, things for the rest of 10th grade were pretty uneventful. Well, enough so that I don’t recall much about it. I know I had a lot of medication issues that caused me to go off a lot. I went to Myrtle Beach for vacation over spring break and was miserable because of it. I pretty much ruined Mother’s Day for my poor mom due to having a meltdown that was probably due to the wrong medication.

The first semester of junior year was weird. I was still having medication issues, as we hadn’t found the right fit for me yet. I actually lost at least half a dozen friends that semester due to my many meltdowns. I had a friend who knew I self harmed and after he mentioned it to his mom one too many times she reached out to my mom and told her to keep me away from him.

The second semester, I did something I shouldn’t have done in the radio room at school and got kicked out. My dean wanted to suspend me but I don’t think he liked me after all the incidents the prior year. My counselor sided with him and I suspect it’s because I’m pretty sure they told stories about me in the break room so even though she hadn’t been my counselor for long, she knew a lot about me.

I showed a video to my German class chronicling my story sometime around now and some girl and I got into a fight and she called me a ‘f***ing psycho bitch’ for trying to kill myself and I went off on her, left the room, lost my temper in the hall, and got written up. She didn’t take German the following year, so I decided to.

Tyler and I broke up that semester too. Initially I broke it off because I wanted to date a guy from my church. That turned out to be a mistake. I reconciled with Tyler for a bit, but eventually he left and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for the reasons he gave. There’s a blog post all about him here.

I didn’t take that well. I was still actively cutting. I don’t think I got in trouble for it anymore though, cuz I knew to keep my mouth shut.

My depression hit me hard on prom day.  First, Tyler texted me for the sole intention of ruining my day (I realized later it was out of revenge because I sent him a passive-aggressive text the night before). Then I get to prom and hate it but can’t leave because I had brought a friend with me. I’m venting to another friend and admit I feel suicidal and all that. She told on me and I got grounded for a week. So yeah, not a good day for me.

My senior year was okay for the first semester. I dated a boy I wish I hadn’t but otherwise it went okay. I got to stay with Grandma over Fall Break instead of going to Myrtle Beach again so I wouldn’t miss Harvest Homecoming. It gave me more independence than I’d had up to that point.

I can’t say much about my second semester because I didn’t have much of one. Three weeks in I was reported for picking my nose in class by a teacher and told I wasn’t welcome anymore and that I needed to finish my school year at home. To be honest, I think my dean was just done dealing with me. He and my counselor were definitely both against me at this point. Anyway, I could come back for senior events and I could walk at graduation, but other than that I couldn’t come back to the school for anything but midterms and finals, and even then I’d be in the testing building. My parents and I were livid for a bit but after we had some time to digest it we decided this could work.

I finished all 4 of my final classes with two months to spare. I finished the first three in a week each but Algebra 2 was killing me. I had a tutor who had to help me through it but I managed a B in the end. I got to walk and I still have my diploma.

I honestly think that the nose picking stemmed initially from anxiety, because I don’t recall it being an issue until 5th or 6th grade, right after my move and all the bullying started, and I think it became a nervous tic/habit I never fell out of.

Around mid February of 2013 was when I quit cutting for three years. Now, the last time I posted anything about my self harming was a year after I quit, in February 2014. What I’ll share later hasn’t been publicly posted before.

After being fired from my first job on my first day in early 2013, my mom and I decided I should apply for SSI. I went in on Halloween 2013 to apply. I was turned down the first time (as most are), but we appealed and had a hearing scheduled for November of 2015. In September of 2015, I had a second psych eval done, the first one having missed a few things.

A few weeks before the hearing, I got the results back. Remember how my doctor in Wellstone blew off my concerns about anxiety? I was diagnosed with it. I can’t even imagine how much better off I’d have been if they’d caught it four and a half years prior (when I straight-up told a doctor about me possibly having it) and maybe started giving me proper medications.

I also was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder, which was the one we’d been hoping for. I had suspected I had it for awhile and it was such a relief to finally know for sure. That pretty much guaranteed I would be granted my appeal.

