I guess I'll start my story from senior year of High School, or 04-05. This is a bit long, so be forewarned.
I was the class clown, always being the one to challenge the teacher and make them look like a fool. Always being the one to push the boundaries as far as I could, and yes, getting in trouble when I couldn't see when I crossed them. So there were some disciplinary issues. I didn't see it as a problem then. The last impression I made on my classmates was doing "the worm" on the red carpet on my way to grab my diploma. It was a smash hit.
During the course of that school year, there was a girl I had met, who I will call "Allison." We had fallen in love over the course of the year, and as young as we were, we both had a mutual feeling that we saw this going places in the future.
Allison and I got into a fight, and I decided to break things off. It wasn't the real reason why, but merely a scapegoat, if you will. The real reason was due to the fact that I was somewhat aimless at the time, with no real ambitions or goals. I considered it for her own good.
I figured that something may have been wrong with me, but my
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father angrily refused to let me see a doctor. Just really ignorant.
September '05 rolls around, and I went from my job at a fast food restaurant, to a job as a cashier at the supermarket, to a telemarketing job. I was socially anxious, so I figured things would be easier doing telemarketing, as there wasn't too much contact with people other than my co-workers.
The problem was that each and every job wore me down, made me tired, and stressed me out to the point that I wanted to (and did) quit. I was unemployed from May of 06 to February 07.
During that time, I took up lots of smoking and drinking. In september of 06, I tried cocaine for the first time.
Too many failures had made me feel inadequate, and I was afraid to get back out there. Apparently, word got around about this whole thing I was into, and helped to tarnish my reputation. That wasn't the main thing, though, as I will explain right now.
My friend had a party at her house in July of 06 (She is a good friend of Allison's). It was all former classmates in attendance.
To make a long story short, I had my manic episode, and ended up groping some girl at the party. It was blown way out of proportion, as I crossed the line by mere inches. Even still, people started saying that I tried to rape some girl. This incident really made me believe that something was wrong, because I had never felt so out of control like that.
Pretty much where I'm at right now, I am known as a cokehead rapist amongst my classmates, friends have bailed on me, and I am a social outcast. (The last time I had done cocaine was this February, and I won't ever do it again. I was never truly addicted in the first place).
This past summer, when I really started to feel these outrageous mood swings, I had to personally arrange for healthcare coverage, just so I could get the meds I pretty much knew I would need. My father was apathetic and lazy when it came to this, which is a shame.
I saw the PDoc, and was put on Lamictal.
My family is relatively poor, and I do not have a vehicle right now. There is no public transportation, and a car is necessary to work or go to school, basically. I may have one come the new year, which is great.
Going back to the story with Allison...all of her friends knew that I had tried contacting her this summer (when I was feeling suicidal and isolated). She pretty much used the situation (my reputation) as leverage to extract her revenge for me breaking things off. There is some ridiculous internet drama going on between me, Allison, and her friends. Basically, she still is being ridiculous, even during this very difficult time in my life, when I figured that I could count on her to be there. Her friends and I are trying to get her to come around and get back together with me, but she is being resistant and playing games, even though she still loves me, regardless of my past misadventures, and my name being totally dragged through the mud.
But yes, now I am feeling relatively better, and I've been working with the doc and therapist on getting my life back together.
It's just a shame all of this had to happen. I really do blame my father, as I feel just about all of this could have been avoided. It's amazing what this will do to your life.
I know that was rather lengthy, but I figured it was good to vent, and talk to some people who can identify.
I enjoyed your story by the way.....I have never thought to even try to condense mine, it would take everyone about a month to read, and a year for me to put it down, maybe I will write a book someday.
Anyhow, you should consider yourself lucky to have been diagnosed so young, I wasn't diagnosed until I was 34 ( four years ago ) and my episodes were many and long, only I was in denial just as much as everyone around me, it took a lawyer, a marriage counselor and a primary care doctor a long time to get me help. It is surprising that there is still so much ignorance about mental illness out there.
It was my husband who had the hardest time believing bipolar illness was a real thing, which made it extra difficult for our two kids. It was a loooooong road for us to get through all of our drama, but here we are 13 years later, and still together, miraculous. His whole family told him I could never change and remain stable, but we have been doing really great (some days better than others) for more than 3 years now. I know I will never be 'normal' but I can cope with my illness, and manage the symptoms that come along even with medications. It has become easier over time, to accept the person that I have become, and my limitations. I used to think if I was strong enough I could deal with certain situations, but now I know that isn't realistic, I can't do everything I wan't, but I can still live my life, and focus on what I have and can do instead of what I don't have and can't do anymore.
Good luck, and remember we're all different in our stages of life, and our level of illness, and our economic status, but we have this huge thing in common, and we can all learn something from each other.