Before I begin, I should explain that what I now consider to be my first manic episode, I became highly paranoid and claimed that my male friends had sexually assaulted me. For years I was filled with guilt over this, it consumed me at times. In this excerpt I was stable, yet it shows the longer lasting effect that Bipolar can have on you, and what it’s like to not be able to trust your own mind.
Trigger warning: sexual assault
The school buzzed with the usual recess sounds. The shouting, the laughter, the milder chit-chatter. Crows cawed for the rubbish left lying around while teachers patrolled and made begrudging students collect it.
As I carried my painfully heavy bag away from English, I tried to avoid thinking about how much it hurt not to head towards H, the man I had been with for years before we separated a little over a week ago, but was instead grateful to the girls who took me in so that I didn’t have to sit alone.
They were pretty cool, but it made forgetting H difficult, as he and his other friends would come over and visit the girls often after playing basketball, and the girls would often go to play basketball with them.
It was so difficult whenever he came over to where I was sitting and ignored me. I was sure the tightness in my chest was because I loved him, right?
I missed playing Basketball each lunch as well. It was so good for me, but since the separation I can’t handle it.
(I intended to write a short paragraph here describing how at that moment I pictured us on the basketball court but I am having an unanticipated emotional reaction to this post and can’t describe even vaguely what I saw)
My throat tightens. I fidget. My skin crawls.
Why am I feeling anxious? What changed?
But he isn’t hurting me, it’s the same thing he always did in our relationship.
That he always did.
Should a girl really be afraid of her boyfriend touching her?
Should she have nightmares?
No, Joy. Don’t do this. He didn’t hurt me. I’m just doing it all over again.
My skin is crawling.
No, I’m making it up again. He didn’t hurt me. Don’t be that girl.
I feel sick.
I want to run.
But he didn’t do it. He loved me.
He touched me when I said no. He penetrated me when I said no.
He said sorry.
He did it again. And again.
I’m making it up, he didn’t do anything. He’s a good guy. He made me laugh, he helped me.
He humiliated me. He would walk behind me and pull up my shirt when others were around for fun. He would twist my arm into making me do stuff to him in places I didn’t want to. He would make me feel guilty, like I’m a bad person, if I said no.
But he didn’t do it. He didn’t do it. He can’t have done it. He didn’t hurt me. I’m just a bad person. I’m making it up again. He didn’t do it. He can’t have. I’m not going to hurt him like I hurt the others. He didn’t do it. I’m a liar. I’m a slut and a liar. He did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong. I’m imagining it again. It’s in my imagination.
Even if it does feel different this time.
This went on for another week or two before I acknowledged the truth.