“I want you to show me the way…” ~ Peter Frampton

So, I got an e-mail a couple of days ago from a guy I dated for a while around a year ago. We didn’t end on great terms which bothered me a lot because we started out as really good friends. Anyhoo, what he wrote made me cry but in a good way.

In his message, he said he had gone back and watched the TedX talk I did about being bipolar and also thought about things I told him about this mental illness. And this is some of what he said:

“The combination of your past experiences, coupled with the struggles you deal with every minute of your life, made our entire interaction both too impulsive and too similar, from your perspective, to past abusive experiences. 

I know you have times where you say things differently than you would at other times. Another part of your struggle. I see many of the things you said to me as heavily influenced by those times and your illness. My hurt and pain over some of those things was real. But, when I take all things into consideration, I realize that you ARE the sweet girl I remember from school. You suffer from bipolar disorder that causes things to be said and done in a way that the sweet girl wouldn’t ordinarily say or do them. It can’t be helped. And it’s not intentional.”

I can’t tell you how much it meant to me that this man diligently worked to understand what being bipolar is like and how it affects my interactions with others. I also think it’s insightful of him to see how my past experiences have shaped me as well. BUT, I know that being bipolar doesn’t justify what I said or did. Justifying means proving yourself right…and I was NOT right in so many things we struggled with. However, understanding bipolar sheds light on my behavior but doesn’t absolve me to not take responsibility.

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Being in a manic phase does make you feel ‘high’ so to speak, but can also make you irritable and touchy (😳). Couple that with racing thoughts, impulsive behaviors, and incessant talking, you can see it’s a recipe for disaster in any relationship (BTW: did you know that 90% of marriages with a partner having bipolar end in divorce? Hmmm… 🤔). Another issue with mania is delusional thinking; for example, feeling extra important and talented (my Oscar speech is ready to go…all I need is to get a ticket to Hollywood, find an agent, learn to act, get an audition, make the film, and then walk up on the stage. Very do-able…right?? 🙄) . What this can do is make us feel better than others, and as we all know, this is the foundation of passing judgement on others. It makes me sick…literally (I hate this word…except it actually fits right now)… to know I’ve been that way. I am the FIRST to say: “Hey! Don’t judge me! It’s not my fault I have fucking (sorry, ma 😐) bipolar!” Yet, that same bipolar has caused me to judge others at times…something I would never do out of that manic state. I feel horrible for that and have tears in my eyes as I’m reflecting on this.

On the other hand, being depressed makes you feel hopeless and worthless. You don’t feel like having sex, going out, or doing anything fun; plus, you see the world as being one big disappointing poop-fest (which right now, it kind of is…🤨) and feel pessimistic about everything. Charmed, I’m sure.

But I’m not always manic or depressed and I’m just ‘me’. Kristi. My brain is calmed and I can be much more in control of who I am, what I say, and what I do. These breaks of euthymia can last from days to months. So, in a nutshell, the people around me have no idea ‘who’ is going to show up on any particular day and how long that Kristi will last. Will it be manic Kristi…Oscar winner extraordinaire? Depressed Kristi who wants to hide in a cave and never come out? Or just Kristi? Average, mousy, plain old Kristi? It’s a crap shoot and I know how confusing that can be! It confuses me as well!

Me and Pop when I thought I was great at photo editing!

My dad, step-ma and I were having breakfast the other day and talking about mental illness since it’s such a cheerful subject to peruse over omelets and pancakes at Perkins. Pop is mentally ill himself and also has bipolar. I knew he did because I can see what I go through in him, but this was the first time he said it to me directly. When I look back at my life with pop growing up, I was always wary of which pop I’d be getting on any given day. Sometimes pop was the funniest, most energetic parent ever and other times, sissy and I would walk on eggshells not knowing what was going on. I know he understands how bipolar has affected his relationship with his daughters and I also relate since it’s certainly affected my parenting as well. Pop is a great parent…actually a very kind, helpful, generous man in general. But he’s mentally ill…and it’s going to affect his life and relationships regardless. (I love you, pop! 🥰).