My hearing date came. The judge was thorough. She was mentioning things I had forgotten about, but must’ve mentioned to my counselor. I found out about a month later (just after Christmas) that I won my case (me knitting during the hearing probably helped). My mom was on the phone with my dad when I got the letter and she almost cried while reading it to him. I’ll never forget that moment.

Then comes January 2016. I’m about to begin receiving payments and had to get ready for that. Late in the month I began dating a guy I went to church with. We were together for a decently long time (16 months).

In April, I began cutting again. I won’t go into why, because it doesn’t matter, but I did, and I felt like (and still feel like) a failure. I know I went over 3 years without cutting but in the end I still chose to start again.

I cut sporadically after that. Not nearly as frequently as when I’d cut in the past, but I still did. I never cut really deep, as I don’t like blood at all.

I had a lot of issues while with my ex. I was miserable a lot.  He had mental illnesses as well and they exacerbated mine. I was often miserable. Eventually, after 16 months, I worked up the strength to leave him. I was pretty quiet about the breakup

When I left him, I stopped taking my meds for a few days. I was hoping that it would drive me to do what I’d been wanting to do since the 6th grade. After 3 days, I puked (probably withdraw) and decided to take them again because it wasn’t worth it. I know now I never should’ve tried that.

A few days after that, I began writing a letter. I’ll never know if it would’ve ever been read by anyone because I ended up being asked on a date by a friend. We ended up together and will celebrate 1 year on June 17th. He’s one of my only reasons to continue.

My sister has remained a light throughout all of this, and my brother has become one. I know they’d have each other if I killed myself, but I’m their older sibling. My sister is only 10, so if I did something, she’d have to grow up without me. It’d have been one thing if I’d done this back in 10th grade, when she was probably too young to remember, but now, she definitely would.

Ever since my diagnosis, my parents have handled me so much better. They understand more now why I am how I am.

Whenever I want to, I tell myself that I have too much to look forward to in life. If I killed myself, I’d never get married, have kids of my own, or see my siblings get married and have kids of their own. My friends too. My best friend recently asked me to be her honorary bridesmaid for her wedding next summer. I don’t want to miss that.

I think that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks to anyone who read all of this. I hope maybe it helped someone. It helped me for sure.

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The Gatekeepers

Something I’ve been told a lot as a Christian-turned-atheist is that “If you’re an atheist now you were never truly a Christian.” This never fails to piss me off. Here’s why.

To begin, I’ve already told my story, so I won’t repeat it in detail, but to sum up, I got saved (or whatever phrase you want to use; that’s the one I will) at 5 years old. I have at least one picture of my baptism the first week in October of 2000 for anyone who doesn’t believe I was. I was faithful and I feel I knew quite a lot about the Bible and Christianity in general. Then at 21 I became an atheist because I felt that Christianity just didn’t add up anymore. For anyone playing along, that’s 16 years of being a Christian.

Sitting there saying that I was never a Christian because I’m not now invalidates 16 years of my life. You’re literally telling me ‘Your entire childhood was a lie’. You’re also saying you know more about me than my own parents. The people who raised me. You’re claiming you know me better than the people who literally gave me life.

You can say all you want to that all atheists are the same. We aren’t. You can say you know my story but you don’t. So don’t pretend to.

Things to Never Say to an Atheist

I just recently let my atheistic worldview become public. I’ve gotten quite a few interesting responses to the idea of me deconverting. Here are a few that I absolutely hated with my explanation on why you should never ever say them.

