Do you know what really grinds my gears!? TW: Religion

(With apologies to Family Guy for nicking the quote! Religion mentioned, be careful).

 

So I use Moodscope to help map my moods. Everyone in the system likes it because it helps us realise where we are with our moods and even gives suggestions for how to help lift them. That’s awesome. Sixteen wishes she had something like that when it was her, back when our body was 16, too. She feels like she might have been able to identify when she was heading for a crash and could have stopped it from being so bad.

Moodscope has a blog, which we get every day, straight to our inbox. They’re amazing. Sometimes, they make the difference between a bad day and a better one. The one problem is, they forget about trigger warnings!

This morning, one came through which we liked, but then BOOM. Religion gets mentioned- Christianity specifically. Cue scrolling frantically past the bible verses and feeling stupid, upset and slightly panicky.

Moodscope, I think, makes this mistake because quite a lot of people see religion as benign and helpful. It’s meant to be a guiding force, something to comfort and protect. Moodscope doesn’t know that religion has a damaging power above just making people feel a bit guilty for sinning.

In some cases, religion damages people so badly they will never be the same again. We know all about that and how one small thing written about Revelation can have us feeling frightened within seconds.

Our plea to Moodscope, and any other blog/info post, for that matter, is PLEASE put a trigger warning for religion. People like us will thank you.

TW: Hospital.

Hi all- massive TW for this post. We discuss hospitals and various traumatic things that happened there. Shout out to the nurses, who were wonderful in every way.

Monday the 9th May. We are in the gym, feeling happier than we have done for a long time. I’m on the leg curl machine, and pull myself up higher on the machine- there’s a sharp pain on the right hand side of my lower abdomen, and suddenly a gush of blood. We freeze. What. The. Fuck.

The pain is too bad to do another set. We are upset as we climb off it, and head for the chest fly machine instead. We do a couple of sets before the pain gets even worse, and then realise we aren’t well enough to keep going. We finish up, go home, and try to deal with the pain. We go and teach, too.

Tuesday 10th May. The bleeding and pain is worse. We feel awful, and triggered, and the younger ones have realised that we are not on our period. What the hell is happening, they want to know? I explain to them that it’s the ovarian cysts that caused us so much pain last August, and they are still scared but get it. Nineteen is feeling upset and unable to eat. We still go teaching, in awful pain, but we feel like it might just go away by itself… We hope.

Wednesday and Thursday, 11th and 12th May. The pain is pretty much unbearable. 19 has her flip out and we are all exhausted, in pain, wrung out and needing rest.

Friday 13th May. It gets so bad, we call the NHS non-emergency number. They are concerned by our symptoms and try and get an ambulance out, but we end up going to hospital driven by our Mum. We’re all scared at this point. The Dutchman arrives, and we spend the whole time after mum has to leave in his arms. Sadly, we are discharged with painkillers and sent home to book another ultrasound scan.

Saturday and Sunday, 14th and 15th May. We exist in a haze of pain. Making breakfast on Saturday, we pass out and the Dutchman carries us to the sofa. He continues to care for us in every way over the weekend, taking our minds off the horror that’s going on in our own body.

Monday 16th May. We end up at the GPs, and she’s so concerned that she sends us to the hospital. We have to go through an internal exam. It’s one of the worst things we have ever experienced. The Dutchman kneels beside our head, squeezing our hands and telling us it’s ok, we are safe. It hurts. He tells us he’s still there and he loves us, and he isn’t going to go away. We are admitted and they arrange an ultrasound scan for the next day. The Dutchman has to leave, but he Skypes us when he gets home to make sure we are ok.

