Where My Story Began…The Cutting and Other Means of Destruction

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Bipolar Disorder
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Every story has a beginning and an end.My story is not over yet, I’m still struggling everyday to make mine an happy ending, but where it all began has become very clear to me. 

Barely into my teens, and a early bloomer, I was a very passionate person, with strong emotions, and rapidly changing moods. This, I have recently learned, was the start of my bipolar disorder. I cannot tell the story of my early years with this undiagnosed disorder without also telling the story of my first love, who has affected, and been affected by, this disorder many times over the past 20 years. I will call him Jay. 

Jay was my first real love, and little did I know at the time he would become my unhealthy addiction that would spam nearly 2 decades, and  later in life my husband and father to one of my children. I was just 14 and falling in love for the first time, with a bad boy none the less, who was far less devoted and “in love” as I was. Our relationship was, for the entire duration of it, which as I said, spanned 20 years, rocky, a constant push and pull in opposite directions, filled with drama and theatrics. When I was in, he was out; when I was up, he was down; when I finally built up the courage to walk away, he would pull me back; when I decided I no longer wanted him, he suddenly would die without me; and when I fell deeper in love with him, he withdrew. This toxic relationship would prove to worsen my fragile mental state time and time again before the end of high school. Was it his fault? No, it wasn’t. He was a typical teenage, partying, bad boy, I was a dramatic, angst filled, mentally unstable teenager. The combination was lethal. 

My parents were well aware that the relationship was not a good one, had seen me in tears or profoundly hurt and angry, time and time again. They tried to end the relationship, forbidding me to see him, but all this seemed to accomplish was making both of us want to be with each other more. Typical teenage behaviour. However, what was not typical was to what lengths I would go to be with him. At one point I tried getting pregnant which, thankfully since I was only 16 years old at the times, did not happen, in a desperate attempt to not just stop my parents from keeping us apart,  but also to ensure he would always be tied to me. At that point in time I could not see the magnitude of my behaviour and was often dissapointed when my period would start, signifying that I had been unsuccessful in my attempt at trapping the boy that I so desperately loved. 

This wasn’t my only attempt to keep Jay with me when our relationship, as it often did, began to plummet rapidly. I would use any means necessary, including threatening to kill myself if he didn’t stay with me, flying into erratic crying or yelling  episodes, and even telling him more than once that I thought I might be pregnant, always a lie. 

We were off and on for the rest of high school. There were several times, during which we had broken up, that I had tried to move on, even having several other casual relationships during these “off” times over the course of the remainder of high school. I would develop feelings for these other boys, but my obsession with Jay was always the elephant in the room that ended nearly all of these relationships. I hurt several people, lost friends, even broke a few hearts, all because of one reason- Jay and my unhealthy addiction to him. 

Although my bipolar episodes and mental instability were present whether or not Jay was or wasn’t in my life, his presence and my obsession with him, made them worse, and to add insult to injury, he had his own issues as well, and his desire to drink would later in life develop into alcoholism. This, however, is an whole other chapter in the story of our life together. 
The very first signs of instability during those years came in the form of cutting. In the early to mid 90s, cutting was not a well known, openly talked about issue as it is now. If anyone was a cutter I did not know about it, and this made me even more “different” and unstable, although very few people were aware of what I was doing. Cutting became a source of pain relief, although there were many times when I hoped it would end my life on some level of my subconscious. I would cut when I was angry or upset, when I was sad or felt I had been betrayed. Many of the incidents occurred when I felt hurt or let down by the relationship I was in- when I was lied to, or suspected Jay was cheating, when I demanded more of his time or attention than he will willing to give, or when my feelings for him were unmatched by his feelings for me. More times than not my feelings of hurt and betrayal were light years away from the reality of the situation. While he was being a typical teenage boy, my unstable mind often played tricks on me, making me feel or believe things that didn’t actually exist, or amplifying everything I felt times a hundred.
Cutting became an almost weekly routine and the image of myself sitting on the bathroom floor in tears with a razor blade in my hand, slicing into my wrists, just deep enough to hurt but never deep enough to end it all, is one that will stay etched into my mind forever. What did the cutting actually accomplish? It released the pain that was screaming to be let out. It punished me for my weakness, for being so messed up. It, even for a short time, made me feel better.

But there was more to the cutting than just getting out my hurt and frustration, or making me feel briefly better. While slicing at the soft skin on my wrists I felt as if I were punishing not just myself, but those who had hurt me- my boyfriend for not loving me enough, my friends for not seeing the hurt I was feeling but never showed, my parents for not being able to fix everything. Everyone who could not see the hurt that I thought was so obvious. 

I hid the cuts from my parents and from the world as best I could. I did have 1 friend who knew what was happening- my next door neighbour and very best friend, who had been, and still is, like a sister to me,  then and ever since. She would often clean up my wrists, cover them in antibiotic ointment and bandage them as discreetly as possible. She didn’t lecture. She didn’t judge. She didn’t tell. I am eternally grateful for her and for all that she has done over the years. 

The ritual of emotional cutting would last a few years and eventually came to an end in eleventh grade when it was replaced with different outlets for my pain and anxiety. But the scars that were left, both those on my heart and on my wrists, have never gone away. 

  1. lilypup says:

    Thank you for sharing that. I had a similar destructive thing with a boy from 14 to 24 or so. Crazy…what a waste of my life. Hugs and understanding to you. http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/


    • Writingofpassage says:

      Thank you for reading. “where my story began” is a series I am working on. I just posted part 2.
      It certainly was a waste of my life as well.


  2. lilypup says:

    I guess they say you learn something from each experience but I don’t know….

    Liked by 1 person

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