Sunday, December 14, 2014

That Serial Killer I Dated, Part I



                 It was our third date if you count the speed-dating event where we met. He was a doctor of physical therapy with a nice condo in the city and he had asked me over to cook dinner for me. His place was clean and very bachelor-y with the only d├ęcor being his framed degree hung up on the wall next to a bookcase full of binders of school notes and anatomy and physiology books. His furniture was all brown or black pieces; not fashionable or modern, but it was clean and tidy. Big TV, naturally. When I got there he was still cooking the meal, fiddling with the stuff on the stove and vegetables in the microwave. He poured a couple glasses of wine while we waited and it was nice, really. I had some reservations about him because of our last date but I was being put at ease. 

                On our second date, we went to a museum and it was really awkward trying to hold a conversation with him there. He was soft-spoken and would walk behind me or away from me in the middle of a conversation so that I couldn’t hear him anymore and I would have to follow him around or twist myself around to keep talking. That got old as soon as it started. Besides that, he was literally pushy. I think he was trying to joke around and he just randomly shoved me while I was on the steps at the museum. Looking back now I know to think: WTF??!! But at the time I was just annoyed and took it like I always take things like that: pissed off inside but not really clicking that it’s wrong for someone to do that to me. I pushed the feelings down, said nothing and kept walking. He pushed me a few times. I thought about taking the elevator to be sure that I wouldn’t fall down the stairs in the parking garage.

                Back to our third date; dinner was nice. We had a much livelier conversation than on the previous date and the food was pretty good. The steak was a little too overdone but he had still cooked for me and that’s bound to win you 3,000 points unless it’s absolutely inedible. I was enjoying myself but then somehow we got on the topic of Disney fairy tales versus the original stories. I say something about how sleeping beauty was not kissed but actually raped awake (remember we are having a good conversation and I am feeling at ease at this point). Then he comes back with, “Yeah, but he married her afterward,” with an absolutely serious face.

                “What?”

                “He raped her but he married her afterwards.”

                “That doesn’t make it not rape. That doesn’t make it any better.”

                He didn’t answer me, just took a drink of wine. 

    “I need to know that you know rape isn’t cancelled out by marriage.”

    “No, of course it’s not.”

                After dinner he offered me more wine and even though I said no, he went on to pour me a very large glass, finishing off the bottle. After our exchange, I was set on not drinking it to make sure I was sober enough to leave. I was looking for a polite way out when he suggested we watch a movie. 

                “Ok, maybe I can stay for half a movie.”

                He put on an old, obscure movie that I had never seen before but one that he insisted was a ‘classic’ and I ‘had to see it.’ He sat down on one side of the sectional sofa and I placed myself on the far side of the L shape, away from him. 

                “You haven’t been drinking your wine.”

                “I told you I didn’t want any more. It keeps me up at night.”

                “Come sit over here.” I didn’t really want to, but he insisted so I sat down next to him. He inched a bit closer. After a while, he put his arm around my shoulders. I was still a bit tense and the movie was from the 90’s and boring. I watched the clock and wondered when would be a good time to make my exit. Then, without any kind of warning, he scooted himself down and laid his head in my lap.

                I was in shock. 

               “Will you pat my hair?”

               “What?”

               “I want you to pat my hair,” he picked up my hand and laid it on his head, moving it up and down in patting motions.

               “No, that’s ok.” I took my hand away. He grabbed it back and put it on his head. I tried to take back my hand but he held it firmly on his head. I tried to stand up, but he used his head on my lap to apply pressure and keep me sitting down. My heart was beating at a thousand times a second, I had no idea what to do. I stayed still.

                He made me stroke his hair again for a little while and then he sat up straight again. He was talking to me but I have no idea what he said. I was panicking. But I stayed still.

                He put his hand on my head and pushed me down into his lap. I think I actually felt a piece of my mind snapping. He held me down there with his arm and wouldn’t let me up. I think he continued to talk. I struggled but he was too strong. So I stopped and waited.

                He let me up and I stood/rolled off the couch and onto my feet, sliding my coat from the chair onto my back like I’d practiced it a million times and grabbed my purse. 

               “I have to get up early in the morning so I’d better go.”