  1. You can be a Christian and be mad at God. I’m not mad at God. I don’t believe in God.
  2. You’ve clearly been hurt by something or someone. This one really gets under my skin. The idea that you only de-convert because you went through something traumatic makes me really angry.
  3. If you’re an atheist, why do you have morals? Really? Really??? You really think that you can only have morals if you see them in some holy book? If that’s the only reason you aren’t going out killing people and robbing stores, you need to have a serious examination of your own priorities.
  4. You just don’t want to listen to and obey God. You realize what atheism is, right? Lack of belief in God. Listening to and obeying God is, in my opinion, the same as listening to and obeying Zeus or Ra.
  5. I’ll pray you see the truth. Okay? Saying you’ll pray for me isn’t comforting to me because I don’t believe in the power of prayer.
  6. Have you really thought about it? Have you? I was raised in a Christian household where all I ever learned at home was a Christian worldview. That was my childhood. Do you really think I would have decided to completely turn away from that without putting thought into it?

    There are 6. If I come up with more I will add and reshare.

    The Crippling Reality of Depression

    Recently, I saw a post on Facebook from a girl talking about how depression hinders her and makes it seem like she’s lazy when she’s not. I almost cried because I thought that I was the only one affected like that. She mentions that she hadn’t brushed her teeth in a week. She hadn’t brushed her hair in a month. I never realized the true extent of the damage depression does. But now I do. And I feel like everyone needs to know.

    Full disclosure: I don’t brush my teeth twice a day. I’m lucky if I do it once a day most of the time. I can’t keep a clean room (let alone my entire apartment!) for more than a couple of days. I constantly have dirty laundry, dirty dishes, an unmade bed, unkempt hair, etc. I don’t shave very often. I don’t brush my hair all the time. I often forget deodorant. Why? Weariness. I don’t mean to forget. I don’t mean to walk around looking like a homeless person. I don’t intend to forget to do my laundry or leave dirty dishes laying in the sink. I just get…too…weary, I guess. All I ever want to do is lay around and do nothing. I’m always tired. I don’t like being lazy. In fact, I hate myself for it. It’s easy to tell someone who looks lazy to ‘just do it’. You think I don’t want to? I want to function like a regular adult. I’m 22 years old. There is no reason to be this way. I should be able to act like a normal adult…right?

    Wrong.

    Depression is a harsh mistress. At best, you have a few good days where you don’t feel the need to lay around and cry all day. Then you have days that you spend mostly just…existing. You’re still weary, you’re still weak, but you aren’t having a mental breakdown. Then there are the days you’ll not only feel worn out from the moment you get up to the moment you go to sleep, but you’ll have a rough day emotionally, which drains you further.

    I moved out on my own for the first time almost exactly three months ago. Ever since, I’ve not been able to keep my apartment clean for a single day. I don’t want it to be messy, I just don’t have the energy to clean it. When it DOES get clean, it’s because one or both of my parents come over and help. It’s a two-hour process we do about once a month. It makes me hate myself even more that I have to have Mommy and Daddy come help me clean at 22.

    That’s the thing with depression–it’s crippling. It’s not me being lazy and shirking my responsibilities because I feel entitled and lazy. I genuinely don’t have the energy to try. I wish I did. I cry over it. A lot. I’m crying right now because I know I’m not strong enough to be the person I want to be.

    If you struggle with depression, don’t think you’re alone if you can’t manage to leave your room some days, not even to get up and function like a normal person your age. Don’t feel like you’re less of a person. You’re not. You’re stronger than you’ll ever know. Just being able to acknowledge that you want to do it makes you stronger than most people. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try. But if you’re trying and it doesn’t seem to be helping, don’t feel like you’re inferior because of it. Reach out to someone. People who love you will try (and maybe succeed) to understand.

    I know this was really personal and for once that was intentional. I want to show that if you feel like this, you’re not the only one. And you can talk to me if you want. I get it. I understand what it’s like. And for the first time in a very long time, thanks to the Facebook post, I feel less alone than before. I hope this makes someone feel that.

    Secrets (Work in Progress)

    I’ve got very few secrets. I’m usually an open book. I rarely keep anything to myself and when I do, it’s because it’s not my secret to tell.