Now, I also have anorexia which isn’t too surprising since there’s a pattern of comorbidity (I just love using words that make me sound smart 🙄) between eating disorders and bipolar. This makes sense since both have genetic components and we can see similar symptoms between them like compulsiveness (over-exercising for me), loss of appetite when manic, feeling worthless when depressed which causes me to be very hard on myself in terms of how I see me, and then being more touchy overall. One comment that I’ve put on a few pounds will reverberate through my brain again and again until I take action. I also think it’s a control/dysregulation issue as well: emotional dysregulation with bipolar and eating dysregulation in anorexia both involve the pre-frontal cortex as well as the neurotransmitters of serotonin and dopamine. In many ways, these 2 illnesses go hand in hand.

So, what effect does anorexia have on my relationships with others? Well, among other things I can be judgmental of the weight of others. It truly doesn’t come from disdain but from envy. I would absolutely love to eat something…anything…without thinking about how many calories are going into my body and how that will affect my weight. When I see bigger people, I am wishing I could eat more freely and with more enjoyment, and not beat myself up if I choose to have a dessert. This jealousy has caused me to say some pretty bitchy things; however, using that judgment against others might once again be understandable but it’s definitely NOT justifiable. At all.

You know, having this fucking bastard (ma…you know if I say it once, I’ll say it again…🙄) of a mental illness, times 2, makes life hard for me, but I also realize life is so much more difficult for others. Believe me, I know how blessed I really am! But honestly, bipolar sucks balls and sometimes, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I wonder why in the name of all that is holy, I have to have it. Why I have to go through so many ups and downs and problems and breakdowns and horrible thoughts of suicidal ideation and times of self-mutilation, etc. Why I have to be at the mercy of a brain that seems to not know what the hell it wants. But I think I’m finally beginning to understand the purpose of it. At first, I thought it was ‘simply’ to do what I could to help break the stigma of having it. But now, after reading the e-mail I got, I realize this: it’s more important to promote an understanding of the disorder. Breaking the stigma means getting rid of the ‘shame’ associated with bipolar (and all mental illnesses!) and that’s such an important thing to do! But understanding means to be empathic, considerate, and forgiving of the people and associated behaviors of those who have a mental illness because you’ve learned what these illnesses entail. And peeps, that’s what I need to promote. See the difference?

Yes, I have mental illness and it affects all of my interactions the vast majority of the time. And to have someone understand that, and then apologize for not recognizing that earlier, humbles me. But it’s really not their apology to make. No matter what is going on in my brain and how bipolar (and anorexia) affect me, I still am responsible for me. For what I say. For what I do. And to anyone and everyone that has been affected by that, I’m truly sorry.

Kristi xoxo

Romancing the Stone

So, I don’t even know how to start this post except by saying WHAT THE HELL? Now, if that’s not a great first sentence to pull you in, I don’t know what is.

Did you know, my sweet peeps, that it is now ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ to be mentally ill? OK. I’m going to pause a minute to let you take that in………la dee dah……la dee dah…..(pretend this is Jeopardy music 🎵). Yes my dears, it’s ‘in’ to be mentally ill. In fact, it’s become something that is not only sensationalized, but romanticized in so many ways in our society right now, particularly on social media.

It’s sad to me that to belong, too many younger people are now embracing the idea that they themselves have some type of mental disorder. Depression, anxiety, bipolar (🙄), a personality disorder, etc. These disorders have become ‘tragically beautiful’ or, at the very least, trivialize what mental illness really is. Regardless, mental illnesses are being sensationalized for attention and grasshoppers, that’s not right.

Look on Twitter…there’s this hashtag: #IGetDepressedWhen and here’s a couple of goodies – “I get depressed when my battery low” , or “I get depressed when I know summers almost over”, or “I get depressed when there’s no bacon for lunch.” Hmmmmm. I gotta be honest here. I’ve been struggling with depression as part of being bipolar for the great majority of my 40 years on earth (heh? OK, 50?), and I can honestly say, without reservation, that I’ve never ever been thrown into a depressive episode because I’m having a PBJ for lunch instead of bacon. Never.