Tuesday 17th May. The ultrasound shows a golf-ball-sized cyst on our right ovary, just like we predicted there would be. We knew there was a cyst. We have all been feeling unable to eat, and the pain is on the one side. However, we have a sinking feeling about this. Although there’s no cancer detected, we suspect that it is probably not going to make the doctors do anything. Later on, we try to get out of bed because we think we’re going to throw up, and pass out entirely. When we come to, there’s a concerned team of people present and a doctor there, and a drip and cannula in one hand. The younger ones hate that. It hurt for them to get it in because our hands are so bony. Nobody knows what to do about the cyst, nobody has any information or advice for us. We are point blank told that there’s no way to prevent cysts and that it’s not being drained.
Wednesday 18th May. We realise the only way to get any advice is to ask for it. There’s an amazing nurse who eventually comes to talk to us and give us options to help prevent the cysts from coming back. We are released with a handful of painkillers again, and told not to worry, all women get cysts due to their monthly cycle and sometimes, some women’s hurt a bit. This is past that, though. There’s a golf ball sized cyst sitting inside us and refusing to budge. It’s been there over a week. We are all scared and hurt and upset, nineteen is fuming, we all are at our wits end.
Thursday 19th May. A week since nineteen had her meltdown. The cyst is still there. We are glad to be home, but the full horror of hospital has started to sink in and we’re terrified of what we remember. We all continually flash back to the internal exam. It was horrendous. For any person who hasn’t been through trauma, it would have just been embarrassing and uncomfortable, which is bad enough. For us, it was torture.
Friday 20th May, today. We are sent a letter informing us that due to the fact we had been in Accident and Emergency and were prescribed medicine, we are to be charged for this. £8.40, “as you would be if you had visited your GP.”
The callousness of this hurts us. We were in A and E because we were really ill, not swanning in complaining of a common cold. We don’t mind paying, but there was no expression of sadness for us having to be in A and E, and the letter is callous in its tone. Moreover, we are scheduled another scan and an appointment for something not mentioned in the letter in June. JUNE. That’s a long bloody time to be left in pain. There’s a little unconcerned light-hearted statement about having an internal scan, and the probe would be, “about the size of a tampon. I don’t care. None of us do. We are not having anything like that happen again. They saw the cyst on a normal ultrasound, that internal one is unnecessary and downright abusive.
We can’t handle this. We have been thoroughly retraumatised by the whole experience. The Dutchman has offered to ring them for us and find out why there are two dates on the letters, and to explain that there may be adverse reactions to demanding inappropriate scan techniques. The letter mentions the normal way of scanning first, which we are fine with. Why is there the need to be so flippant about the internal scan?

 

We’re all really struggling and upset still. On Sunday we are supposed to be flying out to see the Dutchman. We hope that it works out ok, if the cyst bursts in mid-air we will be in trouble.

 

The only thing that’s comforting us right now is the thought that in two days, we get to be with him again. There’s our dog curled up with us, and our family have been very supportive. We are just praying that the pain gets no worse.

Mayday warnings. (Guess what, TW. Stay safe folks.)

Hello again all…

I am so sorry I managed to, yet again, vanish off the face of the earth. I’ve been having a pretty hard time. I haven’t even been keeping up with my journal.

I’ve realised why my voices have wanted me to kill myself in May.

Big step forward, I hear you say, and yes it is… a huge step. It all started when I took my puppy for a walk and began to have a conversation with the ‘it’ voice of the dark passenger.

We sat on a tuft of dry grass, I threw handfuls of it for the puppy which she chased. The it voice wasn’t screaming its usual deluge of vitirol. Instead, I was having a conversation with something that was acting like a scared, naughty child and then BOOM-

I’m eight years old or thereabouts. I’m sitting at a table with three naughty boys, the worst in the class. They pinch my belongings and hide them, empty pencil shavings in my hair and on my work, they call me names and hide my precious glasses, without which everything becomes a blur.

The teacher watches and laughs and blames me for their behaviour. I’m only rescued from that table when my mother, mortified that nothing is being done to protect me, goes round to her classroom after school ends. She’s met with indifference from my uncaring teacher, and a justification for splitting me up from my friends and putting me with the class bullies: she’s weird, she deserves it.

The it voice then chose that moment to point out that it had been born on that table with those three horrible boys.

