When I Was a Sex Worker

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We’re working through trauma head on. A lot of memories float back into our space. Thankfully, we are handling each one pretty well.

I half wish I had more memory of this specific aspect of my life… but at the same time, I’m perfectly happy not remembering the details.

I’ve never written about this. I think I just need to get it out.

When I was in college, I unraveled, sexually. Abuse plus mania plus psychotic breakdown all equals severe trouble. I considered myself to be a virgin when I left for college, though I had been raped. I was 18. I met this Marine that for some reason swept me off my feet. Two days later, we had sex. He was very mentally and emotionally unstable and had taken advantage of my nurturing side. He had waved a loaded gun at me once as he was upset at me for not answering my text messages quick enough. Unstable.

After the Marine, I became exceedingly promiscuous. I used sex as a means for drugs- mostly heroin, pills, and alcohol. The night after I was gang raped, I was told that I was “asking for it” on account of the reputation I had built for myself. Just another reason I blamed myself for it happening.

Then, the rest of the year went blurry. Patches come back to me now….

I met Jay on a phone sex hotline, as a customer (I was working as an operator). After a couple phone dates, we exchanged personal cell phone numbers. Jay and I would talk every day multiple times. Soon, he began paying me directly. He would send me gifts, pay for my phone bills, and once helped out with my rent check. Jay told me that he could get me bigger and better money.

That’s how I started in the industry. I started off as an escort- I never had sex with clients, to my knowledge. He booked me high-paying clients to escort to several different functions and venues. They were polite. They just wanted arm candy.

Soon thereafter, I became interested in becoming an exotic danc- alright, a stripper. I wanted to try it out. Again, as far as I know, I landed a couple nights after my audition. I DO remember going under the name Rooney Jade for both the escorting and dancing.

After I was hospitalized, I went into rehab and was living with my then-therapist. Months had gone by. I received a call from Jay. My head was so intensely displaced that I had nearly forgotten who he was.

He asked me about the contract.

What contract?

Apparently, I had agreed and signed to participate in an adult film for x-amount of thousand dollars. I deleted his number and blocked him out of my life forever.

I’m sure with more therapy, that part of my life will become more and more clear. It’s interesting now to look at. Just wanted to share.

The Ghost in the Shell

Alright. I hit a bit of a manic wall over the weekend. Saturday morning, I went to the college campus to pick up my script and do a meet-and-greet of the cast. Then, I flew on over to a therapy appointment. I know that I’ve been feeling a little bit different over the past couple of weeks, but I think it became very evident in my therapy session; I felt so wildly manic that entire day. I couldn’t help but keep giggling throughout the session, especially when I would think about his suicide…


Yesterday, I took a nap with my girlfriend. We must have slept for3 or 4 hours. When I awoke, a really powerful surge of intense loneliness began to climb all over my body. I felt detached from life, as if everything was a dream. Derealization at its finest. I didn’t even feel like myself. I was watching the world through the ghost shell of me.

I wanted to be clutched and held down, afraid to float away. And as my girlfriend hugged me tightly, a small voice echoed inside, “Please, don’t let me leave again. Keep me here, keep me here.”

It’s always the same scene. It’s the movie that captures the hours before my death, or before my own suicide. These pockets of non-suspecting human interaction, the essence of life itself, slowly being stolen from me. It’s always the same scene… where I’m walking down the street, someone looks at me, doesn’t say hello… just a few hours after that pitiful lack of connection, I’d be swinging from a noose or I’d have an aneurysm and someone would be finding my body in the living room.

I know, this all sounds awful and morbid. Why would I think of such a plot? The problem is, I’m not trying to think of it at all. It just happens. And I hate it. It’s TERRIFYING. It’s almost as if I suddenly have flashbacks of deaths from my past lives and they come flooding in. The experience is very intense.

Last night was no exception. I felt paralyzed by sadness. I was scared that I would wake up from a long com, that none of this would be real.

The feeling of not being able to escape my own mind is maddening.

What’s wrong? I am unable to finish my own sentences. I begin to speak and about two other voices echo and mock my voice. My head is an acoustics gallery. It is all very loud. Are they hallucinations or just a manifestation of the DID? I’m not sure, you see, I don’t have fucking credentials in psychology. Yes, I’m hallucinating.

