Depression Hangover

I don't know where to start. I have had dysthymia for as long as I can remember. My new therapist says it is like a living a half-life. I guess it is. This year, it slipped into something worse. This year has been one of the worst years of my life and I have had some pretty bad years. I had a relationship end, I started a bout of major depression that left me 70 pounds heavier, I had two surgeries, I am in a job that I hate, and on November 21st, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I can't stop thinking that I wished it had been me. I feel trapped by bad choices. I have nothing left to give anyone anymore. I feel dead inside, but I hide it well. No one really knows how many times I came close to killing myself this year. I grew up with an alcoholic, I grew up in a violent household where I never felt safe. I was molested several times by several men and one female relative.

I feel trapped in this fatsuit. I feel like the best years of my life are behind me. I feel damaged and broken. I am trying to get help. The mental health resources where I live are spread pretty thin. I get to see a therapist once a month, if I am lucky, and I see a doctor for meds for ten mins a month. He switched me some of my medications because of the weight gain. I have tried about ten different anti-depressants and all of them had some kind of unpleasant side effect. I keep hoping I will find one that actually works. I also take an anxiety medication. I take it to control the panic attacks I get when I am out in public. I take it to quiet the loop of negative thoughts I have going through my head everyday. 

This is my first post. I come here and I know that I am not alone. I thank the brave people who share their stories here.

I am trying to get better.  I am with The Band.

 

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The Catch

Whenever something good happens to me, I always assume that there's a Catch. Most of the time I am absolutely correct - there's always something.

Always.

Thanks to the wonders of artwork sites and mutual interests, what started as some back and forth communication and chit-chat about all things relating to art and nerd shit, with a fellow nerd with similar views/interests, soon developed into a friendship that has lasted a little over a year now. We grew as close as you can get to someone you have never - and will never - meet in person, though her tendency to be so open, and to share really personal, and HEAVY, stuff led me to perpetually think I was being trolled. Nevertheless, she was still my friend. We talked about so much shit via email and instant messaging, and we were "there" for one another.

Over time, she started displaying some behaviours that were a bit erratic. Like fear of abandonment, extreme depression, shit like that. I always had a far-off feeling that something wasn't quite "right." There was something keeping me from trusting her a full 100%, but I thought that perhaps it was my imagination. I have a tendency to be paranoid because of my own issues (I have some epic social anxiety, and I'm Bipolar II as fuck), but I shook it off because she proved time and again that she wasn't Catfishing or trolling. Even when she was being really weird, I continued to be there for her because that's what friends do. She's my friend, and it would suck if I just bounced whenever she was having a shitty day. I know I would feel horrible if someone did that to me.

After a series of erratic events that spanned the winter, she decided to hospitalize herself because it was clear that there was something very wrong.

So, remember that Catch I mentioned? Yeah, it's Borderline Personality Disorder. We shared short emails here and there while she was hospitalized, and she finished her three-month stint just last week. 

I started to feel like something was up. Something wasn't right, and I couldn't place it. I'm extremely perceptive, so I asked point-blank via email if there was anything wrong. 

Here's where The Catch comes back into play because, well ...it's a goddamn catch.

You know how people with BPD will idealize people, and shit like that? Well, she admitted that she had become obsessed with me. Like, to a creepy extent. To the extent where she and her wife decided that one of the best options is for her to limit contact with me as she continues to get sorted out. She told me all of this because she wanted to be 100% honest with me. I knew something was up, and I would have kept asking until she told me because ...Spidey-Sense.

Her treatment has helped her a LOT; this is something that I can feel, and she is a million percent sincere in her apology. She has stated that she no longer thinks of me as "some ÜBER-human" (her words), and will understand if I decide to cut off all contact with her, since, apparently, friendships with BPD-folks are basically impossible to maintain. 

In light of all of it all, I have blocked her access to my Twitter stream and I switched her Facebook access to "Restricted." The less she knows about what I'm up to, the better, right? But I don't know what to do. I don't want to block her out. I don't want to lose her. I absolutely adore her, and I want her in my life, but again, every piece of literature that I have read, as well as what her doctors say is that this friendship is doomed. Plus, you know, that whole idealization thing in the first place (which has left me with a lot of questions that I fully intend to ask her). I know that's part of the disorder, but I'm still trying to process it.