I’m not surprised, then, that quite often I felt like I was dealing with a naughty upset child… because I was. I think I was dealing with soundbites from three nasty little boys that my traumatised brain had classed as a voice. Now I know what it is, I’ve learned to treat it firmly but gently. It’s pretty much vanished now. It’s dormant and quiet and sleepy, benign and un-frightening now. I did an interview with a girl who was training to be a psychologist, and explained what I’d done with the it voice and how much the voice had changed since I engaged it and started asking it questions like that. She was amazed and pleased for me, as was Dr K, and I felt the glow of pride there for myself, too.

The next big event that has happened is working my timeline out and understanding why May is so hard. It’s a trauma anniversary, but I’m sure I’ve wondered about that somewhere in my journal, then dismissed it as I couldn’t think of anything bad that had ever happened to me then.

Whilst with Dr K at therapy, I let her know about the it voice and about my continuing manicy feelings. I said I was feeling anxious a lot and frightened, and that I didn’t know why. Dr K asked me about May again. She reminded me that I was very ill last May but I was ok now, doing a lot better, able to do more and see further into my future than this time last year. She’s right, that’s true. Last year, I was only able to to a thing a day and to keep my schedule for living that the hospital had given me.

I’d been wondering about something all week though, and wanted to know why I was fixating on it so much. I was wondering about the boyfriend I’d picked up at Spring Harvest, an Eastertide Christian event I used to go to when I was younger. I hallucinated pretty badly there, seeing Jesus and angels and all manner of things that should have been reported to a mental health worker. I even heard the ‘Voice of God’- pretty sure now that it was a mania-induced hallucination. Anyway…

Dr K mentioned something about Spring Harvest and my anxious, manic feelings and suddenly something clicked.

I was fourteen when I met Ash. I was on the rebound from my first ever, fairly fantastic boyfriend, and I was so lonely and feeling so unloved that when Ash asked me out I said yes. I went to visit him a little while after we’d gone home from Spring Harvest- he came to visit me first, behaving and sounding like the perfect boyfriend, telling me that I was special and that I needed his love to feel better from my previous boyfriend. So, going to visit Ash at his house was exciting and I was so, so hoping that I would, at last, feel like I was moving on.

What happened was very different.

I was going to bed, after a day of meeting Ash’s friends, seeing the church he went to, meeting his bandmates and his parents. I was pleased with how it had all gone and how happy I was and just, really, the fact that he was so nice. I supposed that kindness was a whole Christian thing- maybe I was lucky now. My old boyfriend had supposedly been a Christian, but I thought maybe he wasn’t so Christian as he would question his faith and try new things. He would push the boundaries- but I liked it. Maybe, this new relationship would become like that…

I was snuggling down in bed but my insides were jumping with excitement. I knew he was across the hall and I knew he could just come over to my room any time, and I wasn’t above a bit of fun before we slept. Actually though, what I wanted most in the world was for me to go to sleep in the arms of the man I loved.

Suddenly the door opened and Ash was standing there. I looked up in surprise. He sneaked in, locked the door, and my feeling of excitement drained into a clump of something else in my stomach. I asked him in a whisper what he was doing there, and he said he wasn’t happy we were apart and he would stay with me. I relaxed a bit. Clearly he just wanted that hug, the same as I did.

The problem was, he didn’t.

The problem was, he started kissing me and trying to move my hands and I wasn’t happy about that, but then he shoved his hands into my pyjama pants and it was hurting and I was asking him to stop and my hands were up against his chest-

I heard footsteps up the stairs and I was so afraid they’d come in and find me and I wanted him to stop so so bad-

He got out of bed in a hurry and there was a knock on the door. He went to open it. I felt so so embarrassed, so ashamed, so upset and revolting. His mother was there, asking him to leave the room. He wouldn’t go.

So of course, she brought his father up and he still wouldn’t leave the room. Two grown adults could not make one teenage boy leave the room, and they had the door open the whole time I was sitting in bed, covers up round my neck, legs pulled into my body as tightly as possible. I was obviously to blame here. They hadn’t addressed a word to me since they had come upstairs. Clearly they were disgusted with me.

The next day, my mother and father had somehow found out about Ash coming into my bedroom, and I was absolutely mortified. I was upset, too, because I didn’t have a clue what had happened the night before and I felt dirty and bad. I had clearly sinned. God was clearly punishing me. Because men always need reining in and the women have to be responsible for that and I hadn’t stopped him, it was my fault I was hurt. I was also at fault for sacrificing more of my purity- who wants to marry a whore?

