For most of my late teens and early adult life, I thought I was an extrovert. Those who knew me back then would probably have thought the same. I was wrong.
My doctor thought I had bipolar disorder during these same years. He was wrong.
When the reality hit me that I was living a lie and I was in fact, an introvert, my world changed in the most dramatic and slightly wonderful way. So what the hell had I been doing wrong all these years?
Instant extrovert, just add alcohol. Ohhh. Ah!
In my teens when I started experimenting with various things like alcohol, I found it offered me a sense of invincibility. I was suddenly able to thrive in large groups, I had confidence that knew no bounds, everyone wanted to be around this little dynamo. Everything that would make an introvert tremble at the thought of, I could do.
For years, I would party hard for four nights straight every week, during the day I’d just go through the motions. I would push this for months and then come crashing down with a loud thud. I’d isolate myself, become depressed, not take care of myself, comfort eat and feel so low I was borderline suicidal.
This is when my doctor thought I had bipolar. Raging highs, devastating lows. This was my life for years.
I was so distraught that I eventually moved interstate. I thought if I could get away from this life here, everything would magically change. I was wrong!
Life did change but before I could rebuild myself, I had to hit rock bottom. And that sucked in a way I couldn’t have imagined.
I have battled depression for years, that IS part of my story. I had some really ghastly things happen to me when I was very young. I don’t need to share that, you’re smart enough to guess correctly. From there, depression and anxiety plagued me for years, the relevant medications helped. Alcohol didn’t.
When I moved interstate, I was so far out of my comfort zone. I’d left my friends behind. I relied on the internet to meet new friends and it soon became apparent that this felt more like “home”. I was able to hide out at home but have meaningful conversations with people all over the world.
But I was lost, the “highs” were gone and I didn’t understand it. I still couldn’t see the big picture. I suddenly had no idea who I was anymore. I no longer knew how to fit into the world and I was feeling more hopeless with each passing day. And depressed.
My sister was living nearby, and our parents moved up to be near us. Life wasn’t the same, it didn’t feel safe or secure.
I had started to self-injure by this time, it seemed to be the only thing that was able to keep me grounded. For the most part, it helped me to calm any suicidal thoughts. On June 25th, 2000, I decided in the blink of an eye that I couldn’t do this anymore.
I was already taking a multitude of pills for various things, and I decided to take them all. Luckily for me, I sent mum a message. I don’t remember it now and it wasn’t obvious but enough for mum to know she needed to get to me. My parents drove 70 miles as quick as they could and saved me from myself. Cry for help? Maybe. That doesn’t matter though, what matters is I’m so very grateful that things happened the way they did.
I felt so foolish afterward. Deep down, I didn’t want to die but I didn’t know how to live. I got the professional help I needed but the rest was up to me. And I worked my butt off to put it right.
I spent a lot of years “working on myself”, looking at past traumas and finding a new perspective. I’ve discovered after all these years that I have a strong survival instinct and I work tirelessly to make my existence a better one. The best part of having been through so much is the ability to help others when I can. That’s something I truly love to do.
So, this is my spiral downwards, read the next post to find out what happens next. I’ll see you over there.