Sophie B

Sophie B

The 27 year-old listener discusses hearing voices, dealing with Borderline Personality disorder and/or Bipolar II, hypomania as well as the abusive “relationship” she had with a 22 year-old when she was 12 and how she began self-harming then.  The surveys are pretty dark.

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Episode notes:

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Episode Transcript:

Welcome to episode 156 with my guest Sophie Bull. This episode is sponsored by nature box a monthly subscription service that delivers better snacks right to you- ad smarter snacks, go to naturebox.com to get 50% off your first box with the promo code “happy hour”

 

I'm Paul Gilmartin, this is the Mental Illness Happy Hour two hours of honesty about all the battles in our heads. I wonder if like ten years from now it'll be, this is the mental illness happy hour, seven hours of honesty about... cause the show when it first started out, it was about an hour long and then I was like you know what I think we can push it to like an hour and ten and here we are coming up on our three year anniversary and can't seem to get the show below two hours, because there's so many compelling surveys to read. I hope they're not getting repetitive to you guys, but then again thats why I put them at the end of the show cause um if you don't want to listen to them, go fuck yourself. I haven't said that in a while. Anyway, the website for... as I said this is I'm Paul Gil, this is the Mental Illness Happy Hour two hours of honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas and sexual disfunction and everyday compulsive negative thinking. This show is not supposed to be a substitute for professional mental counseling, I'm not a therapist, it's not a doctor's office, it's more like a waiting room that doesn't suck. The website for this show is mentalpod.com, please go there and join the forum read a blog, take a survey, see how people took survey, support the show: make a donation, buy a t shirt, buy a coffee mug, buy some coffee to put in the coffee mug and do your amazon shopping through our search portal.

 

Enough of my yacking, let's get to some of the surveys. This is from the struggle in a sentence survey from a woman who calls herself Biotic about her anxiety she writes: like my brain is balancing too many equations to produce one right answer- This is filled out by a woman who calls herself The Scandinavian about her depression: it's like swimming through a swamp every waking hour while having the rest of the world asking why you're tired. About her alcoholism and drug addiction: you're fighting the urge to switch from black and white to colored TV. That one really, really struck me. Boy, do I relate to that one. This is filled out by Is This Real Life, a woman, about her depression: I want to lay in bed all day for days and want everyone in the world to fuck off, but then I get lonely lol it's a lose lose situation. About her anxiety: Oh shit, I shouldn't have done or said that, am I going to get fired? Does everyone hate me? Worry. Worry. Worry. About her alcoholism and drug addiction: More, more, more. This time it will be fun again. I related to that one.  About her love addiction: Loving men who are narcissistic and abusive to the point of total and complete annihilation then frantically trying to “make it better” while sinking deeper into desperation, depression and humiliation. About her sex addiction: This will feel good. This will be worth it. Then comes the shame. About her codependency: If I could just find someone to love me I will be okay. Oh god, please don't let me die alone. About her PTSD: Why is it still there? I don't want to feel this. Make it go away. Any comments to make the show better: I love you Paul, but for the love of god, stop interrupting people. Hugs. Thank you for that. You are not the only one that has given me that note and I think I've gotten better at it then I used to be and I do try to be conscious of it, but sometimes I get a little excited.

 

And I just wanted to read this email,  sometimes when people send me an email and say 'I've decided to start going to support groups,' I'll email them back and say first of all, high five and give me an update in a couple months cause I love to hear that people are growing and healing and finding that light that I found that saved my life. So, this guy who calls himself, zin ghandi, that's his name in the forum, he writes: You wanted to let you know how the support group is so here I am. It went good. It's lead by two young women, I think they're both working on doctorate programs. They're both beautiful. I'm especially attracted to one of them. I'm pretty sure I did a good job with stopping myself from staring. I definitely don't want to cross any boundaries or look like a pig. They're both sincerely kind and patient. There were six members tonight, mostly hoarders, but two of them had similar OCD issues as myself. I talked about some of my history and what brought me to the group. I deal with similar unwanted thoughts that Maria Bamford had brought up  on your show. By the way, thanks for sharing some of your disturbing thoughts in order to help Maria seem less odd in that episode. I focused on some of my violent thoughts. I didn't get into some of the most taboo which definitely eats up a good amount of time and energy. The group is called Goals, before the next person speaks, we're asked to come up with a goal to work on for the next two weeks. My goal is to stop myself from checking my car tires for remnants of bodies.

 

Intro

 

I'm here with Sophie Bull who is a listener who contacted me and we decided to record because I think your story, at least from the emails and stuff, sounds interesting to me. You live in Orange County which isn't far from here, where did you grow up?

 

I was raised in Orange County, I was born in England, but moved when I was three so I'm an Orange County girl.

 

Okay, and can I ask how old you are?

 

I'm 27.

 

Okay. Where would be a good place... I guess some of the broad strokes in your story that we're going to talk about, the main one that we talked about in our email to me is that you struggle with hearing voices.

 

Right. Hearing voices, that's a new affliction and I'm also bipolar and I have borderline personality disorder.

 

A cornucopia of-

 

Yea a smorgasbord

 

-of issues. Where would be a good place to start with your story?

 

Um, I guess right at the beginning. I think the first time I was depressed was age seven, so pretty early on. And I had a great family and great family life, wonderful parents and all they wanted was for me to be happy so it was really tough on them I think when I started to get depressed.

 

Is there mental illness in your family?

 

There is, yes.

 

Cause it would be shocking to me if somebody who had it and was raised in a fairly stable environment that it just-

 

-came out of nowhere. So after that, the borderline started to show really early on, I started self harming when I was about 12.

 

How would you self harm?

 

I started by cutting, now I do something kind of weird, I take salt and ice and I put it on my skin and it creates a like frost bite and it leaves a pretty bad scar. So I'm still struggling with that off and on, I struggle with it.

 

Where did you come up with that?

 

I don't know. That's a good question, I think it was something that like me and a friend just did. One day we heard about it and tried it just a little bit and then it just stuck with me. So, yea. After that, to compound the issue, I started a relationship when I was 12 with a guy who was 22 and that was really devastating. After the fact I realized how devastating it was, at the time I thought I was really sophisticated and I was totally in love and I mean he was this guy from my church. So it was just really fucked up, I think.

 

This is, I think, the 6th interview in a row, that I've recorded, where somebody in the church just fucked somebody up.

 

I think because it's supposed to be a safe environment and so parents and adults have their guard down so its like a really easy place for predators to prey on children.

 

Let me tell you, parents, thats where your guard should go up, from what I hear. But actually most of the damage was done by “really religious” parents who inflicted their rage and filtered it through their perversion of religion. Um, I just have to correct you on using the word “relationship,” because that's so unkind to yourself that that suggests that

 

I was an equal part in it? I mean it was sexual abuse. You know, so you're right.

 

Thank you, thank you for saying that and I do that for you, I don't do that to shame you at all. I say that for you and other people out there that think of themselves as a tiny adult that had a choice in the situation.

 

At the time I totally thought I had control of the situation, I thought I was an adult and I was really precocious as a young teenager and I thought you know, this is it and I was totally ready for it.

 

Was there a lack of attention in your life that this filled? This attention from this person?

 

Um, I don't think so. I mean my parents were really attentive and I have great male role models I don’t really know where it came from

 

What was it about him that made it attractive to you

 

Well we actually, we were part of a theater arts troupe in our church and we were doing the production of Godspell and he was playing Jesus and that was totally fucked up. So I don't know if there was some hero worship going on and he was really charismatic.

 

Paul laughs Theres a word I've been waiting to break out in the podcast and it's awesomeful

 

They laugh

It's a good word.

 

There are moments of awesomeful, I think of the episode with Ronnie Shilleres where the guy who was abusing her drove a van that had the Boston logo on the side of it and we both laughed about it. You know, new listeners, I'm certainly not laughing at the situation, I'm laughing at the ridiculousness of the irony or the whatever. Oh my god. And I'm glad you can laugh about it. What does it feel like to laugh about that part of it?

 

Um, it feels good, I mean, it's not a positive thing, but you have to find something to laugh in everything otherwise life would be so horrible to deal with

 

The absurdity, like thats a safe component of tragedy.

 

And it was definitely absurd

 

So who were you playing in Godspell?

 

I can't remember, I think I was just one of the flock.

 

You should've been Mary Magdeline. So, go ahead.

 

So after that things went pretty well, like all through high school I was involved in activities, the depression subsided, everything was great and then-

 

Can we back up for a second? One of the things that I like to talk about, if you're comfortable talking about it, is the manner in which these predators get their way. What they say, how they act, how they groom people. I want to understand more of how they get away with it. I guess in the hopes that someday maybe there can be a telltale warning signs that we can share with children, beware if this starts happening. If this happens, this is not okay, even though it may be exciting to you. Are you comfortable talking about the details?

 

Yea, so it started off in this theater arts troupe and when you do like a theater production, everyone gets really close really fast. You're working together like everyday.

 

And it's exciting and the bonding is like you being yourself and you're letting your freak flag fly, you're being expressive, you're not being judged.

