I’ve come a very long way in this life.
Of course, I mean that figuratively, I am only 24 years old. In a word, my life used to be dirty, and I mean that in every sense. I have dealt with mental illness for as long as I can remember, and after many therapists and many labels, I have given up on trying to name the chemical divergences in my mind. One therapist called me bipolar, while another called me borderline. Regardless, I think it made me into a bad person.
I come from a loving home. A military family that moved countless times across the states. I am both thankful for and bitter about this. I was exposed from a young age to different cultures and experiences that I never would have had access to had I grown up where I was born, a small town in South Carolina. However, I don’t know if I ever fully grasped how to build relationships with those around me. Ultimately, I wouldn’t see them again after 4 years, so why bother? This might seem crass to some, but I believe (and I am by no means a professional) that this was some sort of early coping mechanism that I created for myself to endure the process of constantly gaining and losing friends.
I started to notice that something wasn’t quite right with me early in high school. I had begun my first real relationship during freshman year. It was around this time that I started to become endlessly jealous, needy, dramatic, and insecure. But I also cheated. A lot. On nearly every single person that I had a relationship with save for two. It was as if I was watching myself from outside my body, watching someone who looked like me run rampant and destroy any minute amount of self respect, trust, and reputation that I had left. I would cry in my room while the world I had destroyed fell down around me (I still haven’t lost my penchant for the dramatic, as you can see). I also lied. I lied about everything. Who I was, where I came from, my life, anything that I could think of, things that normal people don’t lie about, things that only served to hide the person that I was. This isn’t to say that I hadn’t been hurt by people because I had countless times, but I think that’s a post for a different day. However, it is important to note that during this period I experienced sexual assault, which only served to amplify an already suffering personality. I considered suicide, convinced that the only way to end my wreckage was to get rid of myself altogether.
I continued this dreadful pattern for several years, well into adulthood. I hurt many people along the way, and I was hurt by many as well. The Goddess eventually led me to the Pacific Northwest from Georgia, where I had been living. But this would not be the end of my journey. I continued to watch myself from outside of my body, recklessly burning trust and relationships. Ultimately this culminated in my hurting the person that I had married.
And for some reason, despite everything that probably screamed at him to run away – he forgave me.
Our relationship is still strong to this day, perhaps stronger than it was before. It’s probably the reason that I’m still here. Grueling therapy and countless screaming matches and endless nights with his arms around me as I sobbed into his chest about what a sick, sad person I was. I think it was worth it, I have some peace. My mind is a bit quieter these days. My therapists still hesitate to agree on who I am, outside of anxiety and depression. I’ve stopped seeing them. I take medicine, but often forget to take it when I should.
I don’t feel ashamed, although there are experiences I wish I could erase. There is a dark side of the moon, as there is the dark side of the Goddess. She acknowledges this aspect in her children. If I am a daughter of her divinity, then it is important that I accept the darkest part of her as in myself. The feminine is simply a foil of the masculine, the light a foil of the dark. Where would we be without our mirrors?
Tell me stories of your mental illness recovery or a bit about your journey in the comments below.