    But I do have a few. Some things are best left unsaid. I have things I don’t like talking about. Last Monday was my first day of my Criminal Justice class. My professor asked the class to introduce ourselves and say something we’ve never told anyone before. I, for the first time in awhile, had something—the fact that I’m extroverted and egocentric is an effort to mask and defeat my insecurities. Until then I’d never told anyone that. Until now only they and my mom knew—and my mom only found out a few days ago. Now I’m putting it out there. It’s one of my last secrets.

    I’m a very open person. I figure if I’m open and honest then people know the kind of person I am before they get too attached to me. Plus in some cases, such as my rocky past, I know it could help whoever I’m talking to get through a rough time. Not to mention it helps feed my self confidence and makes me feel better about myself.

    Nobody seems to notice how embarrassed/hurt I get when someone points out my flaws. I get that it’s important, but I’m still very insecure. I don’t know how to take criticism. The English class I took last fall was the first time I was able to get past that. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

    From burning passion to burning ashes: a true story of love and loss

    This is the story about me and the guy I was in a long-term, long-distance-like relationship with. It’s long, and it’s emotional. I’m not giving away the ending, though the title of this post might be a clue. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to finish this post. I’m mostly over it, but occasionally it still hurts to talk about. I changed his name to protect his privacy.

    When I was about to start my freshman year of high school, I moved back to my original hometown after a 4-year absence. I was upset at first, but I quickly got over it once it happened. I moved back on May 29th, 2009. I had several crushes over the course of that summer and the school year. I was a bit boy-crazy. I’d had a crush on a guy named Tyler from sometime in November of 2009. My mom had mentioned that we had a few things in common and I remember being at a bonfire with my (now former) church youth group and seeing him for the first time. He wasn’t hard to notice–the main reason my mom had even mentioned him to me is because we were the only two kids in the group to wear hats during youth group. I stayed away from him because I didn’t know what to say. I’m not even sure that we spoke to each other until January, when I invited him to come with me and my dad to a local university’s planetarium for my birthday the next month. I realize now how suspicious that must’ve looked, but it was my mom’s suggestion to invite him, not mine (though I was hoping she’d recommend it). Anyway, he came with me and I think he enjoyed it. There wasn’t a whole lot of communication between us for awhile, but I invited him to see me in a school play in April. He was a big theatre geek and came to the final showing. I got his phone number just before so that I could contact him if anything changed. I was super excited about this. I didn’t text him for awhile, but it felt nice to know that I could whenever I wanted to.

    On Easter of that year, I noticed that he’d answered a question on an app called Social Interview (it’s no longer a thing, so don’t bother looking) that asked if he knew who he wanted to or planned to marry. He responded that he was pretty sure he had an idea, but didn’t elaborate. I had this hope somewhere in me that he was talking about me, but I doubted it. I later found out he WAS talking about me.

    May 7th, 2010 was the first time we really talked. We had a big Capture the Flag tournament for the high school youth and any friends we wanted to bring. Tyler sat down right beside me before the event started and we chatted at length. I don’t remember what we talked about, but the fact that we talked at all was good enough for me. We spent a lot of time together–even when he was caught and sent to ‘jail’, I joined him (even though I DIDN’T get caught) and kept talking with him.

    Despite this, I didn’t text him any time other than if I had an excuse. I didn’t text him just to chat; I would only text if I needed something of some sort. Finally, on May 22, 2010, I texted ‘hey’ while at a car wash fundraiser for the mission trip to Seattle the following month. He responded a little while later and we talked for a bit. We considered ourselves best friends, and we finally outright acknowledged that later in the week.

    On May 26th, we texted for awhile after church. The night before, I made him promise not to fall for me, as it could jeopardize our friendship, and when he did I felt I could accept that and keep our relationship totally platonic. Well, that all changed the next night. Somehow the topic of our feelings for each other came up. I told him that up until the night before I did have romantic feelings for him, but I’d accepted that we’d remain friends and nothing more. He admitted he’d had feelings too. I proceeded to ask if he still did. He admitted that he did, and I realized I still had feelings for him, but I was trying to stifle them because I didn’t think it’d work out. Now that it was possible it COULD work out, I gave up on denying what I felt. We tried to keep it quiet and wait to start a relationship, since he wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend until college and that was two years away. We held out for 3 days. Less than 3, actually, since we pronounced our feelings on Wednesday night and started our relationship on Saturday afternoon. We didn’t want to wait until we saw each other again the following Wednesday (he was going to be absent from church that Sunday), so he ‘asked me out’ via text. I’m not even sure how the conversation went exactly, or what time it happened.