Here’s a ‘quote’ I found: “She can paint a pretty picture but the story has a twist. Her paintbrush is a razor and her canvas is a wrist.” (Seriously…are you kidding me?) And another: “I think suicidal people are just angels who want to go home.” One more: “I’m jealous of people with enough self-control to be anorexic.” What the hell??? 😡

Let’s give these folks the reality of mental illness. Suicide is not a Shakespearean tragedy where the person was gracefully lifted from their pain while looking beautiful in their peaceful death. Not by a fucking (sorry, ma) long shot. Suicide is guns or pills or razors or ropes and it’s bloody and ugly and messy and scary and heartbreaking and irreversible. These people are never going to take a breath again…never have a chance of life again…never going to realize that what they went through could have gotten better to where suicide wasn’t the only option they could see. Plus, it’s hell on earth for the one’s that are left. The person didn’t commit suicide and then see how dramatically it played out on social media or how it became the basis for a Netflix show. They killed themselves. They are dead. And no matter what their situation or pain or illness, it’s nothing but a tragedy for both the victim and the survivors. Period.

And self-harm? Those of you that know me are aware that have I cut myself in the past and have 16 scars on my legs, arm, belly and boob. Two of my scars are over 4″ long and will be angry red welts forever. These scars are not beautiful. My body was not a ‘canvas’ I was decorating. The razor in my hand was not a paintbrush. There is nothing glamorous about what I did. I cut myself because I was having a mental breakdown that put me in such a depression that my mind told me it was the only thing I could do to release some of the pain. When I see my scars everyday, I don’t see a victory or a tragic piece of art. And I definitely don’t see them as being sexy as this quote says: “Call me crazy but I think emo girls/guys with self harm scars are sexy because it shows how much they have been through but never actually gave up.” And no, if any man ever looked at them and saw them as being arousing, I would run. Quickly.

And there are people who wish they were anorexic? Really? Well, as luck would have it, I have experience with this gem of a mental illness as well. There has not been a moment in my life from the time I was a freshman in high school (just a few years ago…) that I haven’t thought about how many calories are in a bite of food every time I eat something. Every. Single. Time. I can’t eat something because it tastes good. I can’t eat something out of pleasure. I can’t eat something not ‘necessary’ without feeling a lot of guilt and that I’m ‘bad’ for wanting it. I’ve known countless times what it’s like to be so weak from not eating that you can barely go from one task to another, and I don’t know how many birthday cakes, cookies, and other goodies people have made me over the years that I’ve trashed the moment they leave. You don’t recover from anorexia…you work every single solitary day to keep it in check, knowing that if you veer off a healthy course, you will succomb to the illness again. That is not having self-control, peeps…it’s actually quite the opposite.

You know, not only is this glamourization of mental illness a dangerous thing, it makes me wonder why anyone would want to be associated with something so stigmatizing in the first place. Maybe it’s giving the person attention or empathy or validation they are so desperately looking for. And if this is the only way that can happen in their lives, that’s something that needs to be addressed. Are there that many people not receiving the love and support they need without having to go to such lengths? Are there that many people shouting out: “See me” because they don’t feel ‘seen’ any other way? Are we living in a world where we are so into ourselves that we can’t see others crying for help unless the cry is so dramatic it can’t be missed? How sad this is.

I can’t imagine ‘pretending’ to have a mental illness…I wish to heaven I could experience what it’s like not to be mentally ill. It’s hard for me to understand why you would want to invent, and then share, a ‘mental illness’ because in reality, admitting you have one causes you to lose friends, opportunities, respect, and the list goes on. There are so many people that treat me differently now that I’ve ‘come-out.’ Some people/acquaintances/colleagues just stay away (which is fine…), others use it against me, while many just ignore it and pretend it simply doesn’t exist (“but you look normal”), plus I know it’s affected a couple of men from asking me out. Revealing a mental illness does not bring you the type of attention you think it might…trust me on this.

I talk about being bipolar for one reason, and one reason only, and this was voiced by a friend yesterday: “Well, you’re one of the people I look up too. You were one of the first people I knew to be extremely transparent about your mental health and that’s had an impact on me. It’s so important to destigmatize mental illness.” This is why I share it, my sweet peeps. I don’t share it for attention or sympathy or for ‘likes’. I share because I want people to know that mental illness sucks balls, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that should have to be hid. It’s a reality that too many people live with and we need to come together and make sure it’s treated like any other illness with support and understanding given to all who suffer from it.