What’s wrong? My cynicism is growing fat and it is breathing, it is alive with a sick, gluttonous grin. A black snake is laying on my shoulders, hissing and rattling.

What IS wrong with me? I’m seeing a new psychiatrist tomorrow at noon. Perhaps it’s as simple as a med adjustment. I keep hearing someone breathing and it drives me insane, until I realize that maybe it’s my own breath…

I have moments of sheer psychotic thoughts of wanting to dig into my thighs with a cleaver. Then, I laugh. So I’m not sure what is more psychotic- the thought of origin or the humour that pours from the imagined scene?

I don’t feel like myself at ALL. Even when someone calls my name, it takes me a second to realize they are calling me. And then frustration ensues. I feel angry. I’m angry about being diagnosed with anything. I’m angry that I have alternate personalities. I think it’s fucking ridiculous. I don’t even feel that they exist anymore, or that they EVER existed. I think I’ve just been through the fucking wringer all of my fucking life so I’m just a little bit fucked up. But multiple personalities? No.

I don’t feel like my past exists. I’ve been dropped here. I’m picking up after someone’s messy attempt at thriving- or surviving for that matter.

I’m angry that I can’t seem to snap myself out of this. I’m angry that I can’t connect with people. I’m angry that I feel like I’m dreaming.

If I think hard enough about it, what I think I need is A) med adjustment B) The beach. I think that would be wonderful. I want to bundle up in sweater and go to the beach at night time to smell the sea, look at stars, and feel the cold water against my legs. Maybe then I could feel grounded.

Joining the Circus! Be Back Soon

  
Since I’ll be on leave for at least 6 weeks, I’ve decided to tell everyone that I’ve gone and joined the circus- you know, instead of telling them I’ve checked myself into the funny farm (again). 

Yes! That’s me up there! Credits to my girlfriend for her ever-inspiring art! And thank you, Instagram, for your odd filters.

I’m a bit nervous for tomorrow, to say the least. I’m excited to get back to stabilizing myself and my emotions. I’m just very anxious about the inevitable pain, discomfort, and realizations that are to come.

Off to the circus I go!

Checking In, Checking Out- Back to PHP I Go

From the lobby into the evaluation room. Picking at my sweater… takes my blood pressure. I check out.

I’m sitting on the chair. She pushes her bracelets further up her arm. “Victoria? I asked you if you are suicidal currently?” I nod yes, but say no. She scribbles something down.

I’ve answered these questions hundreds of times before. Yes, I was traumatized. I was raped, beaten, father killed himself… well, no, see my mom abandoned me and I just met her 3 years ago- well, I didn’t really meet her.. Yes, I’ve attempted suicide. I suddenly feel that I’m on top of building.

“And how did your family members commit suicide?”

I check out again. I start feeling panicky. I smile, slightly shake my head and say, “I like your necklace.”

She responds, “Thank you. How long were you abused in the Church?” My lips go numb. I wasn’t talking about a church. I ask her, “Which church?”

She looks confused. “You had just told me that you had been physically abused in the Church of Scientology. How long did that last would you say?”

I check out again.

“Do you dissociate often?”

My heart is racing and my eyes are burning with tears that have refused to unfasten themselves. We talk more about medication compliance, self-harm. She asks me if I have an appetite. I stare down at my wrists…

“Last time you used heroin?”

Before I knew it, I was out in a flash. I just now heard from the hospital and my insurance has granted me 4 days of partial hospitalization for now. Hopefully, they will give me more once they witness my basketcasery.

I’m on the verge of a panic attack as it seems right now.

When I Kissed the Cement

Last night was difficult. I’m not even sure if I ever fell asleep. My body is tired, my eyes burn, I feel slightly off balance.

I sat out on my back porch steps watching the rain fall. I was on the phone with my girlfriend, sobbing, rocking myself back and forth. Just hours before, I was standing in the drizzle, talking to God like I always did, begging Him to please make it go away. I bent down to the floor and kissed the warm cement repeatedly, waiting to feel absolution.

I haven’t been this despondent since February.

I texted my therapist telling her I felt suicidal and I’m too scared to admit myself into a hospital. I don’t even know if that would be the right move. I keep waiting for this to go away. Tomorrow, it’ll be better again. I’ll be happy and cheery, this mess will be behind me. Yet tomorrow has shown its face over and over again. I’m not getting better.