    We mostly kept it under wraps for a couple of weeks. My parents knew because shortly thereafter my mom confiscated my phone at night so I would get plenty of sleep the nights before finals. I think they suspected it, because at that time my mom had my passwords to my internet accounts and found a suspicious email in my inbox a few days prior, where Tyler and I had a correspondence the day after we established how we felt, which mentioned that something incriminating was said, though neither of us elaborated. Plus, it wasn’t exactly a secret that I had a thing for him. However, she told me that she wouldn’t pass word on to his parents. Other than the secrecy, we had a good relationship for those days. We saw each other in youth group, and when the group would go volunteer somewhere we would sit together in the van and hold hands. It was nice.

    Then we got caught. In a conversation with his mom two days prior, I admitted to having a crush on him, but made sure she knew that I accepted that we’d be just friends. She didn’t believe that, so she would occasionally log into his Facebook account to see if we began talking about anything. He took to checking if his mom was online before we started chatting. We got caught that Wednesday because, while she wasn’t on when we first started talking, she logged in mid-convo and found out everything. We were formulating a plan to meet up before church that night and spend some time together. We didn’t explicitly say what we were planning to do, but I think the worst thing was a kiss on the cheek. We planned everything to the last detail…and his mom saw the entire thing. When I signed off, he sent me one text asking what I had in mind for that night, then nothing for the rest of the afternoon.

    He was promptly grounded. When I found out, I snapped. I will swear to my grave that I was never the same again. Anyway, we didn’t break up and when we were on our mission trip in Seattle a week later, we hung out as a couple. When my mom found out from the leader assigned to my group–the one leader who hates me–that we’d been doing that, she promptly grounded me and told Tyler’s mom everything she knew so she wouldn’t be ‘blindsided’ again. At this point, he gets so far grounded that his Facebook was completely deactivated. I was unfriended at this point, but I wasn’t allowed to check my Facebook anyway so it didn’t really matter. Sometimes if my mom left hers up and went to take a shower or get ready to go somewhere I’d go over to the computer and go Facebook creeping, which is how I found out about Tyler’s account being deactivated.

    July of 2010 was the longest month of my life. I was totally miserable. I got my phone on rare occasions, but only if I sneaked it away from my mom. His birthday just happened to fall on a Monday that month, and he volunteered at the zoo on Mondays and Wednesdays, during which time he was allowed to have his cell phone. My mom had left my phone sitting out that morning, and I put it on the charger. I don’t remember if I thought about it before I put the phone on the charger or after, but she went to church to set up for VBS, which was later in the month, and, knowing he’d be having his lunch break I took the time to text him to tell him happy birthday and that I loved him. We talked for an hour or so before he had to go. It was the highlight of the month, I think, as I pretty much didn’t see him at all for the rest of it, since he went with his parents to church for that time.

    August was a little better. He got back his phone and internet privileges back, so we could text, though we still had to keep it on the DL. Near the end of the month, I started cutting as punishment for everything I’d been doing. I felt at fault for Tyler’s hardships and felt like if not for me he’d be better off. I got a bit suicidal and told him that.

    On September 8th, 2010, we ended up getting caught. Again. This time, his dad texted me immediately to tell me to leave him alone because I’d ‘wreaked enough havoc on his life’. Later, he called my dad to tell him everything. Apparently Tyler had told him that I was to blame and told him I was cutting and made me look like a complete psycho. I did not take it that well.

    The rest of the year was miserable. We left the church in December and the last time I saw him before leaving, he kissed me, then disappeared for fear of being seen with me again. It hurt to see him go, but it felt so good to feel his lips on mine again.