Kristi xoxo

“I allow myself to fail. I allow myself to break. I’m not afraid of my flaws.” ~ Lady Gaga


Dear Lady Gaga,

I don’t know if you follow my blog or not, but I know much of the Hollywood elite does so hopefully they’ll direct you to this soon enough. 🤨

Anyhoot, I’m going to be honest with you since I’m trying to be as genuine as possible and I know you do the same.  When I first started noticing you due to your amazing talent (much like mine), I thought you were so bizarre and strange that I was a bit put off.  I’m embarrassed of that reaction now because I’m the first to preach to not judge a book by it’s cover and here I was doing the same.  Then I saw you in a “Star is Born” (is Bradley as good of a kisser as I imagine him to be?), and was blown away by your natural beauty, acting ability, and the vulnerability you showed in the role which, seemed to me, came from a real place within you.  Some things you just can’t ‘act’ (I’m somewhat of an actor myself…I was the ‘mama bell’ in my debut in the first grade).

As I started reading more and more about you, I realized what a genuine, brave, and influential woman you really are, and that’s when my girl crush began.

I’m so sorry you were a victim of rape when you were only 19.  To experience this is horrific and so many women are scared to speak out because of the stigma that’s still in existence today.  Why in the hell do we blame victims in our culture?  As far as we have come with things like the #metoomovement, we still have a long long way to go.  Your song “Til it Happens to You” is an inspiration and speaks for the millions of women who have suffered rape and sexual abuse in our society.  I was sexually abused for 2 years and it took me decades to talk about it publicly because of my own shame.  It’s still uncomfortable for me at times because I feel like people see me differently because of it.  Like I’m dirty or something.  Your lyrics helped me to get past some of that:

“Til is happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real
No it won’t be real
Won’t know how it feels…”

You are so right that although people can have empathy for victims (or actually I prefer the word ‘survivors’), they still can’t fully comprehend the effects rape and sexual abuse have on a person.  I’m so sorry you developed PTSD and psychosis because of it…how hard it must be to live with such consequences.

“I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old, and I also developed PTSD as a result of being raped and not processing that trauma.  I did not have a therapist, I did not have a psychiatrist, I did not have a doctor help me through it.  …All of a sudden I started to experience this incredible, intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked, actually, the illness that I felt after being raped.” (interview with Oprah Winfrey 2020)

It took a while to admit you had this though, didn’t it?  You stated you were lying to everyone about experiencing this mental disorder and ‘coming out’ freed you from that deceit.  I can’t imagine how painful it was to do so, but you helped so many people in understanding that mental disorders/illnesses are nothing to be ashamed of.  Thank you so much for that.  (I also love you came out as bi-sexual…your bravery humbles me).

You talk about how you received mental (and physical) help for PTSD and that’s another barrier you’ve broken for others.  Getting help is not weak…quite the contrary, it’s strong.  Until everyone can be taught that therapy and intervention is just as acceptable as getting treatment for any physical issue, there will still be people out there who won’t seek it because of that fucking stigma (my ma doesn’t like me to use that word, but I have a feeling you don’t mind).


How horrible you were bullied about your appearance and kooky behavior when you were younger.  Those words stick with you, don’t they?  But, you ‘came out’ again and have talked extensively about the bullying culture we all live with in terms of body image and expectations.  Women are told we must be perfect, from head to toe, and since that’s simply impossible to live up too, most feel inadequate in terms of how they look.  I know you developed anorexia and bulimia because of weight issues and I can relate to the anorexia myself as well.  It’s a horrible one, isn’t it?  And, like I know you are all too aware of, something that never fully leaves you (like bulimia too).  It can be an everyday struggle.


I happen to think you are absolutely gorgeous.  I’ve seen you a bit heavier (words you have used yourself, so please don’t think I’m being catty) and a bit thin.  It doesn’t matter, because your beauty transcends anything on the outside.  With your ‘Body Revolution’ movement you started in 2012 that allows women (particularly those with eating disorders) to share their real life bodies and put out there how beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, you’ve shown that being proud of yourself is the most important thing.  Bless you for that.  That’s something all girls and women need to do…see themselves for who they are and know they don’t have to be a cookie-cutter version of anyone else in this country.  I used to be so self-conscious about my belly, but now I’m not simply because it’s a part of me…and it’s real.  Thank you for that.