And now I sit, at a proverbial crossroads because there's always a goddamn catch.

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A Telltale Sign

I could only afford a year of college. I guess if I'd had a different major, I could have gone to a school in my home state, saving myself the out-of-state tuition, but I had a very specific major in mind, so that eliminated any local colleges.

My chosen college was 500 miles away from home, but only 125 miles from where my sister was going to college. Between the distance, and the fact that I didn't have a car, I was only able to go home for Christmas, and I'd only been able to go visit my sister for Thanksgiving. By the time spring came around, I was incredibly homesick.

Also, even more than I wanted a career in my chosen profession, I really wanted to be a wife and mother. I would very much like to go back in time to shake myself for this, but during that year, I was on the hunt for a husband. Preferably one who already had residency in that state, so I could continue school with in-state tuition. I know now I was much too young and naive for that back then, but that's where I was in that stage of my life.

Which meant I was an easy target for a much older, career college student who was looking for someone to control. He found in me a girl who was willing to do anything to please him, and he started the brainwashing process immediately.

He started by talking himself up. He owned his own home. Despite his continuing education, he did have a good job. He had a car (something that meant more to me than just about anything at that point). He loved to garden, and he had lots of rosebushes - one of my very favorite flowers - in his yard. And he wanted to get married and have kids. Soon.

Once I was hooked, he started breaking down my self-esteem. He didn't come right out and say the following things in so many words, but the message was clear:

"You're fat."

"You're not as smart as I am."

"No, I'm not the best looking guy around, but you don't deserve anyone better than me."

Probably his weirdest technique was when he tried to convince me that the reason why he had been attracted to me wasn't because I was pretty or had a fun personality, but because he claimed I showed traits of being abused. He claimed that abused people are always drawn to each other, and he had been abused. He tried to tell me that he could prove that I had always given off the image of being a target by asking me if I'd been picked on in junior high. Uh ...who WASN'T picked on in junior high? That is a HORRIBLE stage in life, and kids are constantly mean to each other. As far as he was concerned, that was his proof, he was determined to "help" me figure out who had abused me as a child.

By the time we had dated for a few weeks, I had developed a strange physical reaction to him, that I still use to this day to recognize my body trying to tell me when something is very, very wrong.

I would shiver uncontrollably. 

From the time we first started talking about marriage (much too soon), I was never warm around him. I didn't notice it much at first. I just figured I was genuinely cold. 

Then, there was that day in May. 

We were going to spend the day at his house, planting flowers and being together. I got up early, around 5:30 am, and decided to wait outside for him, rather than risk waking up my roommates. It was a gorgeous day. There was a light drizzle, but I had always preferred planting in a light rain, and the air was very warm. I was happy and content with myself in that moment. 

As soon as he picked me up and we went back to his house, I couldn't get warm. I kept shivering, my teeth chattering constantly.

We planted flowers. I shivered.

We watched tv. I shivered.

We curled up on his bed, wrapped in blankets. I still shivered.

"What is WRONG with you?" he asked me angrily. I told him I had no idea.

Eventually, he drove me home. 

As soon as I was safely back to my dorm, I was fine. Perfectly comfortable.

We had started planning our wedding. I had stumbled across an unbelievable price on the perfect wedding dress, and bought it. He had broken the news to his roommate that he was getting married, so the guy would have to start looking for another room to rent. My family had met him. I was ready to spend my life with him.

It wasn't until the day that I realized I could see myself telling my children how to avoid angering him that I realized what a messed up relationship I was in.  I broke up with him the next day.

The shivering stopped.

It still comes back every once in a while, and I've learned to pay close attention when it does. The last time was one day when my ex-husband was lying to me about his whereabouts. I knew he was lying and that he had really been with one of his mistresses. I shivered the entire time he told his story. 

It's very weird, but it's a blessing.

