This is hard for me to talk about because it’s my dirty little secret. But it’s a million times easier than talking about my childhood, so go figure? The chain of events is what got me diagnosed bipolar back in 2014.
So what led up to that lovely semi-stigmatized diagnosis, which I hide more closely than my OCD diagnosis?
In 2013, I had a psychotic break.
Because of all the hype, I had decided to read 50 Shades of Grey, against my better (Christian) judgement. But bam, I was convinced I was a submissive!
I discussed some extreme ideas with my husband who was not on board (yeah, I get it!). I said the words in my therapy session “I am a submissive”, which I’m telling you guys, should have been a huge red flag here!
Yes, I’m eccentric, and I understand there are folks that go for that, but for a therapy client, after years – mind you, to just one day out of the blue decide they want.. that?
I was under the influence of alcohol still then, and unbeknownst to me, Lyrica, which I used to take for my fibromyalgia, triggered full blown mania with psychosis. I was no where in my right mind (though no one stops to ask why I was so heavily self medicating leading to this).
But anyways, so I can’t really believe I did the next part, but I did, and don’t judge me – I do enough of that for everyone. I joined an online fetish website, found a kinda local guy with whom I then met and, then went with him to his home in the middle of nowhere, and well, I’m surprised I’m not dead. I cannot believe my actions were mine, though they were and I take full responsibility for them.
My mental health care team labeled it as a psychotic break since I acted so far outside my normal values and behaviors. I acted against my social anxiety completely, it was ignored. I have no idea how I contacted and met a complete stranger, and then wasn’t scared going to his home in BFE deep in the middle of the woods. My flight response never kicked in, I don’t remember ever even being afraid in an actually terrifying situation when I look back at it.
I’m not a thrill seeker, never was. I’m terrified of roller coasters, heights, and horror movies. I now feel myself over analyzing the past situation and going down a rabbit hole.
Anyways, when it came to light and I told my husband, I think the “recovery” is where some things went wrong, for me.
Aftermath, The Abuse
We started marriage counseling because we decided to make things work. Or, I guess, my husband decided to stay because back then I didn’t realize I had my mental breakdown due to years of increasingly worse emotional abuse. We found a marriage counselor that was recommended by my Psychiatrist, as she was trained in relationships specifically.
It’s hard to remember specifics, but everything was put on me, though I do remember explaining that I felt certain things about my husband. Things about how he was treating me and the lack of affection, controlling behavior, constantly feeling like I wasn’t good enough for him.
It was dismissed as part of my psychotic break – incorrect/inaccurate thinking. I honestly had no idea that it was in fact highly accurate, but my husband was basically just saying everything was in my head.
I was put on some pretty strong mood stabilizers. After some trials, I was put on one that would unfortunately knock me out at night so that I had a very hard time waking up if my son needed anything. But it worked, so I needed to stay on it.
Shortly after, that’s when my husband started raping me at night. In all fairness, the first time or two, until I removed permission, it wasn’t rape I suppose.
My husband would wait until I was asleep to start touching me and then, all the rest. Often times I was aware but pretty much trapped in my body. I could like mumble no or stop, but I’m pretty sure it was unintelligible. The first time, I thought it was maybe a ‘one off’, because I had a high libido and never said no – I was always enthusiastically game. My reasoning was, he had no reason to have sex with me when I wasn’t fully alert and able to participate.
After the second time, I talked to him and told him it wasn’t ok. I used the words, “I rescind permission.” Of course he was like, yeah yeah, I get it, it’s just you moved closed and you’re so sexy…. Well, he needed to save it for when I’m awake, because normally I had to beg for affection.
So a bit of time passed and of course it happened again. I was upset and I talked to him. He again blamed me, said I got close and some other nonsense. I explained that it was upsetting to me because I am semiconscious and it reminds me of what happened in the past, and I told him once it’s not acceptable. If he continued to do it, it was considered rape since I told him not to.
Rape? Ha! He scoffed. You can’t rape your wife.
I tried to explain that since I told him that I removed permission, if he had sex with me against my will, it was considered rape and I could go to the police. He brushed me off.
And of course he continued to do so. And I didn’t have the gumption to do anything about it but get depressed and hate myself for not having the guts to stand up for myself.
That happened for several years and he knew I was unhappy about it, and sometimes we would talk about it and discuss my unhappiness that it was happening, and then he would tell me how he couldn’t help it, for some reason or another it was always my fault. It was all a control thing, because he often would reject me when I made an advance, usually he was tired or had a headache. Honestly, I’m surprised I survived that psychological warfare in one piece, and the only reason I think I did is because the super mood stabilizers had made me so emotionally numb, I wasn’t feeling the intense pain, despair, and experiencing the trauma as it was happening.
I didn’t stop those mood stabilizers and “get my mind back” until my husband revealed his affair in April 2019. I stopped them in May 2019 because my thought process was that the affair was my fault because my personality had changed enough that I was a bad conversationalist (an insult that sticks with me to this day), I was no longer bubbly and creative – the meds killed my expressive creative side, I hadn’t done any art in years. I know part of my thought process was that I went on meds to be a “good girl” for him, and they actually changed who I was and I didn’t like who I became. I wanted to be me again, just not go all psychotic and believe strange stuff and act irrationally again.
The heavy duty meds stopped in May and the pain started creeping back in August/September. I went to my doctor and saw him for medicine for the fibromyalgia again. By November, I went back and asked for a higher dose because I saw that it was also used as a mood stabilizer and thought I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone, and that maybe since it wasn’t designed as a mood stabilizer, it wouldn’t affect my personality like the others. It didn’t, even at higher doses.
Then we moved out of state on Christmas Day.
For a week in February (2020) I could literally not get out of bed. I could not move. I did get diagnosed with Hashimotos then, but I don’t know if that accounts for all the extreme pain. I was in emotional hell, isolated from friends and family and in a strange city and state, hundreds of miles from anything familiar.
I am lucky I found my church shortly before the COVID lockdown. Honestly? That is my saving grace through this, that is how I know God is actually watching out for me and does not in fact hate me like my OCD thoughts like to intrude often. Without my church and knowing there is this group of wonderful, caring people who are absolutely just really decent human beings…I don’t know. As I sit here in my office trying not to cry so my staff don’t see my red, puffy eyes, without the church and my faith to get me through this past year, I think I wouldn’t be here. I would have surely just given up and thrown in the towel.
Abuse is hard to deal with day in and day out without hope. I have seen others being verbally and even physically abused and wondered to myself why they would ever put up with it. I am humbled by my past thoughts, I had no idea the situation they were in.
I question if he knows he’s being abusive and does it on accident, and I blame myself for his abusive behavior. Or rather, for him becoming this way. 20 years ago, I remember being happy.
Why so Personal?
Why would I dare to share such a personal, albeit embarrassing, part of my life with strangers? Because there is an important take away.
For at least a year, if not more, after that incident, I felt like the worst human being alive and completely unforgivable. I felt they threw the term psychosis at me like it was supposed to give me some kind of “free pass” for the mess I got myself into.
What I did do, was felt compelled to keep going to church, every week. Eventually, I heard over and over about God’s forgiveness, no matter what you’ve done. It took a long time for that to sink in. Over time, I actually felt like I could forgive myself since God could forgive me. That was a big step for me.
I am so thankful to have such a merciful God that offers forgiveness so freely. It’s the only way I am able to function, otherwise I don’t think I could live with my past. So many regrets that I don’t have to be dragged down by.