I also love the way you dress!  Once again, you don’t conform, but express yourself however you desire.  Who’s to say what’s ‘fashionable’ to wear anyway?  Who sets that stupid standard?  When you look back at 70’s fashion, it’s obvious that some of the trendsetters are idiots.  We should all be able to wear what we want to wear…not what the magazines tell us is ‘right’ to wear.  Face it, we look like sheep: the same jeans…the same shirt…the same shoes.  How boring it is to simply be another body clothed in what everyone else is wearing; it’s almost like we all have uniforms (actually it is like uniforms since uniformity seems to the be goal) and for you to stand out like you do shows we can have personal expression in our clothes.  Plus, I believe that if we all look like sheep we’ll start to act like sheep and mindlessly follow anyone without question.

Irish Mirror

Finally, I can’t thank you enough for talking so openly about your love of God.  How refreshing to see an ‘unconventional’ woman speak about her beliefs and faith.  There’s this stereotype that Christians are uptight, hypocritical (“I don’t go to church…everyone’s a hypocrite.”  Really?  You are the one judging us, dumbass 🙄) with no love for anyone different than themselves.  Where the fuck did that come from?  Why are there so many stereotypes about Christians that people are more than happy to not only believe, but share?  I’ve been told by colleagues (literally) how ‘dumb’ I am to believe in God and that I should know better since I’m educated.  Okey Dokey.  Thanks for that info…I’ll file it away where I file away all the rest of the bullshit I hear. 🙄

Anyhoot…just wanted to tell you what an influence you are on me and how I appreciate all you’ve done in being so open about who you are and what you’ve gone through in your life.  You inspire so many, including myself.  I am going to try to continue working at doing the same the best I can and for that, I’m eternally grateful.  ❤

Kristi xoxo

“It’s coming for you. It’s got your scent.” (Stephen King)

So, for the last couple of weeks as more people have discovered this blog, I’ve been getting a lot of messages from readers about their own struggles with mental illness.  The last 5 I’ve received have had to do with eating disorders.

These disorders are so hard to understand, and although I know bulimia (binge-purge cycles) and binge eating (bingeing with no purging) are very serious disorders, I’m going to talk about my experience with anorexia since unfortunately, it’s what I know.

I’ve talked before about how it started after I decided to diet to get rid of some of the puberty (blech…I hate that word) weight I gained in the 8th grade.  It was just me wanting to lose a few pounds to look better in high school, where bodies were being scrutinized like never before.  Along with dieting, I also started running again, something I’d done in elementary school a lot.  To chart my progress on what I was losing, I would study myself in a full-length mirror everyday and weigh myself often as well.  Every time that needle went down, I was elated, and every time it went up a bit, I was crushed.  I was failing myself…or so I thought.

What was confounding to me was that even though the scale numbers were going down for the most part (except around the time Aunt Flow was visiting), I was more and more dissatisfied with what I was seeing in the mirror.  How could my belly be getting so much bigger instead of smaller?  Why were my thighs growing in direct proportion to what weight I was losing?  No matter how much lower that number on the scale was getting, I was still convinced my body was disgustingly fat.

So, I started limiting my food intake even more, and then running at least 4-5 miles a day.  For breakfast, I’d nibble on my usual pop-tart, but would throw the majority of it away while mom was curling her hair.  At lunch, I’d toss my sandwich in the trash and have a couple of chips or part of a fruit cup.  I ate very minimally at dinner, directing the conversation away from food, and moving stuff around my plate to make it look like I was eating much more than I was.  After showing off my bod more when this all started, I’d begun wearing baggier clothes since I realized how horrible I still looked in spite of these measures.

This was after I started running again to lose my baby weight.  It’s hard to tell, but all of my back was just bone.

I think this distorted body image is the hardest thing to understand for those who have never experienced it.  When I’d look in the mirror at my -100 pound body, I wouldn’t just think I was still fat, I knew I was.  I could see it!  It was staring back at me as clear as day!  Having people tell me I was getting too skinny made no impression on me at all (it still doesn’t), they had to be lying just to make me happy.  We now know that a distorted body image actually has to do, at least partially, with an abnormality originating in the parietal cortex of the brain as well as issues with the serotonin system.  So what we see is what our brain is telling us to see.  It’s kind of like a visual hallucination someone with schizophrenia might have; those images they see are a result of their chronic brain disorder, and not something they can control unless meds are used to suppress these.

