My Rapist Just Sent Me a Friend Request

Suddenly the room closed in on me and my head was spinning. There it was on my computer screen. His name. I froze, glad his profile picture was not his face. 13 years passed and I hate him more today then I did back then. The fact that he would even send a friend request was shocking. I chose to ignore it until I better knew how to handle what I was feeling.

TRIGGER WARNING! Before you read any further, please know I will be talking about a sensitive issue involving sexual abuse. While I will not discuss anything graphic or in detail, the subject matter may not be suitable for all readers. I want all of my readers to feel comfortable on this site. Thanks.

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 Early Signs

I was barely 18, and I worked as a banquet server at a nice Midwestern country club which was owned by a tight-knit Italian family. I loved my job and I made a lot of friends there. Many of us would hang out after work on the weekend and have parties. The social groups were somewhat segregated by whichever position you worked. For instance, the servers were not heavily associated with the chefs or the dishwashers. Which brings me to the beginning of my nightmare.

I thought it was odd that one of the chefs- we’ll call him C- took interest in me. I immediately thought he was disgusting. He was 10+ years older than me, he smelled nasty, had teeth resembling toilet scum, and had a very aggressive demeanor. At first I just played it off like whatever. I was a very outgoing and wild young person, so my attention was everywhere else and I thought nothing of it. Until the day I needed a ride home from work. Due to circumstance, I had no car or reliable transportation this particular night. C offered to give me a lift. I thought this was generous of him and I did appreciate it. I climbed into his pickup and we began the 20 minute drive to where I lived. As we were approaching my neighborhood, C pulled into a nearby parking lot. And locked the doors. He proceeded to unbuckle his seat belt and inch his way into the passenger side, where I was sitting. I remember asking him what he was doing. He said he knew this was more than just a ride home. At this point his body was crushing me. I asked him repeatedly to just take me home. Amazingly, he released me and drove me home. What happened next? I went into my room and I got incredibly angry. At myself.

Clearly I had provoked him somehow. How could I be such an idiot? Such a whore? What was wrong with me?

I made a vow to walk home before I ever let this sleaze give me a ride again. I know most would think I was crazy for blaming myself. But you need to realize I was already a teenager suffering from a mental illness. I was also already a survivor of sexual assault when I was victimized at age 16.

Then it Got Dark

He left me alone for awhile after the truck incident. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I changed how I did things at work. I tried to avoid him when I was in the kitchen. That worked. For a few weeks. Then came my education of just how physically strong C was as he lifted my 5’1″ self and carried me into the walk-in cooler. It was so dark in there. And sound proof. He pinned me up against shelves of ranch dressing, and shoved his toilet bowl mouth on mine. His hands grazed, as if checking out the merchandise he might consider stealing at a later date. What was probably 5 minutes, but felt like an hour, finally aborted when he had to return to his post.

I was dizzy. I was nauseous. And I knew everything had just changed. He wasn’t done with me. And I knew it.

To complicate things further, C’s mother was a manager at this country club. Being that the club was family owned, and considerably prestigious, C was highly regarded by the traditional elderly Italian man that ran the place. I was a teenage banquet server. There were 20 more just like me. The head-honchos didn’t know my name. And I wore a name tag. I was not highly regarded.

The next antic C pulled was, again, physically carrying me to a vacant space. This time it was the laundry room. I remember pushing with all of my might, against his huge arms, to try to get free and make my way for the door. He over-powered me and even though he was only restraining me at this point, I now realize that he was grooming me. Breaking me down. Showing me that he has power over me. Conditioning me for what I didn’t even know was to come next.

The first time C forced me to have sex with him, he was very strategic and made sure nobody was in this particular part of the building. Like usual, he hauled me over his shoulder and scooted off with me. His ragdoll. At first, I’d try to fight. I’d kick and push his arms. He was never phased by my resistance. I found myself in a vacant banquet room. He jammed the double doors and held me down on a round table. I tried to get up, he pushed me down. I tried to roll off the table, he pinned my shoulders down. I knew I could scream, but no one would hear. I could kick him in the balls, I could scratch his eyes out. But honestly, I was terrified. C was very strong and had a boiling temper. I’ve witnessed the dents he put in various doors in the kitchen. So I jumped into the only survival mode I knew, and I just let go.