What I understood in that flash of memory, whilst telling Dr K, was that it was at May half-term that I went to see Ash.

MAY HALF-TERM.

I was so unhappy for all these years in May because I was violated for the first time ever in May half-term.

This week is May half-term.

That’s not been the only thing that’s been the problem.

I had three voices- he, she, and it. It  has become an ally, something gentle and quiet and sleepy. He and She were still angry and volatile… until last session with Dr K.

We learned that my She voice is actually angry, frightened, upset fourteen-year-old me, trapped in my own head and screaming for Ash to stop hurting her.

Dr K and I got her out of her little hiding-place in my head. I felt strange, like I was having a flashback, and then suddenly my arm was moving of its own accord- like it used to do once long ago when I would self-harm and not feel like I was in control of my own body. My arm started to write words, and Dr K and I watched it as it spelled out:

STOP IT.

Then:

THANK YOU.

I was shocked. Dr K asked what needed to stop, and then suddenly my arm reached out again:

HE HAS TO STOP TOUCHING ME.

We were both shocked, I think, but she kept writing, and she told us the story of that night when I lost trust in men and started to believe that I was sullied and revolting and that God hated me.

Dr K told me and her that we are not to blame for the adults blaming us, for the horrible boy who sexually assaulted us, for the fact that for years I was uncomfortable with what happened but still, STILL blamed myself.

I was exhausted and sleepy after the she voice had her say. Dr K was so proud of me, and worried that I had to teach later on.

I’m a mixture of everything. I still don’t want to admit that the she voice is me, but since I confronted her, she’s quiet and sad, but not that flaming ball of anger that she once was. She’s me now, and that weird schism in my brain has mended. I can feel it there. The wall is torn down, the split gone. Maybe now I can heal better, knowing that two of my voices are actually hurting parts of me that need just as much love as the rest of me.

I am also disturbed that I didn’t recognise that two of my voices were actually parts of me. Also, the arm moving by itself, the writing alone… That’s DID symptoms right there, and I’ve been thinking to myself that I definitely didn’t have DID. Has anyone got any advice for me here? I’m so confused and I would love to know what’s been going on.

At least I am more whole now… although…

Maybe I have been more fractured than I thought.

Therapy is not for the faint hearted.

EDIT: PTSD has screwed up my timelines. I was fifteen, not fourteen, when this all happened- still, I was a child.

I have held off writing about this because I have not wanted to. It’s too much. It validates some of the weird almost-phobias I have about certain things and the anxiety that comes with them.

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING. I’m going to talk about some really upsetting stuff. I was FOURTEEN when it happened and I’m still struggling to really process it without dissociating and feeling weird.

Ok, on with this.

I’ve been neglecting my WordPress account as of late. I have been overwhelmingly happy. That sounds good, but I’m actually realising that I’m hypomanic. It’s the first time I’ve caught the feeling so early, the first time I’ve realised that I’m starting on the rollercoaster of mania again. I am praying that I don’t get too far ahead with it and that it doesn’t make me ill again. The crashes are almost more than I can bear. J spotted my mania for what it was, and actually, Dr K picked up on it, asking me if I felt speeded-up when I was in therapy on Thursday. She was right- I felt like my head was buzzing and the thoughts were just zooming round, three thoughts a nanosecond. She encouraged me to take some deep breaths, massage my temples, try and breathe through the rattling, zinging thoughts bouncing in my skull.

I kept thinking that there was something I wanted to tell her. I was trying to pin a thought down to tell her about, but the overlying detritus in my skull kept distracting me. I’m horribly distractible at the minute- it’s awful, I feel fragmented. Happy, loud, joyful, but all over the place.

We kept talking. I felt irritated with myself, annoyed that Dr K must think I was wasting time. We started talking about the Church again, that I might be feeling manic because it’s just been Easter and I used to get so manic at Easter because of Spring Harvest, the Christian event I used to go to. I was talking about how the Church often made me feel dirty, guilty, wrong, for enjoying sex or thinking about it even, but then something stormed into my mind and I was swamped by it.