I feel as if I’ve contracted an illness and all I can do is rest, try to recover. I know I’m not alone, but I feel like I am.

Perhaps going back to group would behoove my mental crises. I have no idea.

Last night was really painful.

World Bipolar Day- Questionnaire

In honor of World Bipolar Day, I encourage those of you living with bipolar to answer the following questionnaire to help raise awareness.

You can also nominate some bipolar bloggers to join in!

1. What does bipolar disorder mean to you?

2. What was your life like before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder? 

3. How old were you when you were diagnosed?

4. How do you manage your symptoms?

5. What is life like for you now?

6. Has having bipolar disorder affected your friendships, personal life, or professional life?

7. How do you think society treats people with a mental illness, especially bipolar disorder?

8. Have you ever felt discriminated against or looked poorly on because of bipolar disorder?

9. Do you have any words of advice for people in the world suffering with bipolar disorder, or other mental illness?

I’ll answer the questions:

1. What does bipolar disorder mean to you? Bipolar is a manic-depressive illness, meaning I could be totally happy in 2012, but hello depression in 2013 from fucking January to July. There are people with rapid cycling which means they can wake up feeling that they are going to off themselves, but 4 hours later they are ecstatic. It’s awful, it’s emotionally painful and draining, and……ugh.

2. What was your life like before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder? All over the place. My family didn’t know what was wrong with me. But there was something very obviously wrong with me. My grandma actually thought I was possessed.

3. How old were you when you were diagnosed? I was 16 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I

4. How do you manage your symptoms? Now, I’m taking medication. Before the meds, I would self medicate via alcohol and drugs.

5. What is life like for you now? It’s been getting better, slowly but surely. I’m still adjusting to my medication, Lithium 900 mg, and Seroquel to treat the Schizo- side of my diagnoses.

6. Has having bipolar disorder affected your friendships, personal life, or professional life? Yes, always, forever. I’m convinced it will perpetually affect all relationships and work. I’ve lost friends over my mental health, I’ve lost significant others. It’s very difficult to function with a job sometimes. Fuck, just getting out of bed is an achievement all on its own.

7. How do you think society treats people with a mental illness, especially bipolar disorder? Shittily. I think we can all agree that there is a fuck ton of stigma associated with any kind of mental illness. Depression, not so much. Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia? Lot’s of stigma. I honestly believe that people equate schizophrenia to homeless people and war vets, unfortunately. Society also likes to accuse us of using our illnesses to justify getting out of trouble, and/or “off the hook.” In reality, this isn’t the case at all. I’ve never met anyone with a true mental illness to ever use it as an excuse. If anything, they work really hard to not make their illness visible. It’s the goddamn malingerers that fuck it up for the rest of us.

8. Have you ever felt discriminated against or looked poorly on because of bipolar disorder? Yes. Not just for being bipolar, but for depression specifically. Some days I just honestly cannot pull myself together. I’ve been called lazy and half-assed more than I’d like to believe. The laziness is not lazy, it’s just that in my sheets, I feel almost dead- a feeling I quite fancy sometimes. Scattered isn’t being scattered, it’s that sometimes the voices get so loud, my concentration goes out the window and there you go!

9. Do you have any words of advice for people in the world suffering with bipolar disorder, or other mental illness? Hang in there, toots. It will get better. It will get shitty again, but it’ll get better. You’re not alone. Look at March 30th! You’ve- we’ve- got a whole day to cheer together. We are awesome.

blahpolar , bipolarme ,notsosecretlife , moodymandy Come on, it’ll be fun!

Day 3 of Partial Hospitalization- 600 mgs of Mania

Day 3, done.

I felt so incredibly manic today. I haven’t felt that wound up in a very long time. Once I got to group, it was pretty apparent. I could barely sit still. My attention was all over, as well as my speedy speech. I felt as if I was bursting out of my skin; complete with anxiety and rapid auditory hallucinations.

I brought it up to my doctor. When I was first admitted to PHP, I had let them know in my assessment that I felt a manic and/or psychotic episode coming on. (I have had several intense psychotic breakdowns in the past, so I know the onset symptoms well, now) She said that it sounds like the mania is setting in before the psychotic crash. She had me up my dose to 600 mg tonight- which I took 30 minutes ago.

