As you can probably gather from the title, we have arrived at the out-of-control self-discovery section of my story. I’ve really struggled to decide what all I should include here. I want to be open, but the truth is there is a lot of material here to work with. I’ll do my very best to create a full picture for you guys, but this is most likely gonna have to be a multi-parter.
The summer after high school was absolute hell! I had no desire to go to college, but my parents were set on that being the only avenue I was “allowed” to go down. I was working a lot to get out of the house and finding other ways to make money. Tension really started to grow at home. I was doing everything I could to be out of the house, but my parents were still holding a tight grip on what I was doing, who I was with, and where I was going. As deadlines for community college got closer, they were losing their minds, trying to monitor my every move. However, there was no real help given in terms of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life or taking an interest in what I was interested in. I just needed to do it because that’s what they wanted. No offer to help me with paying for it, applying for it, or navigating the classes… I was just expected to do it. Because that’s definitely something an 18-year-old just knows how to do… especially when they are as excited about it as I was!
They finally snapped after I stayed out all night with some friends, they were demanding me to come home but I refused. There were threats of getting the police involved and just all sorts of other nonsense… even though they knew where I was, who I was with, and why I was not coming home. The next morning I eventually made my way home and mom was waiting for me. Long story short, EVERYTHING was taken away, car, phone, computer… basically any lifeline to the outside world was striped. WEEELLLLLL that didn’t sit very well with me. I spent a few days in my room refusing to come out except for when I had to work, to which my parents drove me to and from. About a week after all of this I was done. That was still back in the days when you remembered the important numbers and there were still house phones. I waited until my parents were going to be out of the house for an extended period of time and called my best friend. I packed a suitcase and had her pick me up. Luckily for me her parents were ok with me staying with them for a little while and welcomed me with open arms. I knew my parents were going to freak out so I left a note telling them where I would be. I got the reaction I was expecting, rather than any attempt to try to understand where I was at, I was bombarded with phone calls filled with demands and threats. It made it pretty easy to stay away honestly.
I was sleeping on their couch for about a month, relying on them and a few close coworkers to get me to places I needed to be. My best friend and I started to make plans to get an apartment together. While her parents were ok with me staying as long as I wanted, I knew it wasn’t a situation that I could rely on long term. It just so happened that her cousin recently left her fiancé and was also looking for a place. The three of us found an apartment that was in our price range and went for it. Moving day was pretty easy for me. I had one suitcase, and an air mattress that my friend’s parents let me have. While my other two roommates were moving in beds, couches, dressers full of clothes and kitchen necessities. I was grateful that they had all of this. It definitely made my living situation more comfortable, but it was still hard knowing that I had nothing. I was still relying on other people to get me to and from anywhere I needed to go. I was able to coordinate with my roommates that when they were home I could use their cars in exchange for gas in the tank.
Now it didn’t take long for three working young women to start playing very hard! There were always people, alcohol, and drugs at our apartment. Our neighbors were not fans… except the creepy old guy that would sneak over to our porch and steal all of our cigarette butts to smoke what was left. This was when I was introduced to heavy metal and really started finding my music preferences. It was loud, angry, and fast. I was in love!!! House parties, concerts and raves are where I was spending my free time every chance I got. We were hanging out with musicians, drug dealers, and other misfits, living the high life.
Eventually I landed a job at a call center. I was so excited, I was making way more money, benefits, and was feeling like things were starting to fall into place for me. After a couple months I was able to save up enough money to buy my car back from my parents and came to an agreement to get on their phone plan. I was really clicking with the people I was working with; my team was made up of mostly young women and we all got along really well. Our manager was really chill and would even come out and hang with us after work. I was young and stupid and didn’t realize having a personal relationship with your boss leads to nothing but trouble. It wasn’t a problem for a while, it made work more fun and it made me feel secure knowing that I was close to my manager. Eventually he started having parties at his house and would invite us all over. That’s when things started to get a little messy. Feelings happened. All the other girls on the team were in committed relationships at the time… but not me… I was young, single, and looking for love… an easy target. As you can guess, one thing led to another, and I ended up in his bed. It was great at first, as most flings are. I should have seen the writing on the wall though… literally! His bedroom walls were covered with signatures of all the women that had been there. And yes mine was there too… so gross!!!
