Jamie's Story

I was b

I was born on October 31, 1962.   I started off with two strikes against me; one, My birthday and two, I was female.    These two things would be a theme throughout the rest of my story.

My family (I should say my father’s family) didn’t have much use or respect for the female gender.  It was understood that there were two types of women…the hardworking housewife or the tramp.   Only males were important.  Only they could “be somebody”—They could improve the image of a poor, uneducated family and, by doing so, give them a sense of value.  When I was conceived it was planned that I would be a boy…  they dreamed of it, had plans for my future as I suppose all parents do. Being a girl was not in their plans and was unacceptable.  Still, my father decided that I might be of value if I could be like a male.  I was taught only boys games, allowed to play with boys toys and taught “boy” things.  I was dressed in boys clothing.  My mother, on the other hand, wanted a frilly little girl so she would dress me in lacy dresses and ribbons while dad was at work and would redress me in boys attire and send me out to get dirty “before your dad gets home!”  Perfection was driven into me for as long as I can remember—It was a requirement if I was to be the “somebody” they planned.

Our family was also part of a fundamental church, who believed that since I was born on Halloween, I was born evil and demon possessed.  I was a victim of ritual abuse until I was 9 yrs old.  I am, also, a survivor of sexual and physical abuse.   Because of this I am also diagnosed with PTSD, Dissociative Indentity Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.  However, I never learned of any of these diagnoses for years to come.

I managed to get through my teen years, relatively unharmed, thanks in large part to a minister and his wife who took me into their home when my family disowned me.  It was the first time I saw humans show love to one another.  I lived there until I was married at the age of 21.

I was married in 1984 and my husband and I were both federal police officers for the Department of Defense.  We had our first and only child in 1987.   After her birth, I experienced a horrible depression.  I woke up to feed my child, bathe her, and I would put her in her cradle and sit and cry all day.  I turned on the TV for distraction and one day I saw a show on Oprah about Depression.  I made an appointment to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with post partum and major depression.  The doctor prescribed prozac, which sent me into mania fast and hard.  Nothing was done… my family liked me that way.  I was productive, happy and social.  I was also spending money like it was flowing out the faucets!  I stopped taking my meds and the spending stopped, but so did my productivity.  My marriage was failing and my husband thought I only needed to “get a grip” and “stop being lazy”.   We divorced in 1993 and I moved out with my daughter.  I got a house and a job.  I was doing well at rebuilding my life and I was doing very well at my job.  I was manic enough at my factory job that I exceeded quotas regularly.  In October of 1993, I was at work, doing the same thing I’d done every day, 795 times a day but I couldn’t remember how to do my job.  I stood looking at my work area and was totally confused.  My supervisor saw I was in trouble and suggested I take a break and go to the restroom to pull myself together.  When I hadn’t returned in 45 minutes she came looking for me.  She found me in a fetal position under one of the restroom wash basins crying uncontrollably.  My supervisor contacted the personel director who came to me in the restroom and took me to the conference room, called her psychiatrist and had me sent to the ER for evaluation.  I was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The years since then have been both hell and “god-send”.  So much therapy, so many med combinations, and 11 hospitalizations within 6 years.  I no longer work… I’m on disability.  I spend my time trying to better my life and trying to help those, who like me, find themselves faced with a future that includes bipolar disorder.  I’m much happier now that I know my diagnoses and how to deal with them.  I know if I could feel more in control and feel better… it can happen for others.



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