TRIGGER WARNING: Physical/psychological abuse, rape, eating disorders, general mental illness.
This is going to be a long one, so buckle in. I get a surprising amount of questions from friends and strangers alike that are very far off from the timeline of my life. One I get a lot is “so, was that sociopath boy or cheating boy?” or “was that Munchausen’s boy or suicidal boy?” I also get “which hospitalization was that?” and “I thought your eating disorder was before xyz!” Here’s me clearing all of that up!
I am sick and tired of the inadequacy of my special needs school. The teaching and administration is disorganized, the children there are bad influences, and I’m learning next to nothing. I have applied and been accepted to a few boarding schools. Life isn’t great- I spend some precautionary time in the hospital after being cheated on- but it could be worse, too. I become close with a boy we’ll call T.
T and I ramp up our talking. We talk about politics, mental health, our respective pasts, and more. He’s a smart guy and I see him as a friend, but it ramps up quickly. When I was stranded at a gas station miles from anywhere I knew because I forgot to give him his computer back and demanded to be released from my van, though there were no Ubers available and my parents are at work, he tells me he loves me in the midst of his fear for me. I’m shocked but say it back. We’re in a relationship now.
I attend my hometown prom with a different boy. T threatens to kill me, on this night.
I spend the summer with T. Abuse I won’t get into too deeply begins here. I attempt a breakup and am met with suicidality, so I take it back. I learn fully about his past violence and what he’s capable of now. I get to know his family and feel responsible for protecting them from him. I take everything onto my shoulders, and spend most days at his family’s pool, hanging out in their guest bedroom, or going out to eat.
I begin at a boarding school upstate from where I live. I love it there. I’m playing soccer, I’m making friends who I still adore today, and I’m getting good grades. Emboldened, I try to break up with T again, but he yells that he’s going to kill himself and runs off camera. I turn off the Facetime and begin screaming bloody murder. My friends come and console me in my hallway while I dial my mother, who calls his mother, saying her next call will be 911. His mother tells my mother to “take care of your kid and I’ll take care of mine” but she doesn’t go see him. With no other option, I call him back and take him back.
In early October, I sustain 2 concussions over 4 days, in the same spot on my head, and have to leave school due to the severity of my symptoms.
OCTOBER 2016- SEPTEMBER 2017
This is close to the worst year of my life, second only to this most recent. I am over at T’s house almost every day, Facetiming with him every night for hours, and I want nothing to do with it. Every time I try to hang up he screams, cries, pretends to cut on camera, threatens me, threatens himself. He laughs at me and mocks me and calls me names, hurts me physically in several ways. I’m slowly gaining weight because I need to be in dark rooms resting in order to recover from my concussion, and can’t exercise or even be in heavy light. I spend most of my time in his dark den, dealing with what he had for me. This was absolute hell. I felt so alone every day, unable to truly connect meaningfully with the only person I had, “only” being his design. My friends were gone living their own lives, my parents were gone, it was just me and him. I started developing PTSD symptoms. They later got much worse but one that developed during this time was a sleep paralysis dream in which I’m raped while T drips blood over me.
I somehow find the gumption to break up with T, and this process takes several weeks in which I have to utilize every last drop of empathy I possess, but I do it. I start back at my old, despised school, and am student body president for the second year in a row (minus the gap where I wasn’t there). I’m proud of that accomplishment. I’m diligent about schoolwork. Little things start to add up and matter to me, and I feel good.
My disorders are starting to slam me. I’m beginning to realize what happened to me, and little spurts of trauma are falling out of me. My body had fully compartmentalized what I went through for so long that it was bursting with it, and it was finally safe to release it, though safe isn’t quite the right word. I start thinking about losing the weight, Googling diets. I am pursued by a peculiar boy who won’t leave me alone, until I reported him for illegal activity on school premises and he was suspended. He didn’t like me quite so much after that.
Trauma hits me full swing. I am staying up until 2 am every night, sobbing and writhing on my bathroom floor, playing loud music to drown my thoughts out and I’m doing this all while utterly alone. When at school, I’m rocking back and forth on the floor and hiding in dark corners, under tables, in my counselor’s office. My schoolwork quality deteriorates. I begin a relationship with a boy at my school who, unbeknownst to me, had a girlfriend who was off at college. Good going, right Olivia? A relationship, now?
I stop eating entirely. I’m running every day for four hours in all weather.
I kiss the boy in his car a Cheesecake Factory parking lot, listening to Bon Iver. We go to Knicks games, ice skating, escape rooms, restaurants, hook up in his car. He holds my hand while I reluctantly eat mashed potatoes. He’s the very first person I tell about T and what he did. I regret that it wasn’t my doctors but it had to come out to someone, I guess, and it came out at 1 am and in a flurry.
My relationship continues with the boy. When I come back from Winter break, I mention that I spent time with him in my Spanish class. From then on, a gang of girls who overhears this bullies me. They wanted to date the boy, you see. They do this from this moment until the day I leave the school after a Title IX investigation into the harassment.
I am still eating literally nothing. I’m losing an average of 1.5 pounds per day. I’m running for 3-5 hours every day and live off of water and a slice of toast three times a week. My body is covered in bruises and my bones are in constant pain.
I tell my therapists about T. I’m instantly diagnosed with PTSD.