I quickly adopted the mentality of “the quicker I just let it happen, the quicker it’ll all be over”. And he raped me.

This pattern had been going on for a little while when people started to talk. Friends and other co-workers were noticing us emerging from desolate areas, clothes a mess. The gossip train had come a chugging, and suddenly we were a hot topic. I was so sick inside. I wanted to tell people what was really happening. Surely someone would believe me, right? I see him attempt to flirt with other girls, and smack their butts, and do other piggish, unwarranted gestures. But I was scared. I didn’t think saying anything would get anywhere due to his status in the company. Also, I had a reputation for being wild, which some managers knew about. As far as I was concerned, I was doomed. And I had brought it upon myself. I felt I probably deserved it. My mental health was already in varying lows, with low self-esteem, so this abuse was only making me worse off.

On top of being afraid to say something, I was embarrassed. It was very humiliating to be over-powered and used. I was trying to hold onto every ounce of pride and dignity I could muster. And I revisited my survival mode many more times while he had his way with me. Forget dating. I tried to date, but every time he put his hands on me, I felt like I was getting filth on me, and thus my love interest shouldn’t touch me. I pushed people away.

Breaking Point

New Year’s Eve 2001. The country club held an annual gala. Hundreds of fancy people eating fancy food, drinking fancy drinks, dancing to fancy music, wearing fancy attire. Also a mandatory work night for all staff. The event was taking place in the center of the building, in the Grand Ballroom, the largest of the rooms. All managers on duty, with walkie talkies. Every person in that building was in the Grand Ballroom, leaving all other areas of the building dark and vacant. Something that most wouldn’t even care about, but caused severe anxiety for me. I knew I would end up in one of these dark corners at some point that night.

I remember feeling particularly depressed this New Year’s. My bipolar was spiraling and I occasionally self-harmed. I was a student at the community college, and I had made some new friends there. These friends were giving me a new light, and were actually making me feel better. We had fun together. And we had plans to bring the new year in together that night, once I was off work.

C was more aggressive than usual that night. He caught me the second I was released from my shift. The liquor stench radiated from his nasty mouth. At this point, I knew it was close to 11:00, and I had to meet my friends. He took his time. He was loud and cocky. I wanted to scream so badly, but I knew all bodies were in the Grand Ballroom with fancy champagne and fancy mini-cakes. I just remember feeling so weak and exhausted. I attempted to get in touch with my inner self and make a New Year’s resolution. But I couldn’t even do that.

At this point, I just shut down mentally. I heard the muffled sound of a countdown and the “Happy New Year!” I was too numb to be disappointed that I’d missed my plans.

That night I dragged my body into my bedroom. And into the drawer where I kept my medications. And I took them all. Every last pill.

I curled up in bed beside my mother and just cried. My body was shaking. I wanted nothing more than to just disappear. This is the suicide attempt that landed me in the psychiatric hospital. That was also, by some miracle, the last time C touched me. I never told anybody about this. Until recently.

Demons Came a Knockin

A few days ago I logged into my Facebook to feed my social media addiction and post some new photos of the cutest baby ever. My mood somewhat chipper, and nowhere deep. Until I hit my notifications and there he was. The monster who used to drag me to dark rooms and press his super strong manhood onto my teenage body. That fucking asshole had the audacity to request permission into my life. My sacred, blessing-filled life! There was no way in hell I would ever allow him to smear his filth anywhere near my world again. I left it alone for a minute until I was collected enough to write him a private message:

You have some nerve sending me a friend request. After the shit you used to pull on me when I was barely 18 years old. I hate you and I think you are a disgusting piece of shit. You forced yourself on me. More than once. Of course you knew I couldn’t say anything because your mommy was a manager & you were a hot shot cook. I was just a dumb little banquet server with a wild reputation. Nobody would ever believe me. I’d lose my job before you would ever get in trouble. And you knew it. Do you know the last time you forced me to have sex with you- on New Year’s, in an empty banquet room- I went home and tried to kill myself. I overdosed because of you. I ended up in the hospital. And still- I couldn’t say anything. I just had to go along with whatever everyone else said about us. In reality I hated you. You made me feel like shit. I thought it was my fault. You knew you could prey on me & you did. I know you did this shit to others too. You tried to make it out like it was consensual, but it never was. I just had to shut up & take it because you were stronger than me. I would never touch you voluntarily. You are a pathetic waste of flesh. I hope I never have to see you again. My life is amazing now. I’m doing great & I’m happy. So help me god, if we ever cross paths, you will regret ever laying a hand on me.