 

Yea, so after, I mean we all felt really close to each other, but it wasn't a real closeness, because it's not something you build up overtime it's kind of superficial, but I was feeling comfortable with everyone and I sort of admired him anyway and we exchanged screen names, this is back in the day when you do the AOL instant messenger and so we started talking online and I felt safe with him and he treated me like an equal. Like he didn't treat me like a child and I think that's something that people, children need to look out for and it's hard to recognize because you want to be treated equally when you're young especially when you're around that age, 12 or 13, you want to be treated as an adult.

 

And to me a red flag right away is somebody having an online relationship with that age difference.

 

Yea and it progressed where we started hanging out one on one and then I would sneak out of my house and he would come pick me up and take me back to his apartment. At the time, I thought it was a real relationship, I know now it wasn't. And even for years after that I always saw it as a great thing, a great experience.

 

You want to be older, it's like 'I'm 12 and a half!'

 

Yea it wasn't until my early twenties that I came to terms with the fact that it was sexual abuse, it was child abuse and it was something that was very harmful to me.

 

Was it when you became his age that you could see it?

 

Yea, I think so, cause I started to realized, woah imagine me, you know, getting into some situation with a 12 year old boy, like that just seems terrible.

 

What did you feel or think when that moment hit you?

 

Um, I felt really like, I felt like I was taken advantage of, like obviously I was physically taken advantage of, but I felt like everything I had thought about who I was, like I was an adult and I was sophisticated, it was all a lie. And it really sort of cut me down to size.

 

I think that's what hurts the most about sexual abuse, is the being tricked.

 

Yea and it's hard now, because if I met him today, if I saw him today, I don't know if I'd punch him in the face or hug him. You know, there's still that part of me that remembers thinking that I was totally in love with him, so that's really hard to deal with, knowing it was abuse and still having that tenderness for him. You know it's really shocking and upsetting to me.

 

Thank you for sharing that part of it, because I think that's one of the most difficult things in confronting the abuse that happened to you, to us, is that its so complicated because there are  often positive feelings towards the abuser and you feel like you're throwing them under the bus to call them a predator or whatever. Because we do often see that humanity, but then we also think to ourselves, was it all an act? But my thought is that, I don't think there can be genuine tenderness between somebody who is in the state of abusing somebody, to me it all falls under the heading of grooming and mind control. I think.. I don't know that's just my personal opinion, but getting back to the time that you spent with him, like what would he say to you to introduce the physical aspect?

 

Well, I think and this is something that's really difficult for me to swallow, is that I think I instigated it. If he was so smart grooming me that you know I thought I was in charge of the situation and then we started talking online and I don't remember if I brought it up or if he brought it up, like 'oh, come pick me up.'

 

Trust me, trust me. He was grooming you, this was him, from the moment that he began an email relationship with you that was beyond maybe just 'hey I'm having trouble with this part, can I email you?' 'yea sure' you know, like I get emails sometimes from girls who are 15 years old and they're like 'I'm cutting, I don't know what to do' Well clearly, I'm going to email them back and say go see a therapist or whatever, but I think there's a qualification to a relationship with somebody who is age inappropriate on the internet and to me it just sounds like this guy, right out of the gate, he knew what he wanted. Who was the one who suggested that you started corresponding via email?

 

I don't remember.

Okay, anyway, you remember that you initiated that you wanted to take it further, and I hope you don't blame yourself for that, because it's up to the adult to know what is appropriate.

 

Yea, I mean, it's just hard to swallow, it's hard to wrap my head around and it's hard for me to understand because I have great male role models, I was never abused by anyone else like physically or emotionally, so it just came out of no where and that's something thats really hard to deal with. Like, where did this come from, how is it so easy for me to be preyed upon?

 

I'm glad you shared that, because I know there are so many listeners that are feeling and thinking that same thing, so then they want to go to the place 'well I must be inherently bad' or perverted, or I hate the word “slutty” or they wanted that and it breaks my heart to think that somebody is putting any of the blame on themselves. Where are you today with that thing, have you let go of the shame and the blame?

 

Um, intellectually I have, like I understand now that I was so young and I was being manipulated and that, you know, I don't understand why I did it, but it happened. But emotionally, I still hang on to that and I still feel shame and thats hard to get over.

 

But the fact that you say, why I did it

 

What do you mean?

 

You're inferring that it was your decision.

 

Oh, right. Like that I had the power?

 

Yea and thats the part of the sick genius of the predator, is they make you think that you have a choice in this. They sense what you long for as a child and they pervert that need for it, to lure you into what it is that they want from you and they give you the illusion that you wanted it. When what you probably wanted was so much more pure than that. I would imagine, you just wanted the attention from this guy?

 

I thought that I was totally in love, like I thought it was true love. Like this was the wonderful magical thing.

 

And it's totally... I remember having a huge crush on my sixth grade teacher, totally appropriate to have that crush. But that crush when we're 12 years old is a fantasy and they prey on that, they prey on that fantasy, knowing what the long term effect of it are. I guess that's what I want to point out, for the people that are listening, I'm not trying to be your therapist, I just, those little cracks in our defense of wanting to avoid the reality that we were helpless and vulnerable, I want to try to fill those crack so we can recover more easily because I go through the same things that you, even though our situations were different, I go through the same mindfuck of: well why didn't I say this feels weird? I don't want to do this. Why did I go along with it? Etc etc. And I just feel like that's important for people to understand how powerful that adult figure is to us and what a uneven match we are emotionally and intellectually. We're like these little sponges that want love so badly, and want to be older.

 

Yea, I think it's that combination of wanting the love and to be this mature, beyond our age person.

 

To where we have autonomy and power that's used against us. Yea come on into the adult world! It's all going to be okay! So, go ahead.

 

Well, I guess moving on from there, things were great for a while and then I went away to college, moved up to San Francisco, started experimenting with drugs and you know the usual drinking and all that. Usual, like-

 

You'd been pretty straight laced till then?

 

Yea, like usual college, I know not everybody does it, but I thought like this is me being mature, sort of like this is me being cosmopolitan and open minded.

 

Did you have your cigarette in a cigarette holder?

 

No, haha, I wish. I think about that. I still smoke, so that would be nice. That would be sophisticated

 

You were at college then?

 

Yea.

 

And what were you studying?

 

Creative writing. And at that point I'd had my first hypo-manic episode, I'm bipolar 2, so not full mania but-

 

Electric buggaloo

 

What? I don't understand that reference. It still made me laugh.

 

There was a movie in the mid 80s, a really cheesy movie about break dancing called Break Into Electric Bugalo and one of my listeners either coined that or passed that onto me and it has made me laugh so hard. So whenever bipolar 2 comes up, we call it electric bugaloo.

 

Oh okay.

 

You gotta be an old fuck like me to get the reference.

 

I was feeling embarrassed for a second.

 

Oh no, the embarrassment is all mine, for digging up a 30 year old reference.

 

Yea, well I was working 30 hours a week and taking 18 units of classes and I was partying full time, so I was really just doing everything.

 

Woah. Unmedicated?

 

Yea, unmedicated and eventually, I just crashed. I actually got phenomena and had to move home, but still didn't really do anything about it. I still didn't really know what it was, I just thought I was really productive and having a really a lot of fun and this was great.

 

Not needing sleep or?

 

No, not really needing sleep. You know, like maybe three to four hours a night.

 

Describe what the hypo-mania... and hypo-mania means just kind of blow full on mania

 

Yea, my understanding is that with mania, you sort of lose your ability to reason and to have judgement and you might have delusions and hallucinations, but with hypo-mania you still have that high energy, you're not necessarily sleeping, but you're not going to be, you know, coming up with crazy ideas or being delusional.

 

Hypo-mania is mania for underachievers.

 

Oh yeah, oh no I feel less than now.

 

No. I have experienced what has been called hypo-mania and yea it's a feeling of being alive that is so intense and seductive and um it's like adrenalin and focus and excitement

 

And it's such a good feeling you don't want to let it go.

 

You don't, so go ahead.

 

After that, moved home, kept partying and then kind of came down for a while and then I had another hypo-manic episode. I'd gone back to school and I was doing really well and then I started doing things like taking 50 pages of notes for a class and turning them all in and the teacher would write like don't do this and I'd just keep doing it.

 

Where they seeing your notes, were you sharing them with them?

 

Yea, cause like there was this one class where we were supposed to turn in one page of notes, you know for the reading and I'd  just turn in 50 pages and it was just all my ideas about... like it was a philosophy class and I had lots of ideas about the reading and I had to share them.

 

And I'm sure you were just pouring your personal experience into that.

 

Yea, my poor professor, she was just like don't do this.

 

What a kind of beautiful cry for help though. You know, that pouring your- in philosophy what a perfect vehicle to pour your soul out and your personal experience. It's kind of sweet.

 

It's kind of great, I wish I could be like that- well maybe not quite like that, but I wish I could be that productive all the time, or at least have that flow of ideas, that's what I really miss, but um...

 

And were you still self injuring?

 

Yea I've been self injuring off and on since I was 12. You know, usually when I'm depressed or really stressed out it's like a way to relieve myself.

 

Would you self injure when you were hypo-manic?

 

No.

 

Did that feel like a reprieve from that or were you just not think about it?

 

Um, I just didn't think about it. When I'm not doing it, I don't really think about it. And it comes in waves so I'll go through- like I've just been going through an episode recently, where it wouldn't be every day, but it would be every couple days and when I felt really low, it's just you know.

 

How do you feel when you look at the scars?