Here was that elusive thought I had been chasing. Here was that thing that had been evading my grasp in the darkest corners of my psyche- a shameful memory that I’d pushed away every time I’d thought of it. I suddenly remembered- and I told Dr K about something that happened when I was newly in that six-year relationship with my ex.

I’m having problems writing this now. I am actually shying away from it again, shying away from the awkwardness, the upset, the hurt and the pain of a fourteen-year-old girl. I’m trying to quell my anxiety and tell it that I was not to blame, that I was fourteen and I was innocent. Dr K and I talked about that, my innocence. She called me a lamb to the slaughter. She was right.

I was adventurous with my ex, at fourteen. I was in love and full of hormones and trying to control them, because the Church told me I was a sinner if I didn’t stay totally pure… problem was, my ex was good at flattering his way through my defences. I succumbed gladly, letting him in, and I would deal with the guilt later. I didn’t want the Church or my parents to find out that I was enjoying getting close to my new boyfriend. I wanted to enjoy our teenage make-out sessions, I didn’t want to let the guilt swallow me or be banned from seeing him.

That time, we were round at his grandparents’ house. He had been sent to live there at the age of eleven, ostensibly to attend the nearby secondary school, but I remember him telling me that he had hit his sister when he was younger. I suspect more than hitting happened to that poor girl, but I will never know. At any rate, he treated his grandparents as second parents, and they idolised him, particularly his grandfather. D was a tall, stout man, loud and cheerful, often ready with a glass of wine for me and my ex and a home-made dinner on the table. His wife was sweet and kind, quite quiet, and an excellent cook with a nice smile. I took to them pretty quickly.

I’d been to my ex’s grandparents’ house before, but this time when the two of us went off upstairs, my ex left the door open a bit. I was confused. When I went to shut the door, he explained that he needed to leave it like that so he could hear if his grandfather came upstairs. I was nervous and uncomfortable, but my ex soon stopped those feelings with well-placed seduction, and soon, I wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. He had most of his still on.

I didn’t hear anything to start with, I was too distracted, but there was a squeak of floorboards and I noticed that my ex’s grandad, D, was walking away from the door down the hall towards the room next door. I jerked upright and asked my ex if he had seen us. He told me that he was sure he hadn’t seen anything, and tried to get me to resume what we’d just been doing. I still felt uncomfortable and weird and asked him if I should put some clothes on. He still said it was fine and that I should get back to what we were doing. I slipped into the bedcovers, pulling them up above my breasts, and asked him if D could hear us. My ex said no, he couldn’t, he was on the computer in the other room and would be there for a long time. Eventually he persuaded me to get back to what we were doing before, but I now jumped at every squeaky floorboard and didn’t feel comfortable in the slightest.

Dr K asked whether I wondered whether the two had talked together about this, and I explained that yes, they had. My ex had casually told me over the phone the very next night that his grandad had seen us together and next time I went there to visit, we were to keep the door shut and he would knock if he wanted us.

I had never felt quite as ashamed of myself as that moment. His grandfather had seen me naked, in the throes of passion. He’d seen me giving myself to someone I thought I could trust. In that moment, I was completely humiliated.

That’s not the worst of it by far.

After that incident, the door was kept shut sometimes, but other times it ‘somehow’ crept open again. I often bumped into D when returning from the bathroom. The hugs D would give me got longer, and he had added a kiss on the cheek to his greeting to me. I was often the subject of discussion at the dinner table- or maybe, should I say, my anatomy was the subject of discussion- my ‘nice legs’, the top that showed too much cleavage and resulted in D fanning himself with a large hand. I felt permanently uncomfortable at that house, always watched, always observed and commented on. My ex and D would banter back and forth over the table, D sometimes slipping me into conversation in a really inappropriate way, usually under the guise of congratulating my ex that he was going out with me. D’s wife and I would sit and laugh, or at least, we’d pretend to. That woman was as much under the thumb as I was, and I feel awful that she’s still there.