I know this was a long and harrowing story. But I felt I needed to share my experience. I am so much stronger in many ways than I used to be. It’s oddly cathartic to have sent that message to him. He has not written back. I don’t even care if he does. He can’t hurt me anymore than he already has. There are too many precious things in my life now. I truly hate him.

Also, if you are EVER in a position where somebody is forcing them self on you, or making you uncomfortable, please tell somebody. I was very sick mentally, and became lost. Don’t lose yourself. Speak up about sexual assault.

Thanks for listening.

Swinging Crashing

So yeah. I guess I crashed. I’m not doing so well right now. My moods are swinging, bringing me to a miserable depression these last two days. I really don’t even want to write this, but I’m forcing myself to.

Apparently this is part of my pattern. Every Spring/early Summer I am riding high. Hypomanic on meds and full on manic off meds. This year I traveled a lot. First was Chicago, then Toronto, then up north to a vacation town here in Michigan. I also attended a number of concerts. I was exploding with energy and feeling very social. It was summertime, after all.

Then after all the fun in the sun, the clinks of the bottles, the screaming in the crowd, I enter into a lifeless, self-loathing little pile of misery. It sucks and I hate it.

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My mind scrambles tonight to come up with excuses to get out of going to the beach with my family and friends tomorrow. I’m in a pathetic stage at the moment where I ridicule myself and compare myself to others. I literally have a reason to feel insecure with each and every person going to this outing tomorrow. I am feeling self-conscious and humiliated. I expressed this (well, a mild version of this) to my wife and I could tell by her reaction, while expressing compassion, she was disappointed in me. So I shut up about it. I really want to be excited to spend the day with my wife and my son. I will probably just muscle through it. There is no drinking at this gathering, so I can’t even numb my issues away.

I need to exercise more. I need to lose weight and boost my serotonin levels. It’s hard to get motivated when nothing sounds good. I know it sounds like I’m just whining. But mood swings and depression are real. Out of nowhere it can just jump up and bite you in the ass. I hope this passes quickly. I also hope this has nothing to do with coming of of Abilify. Because it is a noticeable pattern, I don’t think it does.

All in all, I have had some fleeting dark thoughts of ending it all, but I distracted myself and found more useful things to focus on. I guess it’ll be a day by day process. Thanks for reading.

 

Not in the Mood for a Mood Disorder Right Now

I am losing it. I cannot focus on anything, I’m irritable, I’m restless, and my mind feels like it’s traveling in circles at super speeds. I’m disinterested in my work and I’m mean to my wife. With each moment that I try to function normally, I seem to feel worse. My moods are up and down. I really wasn’t prepared for brain chaos right now. I’m even more pissed off that I’m dealing with this altogether. I’ve been enduring a plethora of change lately, including the season changing, and I tend to experience mood swings when things change. I mentioned this in a previous post.  I should call my psychiatrist, but of course, I’m reluctant. I don’t want more medication. I realize my reluctance is a symptom. My immaturity is waiting for my wife to push me to see him. I’m ashamed of my immaturity because it highlights my lack of responsibility. I hate myself because I was so stable these past several months. I don’t know why I think I can control when things get out of whack. I understand I can only treat it. Each night I go to bed and think tomorrow it will go away, but it hasn’t yet.

Negative Self-Talk and My Inner Child

I’ve been abusing my inner child and now that inner child is acting out. It’s one thing to deal with low self esteem, but I have put myself through the stress of constant negative self-talks for so long that I’m turning into a person I don’t recognize. I don’t feel smart enough or pretty enough. My anxiety is through the roof, causing my mood swings to fluctuate in ways unusual for me. I’m self-conscious of my Bipolar and I keep thinking it will ruin my marriage, even though my wife has tried convincing me otherwise. This negative anxiety has wrapped it’s poisonous claws around the center of my mind, pushing me into a mental rock bottom. And it’s turning me mean. For instance last weekend I was at an event with my wife, and she ran into a former co-worker, whom she introduced me to. And you know what? I was fucking rude. I behaved badly. I allowed my anxiety and insecurity to lie to me so I treated this individual (who is probably a nice, decent person) like they were not worth meeting. The sad part is this isn’t the only time it has happened. I have beat my self down to the point where strangers unknowingly play a role in my distorted thinking. Surely, I don’t have to say how this affects my relationship.