 

I actually like the scars, I know it's wrong, but that's actually my loves for later. But I like having them, I don't know why, I don't know if it's like battle wounds, but I like having them, I like seeing them, I know it's weird.

 

If it's an appropriate part on your body can you show me one that you're most proud of?

 

I can show you a recent one.

 

That is intense. That is one of the most intense wounds I've ever seen.

 

It's funny because, it doesn't feel painful when I do it, but one of the things I like about the salt and the ice is it feels painful for a long time afterwords, you get blisters...

 

There's a blister about the size of a small orange, and then there is a, I hope I'm not being too graphic, and then there is a- the size of a grapefruit, your skin is raw and scabbed over. I mean that-

 

It doesn't hurt when I do it and I know it's bizarre, but I like having them. I like the healing process, I think that's a big part of it, it's painful and then eventually it starts to feel a little better and then you get the scar. And then when you look at the scar you can remember the process of how it all felt. And it's such an addiction for me, it's such a difficult thing to deal with.

 

Have you ever seen somebody, I mean I know you go to therapy, but have you ever been to any specific support groups for self harm?

 

No, not a specific group for that. My therapist helps me with that, but I've never sought specific help for it. Probably should.

 

Go ahead. I hope that didn't trigger anybody who is listening who self harms, but this is all kind of fascinating to me because I'm- that's not something I can super relate to, that my slate is completely blank. That and food issues.

 

Right. I understand how difficult it is to grasp for people who don't do it, because it doesn't make any sense and you know, it's really- like mine is pretty visible and I know people think it's because you want to seek attention and that's not really the case. It's not a cry for help, it's a compulsion that's hard to deal with, and I know that that's hard to understand.

 

Does people seeing it, commenting on it or reacting to it feed into the high?

 

Well, no- so like this scar is on my ankle and I've been wearing pants since I've done it and most of my scars are on my thighs so it's not an issue. I think I ran out of space on my thighs so I decided to go lower down on my leg, but I try as best as I can to hide them. So, back to that hypo-manic episode when I was writing all the notes to my professor. That culminated in me taking LSD and winding up with a really bad trip and ending up in the hospital for nine days, after driving from San Francisco. I went up to visit a friend and dropped acid then drove from San Francisco to LA, stayed up for four days just like completely out of my mind thinking the police were after me and like drug dealers were after me. My mom took me to the hospital and that was my first hospitalization.

 

How much LSD did you take?

 

One tab! So I've heard that or I've read before that some mental health professionals say that if you're bipolar and you take certain drugs it can induce like a manic or hypo-manis episode and so I think that that was the case. Because I already had a mental illness that just blew it all up.

 

Were there positive aspects to the high or was it all-

 

No. It was a nightmare. It was the scariest thing I've ever gone through. I thought that I had stashed drugs in my car and these drug dealers were trying to get them back and they were like killing off my family one by one. And I got to the hospital, and I didn't realize that it was just overnight- my first night there. So I thought that the drug dealers had infiltrated the hospital and killed off all the patients but they were just asleep. So it was just like me and one nurse and I'm like 'we're the last ones left, we gotta get out of here!' and she just ignored me.

 

One of the things that I love with the paranoid episodes is the degree of self importance. The whole world is spying on us, you know. So you're in the hospital- how long was the- cause that's weird the LSD high just kind of blended into the delusions once the drug wore off?

 

What do you mean?

 

Cause like on a profound LSD trip, there is a loss of reality, partial or full, depending on how much you've taken, but yours lasted four days. I mean clearly one hit of acid doesn't last four days.

 

That's exactly what I mean, I think people with mental illness, it's just like a super magnified LSD trip or super mania. You know, I'm not against people experimenting with drugs, but if you have a mental illness, it's probably not a good idea. That's my opinion.

 

If you had a choice between super mania and wrestle mania, go to wrestle mania. So go ahead, you're in the hospital now.

 

Yea so that's when I first started taking medication after that first trip.

 

What did they put you on?

 

Zuprexa and I think wellbutrin, I don't know why they put me on an antidepressant, I think it was because they knew I was probably going to be depressed after the fact. But I didn't stay on it, I wasn't a compliant patient at all. I stayed on it for maybe three months and then I thought okay, it's all good and that was a mistake, but yea things went back to normal for a while and I finished college and got my degree and then I got out in the real world, tried to find a real job and I got extremely depressed and um, one of your former guests used the term 'doing a geographic' and so at that point I moved to London. I went to visit my sister and I had no intention of moving there and we went to the pub and on the first drink she was like you should just move here and by the fourth drink I was like yea i'm moving!

 

This will fix my problems.

 

Yea, so I like picked up my life and moved to London. Moved in with my sister and it didn't help anything, at all. So I was still out of work, my grandparents had left me some money so I had money to live off of-

 

What a dangerous combination.

 

Yea, out of work, not on medication, and started to get into cocaine, like in a pretty big way. So I spent all my money on that and you know it was just a bad scene overall. And that lasted for about a year and a half and then-

 

What was it like when you ran out of the money? You were in London?

 

Yea, I was in London when I ran out of money and had to move home and move back in with my parents and I was actually kind of relieved because it took me out of that environment where I was doing all the drugs and all sorts of nefarious deeds.

 

What does that mean?

 

Just dangerous behavior and bad stuff.

 

Anything you want to

 

Um, just like a lot of promiscuous sex, like a lot and just destructive behavior. Just drinking. I'd spend everyday at my local bar, doing cocaine in the bathroom and having sex with people, you know I wasn't medicated, I was depressed.

 

Sounds like you were in a huge amount of pain.

 

Yea, it was tough and I felt so guilty because the whole time I knew I needed to get a job and I come from a really good family and everyone is really- like has their shit together- and so I felt really guilty that I didn't have it together, but the way I dealt with that was just getting deeper and deeper into it, because I couldn't seem to pull myself out, I was struggling so much it just seemed like there was no point in trying at that point. So I ran out of the money and moved back in with my parents and I was kind of relieved cause it took me out of that scene. I cleaned up my act, I got off the cocaine and then I started drinking like a crazy person, like three or four bottles of wine a day. I'd just sit in my room and just drink and drink and that ended up- my parents took me to the hospital, that was my second hospitalization, I went through detox and I got back on meds. I've been on meds ever since and like I realized, okay, like I'm somebody who needs to be medicated because this whole last few years have been like a train wreck, so I've been on medication ever since. Then after that things were good for a while. Got a job, moved out on my own.

 

How was the self medicating?

 

The drinking is something I still struggle with, so I was still drinking. It wasn't- I stopped drinking for about three months, you know they say you gotta- three months builds a habit. So I was like okay I did my three months, lets start drinking again. You know, but it was under control, I was working full time, I had a good job, I was able to manage everything and you know it was good for a couple years until about a year and a half ago. And then everything fell apart again. What happened? Started drinking really heavily again- oh, I moved in with a friend and we were really really close, I think this is like a borderline thing, we were super close and I was really dependent on her and we had this huge fight and we ended up completely breaking off the friendship and it just threw me into a terrible depression, it's that feeling of abandonment that is devastating and it threw me into this massive depression that I've been in ever since, pretty much.

 

Where do you think the abandonment comes from?

 

I don't know cause once again, I have great role models, there's been no emotional abuse -except for that guy, the 22 year old- I don't know where it comes from.

 

Where those feelings there before the relationship with that guy?

 

Yea, because when I had that first depressive episode when I was seven, we moved houses and I had lived next door to my best friend and after moving I didn't get to see her so much and I think it was that abandonment again so that started at a really early age. I kind of suspect, this might be kind of a stretch, my family is from England and we moved here when I was three and I'm very American and the rest of my family is very English and the first ten years living here, my parents were very adamant about being English and I sort of felt like I wasn't part of the family. I can't even imagine coming from a different culture, I mean it's just England, I don't know what my big issue was, but there was this thing about being alone.

 

What does your therapist think about your abandonment issues? Does your therapist agree that you came from a safe and stable home?

 

Yea, he does, we're still trying to figure it out.

 

How long have you been with him?

 

Two years and I have the greatest therapist in the world, he wins therapist of the year award. He's saved my life multiple times. Got me into the hospital.

 

What does it feel like when you're in his care?

 

I feel safe. I feel appreciated, like my point of view is appreciated, like he's really listening to me and that's a good feeling. And I'm not being judged as well, which is really nice.

 

What other areas of your life do you feel like you're not appreciated or being judged? Do you ever feel that way around your family?

 

I try not to. I know that they're- intellectually I know they're not judging me, but it's still that emotional feeling, like I've been out of work for quite a while now. Like I was laid off and then I got another job, but I had to quit cause I was so depressed and I sort of feel like I'm a lesser person because I struggle so much with things like working and everybody works and everybody should live on their own when they're 27, I mean I don't know if that's necessarily true, but that's how I feel. So I have to remind myself that they're not judging me.

 

If it makes you feel any better, most of the listeners that are that age and below, between 18 and 27, most of them live with their parents and are working a minimum wage job and can't scrape enough money together to go live on their own and so don't feel like you're different.

 

Yea, I know. I have two older siblings and they really have it together and I feel like the ugly duckling, so that's hard. I mean I know that not everybody is in a situation where they are full independent, and its not like people should or have to be, it's just that feeling, I'm a lot less judgmental of other people than I am of myself so I feel like I should have it together. Everybody else is okay, but for me this is not okay.

