For the record, I have almost died twice in the literal sense.
The first time was due to the neglect of a pediatric anesthesiologist.
The second time was self-inflicted. In short, an acute case of anorexia nervosa.
I have also spent a number of years (in the past) trying to bring myself back to life. The genetics lottery produced a diagnosis of bipolar disorder for me in addition to various eating disorder issues and ADHD/ADD. I was diagnosed with bipolar at the beginning of my senior year in high school and have only recently made full recovery.
There’s a stretch of time between 1998 and 2006 where no-one was certain about the possibility of a future for me. During the summer of 1999, I was given an ultimatum by my parents that I was to find a job within a month or they were going to send me to inpatient in Florida (mother’s idea). So I was shipped off to Delray Beach on July 4th, 1999. Recently I was informed that this is where a good amount of the money that was meant for college expenses was "invested". Now I think that I would have refused to go had I known that, but hindsight is always 20/20.
When I was 19, I never considered that my parents are capable of the worst—that crap always happens to someone else. My mom was the parent who took in other people’s kids. My parents were also still together then. I do realize that it’s rare that parents offer up a fund specifically for college, but I really trusted them at that point and took them for their word when they said they would do things.
Perhaps one of the most valuable things in a person is someone who does what they tell you they’re going to do, whether it’s being there for you or picking up something from the grocery on their way home from work. That’s important. It means you can trust them.
So I went to this inpatient treatment center. It was really for addiction and substance abuse—nothing to do with eating disorders or mood disorders. I was a 19 year old girl who had only been drunk once, was adamantly anti-drug, and was still a virgin.
I was sharkbait.
I sat through lectures about the 12 steps and heard stories from people who had been places that I’d only glimpsed through the television screen. I saw people detox from nearly every substance in existence. I had to go to NA and AA meetings and introduce myself as an addict despite not having any problems with substance abuse. I also met the guy who took my virginity and who I then stayed with for the next two years.
I’m not quite sure if I want to write his name, but really his name isn’t the most important part of this story. He was a heroin/pills/everything really addict from Philadelphia. He was Italian, cocky, misogynistic, intensely racist, homophobic, willfully ignorant, uneducated and a high school dropout and…I was hooked. I honestly believed that underneath all of this, he was a good person who I could share a life with, marry, and have children with because I believed that everyone was really good at heart—now I know that while this may be true, not everyone acts on their inherent goodness.
I was at that treatment center for three months and then I was moved to a halfway house for recovering addicts and alcoholics. I had no car and no job and I had moved to that specific halfway house because I knew that was where he lived now. I had no friends, certainly not any friends who weren’t in NA or AA. I was completely removed from anything familiar or anyone who shared similar interests or intellectual pursuits.
Consequently, I neglected these parts of me. I set them aside as irrelevant to my new life. I was getting a lot of male attention from co-workers and in general—which was new. The positive was the independence to do whatever I wanted, dress however I wanted, drive to wherever I wanted to, and basically start being who I felt I was.
Being away (like more than a 1000 miles away) from your parents can be magical.