Running more and more, walking to school and back, doing aerobics, and fidgeting all of the time (to burn even more calories) was exhausting, but necessary if I was ever going to have a body I was happy with.  I knew the body ran on fuel, and I’ll never forget one night when I was in the basement watching TV and I had an Oreo in front of me.  One Oreo.  And even though my stomach was empty and I had ran that day so all of my energy was depleted, I simply could NOT eat that Oreo.  I’d put it up to my lips, get a ‘taste’ of it, and then put it back down, just looking at it.  I literally found myself unable to eat that damn Oreo no matter how much I tried.  The next day, with nothing in me, I started running my 4 mile route, and halfway through I didn’t think I could make it home since I was so weak.  I dragged myself those last couple of miles, and when I got into our large backyard, I actually crawled the rest of the way home.  That’s not an exaggeration; I actually crawled.  If anyone would have asked, I’d have said it was a special stretching method.  Anorexics are very good at deceiving others in terms of what they eat, how much they do, and weird behaviors they might engage in.

It was around this time that people started noticing how thin I was.  I reveled in their recognition, something that was positive for me after all I’d done to get that way, even though their comments were negative.  “Damn, Kristi, eat something!”  “Hey scarecrow!”  “Don’t blow away in this wind, Miss Anorexic!”  I had 1 friend my freshman year when this was going on;  if you look at my yearbook, there’s only 1 autograph and it’s from her.  It’s very difficult to make or maintain friends when you are concentrating only on food, weight, and dieting.

Me running the Disney marathon.  My thighs are the same size as my calves.  All I could think about that day was how many calories I was burning.

Once, I was playing basketball at my grandma and grandpas house, and when I went in, all skinny, sweaty and smelly, my grandma told me that the neighbor had called her (this woman was a billion years old, could barely use a phone, and probably half blind to boot) and told her how beautiful her granddaughter was.  I knew this was a lie (see above description), but it was grandmas way of telling me to stop this nonsense, because I was fine.

I wasn’t though.  You are never ‘fine’ with anorexia.  You’re never satisfied with how you look, and when you see the perfect models in the mags (I read Seventeen all of the time, and my sis and I would sneak my moms Cosmos), it just reinforces how you need to measure up to these impossible standards.

When my mom could see what was happening and realized I needed some intervention before I got much worse, she made an appointment with a psychologist and we all know the story there (if you don’t, you can read it here.).

Yes, I got ‘better’ in that I was able to start eating more and got to a healthier weight, but I knew this made me look horrible.  I’d never been a ‘pretty’ child; I had buck teeth, acne, plain brown mousy hair, and you get the picture.  But now my body was ugly too.  Great self-esteem, huh?

I firmly believe that anorexia is a chronic disorder with periods of time where it’s ‘less active’ and then it’s reappearance again.  And I believe this return is often triggered by a stressful event, a depressive episode, an ‘innocent’ diet where you want to just lose a few pounds, or a time when you are questioning your worth in general.  At least that’s been true for me.  After all 3 of my divorces (shutty the mouthy), I’ve experienced an exacerbation of this disorder, finding myself becoming more and more unhappy with my body and the start of restrictive diets and extensive exercise again.  And, since anorexia has a biological basis (along with environmental beginnings that trigger this abnormal physiology – once again, my opinion), this resurgance of behaviors triggers the start of the brain feeding (no pun intended) into the full blown condition again.  (I only have pics of more recent times.  I don’t have pics from high school).

Another pic where you can see no fat on my legs or arms.  My belly was concave.

Since my early high school years, there’s never, ever been a time where I haven’t been conscious of what food I eat.  I ALWAYS restrict myself.  Even with all of my education, I still have a brain leading me to believe that 1 candy bar will add a couple of pounds onto my frame.  If I’m ‘naughty’ and eat too many carbs, my belly pays for it in that it’s now HUGE and I need to hide it under un-tucked shirts.  Sometimes family members will comment on how much food I’m eating.  Little do they know that this makes me feel guilt over eating a good meal, while not accounting for the fact that’s the most likely the first meal I’ve eaten all day.

My most recent bout with anorexia showing itself seriously started when I was with my ex.  I was significantly older than him (hello…cougar, anyone?) and was already feeling inadequate in the looks department since I was comparing myself with women his age (who were actually the age of the women he cheated on me with).  Add to this his comments on my neck wrinkles and other body flaws, I started dieting again to at least have my body look good for him.