    Early 2011 was hell. I kept getting sent home for suicide threats. It all came to a head in February, when I was reported by two teachers and ended up in a mental hospital. Tyler didn’t know until May, on our 1-year anniversary. We barely talked for awhile after that, except on his birthday that July.

    Finally, that fall we talked almost as much as when we first got together. We still didn’t get to see each other, but we talked on Skype a few times. I was working on my school’s radio station and we got to hear each other’s voices when his family wasn’t home.

    In December of that year, he wrote me a poem while I was on a church retreat. It was sweet and never failed to make me cry. I even kept it on my Kindle.

    January 11th, 2012, I decided to date a guy from church who had a crush on me. It was a mistake that I wish I wouldn’t have made. Tyler and I were already having problems, but this first breakup jump started our relationship’s failure.

    A few weeks later, Tyler and I were planning to rendezvous at a concert being held nearby. I broke it off with the other guy and met up with him. We shared some quiet moments together, enjoying each other’s presence. A friend of his rushed him off to their seats and I never got to be with him again. I cried. A lot.

    A month or so later, I was still feeling something for the guy from church and on March 25th, I made another mistake—I kissed him. I felt bad, so I confessed to Tyler and he went ballistic. We broke up the next day, this time for good. I don’t consider it cheating, but Tyler told me that even though our reunion was unofficial it was more official than I was giving it credit for. I didn’t take it well.

    We tried being friends a few times, but it didn’t work out. Finally, late that December (I believe the 28th or 29th), after we had some time to heal, we decided to try being friends again. It was like we’d never dated in the first place. Things were back to how they were before the relationship.

    A month later, he decided to tell me that he was considering reinitiating the relationship. I was elated. We discussed it a couple of times, but a few days later he told me that he didn’t feel that way anymore and wanted to be just friends. Our friendship crashed after that. He told me I was being a jerk about him stringing me along and ended up threatening a restraining order when I tried to fix things.

    The last time we talked, he made it very, VERY clear that he never planned to speak to me again. I’ve seen him a couple of times since then and I never quite got over him until October of last year. I saw him working where I had my birthday lunch this year and while I was a bit shaken up out of surprise, I wasn’t sad.

    If he wanted me back, I’d say no. I can’t deal with that again. I’ve found someone much better and while I don’t regret our relationship (I’ve met hundreds of people as a result of being with him, including someone who’s the reason I quit cutting), I do wish it’d ended on better terms. I just hope that someday he won’t dislike me as much as he does now.

     

    EDIT: After typing this, I realized that he was very likely using me to get back at his parents for being so strict. A couple days before he dumped me, they told him that they would stay out of our relationship from then on. The timing, added with all the horrible things he said immediately after, makes me think he was using me the entire time.

    The Road Less Traveled

    I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence/Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
    5 years ago next month, I was checked into a mental hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Soon after that, ADHD. Then, more recently, Asperger’s and anxiety. I’m taking four medications, two in the morning and two at night. I’ve been dealing with it for so long it’s second nature to me to include that in my daily routine. Even my little 8-year-old sister will sometimes ask me if I’ve taken my meds. Everyone in my house has adjusted fairly well.
    But there’s still a big problem that can be summed up in one word–stigma. There’s a huge stigma that’s attached to all mental illnesses and disorders. It’s like people don’t think it can be real because they can’t see it. They think that people who say they have a mental disorder must be doing it for attention. And yes, sometimes people are. But the people who really need help aren’t getting it. Why? Because there’s a stigma attached to mental disorders. Nobody wants to admit it though.
    So what can we, people with MDs do about it? Well, you have two options: hide, or be a voice. If you hide, nobody ever has to know you have it, you can have a normal life and have friends who are normal and you can have some semblance of peace in your life. OR, you can take the road less traveled and speak out for everyone who’s like you. You can make a real difference in the world and maybe someday there will be a cure. And even if you don’t have a mental illness, you can still either ignore the problem or face it head-on. I just hope you’ll do the latter.