 

Word from our sponsors

 

So where are we now in your story?

 

So now we're up to now. This last year has probably been the worst year of my life. I got really depressed after I sort of broke up with my friend, moved out on my own (out of her place) and started to not show up to work.

 

Had you been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder?

 

I had been diagnosed with bipolar, I hadn't been diagnosed borderline yet, no I was just diagnosed borderline, about a year ago.

 

And from what I understand it can often be misconstrued for each other, when one person has one-

 

Right, well some professionals say that you can't have both, so I don't know, maybe my diagnosis is wrong, I don't know.

 

You know my feeling is the label doesn't matter as much as the aspects of it that need to be dealt with and struggled with and coping mechanisms that need to be discovered to help manage it. I think thats the important thing more than the label.

 

Yea, I mean I think it's- I feel relieved to have a diagnosis because it's a way of knowing there are other people out there that deal with the same things that you deal with, but you know as long as you're getting help, then you don't have to be labeled. It doesn't define you.

 

Yea, it's a part of us, but not who we are.

 

Well this is the time I started hearing voices. So about a year ago, I was in my car on my lunch break and I was just in a terrible state, I was hysterically crying, I couldn't deal with it anymore and all of a sudden I heard this voice, and it sort of sounded, at first I thought it was in the car behind me, but then I realized it was in my head, but it wasn't my voice, it was something I've never heard before. And it was just this voice that was like 'Sophie, you're such a fucking bitch you should just kill yourself' and it would just say that over and over again.

 

Was it male or female?

 

It's male, it's like a goblin, I call it the goblin?

 

Like deep?

 

Yea like deep, growly voice. Like not a nice thing to hear.

 

And was it as clear as if somebody were behind you, actually speaking to you?

 

It's not that clear-

 

But it's more than a thought?

 

Yea, I know I'm hearing it in my head, but it's not a thought I can control, and you know when you have thoughts it's always in your voice and this is- it's sort of like a whispering, kind of outside, but I know it's in my head.

 

Is it in one ear more than the other?

 

Yea, it's like in my right side of my head, which is weird. And it's just the one voice, I don't hear any other voices and I don't really hear a lot of other things, it's  the same 'You're such a fucking bitch. You should kill yourself. You need to kill yourself.” like it's just the same thing over and over again and I hear it when I get stressed out or when I'm really low. I was mortified, I was at the end of my rope, I thought this is it, like I'm-

 

This is the sign that I need to do it?

 

Yea, and I was on seroquel and I was prescribed 150mg as needed and sort of about six months before this I started to like hoard the extra seroquel and in the back of my mind, it was like, well just in case-

 

In case I need to take my life?

 

Yea, just in case I need to take this, and I looked up what the lethal dose would be and I was like, okay you know, just in case I need to take this. And after I started hearing the voices it was like this is it, you know, and I didn't quite have the lethal dose. So I was like if I drink some alcohol with it maybe this will work. So I went to my therapist and I told him.

 

And the not taking the seroquel was adding to the voices.

 

Yea, well it was like as needed, but I probably needed to take it.

 

What made you think that the voices were the sign that you needed- That's the thing about mental illness man, it is so baffling-

 

You don't have a lot of clarity when you're in something like that.

 

You don't

 

Yea well so, I went to my therapist and I told him all about, I had a plan and all this stuff and he was like, alright you need to go to the hospital. So, you know, I was booked in the hospital. At this point my parents were out of town, they were on a cruise, so it was kind of like me on my own. Went to the hospital was on 51/50, stayed for the 72 hours and then I was like, okay I need to go, I need to pay my rent, I need to feed my cat, you know, I'm good to go, I'm good to get out of here. So they let me out, like one of the nurses was like I don't think this is a good idea, you don't seem totally with it.

 

Were you back on the seroquel?

 

They changed my medication, I think- oh no, I was still on seroquel at this point. Got out of the hospital, same day took all the seroquel, drank a bunch of beer and then about 20 minutes in, I started to feel it-

 

And was this an attempt?

 

Yea, took all the seroquel I had, I think it was 5,000mg.

 

Good god.

 

Yea, and I thought, drink some alcohol, that'll put it over the edge. And about twenty minutes into it I really realized, you know, oh my god, I'm really doing this and I called 911 and they came and took me to the hospital. I didn't have to have my stomach pumped, they made me drink charcoal and then I was put back in the hospital 51/50'd and then after 72 hours, I was held for longer, put on a 52/50, which is a seven day hold and then you have to be evaluated by a panel, you have a sort of like a jury hearing kind of thing. And this was about a year ago, got out of the hospital, still wanted to do it on my own. Right after I got out of the hospital, I lost my job. I was sort of laid off, but they were really nice about it, they 'eliminated' my position, but I hadn't been showing up, so they were pretty much firing me. Got back on my feet, got a new job, this was maybe three months ago. Then, just couldn't cope anymore, still just terribly depressed, quit the job and wound up back in the hospital again. It wasn't a suicide attempt, but I was just so low.

 

Did you check yourself in?

 

I did, my therapist actually came and picked me up in the middle of the night and drove me to the hospital. I called him and he was like, you need to go to the hospital. But yea, I checked myself in, it wasn't a 51/50 and that was about six weeks ago, so now I'm here.

 

Have you ever gone to a support group for the drinking?

 

No, I go to a dbsa support group, a depression bipolar support alliance, it's a transition year group, it's 18 to 30 year olds, which is really great. I've been going for about a year and you have a couple fans in that group.

 

Oh, awesome.

 

Maybe they're listening, I don't know. Yea so, I do the support group for the bipolar and the borderline. I haven't sought help for the drinking, like I've been trying to be sober. I'll be sober for a couple weeks then fall off the wagon again and then I'll be sober again. But just this week, I moved in with my parents and I think it'll be a lot easier to stay sober. I need to find help for the self harm and the drinking definitely.

 

Yea. Talk about the support group for the bipolar. It's for bipolar and what?

 

Depression and bipolar, but we have like a mixture of diagnoses. There are some people with schizoaffective, schizophrenia, the borderline and it's a really great group. We all share about our week or whatever we need to share about and we give each other feedback and then we all go out for taco Tuesday afterwords, so it's become like my main group of friends pretty much, because everyone understands each other. When you're really low, they're there for you.

 

Talk about the feeling in your body and the thoughts you have when you're at taco Tuesday and you're laughing and you're being yourself.

 

I feel- it feels

 

I'm assuming you're laughing.

 

Yea, it feels really good. You could have a horrible week or like for me I've been depressed for so long and then I recognize, I realized this just the other day when I went. I was just balling and in the group and then we went out for Taco Tuesday and they're all there and I realize they're all my friends and they realize what I'm going through and it's like this feeling of relief and comfort.

 

Would it be fair to use the word cleansing your day, the pain of your day?

 

Yea, sure. It's like a safe place, like a refuge yea. It's great.

 

That's been my experience in support groups. It just feels like a warm jacuzzi, I can just let go. Just ahhh

 

Like a pile of feathers.

 

Yea, just so nice to have a place you can just collapse and for me, I feel like I can collapse even more than in therapy because then in therapy, I don't know. Though I think therapy is incredibly helpful, there's something more soothing about knowing that this person has experienced what I've experienced, and I'm not paying them, they have no reason to bullshit me. There's a comfort to that, that I can't find, to that degree, anywhere else.

 

And yea just, cause the voices thing, I was so scared to tell anyone and I told my therapist, after the suicide attempt, I told him what was going on and he was really supportive. It took me a long time to bring it up in the group and about maybe four weeks ago, not that long ago, I finally sort of confessed to the group that this was going on and everyone was- there's nobody in the group, that I know of, that hears voices- but they were all very supportive and very non judgmental and-

 

Even the schizophrenics?

 

I don't know he's never talked about it, you know what he has tactile hallucinations. He feels like pressure, like someone pressing on his body or like a pain on his body, so it's a different kind of thing I guess.

 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about the support group or where you are today?

 

Well, actually yea, I've decided to become a facilitator for my support group, so I'm going

 

That's awesome

 

I'm waiting to do the training and I think it'll be really good for me. And everybody in the group is really supportive of that. We have one facilitator now, but she works and she needs somebody to step in when she's not there, so I feel really great about that.

 

How did you find the support group?

 

I went online to the DBSA website. DBSA and NAMI are really great, you can just go on their website and find one near you.

 

Is DBSA under the umbrella of NAMI?

 

No, it's actually- I don't know if it's just in California, cause I know it was started in Orange County, so I think they have like an Orange County chapter and maybe an LA chapter. I don't know much about it beyond that.

 

If you've never been to the website it's Nami.org and it stands for the national alliance on mental illness and it was originally, from what I understand, originally founded as a support group for the loved ones of people with mental illness, but has expanded to include- but I don't know that's just what I heard.

 

And I believe the DBSA [website is http://www.dbsalliance.org/ ]

 

Okay, anything else you'd like to share before we do some fears and loves?

 

I think I'm good, I think I've shared a lot.

 

You made it through without crying, that's what she said before we started and I said my goal is to get you to cry. I'm going to be doing the fears of a listener, actually someone from the forum, named, he calls himself, Lamont Cranston, and he says: I'm afraid that the kidney I got from my brother in a transplant six years ago will fail.