Here’s whats so freaking hard, Grasshoppers:  never being able to eat anything without scrutinizing myself afterwards and feeling guilty if I did overindulge (as defined by my own standards).  Maybe some of you reading this know what it’s like to see food as the enemy, and when you are surrounded by food ads every where you turn, and have to eat it everyday to keep going, how do you ever get these ideas out of your head?  It would be like a recovering alcoholic having to live in a bar.

I’ve been writing about what a fucking bitch bipolar is and how hard the battles are everyday to fight it.  I also have this other fucking bitch of a disorder that also makes me be in combat mode all of the time.  I don’t know why I had to have these, and even saying this makes me feel selfish and small since I realize other people are fighting MUCH larger demons than this.  But, just once, I’d like to wake up dictating my own mood and eating a brownie without feeling fat.  Just once, I’d like to look in a mirror and like what I see.  Just once, I’d like to put on a pair of leggings and not reprimand myself for having such a huge belly.  Just once I’d like a day off from all of this.  Just a day.  Just so I experience how more ‘normal’ people feel.  Just once.

Kristi xoxo

Oz the Gweat and Tewwible. (Stephen King)

So, in my sociology classes, we talk a lot about power and we define it as this:  getting your way despite resistance.  That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?  YOUR way DESPITE resistance.  Like when my son was a little guy and I’d tell him to clean his room.  He’d say NO or hem-haw (is this really a word?) around, and that’s when I’d say, “O, do it NOW.”  And, he’d do it.  My way…not his.  I had all the power (muahahaha)!

I don’t think I ever abused my power with O, although he might beg to differ.  Unfortunately, so many in power do abuse it.  I’m going to talk about something I never have before, when power was used against me in a way that damaged a piece of me.

When I was a freshman in high school, I was a bit chubby.  Puberty, fast food at lunch, lots of pop…and a few people made fun of me for this.  I wanted to fit in, so I started to diet.  Harmless, right?  Except, as we now know, eating disorders are often comorbid with bipolar and it wasn’t long until I wasn’t controlling the diet, the diet was controlling me.  At the same time, I started exercising incessantly:  running up to 8 miles or so a day, doing aerobics (very popular in the 80’s…thank you Richard Simmons), walking home from school at the fastest pace I could, taking PE seriously for once in my life, and before I knew it, I had lost all the weight I was hiding under my bib overalls, and then some.  I went from about 130 (I’m 5’4″) to about 105 pounds in a couple of months.  The lowest I got was around 97, and that’s when mom noticed something was wrong.  She would try to get me to eat at home, but believed the stories I told her about how much I was eating at school and my friends house.  This went on for some time, and by my Jr. year, I was seriously starting to cycle through periods of depression and mania as well. Ma knew I needed help,so I started seeing Dr. G.

During the first few appointments, I wouldn’t even talk.  I didn’t want his help because I knew that meant him making me eat, and since anorexia had taken hold, I sure as hell didn’t want that.  His office was nice and cozy…a bit dim.  He filled my silences with stories, advice, and something else:  the promise that his office was my safe place…where I could share anything and everything and he would be OK with that.  With me.  That ‘unconditional regard’ if you will.

Sigmund Freud Museum, London

So, as I started seeing him less as an enemy, and more of an ally, I started to open up.  Little by little I let him into my life.  At the same time, my boyfriend of 2 years broke up with me (who could blame him since I was such a hot mess) and I was so overwhelmed by my emotions, I ran my car into a tree.  I was trying to kill myself.

When I was able to get to my grandparents and tell them what I did, they called my mom who called Dr. G.  He wanted to see me ASAP, even though it was nighttime, and I quickly went to his office.  I was able to pour out all of what was inside, and he talked to me for hours.  He saved my life.  And he didn’t just save my life in terms of wanting to die, he also saved me from the worst of anorexia.  He became the most important person in my life, bar none.

During the end of my Jr. year, mom’s insurance ran out and it would no longer pay for psychological care, and mom couldn’t afford the price on her own.  I was devastated.  I truly had no idea how I would be able to function without Dr. G.  At what was to be our last appointment, I tearfully told him of my predicament.  He thought for a second, patted my leg, and told me not to worry about it, we’d figure something out.

WOW!  This guru…my savior…my friend…my ‘love’ in so many ways…wanted to keep seeing me!  I was important enough that he would make that happen!  My world suddenly brightened.