The problems started once I was looking to get more serious with him. That wasn’t something he was interested in. It made things weird at work, we still had to be professional even though tension was growing. He started becoming more and more distant with me, finding issues with my work that he hadn’t before, and not including me in team emails. I found out from my coworkers that he was sleeping around with other girls. I didn’t handle it well to say the least. It became really difficult to even go to work, so I got a few write ups for attendance. I started getting paranoid that he was trying to get rid of me. I decided to go to HR and discuss my concerns with them. A meeting was scheduled with my manager and the HR director, I thought it was going to be a meeting to work out the differences we were having and come to an understanding. Nope, I was blindsided… the asshole told the director that I was delusional, that nothing happened between us and that I was creating a hostile work environment for the whole team. I was offered a small severance and told that they think it would be best to end my employment there. I was in shock, I didn’t know my rights, I was insecure, and it felt like I had no other choice. This experience was the beginning of a very dark spiral for me.
I started looking for a new job immediately, but that experience caused a lot of anxiety, and I was really struggling with my depression. Finding a job in that state is really challenging and I wasn’t successful at it. Eventually I was unable to keep up with my rent or bills, I was between a rock and a hard place. I ended up having to turn to my parents for help. Not my first choice, but I didn’t really have too many at the time. They wanted me home, so their offer was to let me stay in the apartment in the basement as long as I was going to school… Fine… it was better than not having a place to stay at all. I moved back in, took out a student loan, and signed up for a few classes. I got a part time job to cover expenses and my drug habits, but I was still really struggling mentally. I decided to go to the doctor to get some help. I told them that I was going to school and really struggling with my focus and how I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. She offered to put me on Adderall… why not… I guess I’ll give it a try. Well for the next 6 months I was on top of the world!! I had energy to spare… lost a shit ton of weight… and my confidence was through the roof. I didn’t give a shit that I flunked out of college and my parents were furious. They didn’t know how to handle this version of me, for the first time they had no power. Except when I was out too late and they would lock me out of the house for not meeting curfew, but even then I always had somewhere I could go to stay.
The constant tension at home was becoming more and more difficult to handle. My depression started getting the better of my again. At this point I was still on Adderall, but taking way more than I should have. I still had a prescription, but I was getting it from other sources too. I was drinking regularly and smoking a lot of weed to counter act the affects so I was able to get some sleep here and there. Because of the drug use I was also experiencing an insane amount of anxiety and paranoia. So what did I do? I went to the doctor… I conveniently left out all of these details, partly because I was too scared to be honest but also I didn’t want them to stop giving me the Adderall. I asked for some anxiety meds that I could take as needed because I wasn’t “interested” in taking another pill on a regular basis. BULLSHIT! Want to take a guess at what they gave me? Xanax… oh fun stuff! I didn’t go crazy at first, I wasn’t actually looking to start popping xannies like candy when I first got them. I was looking to find a balance from all the other stuff I was doing.
Things hit an all time low after my parents came home early to find a house full of people. After everyone was kicked out… I’ll just leave it at things got physical and the police were called. At this point I was feeling completely hopeless, I had no Idea what I was doing with my life, and I was miserable. I just wanted the pain to stop. That’s when the cutting started. Nothing life threatening at first, I was cutting into my thighs, stomach, shoulders. Places that I could easily cover so it would go unnoticed. My thighs were my favorite place because I could easily create designs. I started getting more comfortable I guess and moved to my arms. I even stopped caring about trying to cover up the wounds. You know, I was living with my parents, and they never once noticed. It was my friends that picked up on the cuts and started questioning me about them. Obviously I downplayed the severity of my cutting, saying that I was just messing around.
It wasn’t too long after this point that I was popping a handful of Xanax with a cheap bottle of wine and seeing how many cuts I could make before I passed out. Again I was doing this under my parent’s roof… in their basement, and it was never noticed. This happened more times than I care to admit… I knew it was dangerous, but I didn’t care. There was a very real part of me that hoped I would never wake up.
This was still in the age of MySpace, and I had recently reconnected with an old friend from my past. We had been out of contact for almost a decade. We started spending a lot of time messaging back and forth. Eventually we exchanged phone numbers and were texting back and forth constantly. A little flicker of happiness was coming back into my life. He started sending me good morning texts and calling me to talk before I went to sleep. I was still using a lot of drugs, but the cutting stopped almost cold turkey. I didn’t want to anymore. For the first time in a really long time I was feeling happy, and had something to look forward to. The only problem was he was 4 hours away from me. In the beginning we weren’t sure if we wanted to start anything serious because of the distance. It took us about 5 months of texting and talking on the phone every day to finally decide to meet in person.
I didn’t know it yet, but this guy was about to show me the time of my life. He was about to show me a whole new world. He would teach me about so much, especially how to love life and have fun. He would show me a love I never knew was possible and literally saved my life because of that. But I’ll save that for part 2!