 

I'm afraid that the fact that it was so hard to come up with my fears and loves means that I'm dead inside or like a robot.

 

I'm afraid of dying way to early and not experiencing all the things that I want to out of life.

 

I'm afraid that my borderline personality disorder will make it impossible to form a healthy romantic relationship.

 

I'm afraid of being very old and getting something like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Lou Gerhig's disease and that I will have to depend on someone else for everything- I have that one too.

 

I'm afraid that I will attempt suicide, be unsuccessful but permanently disabled.

 

I'm afraid of becoming a pariah among my friends.

 

I'm afraid that my family is losing patience with me because this most recent depressive episode has been lingering for so long.

 

I'm afraid that I won't be able to pay off all my debts.

 

I'm afraid that I'll never learn to manage my weight and be forever insecure about my body.

 

I'm afraid that my fiance will either break up with me or leave me standing at the altar.

 

I'm afraid that I'll be unable to maintain a strong bond with my siblings because they live in a different country.

 

I'm afraid that something will happen to my dad and I won't be able to tell him how much of a hero he was to me- I would suggest you go tell your dad that as soon as possible.

 

I'm afraid that my parents won't be able to do what they want to do in their retirement because of my mental illness.

 

I'm afraid of going to hell when I die.

 

I'm afraid that my teeth are going to fall out.

 

I have that one too, well mine is that I'm afraid I'm going to realize I need to floss more after it's too late and then I'm going to have tons of painful dental surgery and then I'm going to get addicted to pain meds and then I'm just going to be a derelict. But you have to give me credit for how far I extrapolate that, there is kind of a beauty. Lamont says: I'm afraid of something going horribly wrong and being sent to prison- I have that same one! Sometimes when I'm rolling my hockey bag out when I'm going to play hockey, cause it's really big and it's on wheels, I always think 'I'm glad I have hockey sticks so somebody doesn't I have a body in here'

 

Okay so me. I'm afraid people will think I'm lazy when I'm just going through a depressive period.

 

I'm afraid that I won't be able to get a really good job.

 

Oh that's kind of similar to my last one, I'm afraid that I'll never find something I love to do and I will end up in a dead end, underpaid job for the rest of my life.

 

Let's go to loves. I'm going to be doing Lamont's loves.

 

Okay, I love the smell of wet asphalt.

 

I love turning on the tv and unexpectedly finding a show or movie that's one of my favorites and I haven't seen in a long time.

 

Oh, that's really good when that happens.  I love that I can afford proper mental healthcare.

 

I love sitting in the back yard at night in the summer with a cigar and a drink looking up at the sky and just thinking.

 

I love sneezing, which is weird.

 

That is a great one, I can't believe we haven't had that one yet.  I love driving on the freeway and having a kickass playlist of my favorite music on the ipod on.

 

Okay, this is a bad one, but I love the scars that I have because of my self harm.

 

I'm going to inject one of mine, I love that you're unafraid to list that as one of your loves, I think that's beautiful that you own that.

 

Thank you.

 

I love morning sunrises, especially when you have to wake up in the dark.

 

I love going on vacation with my family, because we usually go camping in a spot that my family has been going to for generations.

 

I love having my fiance come up and scratch my back without asking her to do it. Oh that's a beautiful one.

 

I love when I call my cats name and she squeaks at me. Her name is Squeaky, by the way.

 

I love hearing a great song with great harmonies. By the way, I hope at some point your- the voices that you hear turn into a barbershop quartet so it can at least be ironically entertaining.

 

That would be amazing. I know some people get good voices. I'd like a positive voice. That would be really nice having someone tell you how awesome you are all the time.

 

You look great in those jeans.

 

Okay, I love making to-do lists.

 

I love an unexpected call from one of my friends.

 

I love my support group.

 

I love going to bed at night and knowing that I've accomplished something during the day.

 

I love horror movies.

 

I love getting back to sleep early in the morning and sleeping soundly after having to get up to go to the bathroom – I love that too.

 

I love my friends for putting up with my volatility and mood swings.

 

I love waking up to a strong rain early in the morning, realizing you have the day off and going back to sleep- Oh, man do I relate to these

I love my vibrator, it's like the porsche of vibrators and has a lifetime warranty.

 

Does it really? What is it?

 

Yea, it's a LELO.

 

Good to know.  I love sitting in my darkened home office late at night and working on something creative.

 

Okay, and this is my last one, I love that my therapist has stuck it out with me for over two years, he has saved my life on multiple occasions.

 

Wow, we have to end on that one cause that's so beautiful. And a shoutout to all the therapists that really care about their job and really feel their clients and help their clients feel felt. It's so important. I know that goes without saying, but- and the people who love and support those of us with mental illness, no matter how much we test their patience, send out a lot of love to them. And Sophie a lot of love to you for coming on and being so incredibly honest and open about your struggles.

 

Thank you for having me, it's been really therapeutic, which is great.

 

Thank you. If you live in the LA area and feel like some aspect of your life or some issue of yours hasn't been talked about on the show shoot me an email at mentalpod@gmail.com

 

Before we get to surveys, I want to remind you there's a couple of ways to support the show if you feel so inclined. You can go to the website mentalpod.com that's also the twitter name you can follow me at. You can make a one time donation or a recurring monthly donation, which means the world to me because it gives this podcast some financial footing to keep operating on and you can sign up for as little as five bucks a month for the recurring monthly. You can also help us by shopping through our amazon search portal, in other words if you're going to shop through amazon.com enter through the little search box we have on our home page on the right hand side, it says amazon on it and amazon will give us a couple of nickles if you buy something and it doesn't cost you anything. You can also support us, non-financially, by going to itunes and writing us a nice review, giving us a good rating,  that boosts our ranking and brings more people to the show. Not many people have been doing that lately, maybe you don't like the show mmmm maybe that's what I read into. Maybe that's what I take into the next room and let my head spin for the next nine hours. I think a lot of the regular listeners, you've probably filled it out already, but if you haven't please go and give us a good rating if you feel so inclined at itunes. Spread the word through social media, facebook, reddit, whatever, twitter. Really appreciate it.

 

Wanted to give you an update. I've been doing neuro feedback and I just finished- oh and by the way that last episode with Sophie was taped about three or four months ago, right before we instituted the awfulsome moments survey and I hadn't decided at that point whether I wanted to call them awfulsome or awesomeful and as you heard I called them awesomeful in this episode that I recorded with Sophie and then as I was editing this together I was like 'oh I hate- the perfectionist in me was, oh it was crazy, I was so afraid people were going to be listening and going 'it's awfulsome, it's not awesomeful' Perfectionist is fucking draining. I don't think there are many things that drain us, or maybe I should just speak for myself ,as much as perfectionist. It is the cruelest voice buried deep in our head and it everything, it runs the show. It tells me that I'm not loveable if I don't do it right. It extrapolates, it tells me that if I do this wrong then criticism is going to come and any criticism must mean that, you know,  I'm not acceptable, that I'm going to be alone. I know it's crazy, but when I'm in it I can't see it. I can see how insidious it is. And the other thing perfectionism does is it shuts us down. I get so shut down when I'm afraid that I'm going to make a mistake that I don't want to do it. I don't want to participate in something. I work myself into a nap and so I just escape or shut down and I don't know... So I've been doing this neuro feedback lately and I just finished 30 sessions of it and I don't know, this is kind of embarrassing to talk about, but I don't know if it's worked. I've had some great days after doing a session. You basically go in three times a week for like an hour at a crack or half hour at a crack and then you either feel the effects that day or the next day and they basically try to get your brain to produce less of the brains waves that are causing you problems and more of the brain waves that would help you with depression or focus or whatever it is. And um, I get these bumps where I start to feel better and then it doesn't feel- I feels like I've slid back, but the thing that I'm starting to notice, and this is kind of embarrassing to talk about but, the day after I have an orgasm or the day after that, i'm blue and I hate that. Does anybody else experience that? And then suddenly I understand why Sting does the thing where you don't orgasm, cause that Chi they call it, that build up of sexual energy does increase your productivity and your- god, this is what I hate about mental illness, it's so multifaceted, mental illness and addiction and the human body. You never know what the right answer is and I think thats where my perfectionism is driving me crazy because I want everything fixed. I want everything sorted out. I want answers and you don't get them. You don't get them, or if you do, they certainly don't come at the volume and on the schedule that you'd like them to come in and that's kind of where I'm at today.  I'm not having a great day and I was so up last week, and I don't think this is a bipolar thing, cause I've talked to my shrink about that, he doesn't think I'm bipolar. He thinks I might be on the edge, but anyway, I just wanted to give you guys an update. Oh and the other thing, my friend Lisa Arch, who is a great guest and she's one of my best friends, asked me if I would be interested in doing an episode where she interviews me and cause that has been suggested to me and I'm like um Marc Maron did it and a bunch of other people did that and I just don't want to feel like I'm copying them, but I thought there are listeners that are new to the show that haven't heard me talk about my issues and maybe that would be a good thing to do, cause then there would be a single episode where they could go and they could roll their eyes and hear my bullshit. I couldn't resist making fun of myself. Um, so if I do do that- and maybe you guys give me some- well of course you're not going to give me negative feedback 'no we've heard enough of you bullshit Paul' that was a stupid question, now I'm beating myself up, oh my god the vortex has begun. But what I'm thinking of doing if I do do that is having you guys send questions to Lisa for her to ask in addition to the ones that she would ask. So maybe you could send those to me at mentalpod@gmail.com and yea, let's get to the surveys, enough of this.