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Cold Sores

I've had the lovely joy of dealing with cold sores on my mouth my entire life. Good ol' Herpes simplex 1. Mine are brought on by fevers (hence the other name for them "fever blisters"), stress, hormone imbalances, and sunburns.

I get them several times a year. I used to fight them, but I've learned most treatments really don't make a difference for me, so I just let them dry out and wait for them to heal. They're annoying and sometimes painful, but otherwise, not a big deal. I just have to be careful not to pass them on to other people.

When I met him, I was 20 years old, and a virgin. He pushed me to have sex before I was really ready. I was waiting for marriage - the standard in my religion. I loved him, though, so while I felt guilty about it, I didn't regret it too much.

For all of my love and trust in him, he never trusted me back. For a long time, he questioned me about my virginity because I didn't bleed the first time we had sex. I could write a whole other post about the myth behind the "breaking of the hymen" and how wrong that is. It didn't matter what I said, he was still going to believe that I should have bled, and since I didn't, I must have been lying to him.

So imagine his reaction to the first time I had a cold sore when we were dating.

As far as he was concerned, that was further proof that I was lying to him about my virginity - in this case, assuming I MUST have been performing oral sex on infected men to have contracted this lovely disease.

There wasn't a single time when I had a cold sore when he wouldn't eye me suspiciously and ask "Are you SURE you've always gotten those?"

We dated for just over a year before we got married. 

We were married for ten years.

Remember how I started this by saying I have dealt with them several times a year for my whole life? 

That's a LOT of times to be asked that question.

So much so that even now, more than nine years since he left and we got divorced, I still hear those words ringing in my head with EVERY SINGLE cold sore I get.

"Are you SURE you've always gotten those?"

What I wouldn't give to find a way to make that voice finally shut the hell up.

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Ask The Band: Good Friends, Almost Gone.

I've had a stressful past, since about 2nd grade. There was a girl back then who thought I hated cats because I loved dogs, which isn't true. I love both cats and dogs. She loved cats, but hated dogs. Every time she saw me she'd say, "ADMIT IT, YOU HATE CATS!" 

Because she hated me, her friend also hated me. Later, the friend realized what I was going through, and BOOM! I finally had a person to talk to at school that would speak back. She was never completely my friend, but she was someone. Still, I had always been the slightest bit suspicious about her.

One day, she just changed. Whenever I talked to her, she wasn't the same. When I would try to open up to her, she just smacked me with a remark like "None of my business!" And I was confused and felt lonely again.

I did find someone else to talk to, thank God, but she never felt right. Then came the day that everything just fell. We were in a video call together, and being the humorous type, I always liked to play around with what she said. So, she said something, and I made a little joke about it, taking it literally. She told me what she meant, and I said, "Yeah, I knew." She said it again, "What I meant was..." and I interrupted, raising my voice a bit, "Yeah, I know!" She became very angry with me and hung up.

Her other friend, who had been with her at the time, started texting me, "YOU'RE SO RUDE!" I'd had enough of this. I just wanted to have fun. I decided to tell her what I had been noticing about her as a friend. I texted back, along the lines of, "NO! YOU'RE RUDE! You were the friend I trusted! Recently you haven't been listening to me! I want the old you back! I'm done with it! Why?" She replied, "Because of EVERYTHING! You're a horrible person! Everything possible is wrong with you!" After a bit of back and fourth, my other friend that I mentioned decided to make things worse by saying, "You said you trusted ME!"

And suddenly, I had lost two friends.

That night was the spring concert. I saw the friend that started all of this, whispering to other people, saying my name.

Later I did find out the friend who had been angry that I had said I'd trusted her, still wanted to be my friend, but I still didn't feel right. Now I know everyone around me thinks I'm a jerk! They tried to convince me that it was all my fault, and basically called me a baby. 

The rude friend started cyberbullying me. She was threatening me, saying she would report me! What a hunk of junk. I feel like I've lost two friends, maybe more. What do I do? Should I try to win back my friends? Should I just stand up and ignore it? I feel like I'm alone. I'm ready to talk to them, but I hesitate to do it.

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