The rest of the year, I developed heavy paranoia, I didn’t care about my studies and I withdrew from my friends and family even further. I even got a note from a friend that told me that my depression was ruining our group of friends. My ex jumped from girl to girl. I felt alone.
I watched Law & Order: SVU and came to the conclusion that I was raped. I knew I had anxiety and depression. I had been self harming and I was taking medications, but they weren’t working. I obsessed about my ex and his new girlfriend. I was in the counselor’s office almost every day and my drama teacher, who directed the play my ex was in, even said “Did you think it would last? Did you think you guys were going to get married?” I tearfully nodded and when he saw the cuts on my arm, he sent me to the office. Finally, after terrifying passerby classmates and friends, I graduated and disappeared.
That summer, I attempted suicide. My mother, not knowing what else to do, sent me to a mental health facility for five days. I learned I had bipolar disorder and was put on different meds. Therapy had more breakthroughs and I was different, not healed completely, but healing.
I started college, I still had some friends and we talked about what happened. They told me they forgave me and that they loved me and were there for me. I started dating someone I had had a crush on since my freshman year, and we are still together. I even moved out to Portland, Oregon with him.
Why am I writing this? Recently, I looked back at people from high school. A lot of my former classmates and friends are either parents, married or pregnant, excelling in careers or in the armed forces. I thought about what I remembered about them and how they have changed. Then I realized that what people remembered of me in my last days of high school were my manic episodes and breakdowns. They’ll always remember me as crazy. My ex will never know why I acted the way I did in and after our relationship. And if I saw my rapist today? He would think we’re friends.
I’m not out to get justice. It happened too long ago and it will be hearsay. There’s no evidence and I have blocked out a lot of what happened. I’m writing this to clear the air. I don’t want my legacy to be a manic maniac.
I missed out on so much, that I want to get out of this nightmare. I have made my peace. I have come to terms with the fact that I will not get my best friend back or be able to fix the pain I have inflicted on others. Mental illness makes us do crazy things, but I know that doesn’t mean we are exempt from responsibility of what we do, even in the darkest of times. I know who I am and I know that I wasn’t “asking for it” and my Slipknot t-shirt and jeans didn’t provoke a stranger. It was someone I loved and someone that I thought loved me and I want people to be aware that this happens a lot and if it happens to you, you don’t have to submit just because you’re in a relationship with them.
I have been on a steady medication regimen for almost four years. I am happy. I have ups and downs, but I am stable. I still write, I still love horror and Halloween. I have a support system, a job and a cat that I consider to be a therapy animal. I play video games as a way to wind down after a hard time. I am free.