 

This is from the Body Shame Survey this is filled out by a woman who calls herself Thin Girl, she's in her 40s

What do you like or dislike about your body and why?

I don't like my breasts- breasts, her breasts are actually spelled brests, god I so just want to rewind and restart this whole fucking thing, perfectionism- I don't like my breasts, I used to before I had kids. They were never big, but just right for my small body frame. After breast feeding, they shrunk and were never quite the perky breasts they used to be. My ex would make comments about how shriveled they were and I can remember him regularly making comments like “wow, they are awful now” -wow what a fucking dick that guy is, can you imagine telling someone their body part is awful? Anyway- so after that I always had sex with a shirt on. He never touched them. It's as if they weren't even there anymore. He never touched them. They were no longer a part of any sexual activity ever again. Not until I left him -thank god- did I finally allow myself to let them become a part of sex again and it has been very hard. I've only had a few partners since then, but find myself apologizing for how small my breasts are and get it into my head that no matter how nice the rest of my body looks, that no one will keep me around because my breasts aren't perfect- and that works out perfectly with the talk about perfectionism- this is complicated by the fact that my ex cheated on me with girls much younger than me with fake boobs- god it's like this guy was constructed by scientists to be the biggest mindfuck a partner could be- When I look in the mirror fully clothed or even with a bathing suit or bra and underwear I see an atrractive woman with a thin fit body, but if you take my shirt and bra away, the same self confidence goes with it. It's very frustrating. -Sending you lots of love.

 

Same survey filled out by a guy who says: I am a man with breasts, I'm 23 years old and due to some testicular cancer treatment and hormone issues cause by it, I feel like I'm going through puberty all over again only now I have breasts and don't want to have sex. I have out of control acne and my voice is going through changes. I used to be somewhat of a ladies man, but now I feel disgusting. -sending you also a big dose of love

 

This is from the shame and secrets survey- and you know I meant to say this at the top, but um maybe its because I've been in kind of a dark mood the last couple of days or all you guys have been, but the surveys have all kind of been- at least the ones I read and printed out, have been pretty dark. There's not a lot of happy moments, there's not a lot of good awfulsome moments and I've decided to go with it. So, if you- and some of them are pretty graphic and pretty dark, so if you're not in the mood for that, maybe fast forward to the end, I think the last two that we end on are pretty good and upbeat, but in between, yea it's one of the darker ones.

 

This is from the shame and secrets one filled out by a woman who calls herself Polly Anna, she's straight in her 20s raised in pretty dysfunctional environment. Have you ever been the victim of sexual abuse? Some stuff happened, but I don't know if it counts. I've had several instances that have been on their way to sexual abuse, but never got there. My friends had to pull a guy off of me when I was in high school, when he had me pinned to a wall and was biting and licking my face. Years later a guy I was on a date with tried to pull me into an alley, I fought him off and ran to safety. Ever been physically or emotionally abused? Been emotionally abused. I've dated at least three guys who were severely emotionally abusive. One of them lived off me for three years when I was injured and not making much money. He also invaded my privacy, cut me off from my friends and family- by the way, that is your first sign to fucking run from somebody, when they try to isolate you- broke me down verbally, abused my dog and generally made me miserable. One thing that stands out is a night that we were watching one of The Faces of Death movies- another flag- he insisted we watch them all. They were gruesome, but I am so pro at disassociating that they didn't bother me too much. On this night, the last clip on the video was one- oh I've seen this one of Senator Robert Dywer shooting himself in the head- I was about 21 or 22 at this time and when I was 18 my friend, who was more like a brother, shot himself. My then boyfriend knew this and after we watched the clip of the senator I was clearly very shaken. He then forced me to watch as he rewound and played the clip back half a dozen times, I was traumatized and couldn't sleep for days. That's just one of the many ways he emotionally abused me, not to mention the others. Any positive experiences with your abusers? I cannot muster any positive memories with any of these assholes. Darkest thoughts? At one point I worked for my grandmother, she was a nasty horrible lady who cared more about appearing to be a good person than actually being one. She would tell me how much she hated her life and I would constantly fantasize about taking her into the bathroom and making her watch as I slit her throat. Deepest, darkest secrets? I'm a compulsive skin picker. I pick the skin on my face and my body. It's disgusting and horrible and I hate it. I've also emotionally cheated on several horrible boyfriends and physically cheated on one. Sexual fantasies most powerful for you? Mostly rape fantasies and having butt stuff done to me- I think there should be a 99cent store called Butt Stuff, I am going- first I've gotta come up with a mission statement for Butt Stuff, well the mission statement would be: all stuff butt. I'm not sure really where it goes beyond that.- I would love my boyfriend to eat my ass, sharing that makes me feel nothing. I'm not ashamed- should it be Butt Stuff or Ass Eaters? Butt Stuff, Butt Stuff sounds a little classier-I'm not ashamed, but I don't want to ask someone to do something to me that they are uncomfortable with (as many people are with eating ass) -I just love the phrase “eating ass” I just love that and thank you for- I just want to thank her for this survey for being- I just want to send her a hug. She sounds like a person who is experiencing a lot of pain and has been around a lot of really fucking invalidating, cruel people- Anything you'd like to say to someone that you haven't been able to? I want to tell my ex-manager that she is a raging cunt and that everyone hates her and she will die alone. -maybe that's part of the mission statement for Butt Stuff- What if anything do you wish for? I wish for clear skin that I could stop picking. I wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I want to be happy not anxious. Have you shared these things with others? Some of them, but everyone tells me it will be okay when I freak out about my life path. I don't know how it will be okay, but everyone but me seems sure of it. I talked to my therapist about the CSP and I'm working on it (CSP is compulsive skin picking) How do you feel after writing these things down? Fine. What would you like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? Get help. Talk to people and get help. Any comments to make the podcast better? 90% more songs about mental illness and 100% more Maria Bamford.- By the way, Maria was voted listener's favorite episode of 2013.

 

This is an awfulsome moment filled out by a woman who calls herself Ultima Esperonsa and she writes: I know you've got a lot of amazing awfulsome moments and mine don't really compare but I want to share it. The last two years have been very difficult as I lost my job, health insurance and stop taking my prozac. I was really struggling and had multiple breakdowns. During what I believe was my last breakdown before starting meds again, I think it was in November, I was practically in hysterics, sobbing and hugging my husband and feeling guilty about having a breakdown. After an amount of time in this state I received a text message from a friend of mine who I hadn't heard from in about a month. The text read, “haven't spoken to you in a while, thought I should remind you that you smell and no one likes you” I immediately began laughing and couldn't cry anymore. His stupid text made me go from 60 to 0 in no time. I'm proud to say it put things in perspective and brought me down to earth, but I think I just really enjoyed the absurdity and timing of it.- That's awesome. I might even call that a happy moment.

 

This is from the shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Tape Worm, she is pansexual, 18, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. Have you ever been the victim of abuse? Some stuff happened, but I don't know if it counts. I was completely wasted at a party once and I was hooking up with almost everyone there, but it was all harmless fun as we were all pretty drunk. When the party was in full swing a new guy arrived, completely sober and from what I remember, cornered me in the bathroom and got me to take my dress off. It seemed fun at first and I can see how it felt harmless, but he suggested I let him finger me and I got dressed and left. I got more drunk and I can remember him holding my hand and leading me back there. There was a real sense of being mentally opposed but being unable to physically object, the same scenario happened again, but when I left the bathroom, I pretended to pass out on the ground in hopes he would see how drunk I was. In actuality, I was sobering up. He walked right past me. Another boy picked me up and started kissing me. I told him I wasn't in the mood and he said “You want this, I can tell” -by the way, that is abuse, you know, when you tell someone you're not in the mood and they say no you want this, I can tell, that's clearly, there's no grey area there- He put his hands in my underwear and I can remember mentally checking out and waiting for it to end, at some point I asked him to get me some water so I could sober up. He returned with a full cup of vodka and did so again and again until I eventually just walked out onto the road and cried. It wasn't really what I would classify as sexual abuse- I would- but the shame I felt the next day for getting myself into a situation like that and the hatred I feel and felt for the guys who took advantage of a drunk girl who couldn't take care of herself has really stuck with me.- you know I was trying to think of the right analogy for- because I read so many of these where the person, men and women, have too much to drink at a party and feel like its their fault because somebody takes advantage of them, you know to me that's like if you were driving recklessly in your car and you go a flat tire and you got out onto the road and you were fixing the flat and somebody hits you with their car, yes the position you were in was related to that but it wasn't your fault, just because you got a flat tire doesn't mean it's okay for somebody to hit you while you're fixing your tire. It's completely separate things. And anyway, I'm sure there's a better example than that but- Deepest darkest thoughts? I've thought about tracking down the boys at the party and castrating or seriously hurting them. It was more of a fantasy to entertain than anything I would ever do. Darkest secrets? I've made several dates to kill myself but when the time came there was something that got in the way, mainly the fear of failing or or the fact that it would be a family member to finding me. Sexual fantasies most powerful? Getting choked has always interested me, but I once asked a boy and he looked at me like I was crazy. For some reason that makes it more enticing. What do you wish for? I wish I could move to a country where no one knows me and I could stay drunk all the time.- you know, a great place to start would be a support group for the drinking, I think that would be the first layer to peel away because I think that if that doesn't get peeled away or dealt with, it's going to be really hard to make any kind of progress and you know I'm not a mental health professional, I'm not a doctor, but I am a hypochondriac.