I was so incredibly anxious before I took the meds. The anxiety attack started around 7:30. I felt it buzzing beneath my skin…then, it all set in. I began crying uncontrollably, desperately gasping for air. I wanted to harm myself, I wanted a drink to diminish the panic. It was all okay in the end. I’m really looking forward to the lithium working.

Today was very quiet and mellow. There were only 4 people in group today so we had a lot of time to really delve into ourselves and such. During fourth group, we participated in a guided meditation. Ahh, finally, relaxation. I was elated to greet the fresh blankets and pillows. I napped and I napped hard. So did everyone else. The heater softly blew tepid air into the room as we listened to the rain propelling down onto the bungalow roof.

I left a message for my primary care physician. The plan is to get an approved leave of absence from work for 1 month from my medical doctor. That way, I won’t have to totally jeopardize my job because they won’t know I’m in behavioral treatment. While I’m in PHP, I’ll be able to work on myself some more, adjust my meds, and just get better- the ultimate goal.

I cleaned the shit out of my apartment when I got home. In 30 minutes, I had picked up the living and dining room, vacuumed, dusted, wiped down the tables, washed the windows… mania is good for production purposes.

As of right now, I feel kind of dazed and detached from everything around me.

Day 19- Religion and Spirituality- 31 Days of Bipolar

31 Days of Bipolar

19. If religion and/or spirituality is a part of your mental health regime: what, how and why?

Both religion and spirituality have played important roles in not only my mental health regime, but actually saving me from crises on several occasions. I’ve observed a lot of different religions and rituals. So, I’m going to list them out in chronological order of observance, because yes, each one is essential to my life.

Roman Catholicism-
I grew up and was raised Roman Catholic. When I first started showing symptoms and signs of depression when I was young, I remember church helping me a lot. Not just church, but worship. I like going to mass an singing, I liked praying at night and having my own private dialogue with God- whomever that may be. I enjoyed learning about the bible. Although, to be honest, I never “believed” in the bible. I enjoyed the stories ands I thought Jesus was a real rad dude. I went to Catechism, took my first communion, and completed Confirmation.

Scientology-
I did still go to Catholic church while beginning to stretch my limbs in the CoS. It is promoted in the CoS that you can worship and believe in any other spirituality you so choose and still be a Scientologist (However, once you reach higher levels, you will lose interest in those “phony” religions, anyways. I know because that also happened to me). My years in the CoS are long and full of stories which perhaps I’ll disclose in a Part II of this. However, I’ll focus on the good aspects that I encountered since this is about my mental health.

Scientology offered me a new outlook on the universe, my own strength and willpower as an eternal spiritual being, and my role within the dynamics across the universe. Interconnectedness, if you will.  I went through years of spiritual counseling, which they call Auditing. I cannot deny that auditing recovered and healed some pretty gnarly memories I had. So, for that I thank them.

For everything else, fuck you.

Islam- 
Perhaps Islam is the most dearest religion to my heart. I officially converted in 2009 after I took my Shahada, the first Pillar of Islam. I began researching Islam through my then boyfriend and best friends. We learned about it in World Religions and I couldn’t stop. Something about the religion was so beautiful. By winter of 2009, I had educated myself so well in the religion, that I found myself winning contests and trivia held at our Sunday School- I was the only convert in the classroom. I learned all of my prayers in Arabic, read the Qur’an, ate halal foods, observed Ramadan, and finally, I wore the hijab.

Making the decision to wear hijab was an important time in my life. Many of my friends and family, even teachers, advised me against it, saying I was mocking the religion. Yet, in my heart, even now, I don’t think I’ve ever been more at peace. The connection to God was lost over the years spent in Scientology. So, to recover that helped my soul. Not only that, but there is a sense of pride whilst walking down the street and greeting a fellow hijabi Muslimah.

I never missed a prayer time. I was very, very devout. Although, I wasn’t a Qur’an thumper. I still found beauty in other religions and respected everyone’s beliefs. But in my own world, Islam was making me a better person.

Later that year is when the storm came. I had been raped by 4 men when I first began college. I stopped observing out of anger and depression.

However, as the years have passed by, I still pray in Arabic, I still observe Ramadan, and I still try to make my prayers throughout the day. Not as a Muslim, but as an admirer of God, as an admirer of Islam.