When I went back the next week, Dr. G. started rubbing my legs as I sat by him…started hugging me…started touching my shoulders.  Part of me was scared.  I was 17 and very unsure how to handle what was happening by this 56 year old man.  But, he was the doc…the head of a Behavioral Sciences department at a well respected university…the one who knew everything.  So, I didn’t say a word and allowed him to continue.

By our 3rd ‘unpaid’ appointment, the touching started to include my breasts and my bottom, with a lot of kissing too.  Omg.  Was this man falling in love with me?  ME?  Skinny, mentally ill, homely on the cusp of ugly, bullied, acne riddled me?

Finally one evening (all of my appointments were now at night since I ‘wasn’t paying’), he told me he had needs and he just knew, because of how wonderful I am, that I could fulfill them.  That way, he said, we’d both be helping each other, like a team.  And, like he also pointed out, he was still helping me.  He was right about this; when he wasn’t pawing at me, his advice and acceptance still held true.  So, that was the first night he had sex with me.  It was horrible.  There I was, on his 20 year old carpet with no one in the building, crying the entire time because I was so confused.  To deal with that confusion, I started to delude myself into thinking he was in love with me.  That we would be married someday (after he divorced his wife) and would live happily ever after in our perfect little house.

Deep down I knew how wrong this was.  I felt so dirty…so ‘shamed’ in a way.  After he’d have sex with me every week, he’d immediately clean up in his private bathroom (connected to his office) but wouldn’t allow me too.  It was ‘just for him.’  Our talks became less and less, and the sex became more and more.  Not just in terms of occurrances, but in terms of what he expected from me too.  This dynamic lasted for 2 entire years, until I met Hubby 1.  Once this happened, I stopped seeing Dr. G all together.

Long story short, after Hubby and I got married after a couple years of dating, we got divorced 4 years later.  I knew I was very much to blame since I had a LOT of baggage from Dr. G that Hubby just couldn’t handle.  When we were in the process of the divorce, I went to see a counselor.  We started talking about why I was there, and when I told him about this sexual relationship, he stopped me and said:  “I know who it was.  It was Dr. G.”  I was gobsmacked.  How would he know that?  “Look,” he said, “I’ve had around 7 women in here over the last few years with the same story.”  What?  NO!  That couldn’t be!  I was stunned.

I told my mom the whole story, as well as a couple of other people who encouraged me to take him to court since this was not only a case of sexual abuse, but it was highly unethical for a psychologist to do with a patient!  I went back and talked to that counselor and he said this:  “Who would believe you?  You were a teenager and now you’re a divorced woman with a documented mental illness (anorexia) and he’s a doctor and well respected man.”  ‘Nuff said.  (This counselor was an asshole too.)

angry animal big carnivore
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He was right.  I couldn’t go up against him.  None of his victims could.  And I knew he understood that.  With the power he had had over us, we were easy prey.  And, with the help and attention he had given us, there was a feeling of culpability, at least with me, since I believed he loved me in some way.  I never wanted the sexual relationship.  It disgusted me every time it happened.  It made me feel used and dirty, but I owed him.  Or so I believed at that time.

Dr. G died a year after my son was born.  It brought me closure knowing he couldn’t hurt anyone else, but I still think about him every once in a while.  Having such sexual power used against me at a ripe age when I’m trying to figure out sexual relationships anyway was so damaging…so confusing.  I’m wary of power now.  It’s hard for me to trust those above me.  It’s hard for me to sometimes understand that not everyone in power is going to use it against me.  Hurt me with it.

On the other hand, he reinforced in me to be a pleaser.  Someone to just acquiesce to what’s being asked of me, because in some way I must owe it to them.  I must deserve it.  I think that’s why I’m always so quick to take the blame when someone hurts me.  Why I’m so quick to apologize.  So quick to feel bad.  Saying “I’m sorry” is almost a mantra to me.

Looking back, I now understand that Dr. G was more sick than I have ever been.  He was a sociopath.  A user.  A narcissist.  He did what he did because he could.  He used his power as a predatory trap.  He knew how to bait that trap, and he knew how to kill his prey once they were caught.  I was very easy prey.

Power is a heady thing.  It can be used for so much good, and it can be used to destroy.  Isn’t it scary that one thing can have such different consequences depending upon who holds it in their hands?  And isn’t it sad that this one man used it in both ways.  This man, who more anyone, should have known better.

Kristi xoxo

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