 

This is- I'm just going to read an excerpt from this one, this guy was bullied his name is Derpa Flornia, I love the names you guys come up with- he was bullied, he wants to know does getting bullied in school count as emotional or physical abuse? Yea. If so then I was emotionally and physically abused throughout elementary and middle school. I was called faggot before I knew what the word meant. The last time I was picked on I stood up for myself and received a broken nose, but I roughed his face up, so I guess that counts for something. The principal didn't punish me and was surprised I kept from kicking the shit out of the bullies for so long. Any positive experiences with the abusers? One of the bullies was nice at times and introduced me to heavy metal. He even invited me to his house just to hang out. It was weird because he would always fuck with me in class. Looking back, I think he maybe have had a rejection issue and wanted a friend that he didn't have to prove something to. Of course I didn't hang out with him, I may have missed an opportunity to be a friend to someone who needed it, though he had bullied me. -I'm fascinated by how complicated relationships can be with people who treat us nice one minute and bad the next, it is- Darkest thoughts? I used to want to kill myself in front of everyone in middle school just as an ultimate fuck you to everyone, I now know that I would've hurt a lot of people by killing myself, regardless of where I did it. Darkest secrets? I let guys suck me off when I thought I was bi. I'd fantasize about sex with the same gender, but would usually panic before getting down to business- I always recommend when you're getting down to business, take your suit jacket off and roll your sleeves up and do that thing where you put your tie inside your shirt so it doesn't flap around.- I've wrestled with my sexuality for a long time, recently I started to just tell myself that I was bi, but low and behold my desire for same sex action went away. I'm not sure if I was actually bicurious or bored, but now I feel for certain that I am straight. It's weird I know.- I love surveys like that. Thank you for that. I love surveys that just highlight how complex we are as human beings.

 

Here's from the shame and secrets survey filled out by a transgender person named Sern- god I'm going to be one of those old people that has those big swifty lazar coke bottle glasses that mispronounces everything- Sern is 19, raised in a slightly dis functional environment, never been sexually abused, never been physically abused, not sure if there was emotional abuse. Darkest thoughts? Sometimes I want my mother who I love deeply to get in an accident and die, that way I wouldn't feel guilty about exposing how much I hurt because she wants more than anything to help me and can't forgive herself for not being able to. Darkest secret? On a bad day I nearly killed my cat. I hate torture or pain in any form in myself or others, but one night I just grabbed my cat's throat and squeezed. I knew what I was doing but I felt nothing. It wasn't until the cat squeaked for about the fourth time that I realized I was going to kill her. I love my cat and if I nearly killed it for no reason other than my hand was there I'm afraid of what I might do to someone else- by the way, many other people have reported in the surveys of doing something similar to that and I just want to send you guys some love and say I certainly don't, I'm a huge animal lover and it's a testament to mental illness, how powerful mental illness can be and depression and self hatred and all that other stuff that we can do something like that to something that we love, so I encourage you guys to forgive yourself and if you really want to make amends to that animal, get help for yourself. Look at how I tied that up all nice and neat, get help for yourself. I rested my face on my chin and had a little smug smile as I looked up at the stars and said that.- Sexual fantasies most powerful to you? Just having my genitals removed. I hate my female part and just want to be neutral. I feel no sexual urges, but I would never give it up, it is so freeing. What do you wish for? To be able to feel awake and rested. Have you shared these thoughts with other people? Yes many people but no one really seems to understand the importance to me. I haven't felt energetic in years and I'm just so dead tired. -oh I know that feeling, it's terrible and it's hard sometimes to know is that because there's something wrong with my body, is it my mind is it my soul? What is the problem where do I need to work on this? And then that just makes me want to nap.

 

This is an awfulsome moment filled out by Lucille and she writes, a few years ago to cheer up my coworker, I drew a little doodle of a person wearing full winter gear except for pants and underwear and told them to imagine if they saw this person walking down the street. From then on I always thought it would be awesome to actually see that. Today, I'm gazing out the window and I notice someone on their balcony, winter coat, boots, scarf, gloves no pants no underwear. Only problem? It was a teenage girl and she was kicking her cat back into her house. It wasn't awesome. - I had to put the two cat ones back to back.

 

Shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Stuck. She is straight in her 20s, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment, was the victim of sexual abuse and never reported it. My step father molested me. The first time I can remember was when I was six and I have never felt safe around men even though I am naturally, biologically attracted to them it takes a long time to build a friendship in which I feel comfortable enough to share proximity with one. Some part of my brain is always of the belief that all men are predators, all fathers molest their daughters. The step father experience left me wary of any male contact, but I finally dated a friend when I was 19. He was the only person I ever told about the abuse, I immediately regretted it because it made it all real. This boyfriend ended up being emotionally abusive. Accused me of not loving him if I wouldn't perform sexual favors, for example. He left me feeling disrespectful and small after intimacy. Any positive experiences with the abusers? The step father was the only dad I had growing up and the step family was the closest family. I love my aunts and uncles and cousins dearly, though my parents are now divorced. If I tell anyone about the abuse I would loose everything and I would ruin their lives as well- you know when I read that it really touched me because I thought, what about your life? What about you healing? Isn't the healing of the person who received the abuse much more important than any- you know those people you're worried about protecting, they're going to have people in their life die, they're going to get through that so why would you telling them that be any worse than someone dying? You're taking on the responsibilities that aren't yours. Their emotional well being, trying to carry their pain for them and man your pain bucket is full. Stop putting other peoples pain in it. I'm sending you a big, big hug. Darkest thoughts? For many reasons, not the least of which being the sexual abuse, I've felt useless and burdensome my entire life. I've often thought of killing myself just so I would stop taking up space, but I wouldn't be able to do anything bloody, probably stare myself so then I wouldn't even have to get out of bed.- got to give you points for that one- Deepest darkest secret? The abuse is the one that weighs on me everyday. I can't tell anyone, yet it has come to define me and shape who I am today. I feel so crazy when my mother gets frustrated with me and my behavior because I can't tell her the real reason why I am the way I am. Why I am afraid of people and new relationships, romantic or otherwise. I worry she would never forgive herself if she knew the truth- you know if she really loves you, if she really is a good mom, she would want to know about you, any good mother would want to know. How could you go wrong in telling her cause if she takes it wrong, then fuck her you know what I mean? But if you tell her and shes able to handle it, then it's proof that it's the right thing to do, but I think it's the right thing to do either way. God I commented on that one so much, I just want to rewind that, but I'm not going to.

 

Shame and secrets survey filled out by a guy who calls himself Sonic Cat. He is bisexual, in his 20s, raised in a safe and stable environment, never been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused. Darkest thoughts? I am facebook friends with a girl I knew in high school. She is a single mother who often posts her struggles on facebook. I often dream of leaving my wife and stepping into the husband/father role in this woman's life. I guess I just crave having a family and I just don't see it happening with my wife.- Might also be a rescuer, might be a little bit of  love addict. Deepest, darkest secret? I developed an eating disorder in college and though I don't actively engage in these behaviors currently I am still fascinated in the ANA community- I believe that stands for Anorexia- and secretly wish I had the willpower to resume these behaviors- I love how you don't give yourself credit for having the willpower to refrain from those behaviors, you say you lack the willpower to engage in them. God, it's amazing how our minds can shit on us. Because I am too much of a pussy to flat out kill myself, I think my dream is to die slowly from an eating disorder, to have a sustained period where I am in control and have that be what ushers me out of this world. That seems perfect to me.- That was quite eloquent. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you? I often fantasize about being in complete control in the bedroom. I know this sounds so lame, but I have not felt in control of myself in over a decade. So to have complete control over someone else in a sexual way is very arousing for me. It makes me feel like a bad person to share that because it is completely opposite my personality.- isn't that always how it is though? Our sexual fantasies are often a part of ourself that we can't express in the rest of our lives. What would you like to say to someone that you haven't been able to? I'd like to tell me wife that I am not happy. I want to feel that trust that married people talk about with one another. My wife and I both suffer from depression and anxiety and I feel like if I told her this she might not be able to handle it and might do something drastic. I've always treated her like a child, watering down what I say so that it doesn't upset her, but I have very real feelings that I just cannot water down and more and still expect to carry any weight- you two are prime candidates for couple's counseling that would be such a good neutral environment to let this stuff out so if she did start to, you know, crumble or whatever it isn't up to you to rescue her or whatever you would have a professional there, so sending you a big hug. Sending you a big, big hug.