Hinduism-
There was a very long gap between religious worship for me from that time. I’m unsure how I became so interested in Hinduism, but it happened. I suppose I started with practicing yoga. It wasn’t just exercise to me, but it was an applied spiritual practice, complete with mantras, meditation, gratitude towards God, and humility. Hinduism is the religion I most relate to. They believe that there are no converts to Hinduism. We are all following our own streams. What matters is that we all meet at the big ocean.

Beauty at it’s finest.

Wicca-
It didn’t take me very long to find myself immersed in Wiccan ways and rituals. I’m not necessarily talking about practicing magick. However, I observed the holidays such as Samhain and Yuletide, and found a great connection to the Earth, Mother Gaia. It helped me through my depression immensely. Whenever I felt that I was slipping from the world, call me a hippie, but I would hug a tree. It helped me. Every time.

Even now, I still observe the holidays.

If someone were to ask me now what religion I adhere to, I suppose I would call myself a Pantheist. I firmly believe that we are all God. We are all the Universe. We are just living at different moments, different times. We all have a lesson to learn and need to be patient with one another.

So, if we’re all God, my own personal experience has been that I’d like to worship myself in as many ways as I can. Whether it be by singing hymns at church, going to community prayer at the mosque, chanting mantras to Ganesh, or going on a hike, it’s all relevant to me.

“You are God, so get good at it.”

Medicine Cabinets; the Elusive Psychiatrists Edition

Psychiatrists are elusive.

I tried to contact the referral psych I’ve been mentioning. All of his numbers are disconnected. I called another recommendation that my insurance gave me, and that doctor isn’t qualified for my Glitter Rainbow Imagination…I did some research and called another one that did specify in schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. However, now he stopped taking my insurance. Why is this so difficult? I’m even trying to find support groups.

Well, yesterday was fantastic. Little to no issues.

This morning, however, I was abruptly woken up to a new voice I’ve never heard before and he said, “I’m going to fucking kill you.”

I promptly threw the covers off of me, stumbled to the restroom, flung the medicine cabinet open and grabbed the bottles of pills. I don’t know what was going through my thought process. I just kind of stood there as he spoke to me, clutching the plastic tightly. My body was shaking. I remember thinking that I looked insane. It’s as if someone else was operating my body. I felt like I wanted to reach inside of myself and rip my skin to shreds. I know that’s an awful visual… Then, I went numb, standing there, staring at the water faucet, The voice was laughing at me.

My dog sprawled her body across my feet and I snapped out of it. I tried to wake my boyfriend up to tell him that I didn’t feel safe. I was unsuccessful. The doorway looked dark and eerie to the living room. I crawled back into bed and it grew louder. I tried to calm myself down. I hate being woken up like that. It’s one thing to be awake and to feel it coming. At least I can prevent it somehow. I can help myself. But when I’m woken up, I’m thrown into a panicked battle arena. I can’t find a weapon quick enough.

As of right now, I’m doing better. It stopped and now it’s quiet.

It’s gloomy and rainy outside. My favorite weather.

-SJ

The Diagnoses is in!

I was diagnosed today after my appointment with Schizoaffective Disorder, or SAD. According to MayoClinic, Schizoaffective disorder is a condition in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms — such as hallucinations or delusions — and mood disorder symptoms, such as mania or depression.

My appointment went really well actually. I walked into a cozy little empty waiting room. The lighting was very soft and comforting. There were 8 chairs and a small coffee table. On the table rested a clipboard with paperwork with my name written on a post it note- and a happy face of course.

My psych was very awesome. I enjoyed the session very much! I didn’t feel as if he wasn’t listening to me. He was just the right amount of sympathetic and he listened to me thoroughly. The office itself was so pleasant! I loved it.

He referred me to someone else though, as my current situation is a bit out of his realm of work. He seemed a bit concerned. I suppose I’m concerned myself.

I really hadn’t realized just how out of touch  I was until I started spewing my life to this guy. It made a lot of sense to me. Can I also say how incredibly difficult, yet liberating, it was to introduce Allie to him? The others were introduced as well. It became very loud. I feel that everyone was speaking at once. I became a bit self conscious because I found myself stammering and tripping over my words. It was as if I was standing in a busy intersection, watching cars and buses go by, listening to a couple argue over across the street. He was very patient though.

I guess the question hanging over my head is what now?

We’ll see after I receive my new referral. I’m nervous, but I am ultimately excited to learn more about myself, more about Allie and “friends,” and overall find a way through.

I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner.
-Sylvia’s Junkie