Dr K then voiced the awful link that I’d been trying to deny.

She wondered aloud whether my ex and his grandfather had set me up between them.

All of a sudden, the feelings I was flooded with in Dr K’s office were the feelings of a hurt, scared fourteen-year-old. I sniffed, child-like all of a sudden, and I said, “But that’s not fair…”

I cried like a child then. My bottom lip wobbled as it hasn’t done since I was about that age. Dr K gently explained that if this was true, I was being groomed, at that age, to take whatever my ex wanted to dish out on me next. I was certain of it, I explained back to her- why the hell would you leave a door open if you wanted to mess about?! Why was D in the room next door for so long when there was no computer up there?! Why was I always the butt of the jokes, the object for admiration, the target of the most awful shame I’d ever had then? My hurt, fourteen-year-old self convinced it was her who was the dirty one, that it was her who should have been better, purer, that she should have said no to sex. She stopped wearing skirts and dresses because of the boy she was dating sliding his hands under them at every opportunity, in the wrong places, in front of his fucking grandfather at the dinner table…

Dr K let me sob for at least fifteen minutes, talking to me as I grieved for a piece of my past that should not have been that way. I was fourteen. Fourteen-year-olds should not be displayed like a piece of meat as a favour to some perverted old man. I feel disgusted even now, thinking about D, and I still look out for him in the supermarket, in the street, driving in his car…

Dr K was amazing whilst I sat and let it sink in that truly, it was NOT my fault that I ended up so badly abused whilst with my ex- he was only copying what he’d seen his father and grandfather do. Dr K thinks the whole family is riddled with abuse and pain, and he was passing on what was normal- although, he saw the whole episode mentioned above as a joke, so Dr K agrees with me that he KNEW it was bad and awful, what he did, but my ex did it anyway because that’s who he is.

I thought about the messed up, mixed up kid I was then and let her know (that part of me that is her, who’s hidden this memory’s awful consequences deep inside her) that I didn’t blame her or think she was bad. I thought the Church was bad, that D and my ex were awful, that Dr K thought I was ‘an innocent flower’. Someone described like that could never be wicked or bad, or deserve what they got. I managed to calm down slowly, realise where I was again, let Dr K ground me and help me to remember where I was and what was happening today and now.

I am shocked that this happened to me. I know that this memory is completely true, because I kept shoving it down into the darkness in my head whenever it came bouncing out again. I need only see a certain front door or see a certain car and I’m back there again, on that sunny day where he and his pervert of a grandfather robbed me of my dignity.

I was aware that therapy would not be easy, but I never knew that it would be this tough.

I hope that I can, one day, tell this to my parents, but I doubt it. I will have to put some other spin on it to make it more palatable for them, because they’re still Christians and I broke every fucking purity law in the book when that happened to me. I know that part of them would be horrified for me, but I wonder whether part of them will be horrified with me for doing what I did. I hope not.

I’ve hinted to J that I remembered a bad thing, but we haven’t had time to chat tonight- he’s had a bad day and needs to rest. That’s ok. When he can be strong enough again, when he feels ok, I’ll tell him. That will probably be tomorrow. If I can’t tell him directly, I will send him this post to let him know that although this happened to me, it can’t affect us. I refuse to let two scumbags even impact in any way the amazing thing I have with J.

I cling to the fact that he has seen me at my worst, that he was one of the first people I confessed the first rape to, the person I rang at three in the morning in fear for my life and the person who quelled a panic attack in fifteen minutes flat, fought my voices and won, and loves me for the person I am under all my issues.

Nights like this…

Tonight I’m sleepless and trying to exorcise the demons in my head. J and I have just talked and I love love love the smooth, sweet drawl of his voice. That voice anchors me whilst I’m feeling strange.

I’ve been a little dissociative tonight. I’ve been at Saturday family tea- the whole clan, aunties, uncles, cousins- the lot. My auntie was babysitting her best friend’s daughter, who is a shining gem of a seven year old. She played with the puppy, a rare event- Juno puppy is not the world’s biggest fan of children, but this little girl is an old head on young shoulders. She let me read to her. She cuddled up with me and the puppy, her on my knee and the puppy beside me. I felt very safe, but somehow a little sad.

