I was always striving for perfection, that Type A personality. I never quit or took a break at work or in my personal life. I never thought about a seventy-hour workweek. Pay didn’t matter since I was salaried. The end of 2001 brought a solemness to the world and me. Life was defined and fleeting.
Soon after the towers fell in NYC, I was planning my dearest relative an 85th birthday celebration. I was traveling for work and called my great aunt to make arrangements to pick up keys for the building the luncheon was being held but she wasn’t completely my aunt. Her responses to me weren’t wholly her. I knew as I hung up that she had a brain tumor. I called relatives that were closer and able to get her to the hospital. Instead of a happy celebration of life, that weekend I was at her bedside holding her hand knowing this was her last birthday. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and refused treatment.
I always joked that when my aunt Lib passed my friends should just commit me. Maybe I had always kept it together for her. New Year’s Eve I took communion drunk in her kitchen. Within three weeks I would be having an affair and asking my husband to leave. I still worked however I physically became sick by February. The doctors put me on Zoloft and antibiotics. I had a reaction to the antibiotics and was on other medication for another month and not cleared for traveling for my job.
“My family supported me but I’m not sure that they understood the monstrous diagnosis that had crept into our lives.”
My aunt passed the first week of March. Mid-April I overdosed for the first time, I took a lot of Zoloft. My date was an EMT & when I started to pass out at dinner he got me to my car and home. I went to the emergency room when I started throwing up the next day. I talked my way out of being transferred to a mental hospital. I started therapy & prescription medications by a psychiatrist.
I lost my job after my first overdose because coworkers were at dinner with me; scared they reported it.
I enrolled in college classes to finish my degree but I was nervous and applying unrealistic self-pressure. I can’t remember if I finished the summer sessions. At that time, in 2002, pre-existing conditions mattered. To protect me from possibly crazy insurance premiums, I was diagnosed with cyclothymia. Over the next year that would be changed to bipolar disorder.
“He is tired of the bipolar roller coaster.”
It would be many years before I stopped the cycle of overdosing or refusing to take my medications as prescribed. My family supported me but I’m not sure that they understood the monstrous diagnosis that had crept into our lives.
My date that night became my husband. He has been present for me and my moods. He was deployed to Iraq crumbling my main support. After he returned in 2004 we got married. I cannot always see the future for me or my marriage. He is tired of the bipolar roller coaster. I just have to keep hope for the best each day and hope my family knows how important they are for me.
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