Okay now that that’s out, I should update from my last post. My premonitions and distorted thoughts continued, as well as a belief that I accepted a mission between my friends that only lead to conspiracy, and a belief that something terrible will happen if I drive on the expressway home each day. The thing is, I recognize this as irrational, and that’s what I told my psychiatrist when I saw him yesterday. Of course as I was talking to him I thought he wasn’t taking me seriously and he was simply amused by me. Honestly I have no idea if that is rational or irrational. I have no witness. He made some adjustments to my medications and wants me to call him in 5 days.

So what am I doing about all of this? Well, once I realized that my inner child is suffering, it broke my heart. My wife and I had a very long discussion and I expressed all of these things to her, which is difficult for me since I don’t want to scare her or push her away, or make her worry. I made a decision that I will no longer accept the negative thoughts. Easier said than done, I know, but I will make a point to catch myself when it happens. I’m also working on finding more positive in my daily life. And mostly, I want to make a point to think of others and not myself in situations. My thoughts need to shut up when I meet new people or when I’m in high stress situations. And of course, I am keeping up with my meds and whatever changes are made in that department. Oh yeah and I’m going to try and take my own advice also, and practice the tips on self esteem that I shared on this blog.

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Hello, Antidepressants

My Bipolar depression forgot to do the laundry. And the dishes. And the cat litter. And the recycling. Again. Meanwhile, overanxious thoughts remind me to not starve the dog, to shower so I don’t repel others, and to basically get my ass out of bed. Let me welcome you into my neurotically depressed existence.

First I’ll start off by saying that this depressive bout has been going on for almost two months. I know I’ve written about it a little bit in past posts, and last week I finally talked to my psychiatrist. He prescribed me a healthy dose of happy in the form of a beige pill. Antidepressants. His directions were to start by taking half a tablet as to not induce a state of mania. Yeah right. No mania here. Not a chance.

The thing that got me is while I knew I really did need something, I also had the urge to pretend everything was fine. Like I didn’t need more drugs and I didn’t need to schedule another visit in such a near future. Why do we do that? Deny ourselves the truth of our disorder? Like every time we get assigned a new prescription, we’ve failed in our behavior somehow. Whether it’s rational or not, we still toy around with these notions.

So far, I’ve been taking my antidepressants for a week and I don’t feel any difference in my deflated mood. No cheer. No miracle. But no mania either so I suppose there is a bright side. Ironically, I have a degree in this subject so I know it can take 2-3 weeks to begin working. It’s difficult to apply these things to myself sometimes.

I’m just trying to get through each day and trying to have faith that this medication will help. I admit it is tough to keep track of so many pills and adding this one didn’t exactly lighten the load. I also know that is part of the deal sometimes. Until next time, I want to send well wishes to anyone out there currently dragging through some type of depression.

Crutch, a Poem About Bipolar Depression

Okay, the not so exciting part of Bipolar Disorder is that nagging feeling of depression. The downside of the pole. The dark cloud. You get my point. And because I’ve been dealing with it’s annoying existence, you get to hear about it. Haha. On that note, here is a poem I wrote describing my current state of mind, and how I feel stuck, but want to be free from it. Enjoy.

CRUTCH
Cut me up with that serrated tone,
Surviving multiple tricks and tangles
to leave a fragile core un-mangled.

Swallow me whole then spit me out,
I feel that destructive appetite
then savor that insatiable afterlight.

Take me in before it gets too cold
in my pretentious cell, so ripe.
The gradient dream is impossibly bright.

Drink me and my liquid darkness,
Saturated deflation once in vain.
Desire to evolve never the same.

Cradle me with a protective whisper.
Convince my thoughts to fade away.
Compulsive existence plays the break of day.