I think what’s triggered me a little is talking about my ex to her. My auntie was married to her abuser, and this little girl knows a highly edited version of that story. She calls him Naughty, so we all do too. We had gone upstairs in my nana’s house to see one of the many family portraits hanging on the walls, and she mentioned to me that she knew that Naughty was a bad guy because HIS smile was not a good smile. All the other people on the picture had big, happy, truthful smiles, she said. Only Naughty’s wasn’t right.

That really hit me hard. SHE could see, through our eyes, the flaw in him, the defect that ate at his core and caused such harm to my auntie that she ended up in hospital, too. She knew, this seven year old, that there was a man not to be trusted- and she could see that through his smile!

She asked why my auntie had even married him in the first place, so I explained that sometimes, the scariest baddies are the ones that pretend to be your best friend. I said that I had been with a naughty man, for six years.

The wise, innocent little face formed an expression I’ve mostly seen on adult faces: she was appreciating how hard that was for me.

“Whew,” she said, “that’s a long time.”

I said that yes, indeed it was, but he hadn’t started out bad. He’d pretended to be one of the good guys, and I had never seen the badness coming at all. He’d added the bad stuff in, bit by bit, until I didn’t know that he was all bad.

Looking at those feathery blonde brows rise in shock, I was struck with an intense desire to protect her. I would have jumped in front of a bullet for that child, and I still will. I would right now. I didn’t want that angelic creature to have to face what my auntie and I have faced- the sleepless nights thinking he is perfect and I am not, the agony inside as he breaks up with you and demands you back only for the cycle to repeat. I felt something tearing inside of me in my chest- my heart was trying to reach through my chest to keep her safe.

Talking to Dr K, my therapist, on Thursday may have stirred a lot up- I was trying to tell her about some of the things I’ve had to endure under him- but this has made me remember long nights waiting by the phone, worrying about ringing him in case it ‘wasn’t convenient right now’. I’d get yelled at if I didn’t ring at bang on ten pm. I feel like time is slipping backwards, like having a rug pulled out from under your feet. I remember the feeling in arguments, that bad feeling of ‘I’m losing you and it’s my fault and you knew I was going to say that, oh god why?!’

I’ve found a song that sums it all up. He never drove, but the car keys are symbolic. They are the keys to my heart, my freedom, my life. They are the things that drove me and the things he took control of, bit by bit. Those phonecalls I tried to make that he aborted with one stern word. The threats of all sorts, the demands, and finally go to sleep silly girl, we’re getting nowhere tonight. I would try not to get too upset but tears inevitably burned my cheeks, that acid tang, and the feeling of being about to throw up came when he called me pathetic. I was trying so hard. I was. I promise I’m trying so hard to be different and more like the girl you wanted me to be, the girl I was when you met me. I promise I won’t go to anyone with my problems, definitely not you, I’ll solve them myself. I know I’m weak and need to stop being such a little girl I promise I won’t do this again I swear I’m not going to hurt you I didn’t mean to oh god don’t say that to me I’m not like that I swear I’m not-

The loop plays on and on, and I drown it out with other things. But, in the background, it’s always there, along with his replies.

My illness is a ninja.

I’m frightened by what happens when my guard is down.

Partly I know my reactions are normal-ish, but the normality ends when I stop seeing where my bipolar starts. I am so unaware of when it happens, and my family just think it is me getting over the top. The problem is, I’m not doing it on purpose, and it’s not a cool party trick. I genuinely feel upset and frightened and hurt when it happens.

Take today for example. On a family outing, on the way back in the car, it strikes and makes me feel about three years old again, arguing for no point and no reason. I only realised I was manic when my boyfriend pointed it out to me- I think my family thought I was trying to be funny, because they were all laughing.

In fact, I’m still steaming angry right now and feeling horrible for arguing with J. I know he isn’t going to take it personally but I still feel stupid and horrible. I know it’s not my fault but I feel like it is and I
just want to punch a wall.

This post has to be short because I’m still not feeling well and too many people are in the house.