 

This is a dark one. As if the rest of those were scenes for Willy Wonka. This is shame and secrets by a guy who calls himself Shoelaces he is straight, in his 20s and raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused, but he has been emotionally and physically abused. I was in high school and she was my first actual girlfriend. She was known as the town “virgin stealer” and I was getting towards 16 to 17 years old and all my closest friends were slowly loosing their virginity all around me. My impulsive nature along with my desperation lead me to her father's literal crack den of a trailer where she pulled me into her bed and took my virginity. We began dating. My illness became more prominent as she began feeding me MDMA and ecstasy and whatever other drugs would be laying around her father's house. As my ups and downs began ruining me, she would whisper sweet nothings about how no one else would love me in my ear. She convinced me for the longest time that I would be utterly alone if I ever pushed her away and all the while she was making it painfully honest I didn't even have her. She began forcing me to fuck her friends and the first time she hit me was after one of these encounters. The physical abuse was then turned up on it's head and she claimed we were a BDSM couple so what would start with her burning me with a cigarette and slapping me across the face she would turn into sex in order to make it better, convincing me that I wanted to be choked and hit. This went on for five hears with her cheating on me and me hitting back in this toxic sick symbiosis that forced me to hate myself and her. I'm still not secure in love. I'm still not secure in sex. I now have to dominate or be dominated to feel sexually gratified and I don't always get off from it, I just do it. Any positive experiences with your abuser? I don't remember them at this point, I don't count her as a relationship when people ask me about things like this. Only my drug addled friends who were around during that time even know that she and I were even together and only in the last year was I able to tell someone that didn't know me at that time about what happened. Darkest thoughts? I want to know what it's like to make another human being fear for their life, to put someone in a position where they know they will die by my hand, but they do not know when or how horrible it will be. I don't like being alone with children under the age of 13. sometimes I think of sexually abusing them and this thought gives me a rush of domination euphoria. Deepest darkest secrets? When I was just coming into adolescence, every time I would hold my baby cousin I would get a rock hard erection. I still to this day don't understand why that happened. It hurts and confuses me. I don't like having to see either of those cousins who are 13 and 10 respectively and I don't know how to say something like that even to my therapist- well it's good that you're in therapy man- Sexual fantasies most powerful for you?-and this one is pretty graphic- I have one fantasy that involves my female partner going out and finding a skinny gay boy and brining him home so that we together can dominate him until he is dehumanized, forcing him to pleasure the both of us together and cleaning up our cum from the floor with his sex toy tongue without ever allowing him a moment of pleasure himself before kicking him out of the house covered in piss, blood and cum to buy me a pack of cigarettes and then caging him like a dog. I would also like to get him a pretty female companion so that my partner and I can choose which flavor we want for the night. I am a sexual deviant. What if anything would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to? I'm sorry I used you to make myself feel better. Sorry for the busted lip. Sorry for shaming you. Sorry for loving you. Sorry for coming near you. Sorry you fell in love with this patchwork young frankenstein, dead on the inside and moving like a newborn corpse. I'm sorry I'm so cold. I'm sorry you didn't have the son you wanted. What if anything do you wish for? To be accepted, even with these disgusting feelings. Have you shared any of these things with others? I've shared some of these things with one or two people, most of the time I pass it off as a joke. My current partner has heard of the abuse at the hands of my first girlfriend. She was the first person outside of my group of drinking buddies who watched it happen. We've never really talked about it, I've just admitted it happened and we never talked about it again. How do you feel after writing these things down? That I am a fucked up little sex toy. I'm not worth anything more than a pretty toy that is too much fun to play with. That I am a disgusting and frightening sexual individual. Is there anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences? Maybe it isn't our fault. Maybe it isn't something we should feel ashamed about. I don't know how to tell you to do that. Find someone to talk to. Find love. Find acceptance. Maybe you can find it in the mirror, but that narcissistic bastard only cares about himself. -that is one of the most moving, intense surveys I think I've ever read on the show and I'm sending you a lot of love cause you sound like you're in a tremendous amount of pain and um I want to encourage you to really stick with the therapy and be honest with your therapist and know that there's a lot of listeners and me rooting for you.

 

This is an awfulsome moment survey- I liked this one because it so reminded me of what I experience and just the description of it was exactly- anyway I'm going to read it- filled out by a guy who calls himself Leaky Computers: Two years ago I recovered from what could be called a quiet mental break. This break was targeted largely by finances. Although it was just a raw nerve for about two years prior to this point, I had managed to keep all my mail. I had plenty of unopened bills, plenty of needs immediate actions and a few of tax information. To prove that I was over my mental break I did my taxes for the past two years. I hadn't however gone to a therapist at this point. I sat down in front of my tax accountant with a stack of coffee stained, crumpled to hell tax forms. The two of us are sorting through all of this information and the tax accountant gets a little frustrated and asks me “why didn't you just do last year's taxes?” the question caught me off guard and so I answered honestly. I told her about how I'd cry on the floor with my arms wrapped around my knees when I saw a credit union commercial and how I nearly vomited every time I hear the mail lady come to my door. I told her about taking the batteries out of my house phone and my cell phone. I told her about the time I was too afraid to leave my room for two and a half days. After that her motto became “it's fine.” Did you collect social security in 2009- I don't know- It's fine.- Do you remember how many months you worked at company XYZ? I don't remember. It's fine. Looking back I have no idea how I've never been audited- oh my god I know there's a lot of people- I had almost a year of unopened mail on my dining room table until about six months ago and I- I'd take the big pieces the credit card bills and anything like that, but anything you know that didn't have a red light glaring on it, I just couldn't bring myself to open it. That one made me chuckle.

 

I'm going to read two more things. This is- and the darkness is over, for the most part- this is a being hospitalized survey and this was filled out by a woman who is bisexual, in her 20s, calls herself TVC15 and Why were you hospitalized? This past december, I had a spectacular manic episode and was eventually escorted by the police to the hospital. Describe your experience. I was kept in a cell, complete with a two way mirror for a couple of days. By this point I had lost touch with reality and I began believing I was living in a solipsistic world. I thought my brain was creating everything I experienced. I still can't be sure if this is the case. How can we know? I spent the days of mania leading up to the hospital trip tweeting bizarre poetry, listening to all of Bowie's album on a loop, singing and dancing down a sidewalk and through park trails, taking pictures of everything because everything was so beautiful. Most of what I was writing concerned Bowie. His mental illness, how he saw the world, his gender bending genius, how he was a prophet, how we are the dead. In my psych emergency cell I did not understand what was happening and still believed I was creating this whole situation. Then I heard a familiar voice. David Bowie came to visit me. He opened the door. I was curled in a corner and couldn't see and asked -insert name- I answered “not right now thanks” meaning, no I would not like to meet David Bowie right now. He proceeded to talk with his friends, I guess outside my door, about me. I started making hand gestures when I agreed or disagreed with what he was saying. He was charming and very funny. He told me not to be scared and that I wasn't alone. This hallucination convinced me that I really was creating my whole world. That lead to the thought, for some reason, that I was dead and in some transitory afterlife situation. The newspapers in my cell and everything I could hear in the hallway outside seemed to confirm this, so I decided, since I had realized this, I was ready to “move on” I kept trying to leave my cell and the police officers outside kept bringing me back in saying “it's not time yet.” I started banging on the door until the nurse came to sedate me, she asked “would you like it orally or by injection?” I thought she was asking me how I would like to die, before they came in with the medication I kneeled down and exposed my ass. I was trying to be funny I guess, but I did feel ready to die. Needless to say they told me to lie down on the bed before they would enter the room. Before they injected me, they asked me why I wanted an injection and I answered “No reason.” I thought these would be my last words. When  I woke up in the psychological intensive care unit there was another patient there named David. I thought it might be Bowie in disguise. He kept asking me to marry him. I kept giving him the finger. At one point he made a move. I guess he molested me for a few seconds. I was confused. I was so confused. I spent a week on a proper psych ward delusional the whole time, trying to figure out what had happened, what was real. I'm a very rational, soft spoken, agreeable and friendly person. I kept my delusions to myself and the doctors soon released me. It's taken me the last few weeks to finally return to reality. What happened to me was of course very disturbing, but it was also very comforting. Conversing with “Bowie” made me survive in that awful room. Contemplating reality on the psych ward was a profound and life changing experience. I'm glad I went through all that. I have the perverse desire to have another wild manic episode, even though I know it's selfish and stupid. I see the world differently now. Sometimes life still feels unreal and things too beautiful and that's terrifying but at the same time it makes me feel less afraid. I was ready to die in that emergency cell. I was okay with it. I don't think I'm afraid of anything anymore. I don't care what people think of me, the expectations of others, trying to fit into this messed up and delusional society. I don't believe I'm creating everything anymore, but I understand now how everything we've built up, as a civilization, is mostly a constructive way of making sense of the chaos. I'm okay with the chaos now. It's freeing and funny in a weird way to just accept that. To just go with the flow. -and I think I should end on that one cause that's just, you know I think that's an awesomeful moment. It's a hospital survey, but it's a awesomeful funny, fucked up, awefulsome moment. Thank you for filling that out and thank you guys for helping build this community with me. Felt really nice to talk about what I've been going through on the mic tonight. I was kind of nervous before I started recording cause I didn't know what I was going to talk about but I had this feeling inside me that I knew that I needed to talk about cause I need that connection. And its so hard sometimes cause it's just a feeling inside you that you can't put words to and I love that I can be myself on this podcast and I know it's not everybody's cup of tea when I have those moments, but I think most of you like it and I like that feeling of acceptance. I really like that and I hope you guys find our own support group. Your own support network cause it'll save your life, man. Make life worth living. I hope that if you're listening tonight you feel a little less stuck and I hope you know you're not alone and thanks for listening.