              “Why do you have to go all of a sudden? We haven’t finished the movie,” he reminded me of a snake, poised and dangerous.

               “I really have to go.” I walked calmly towards his door, “Maybe we can finish it next time.”

               He got up and walked to the door as well, joining me in the doorway. I wondered if I screamed, if any of the neighbors would notice. I remembered my mother always told me to shout ‘fire!’ because that’s what gets people’s attention.

               I said, “Have a good night,” and I gave him a short hug. I walked away briskly to my car. I have never driven away from a place so fast in my life.







Friday, November 21, 2014

Do I Care Who Knows My Secrets?


I was reading this article this morning - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/bipolar-disorder-ellen-forney_n_5823138.html, and it triggered some thoughts for me.


First, how many people have I told about my mental illness and what percentage of negative versus positive reactions have I gotten from them (not including medical professionals)? 

Let’s explore;

SC – mixed, tried to help but didn’t really understand. When her help didn’t ‘work,’ she gave up.

AA – apathy

Support group online – positive, helpful

AM – positive, empathetic

JC – mixed, tried to help but didn’t understand, often very disrespectful. Same thing as SC, when his help didn’t ‘work,’ he would get very frustrated.

Father – somewhat empathetic but told me I would have to ‘go it alone,’ because therapists are not to be trusted and they just want your money. He hasn’t said a word to me about it since then.

Sister – empathetic, helpful. I’m not sure she understands totally, but I only just told her this summer.

Bitchy mcTraitor – freaked out, tried to get me fired

GS – empathetic and understanding when I told her but when I tried to talk to her about my feelings and things that happened that relate to my disorder, I couldn't get empathy at all from her. She was very good at giving emotionless advice…







So; three purely positive responses, four mixed and two purely negative.
I’m counting apathy as a negative, especially since he and I were supposedly ‘in love’ and he never tried to help with my illness or mentioned it at all even though I was clearly suffering.
TRIGGER WARNING













Also, when I asked him if I should commit suicide, he told me he couldn’t think of a reason why not. So; definitely negative.













END TRIGGER

I’ve always kept the information that I have a mental illness very close, and obviously have only told a very few people. I always suspected something was wrong, but I didn’t get help until college when I went to my school counseling center. I didn’t even tell my father, he actually found out because he was trying to buy insurance for me and the insurance companies came back and said they wouldn’t cover me because of my depression (my dx at the time, also this was before the ACA made it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions). So he called me up to his office area in the master bedroom when I was visiting and asked me if it were true, did I have depression?

                There wasn’t anything else for me to say at that point but yes. And we talked a bit about it, it was good, I think, to have finally let him know about it because up to that point I had been seeing a therapist and psychiatrist in secret. I was so afraid of my father finding out about it that I lied about being on his insurance plan and told my school counseling center that I didn’t have insurance. That actually worked out great for a while since they had a sliding scale for appointments, I was only paying $40 for psychiatry appointments and $2 per therapy appointment. I had a part-time job so I could pay for it all myself. I think I was afraid if my dad found out he would demand I live at home again because he would think I wasn’t able to deal with living at school. I spent my two years of college living at home but it was actually my therapist who suggested that I get the hell out of there and live on campus. It made a huge difference for me to not be around my father all the time.

                It’s not that he was abusive or anything. I’m not even sure I can explain it and have anyone understand. He was just angry all the time and I’m a very sensitive person. You know when you’re with a group of people and then one person just gets really angry about something and starts ranting about it, and then everyone gets really quiet and is afraid to speak up or say anything because if they do they know they’ll get shot down by that person and/or have that person’s anger suddenly directed at them? Like, everyone feels so awkward and afraid that they barely want to move or make a sound? 

                That is what growing up with my father was like. Pretty much every night at dinner would be like that. And he would be angry at everything and everyone. Oh, you have a tattoo? You just sealed your fate as a worthless bum because no one decent will ever employ you. The same goes for men with long hair, people who own motorcycles, and music majors.

                I had also overheard a rant my father was having about me. He seemed to think that the college I had decided to go to would turn me into a burden to the family, because I would never get a job with a degree from there. A burden to the family.

