I guess I should start with a thank you. Although our relationship has eroded, there were times when you steadied me. Before I realized that bipolar disorder caused my inner-turmoil, you acted as a salve. You propped me up when I was falling. You were a form of self-medication that I failed to realize was a false prophet.
There were moments in my life when you were the one constant. When the sun was up, I could never get comfortable in my own skin. I walked around feeling like a fraud, going to work, pretending to know who I was and what I was doing when I really had no clue. But as the sun slipped beneath the horizon, there you were. You sat in my home, waiting for me at night, ready to wrap me in an infinite blanket of warmth. In my bed, consuming you, I’d finally gain the feeling of belonging and safety that I was never able to achieve without you. As you swirled yourself around me, I felt my soul growing bigger, as though I was earning more space in this world. Yet, when I took you in, those moments of wholeness created a deficit. When I would wake, shaking and alone, I knew I’d pay for that fleeting feeling of joy with my life for days. The sanity you gave me was an illusion. The company you offered was hollow. What you really did was sneak in, ravage, and take what you wanted with reckless abandon.
I look back at my life and I think about things I did with you by my side, and I feel deep, cutting regret. You pushed me into an abusive relationship for more years than I’d like to admit; you stole my safety as I walked in a zombie-like state through a city that could eat me alive; you let me enter apartments of strangers in the dead of night. You humiliated me in front of people I love; you hurt me as I fell to the cement under the weight of you; you nearly left me dead more than once; and, maybe worst of all, you stole me from the few moments of sobriety my dad achieved.
That’s the thing. You didn’t just steal from me; you stole from those around me. You stole so much of my sister’s and my childhood, you stole the security of my family of origin, you stole my sanity, you took my father. Yet, I continue to give to you little moments of my life that I deserve to keep. I never want to give you another snippet of my memories, I never want to give you the satisfaction of making me feel shame, and I never again want you to take the mental and physical stability I have worked so hard to build. When I take you in, I am no longer an entrepreneur, I’m not an athlete, I’m not the best version of myself. I am happy, I am floating, I am wild, free, and open, but I’m not me. I am you.
I am loud, boisterous, and pontificating. I can be easy to anger. I can be quick to laugh. I can be confident. I can be arrogant. I can forget that I am bipolar because I am steady in your arms.
Even still, when you leave, I realize what a monster you are. I feel the exact opposite of the way I feel when you and I are entangled. When we disengage, I’m a little more broken than I was before. I’m a little less me. I’m a little more you—I am your victim, your slave, your casualty,
For now, I count myself lucky that I can distance myself. I can choose the role you play in my life—I can choose to kick you out, let you in a little, or never tangle with you again. That hasn’t always been the case. I haven’t always had a choice. But now I do; and you’ve got to go.
Today I choose to say goodbye for a while. To hydrate, to eat, to nourish, to get my pace back up and to bolt up hills with the wind in my hair. For within the wind is where the loved ones you stole from me and the remnants of moments past live now. Instead of turning to you for relief, I will trust myself to earn it, and to wrap myself in healing energy and the person I am without you. I can finally say with confidence that I deserve better; and you don’t deserve me.
Written by our founder, Alee Anderson. Click HERE to learn more about her writing journey and career.