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Seasonal Affective Dilemma

They say you can always tell a mad writer from a sane writer. How? By their irregular style, the pattern of ups and downs, and the maniacal commitment –or lack thereof– in a mad writer’s writing. Clearly I haven’t posted anything new in over a week and I will attribute that to my own chemical imbalance and my flirtationship with seasonal depression. Literally, as the snow comes down, so do I. While at this point, it’s not as bad as my Bipolar Depression has been in past years, I do feel irritable, agitated, bored, and fatigued. I noticed my interest is subsiding in everyday things, including writing, which I typically love to do. I notice myself crashing with a bang. How just a couple of weeks ago I was teetering on the hypomanic edge, to now feeling so deflated, I cannot say for sure. The important part is that I recognize these changes.164803667583567833_FNfBipKa_c Bipolar Disorder and weather changes tend to go hand in hand. Our mood swings can change just as quickly as temperatures can rise or fall. Living in the Midwest, our climate varies from below zero to above 100 degrees. We endure rain, snow, high winds, high heat, and humidity. It also changes very rapidly. Many people with Bipolar Disorder also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is even more common in regions with long periods of non-sunny weather. 

I have yet to speak with my psychiatrist about my depression, but I may do so at my next appointment. I also keep in mind that the holidays and the new year could have easily presented a bit of a trigger as well. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to relieve the seasonal depression. One is to purchase a light box, which mimics the healthy light from the sun. Put it in a spot in your home where you spend a great deal of time, such as next to your couch or bedside. This will boost your serotonin and almost trick your body into thinking that you’ve been outside. Another method to treat this depression is to go on an antidepressant for a short time. This you would need to speak to your psychiatrist about. I have been on antidepressants for just the duration of the winter months, and it has helped me greatly. One tip- it is not uncommon for antidepressant medications to bring you too up, thus triggering you to become manic. I have had this experience, so of course I recommend discussing this with your doctor, and carefully monitor your moods and triggers. And at the very least, imagine sunny skies and brighter days ahead.

Invincible and Triggered

And now I say hello to holiday anxiety. It’s true- I declared myself invincible this year and thought I wouldn’t experience any mood triggers or stress. I must really entertain myself because apparently my brain had other ideas. It started four days ago. A simple disagreement with my wife triggered flying high irritability as well as crying spells and road rage. My cycling has been pretty active this whole week. It was slightly unexpected since I have been functioning fine on my newest combo of meds. Now take my agitation and mix it with my extreme boredom…enter the busy mind. The busy mind has been known to be a pre-cursor to my mania. Okay before we go any further, let me explain my work situation. I work in an empty office all day long. I work by myself in that empty office all day long. I’m pretty much left to my own devices and due to the seasonal nature of this particular industry, I have nothing constructive to do. Ok now take that information and imagine that I’ve been driving myself crazy, all day long, these last few days. Finally on Wednesday night I attended my support group and talked about these triggers occurring. I could tell what everyone was thinking as I described my irritability and aggressive feelings, and as I explained my agitation and crying spells, a few people expressed their concern with manic triggers. While I didn’t go into full-blown mania or anything that night, I began feeling a new trigger yesterday. This time it was directly regarding Christmas and not being as fit, financially, as we have been in previous years. The holiday hustle-bustle has never been something I’m good at. Now, I don’t mind things happening fast but when life as we know it becomes about shopping, and the retail journey is more pandemonium than peace, I (as well as many other Bipolars) start to ride the wave of the environmental stimuli. The busy affect of the holidays manifests the busy affect of my brain.

So what do I do about the triggers and cycling?

Well, it has been difficult, I must admit. However, I practice deep breathing exercises religiously. Slooowly inhale, hold for a second, then slooowly exhale. I do this about 5 times. Deep breathing is one of my favorite instantaneous diffusers. The only problem is if I don’t immediately think to go into breathing mode, but I’m noticing this gets easier with practice. Yoga is another excellent tool I use to calm down. A simple sun sequence provides fluid transitions between poses that provide physical stretching and balance, as well as a meditative quality that allows you to expand your mind, easing it to calmness and clarity. These things don’t necessarily take away the mood swings or the irritability, but any amount of relief makes a world of difference, even if it is temporary.

So, overall, I’m a little bit of a hot mess right now. But I’ll be okay. I’m taking my medication and looking for ways to relieve my boredom. Next thing is to just keep on truckin’ it through the holiday season, while reminding myself I don’t have to be invincible.