M comes to the school (M isn’t for Munchausen’s but yes, this is Munchausen’s boy, for those who have asked). Immediately we click. I show him around the school and send him a fake Valentine-gram from Hillary Clinton; it was Valentine’s day when he came and I didn’t want him to be left out of the pre-planned fun. We start Facetiming every night. Hours and hours on end. I tell him everything about me, he tells me what he wants me to think about him.
He says he’s asexual and I respect that, but we’re in a Starbucks one day and we say we love each other and kiss. From then on, he’s “asexual except for Olivia.”
I learn that he supposedly has an insanely severe insomnia disorder- “the worst in the United States, according to a New York doctor-” that renders him unable to sleep for 2ish weeks at a time and then crashes him for 48 hours of knockout sleep. This seems unlikely, but he tells me that I’d be the only one to ever believe him if I did, so I do. It makes me feel special, he makes me feel special.
I start going over to M’s house. I meet his family. I ask him to prom with me and he agrees. I become very close with his family, we spend almost every day together. M promises me we’ll spend the rest of our lives together, that we’ll never die because we’ll simply be elevated into a some kind of post-mortem elysium together. I believe him. We spend nearly every night watching Harry Potter and being physical, having dinner with his family. I go on countless walks with him and his sweet dog. I buy his little sister a birthday present with all I had in my bank account. I adore his mother in particular, she feels like a second mother to me. I meet his extended family. I love his housekeepers (yes, the family has 4 women on rotation, I know that’s a revolting amount of wealth but it felt fine at the time). I’ve never felt so happy or loved.
Things start to fail to add up. I learn on a car ride on the way to pick up his custom prom suit, with him and his mother, that he was once diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder by my old doctor, a long time ago. This immediately rings bells in my head, for my doctor (now ex-doctor) is one of the best in the country at what he does. He wouldn’t diagnose a child with something so serious without good reason. His mother acts like it was an incorrect diagnosis, but I’m not so sure. At this point, however, I’m barely suspicious.
Prom comes and goes. He texts another girl most of the night. I’m crestfallen and hurt, but he acts as if I’ve done something wrong. I’ll never forget watching him walk away to his car with his dad, leaving early, shaking his head, while I’m wondering what I did and am not feeling empowered to explain how hurt I was. We were soulmates, remember? Soulmates didn’t fight. They didn’t even disagree.
I encourage him to take sleep medication. He’s claimed before that he has negative side effects to EVERY sleep medication. I beg him to take just one. On camera, he “drops” the phone as he supposedly takes the pill. He screams at me when I question if he took the pill (he didn’t). This is our first fight. When we hang up, I can’t stop crying. We fight again a few weeks later. I remember typing, “M, this isn’t like you!” He could really flip an aggressive switch.
Things are falling apart. He begins to tell me that his parents abuse him. I know his parents and at first don’t believe him, but he tells me that he’s “sorry he didn’t tell me sooner” about their “abuse” but he “wanted to let me believe the fantasy.” Supposedly, they verbally abuse him, pull and push him, and confiscate technology. This terrifies me. He’s vilified my second mother, my second family, and I can’t save him from their “abuse.”
I’m being terribly bullied at school. One of the girls posts on Instagram that she’s going to punch me in the face the next time she sees me, and “ruin my life.” It’s still because of the boy I dated in January, and because I’m dating M.
I can’t take it anymore. I spend most nights crying. I feel very alone and the person who’s promised to always be there for me, for the rest of my life, isn’t anymore. He’s busy being “abused.” I stop eating again. I crash.
M vanishes. I’m scared he’s been sent away, or has been abused so badly that he’s hurt. My entire body feels like it’s on fire, all the time. I can’t stop crying. I take 4 (prescribed) Xanax a day to avoid being immobile on the floor. I do everything I can to try to find him, it’s all I can think about. I only make it a day at summer school because all I can do is imagine him being abused and my not being there for him. I have nothing else
He comes back right before I go into the hospital following a suicide attempt. He says that all of my fears were true, he was being abused, and that I should send him a burner phone to talk to me. I buy one but don’t get to send it before I go into the hospital.
For two weeks, he and I email love letters and lovey dovey calls to each other. One day, he vanishes again. He’s sent my parents a confession via his parents. He’d lied to me about everything, he says. He claims it was for my own good. He was reading my loving texts and playing video games while I looked for him. My family and I are horrified, at his lies and the lies of his parents, who enabled him. My father tells me never to speak to him again but I try to reason. Love of my life, remember? He lashes out at me, says terrible things when I say I never want to speak to him again. His father despicably threatens my family. All contact ceases.
I receive life saving treatment at my local world-class hospital for both my eating disorder and my PTSD and OCD, treatment the likes of which I’d never gotten before. I stay on with my doctor from that hospital permanently. She’s the second mother I deserve, not M’s unwell mother.
I head back to public school.
I hear from M again. He apologizes. More lies. Contact is cut off again.
I begin this blog. And from then on, you know everything worth sharing.
2018 and the beginning of 2019 was the worst year and a half of my life. But I’m here now, I survived these people. As hypocritical as it sounds, I’m swearing off relationships with fellow seriously mentally ill people. Most people aren’t as far along in treatment as I am. They’ll take me on rides like the three detailed above. I don’t want that for myself anymore. I want health, fulfillment, friendship, genuine connection, and happiness, for once. I’ll find that at college, I know it.
I hope this answers all of the questions you all have. Keep sending ‘em!