                So; I never told my father about my mental illness and I still haven’t told him about my new diagnosis. If he hadn’t found out about my depression he wouldn’t know now. I still count it as mixed because he didn’t make me live at home, and he didn’t flip out and the world didn’t explode or anything. But, not necessarily positive either. You don’t tell an almost completely isolated, lonely depressed person that they’ll have to deal with it alone. That’s simply irresponsible and ignorant. I needed help, I was desperate for it and I got it, behind his back because I believed I had to. His response confirmed that I was right to do that. 

As he has gotten older, his anger has mellowed out a bit. Also, I’ve gotten stronger and have been able to call him on his bullshit. So, maybe one day I will tell him. I seem to be moving more in that direction by telling my sister – who supports me in waiting to tell my parents until I am ready. I’m also pretty tired of hiding. I have no patience for lying and hiding anymore. 

Especially since he seems more concerned sometimes with pestering me about making sure I have maternity coverage on my insurance (which I now buy myself), than ever even asking me how my mental health is. God forbid he should make sure I have mental health coverage or a proper psychiatrist/psychologist. How it is more pressing in his brain to make sure he will not have to pay for all my illegitimate children from all the wild sex I am supposedly having than to make sure I am being treated for an illness that I will have my entire life and is often fatal, is simply beyond my understanding. Simply…. fucking…. beyond me. So; it’s not easy to not go off on him. But that's not the way I want this conversation to come up.

Anyway, this has gotten off track. The point is I want people to know and I want them to be ok with it and not freak out and complain to management or stop talking to me or talk to me but tell me shitty, ignorant things. But, since I can’t have that ideal situation most of the time I have to keep things under wraps.







-Jane











Sunday, November 9, 2014

What Trust Doesn't Look Like








Saturday night he had gotten drunk and violent. He threw things and threatened to hurt me. He was acting literally like a monkey, jumping on top of the couch and tearing the cushions off. He cycled between yelling, rocking back and forth on his hands and knees on the floor crying, throwing things around, and talking to me in that low, threatening voice. He also spoke to people who weren’t there.
I tried to help him. I had never seen anyone like that before, much less someone I loved. I tried to talk to him, soothe him, and give him something to throw up in. But he threw it back at me. When he went to the bathroom, I ran quietly up the stairs and away from him, shutting a door in between us. I didn’t want to leave because I still thought somehow I could help him. But I didn’t go back down until the morning.

On Sunday morning, I told him what had happened and he couldn’t remember any of it. He readily promised me that he wouldn’t drink at all if we were alone together and he would just drink with his friends.

Monday night he brought three double-size beers over to my apartment. I don’t know what they are really called, but I know that each one was the size of two normal beers. I was in shock and fearful.

“You can’t drink those here.”

He was immediately angry, “it’s just beer! It’s not that much!”

“You promised me you wouldn’t drink when it’s just you and me.”

“I had a hard day at work, I deserve a beer!”

“But there are three of them, and they’re gigantic. Just have one, ok?”

“I’m a grown man.”

He sulked and acted like a two-year-old for the next few hours, while I was a ball of tension, wondering what I should do if he got drunk and violent again. In my own apartment there was nowhere else to go, no one else to help me. I could put my cat in a carrier and just leave, maybe go to my parent’s house and hopefully he wouldn’t destroy too much of my stuff. 

Finally, we got to the moment when he might have one of the beers and I said, “You know, it’s just that you promised. You gave me your word that you wouldn’t drink and now you’re breaking your word.”

I knew that would get him, since he’s always going on and on about how honesty and ‘his word’ is so important to him, even though he was still able to cheat on me and go out with other women while I was still lying in his bed. 

He didn’t have any of the beers and he took them with him when he left. A good idea, since I would have poured them out. 

Before we broke up, we had a couple other uncomfortable nights with his drinking. Once when he put his arm around my neck in what maybe his drink-brain thought was affectionate but felt to me like a choke hold. Thank god for that self-defense class. 

He told me once during these awful nights, “The biggest reason I know we won’t make it is because you don’t trust me. You’re afraid of me.”

Well, asshole, maybe you should behave like someone who can be trusted.